Have you ever seen an Instagram profile whose feed is made up of rows of images that seamlessly blend into one another, and wondered "How do they do that?" I know I have. This post was inspired by Molly Marshall, who recently shared the feed of Twigy, whose seamless Instagram feed is a marvel to behold. My curiosity finally got the better of me, and this post is the result.
I'll show you step-by-step what you need to do to build a seamless Instagram profile, as well as (for a limited time), free templates to get you started. A group of seamless, joined-up photos on Instagram can make a big impact, whether you do it as a marketing one-off, or use it as an ongoing strategy to make your brand stand out. So, let's get started!
The key secret to seamless Instagram feeds
The key to building a seamless Instagram feed is to see the grid of photos not as individual images, but as a whole - whether that be a 3x1 row, or larger collections of squares - 3x2, 3x3, or 3x4 (the most photos visible in one screen on many mobile devices). Take the feed above of Toh Xing Jie, whose profile features two 3x3 images one after another.
Keeping everything in order
There's a lesson in Toh Xing Jie's example above, with pre-planning an essential part of the process. When you upload to Instagram to build seamless images, you have to take into account the placement and order. When a new image is uploaded, it pushes the previous one to the right along a new row, then down onto the row below after that. So, to build a 3x2 image for example, you would have to publish the individual pieces in "backwards" order - the bottom row first, from right to left, then the top row from right to left.
So, unless you're filling one or several rows with each consecutive seamless photo upload, prepare for your existing images to look temporarily out of whack.
How to build your seamless Instagram feed - templates
To ensure that your separate images fit together seamlessly, you'll need to line them up in a template beforehand, one that mirrors the Instagram feed. I have built four templates, depending on the size of the image you want to build:
- 1x3 squares (one row)
- 2x3 squares (two rows)
- 3x3 squares (three rows)
- 4x3 rows (four rows)
For demonstration purposes, I will be showing you the 2x3 squares template, but the same considerations apply for all. My templates are Photoshop (.psd) files, but should work in any similar image editor.
Here's what you'll see when you open the template:
This is the representation of the Instagram feed I mentioned earlier. The guide lines mark out six individual photos, making up one whole, and there are small gaps between each square to mirror the gap between photos in the Instagram feed. Each square is 1080 x 1080 pixels, plenty big enough to upload to Instagram without distortion. The numbers tell you the order each image should be uploaded to make sure everything lines up correctly.
Build your seamless Instagram image
Next, it's time to build your image. Place as many individual images as you like on top the template grid. In an ideal world, you might try to fill each square so that it stands as an image on its own, so that people seeing individual images in the stream of accounts that they follow (i.e. not tapping through to see your entire feed) can still take something from it. Spend some time rearranging your images as you like, overlapping anywhere you like.
Merge, cut out, and save the individual images
When you are happy with the arrangement of your six separate images, the next step is to cut out each separate square, ready to be uploaded to Instagram. The first step is to merge the layers so that the separate images become one - select the images together in the Layers menu, right-click, and choose Merge Layers.
The next step is to cut out each of the six squares. As our squares are 1080 x 1080 pixels, the easiest way to do this is to create a fixed selection, then cut them out one by one. If you're using Photoshop, click on the selection tool, then choose Fixed Size from the Style menu bar at the top of the screen. In the box next to it, type in 1080 px for the width and 1080 px for the height.
When you next click on the image with the selection tool highlighted, an exact 1080 x 1080 px selection will appear. Drag it over one of the images - it should snap into place, but you might want to zoom in to double check it's right over it exactly - then copy, paste into a new document and save. In the gallery above are the six individual images from this example.
Upload your images to Instagram
Now you're ready to upload your images to create a seamless masterpiece on Instagram. For ease I use Dropbox to send the photos from my computer to the Dropbox app on my phone, then save from there to my Camera Roll and upload to Instagram.
As you're uploading multiple images at once, it will probably be handy to have the caption and hashtags for each image ready to go in advance, so that you can get the job done quickly. In addition, just on the off-chance that your image doesn't work out like you want it to, you might want to upload them to a test account before sharing the collage with your full audience.
Download the templates
Click here to download my four seamless Instagram feed templates: 1x3, 2x3, 3x3, and 4x3. These will be available for free for a limited time only. Once this period is over, they will be added to my Premium Content Bundle, along with tons of other useful social media marketing goodies.
Over to you
Will you be making a seamless set of photos for Instagram? Did these templates help make the process easy? Let me know in the comments below, please share this post if you liked it, and do let me see your results, I'm @500socialmedia.
Andrew Macarthy is a social media consultant and the author of the #1 Amazon Web Marketing Bestseller, 500 Social Media Marketing Tips.