Over New Year I took a little time out from blogging and thought about where I wanted to go with my blog and how I was going to ramp it up. Taking a break was the best thing for me as I was really hitting a writers block and felt like I was just churning out posts for the sake of it and I’d really lost the connection I felt to blogging. One of the things I wanted to improve was my Instagram account, I love Instagram and was happy with the pictures I was posting but decided it was that next level time.
Being a blogger I follow tonnes of bloggers, models, key influencers, journalists etc and have really noticed how so many people’s images have improved of late – it was time for me to do the same. Over the past few months I’ve put more thought into my posts and have really noticed an increase in likes, engagement and followers. I thought I’d share my top tips on how I improved my Instagram account in the hope that it may help if you’re stuck for ideas…


When posting a picture I always think of the composition of the picture and if I can add in any appropriate props to make my picture more visually exciting. If you’re planning on posting a picture of what’s in your makeup bag, why not get your makeup bag in there too, add your favourite makeup brushes as props and also something pretty from your dresser. On my dresser I have some candles, cacti, my perfume tray etc so I always look to find something that would look good with the image but is also relevant. If you’re going to post a picture of your breakfast, rather than just posting a picture of the food, add if your drink – a tea or smoothie maybe, your cutlery, if you’re dining outside on a nice day add in your sunnies and your favourite lip gloss. You want the picture to tell more of a story than just posting a picture of the item, think about what it is you want to share then build up your props and picture accordingly.

Some of my favourite places to look for affordable props are H&M home, IKEA, Paperchase, and eBay. The home department in H&M is great, I picked up a copper candle for £3.99 or a marble dish which is a great prop for placing jewellery/makeup etc. They also sell great tea towels and cushions that could be used as a background too, always try to look in places you wouldn’t normally and you’d be surprised what goodies you’ll find! When i’m out shopping I have to admit I always look at items and think ‘that would make a great prop/background for my blog/Instagram pictures’, my friends used to find it bizarre but now they’re used to it and keep an eye out for any good props for me too.


I try to pick up some new backgrounds every couple of weeks so I can rotate them and use one that’s appropriate to the picture I’m taking. A couple of months ago I did a DIY post on how I covered my dresser with a marble adhesive for under £5 (post here) – this makes a great background which I take a lot of my pictures on. The above pink paper is from IKEA and the black and white one is from Paperchase, I picked them up for a couple of pounds and they are great to store and re-use them.

Wrapping paper is also a great background and I’ve found some of my favourite ones in Paperchase or Oliver Bonas – they can be a little pricier but as you’ll be re-using them it’s not so bad. Brown parcel paper is also another great alternative or even a clean white background can look really clean.

Some key tips for taking your pictures:

– Take your pictures in good lighting, I always use natural day light which is great. You don’t need any fancy lights to improve your images just take it close to a window on a clear day.

– Editing your pictures – I tend to use Afterlight once I’ve taken my pictures to edit them. If they are too dark it’s great to increase the lighting and also the contrast. I’m planning on doing a post on my top Instagram editing apps but that’s definitely my favourite one.

– Take inspiration from brands, bloggers and sites such as Pinterest. I always screen shot pictures I like and store them in a folder on my phone so if I’m ever lacking inspiration I can have a look through and know what sort of pictures I’m after.

– Take a few variations – if you’re taking a flat lay or a product image, take a couple of variations and add in different props etc so when you go to publish it you can see which image works best.

– The year of the flat lay – everyone loves a good flat lay lately, search the #Flatlay hashtag to gain some inspiration for yourself! Whether it’s a pink theme, your favourite beauty products or what you’re wearing – give it a go!

How do you tend to improve your Instagram pictures? I hope this post has helped!

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  1. Jackie 19th March 2015 / 2:56 pm

    This was such a lovely post and I love your pictures. Definitely going to use these tips to hopefully improve my account.

    Jackie | fashionxfairytale | bloglovin' |

    • Hayley Rubery 22nd March 2015 / 12:35 pm

      Thank you for your kind words Jackie – hope this post has helped 🙂 x

    • Hayley Rubery 22nd March 2015 / 12:35 pm

      Me too, it's my favourite app! Definitely do, they have some great papers for backgrounds! x

  2. Jasmine Stewart 19th March 2015 / 8:01 pm

    Thank you for the tips – your Instagram feed is one of my favourites, I'm literally drooling every time you upload at how gorgeous everything is haha xx

    Magpie Jasmine

    • Hayley Rubery 22nd March 2015 / 12:35 pm

      Ahh thanks so much lovely, that's really nice to hear! x

    • Hayley Rubery 22nd March 2015 / 12:36 pm

      Ah thank you so much! That's such a good idea – it's so good to go back when you're stuck for ideas! x

  3. Anna B. 20th March 2015 / 5:26 pm

    Great tips and great post. I started experimenting with the vinyl backgrounds and the results are stunning!

    Anne | The Twenty Sumtin

  4. Elma yo 20th March 2015 / 7:36 pm

    I love the vsco app for editing! I also love going through the tags, they're all so beautiful.

    Elma x || PetalGrrl

    • Hayley Rubery 22nd March 2015 / 12:37 pm

      I've not used that one yet, I'll have to give it a try – thank you! 🙂 x

  5. Lucy M 20th March 2015 / 8:30 pm

    I was in desperate need for some new photo inspiration and advice because my photos recently seem to be lacking in something, however this post is so useful and has really helped.

    Ooh La Luce | Beauty, Life, Fashion

    • Hayley Rubery 22nd March 2015 / 12:37 pm

      So glad to hear that Lucy – thank you so much for leaving a lovely comment! Glad this post has helped 🙂 x

  6. Bow Street 21st March 2015 / 12:20 am

    Some really good tips in this post – love it! You've really inspired me – first things first, refresh my props and backgrounds! X

    • Hayley Rubery 22nd March 2015 / 12:38 pm

      So glad to hear that, thank you! Yes definitely pick up some cheap props and just rotate them! x

  7. Polina Bukova 20th April 2015 / 9:37 am

    Your instagram photos are always on top! Thanks for sharing great tips 🙂 Will definitely make them into use xx

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