Picture Perfect: the evolution of my Instagram Feed

a bookish baker notebooks on Instagram

If you follow me on Instagram, and if you've been following me for some time, you might have noticed a bit of a change in my feed. My photographs have become slightly darker and there is an obvious brown colour scheme running through it.

This isn't as a consequence of me trying harder. In fact, it's me trying less. 

It's also as a consequence of experimenting and trying different things over the course of two years. If you'd told me a year ago I would've loved an Instagram feed of mainly brown I would have laughed in your face.

a bookish baker Instagram feed

So, what prompted the change?

During the summer I realised my growth had stalled and I wanted to do something about it. I joined Sara Tasker's Bloom & Grow course and, as Sara instructed, I looked at my feed and tried to work out which photos I liked best. 

Then I promptly ignored my findings as I still had a fixed belief in my head of what my feed should look like. If I did a brown backed picture, for example, I thought the next one should be a white backed picture. Then brown, then white and so on. This is where I was really working on my feed.

I experimented with taking different pictures. My favourite to come out of it was this one below. Obviously it would be a favourite - it's on a brown background.

a bookish baker notebook image

But I also liked these: 

Do you see a theme developing here?

But in between all those darker pictures I still believed I needed to contrast them with lighter ones such as these:

My notebook on a white background, the chives in a jar or my new bathroom sink. The chive ones in particular I really tried hard with and I can see that when I look at them. For me they don't feel natural for my feed. And, as my feed is essentially finding a slower pace of life, trying too hard on Instagram pictures was counter intuitive. 

Here is a short film I made earlier this year on how I create and set up my Instagram pictures.

The thought process behind my photographs is still the same as what I said in this video.

I notice something outside (and today it was the sycamore leaves. Their colour and their crunchiness). So it was important to me that I captured both the words in my head and the visual in my notebook. The best way for me to do this is on a drop leaf table I bought from a vintage shop for £10. It was a dark brown stain colour but I sanded it back and got the colour you now see in most of my photographs. I open it up, place it near the window so the notebook and leaves have the best light on them, and take the shot with my iPhone. The set up and the photography now takes me very little time. Obviously the writing and the drawing takes me a little longer.

So, going back to the chives, during the summer I had noticed them at the top of my path countless times a day with all the bees buzzing around them. I wanted to create something with them to capture and remember that time. But I had banned myself from taking them on a dark background. Why? Because the photos I'd taken before in my feed were already on dark.

I had these unwritten Instagram rules in my head.

I still believe it's wise to contrast each photograph with the last one in your feed. But it can be a really subtle contrast not an obvious one like I was previously doing. So, as soon as I realised this, or, in all honesty, started to care less about the contrasting, I felt free. (I think there's a good metaphor for life in there, somewhere, too).

So, if you see the group of screenshot images above, from left to right you can see the subtle changes beginning to take place. On the first two screenshots on the left I had an obvious dark, white contrasting background going on. Then, in the middle you can see I'm starting to put darker ones, albeit still contrasting next to each other, then in the two on the right you can see I've embraced it fully! I've even put in the odd lighter one with no pattern to it. I'm so daring!

So, Sara's exercises in her course had really resonated with me, it just took my brain some time to catch up with her words. And for me to feel a) confident in what I was doing and also b) caring less with those unwritten rules and, also to a certain extent, what people might think.

I like how my feed looks now. I feel I've found my creative style. This creativity has transferred visually onto this blog - most of the pictures on my blog's front page are brown and I've also changed my logo and text colours. Whereas before I had a pink and grey 'A Bookish Baker' logo it has now become orange. And the main picture is brown with autumnal colours.

autumn website a bookish baker

And the colours on my Twitter and Pinterest boards are also in the same colour scheme:

So me feeling comfortable with my Instagram feed has, in actual fact, spread into all my online profiles.

Whether this is also related to me feeling like I can write what I want to write about on my blog, too, I don't know.

But I like the direction it's taking me in...


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