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Picture-Perfect Posts: Elevating Your Travel Agency's Instagram Aesthetic

Updated January 5, 2024


Have you ever stumbled onto one of those really pretty Instagram feeds, where the colors and subjects of the photos and videos in each Instagram post flow seamlessly from one to the next?

 

They aren’t necessarily all photos and videos from the same place, or the same season (although they might be), but they still work together so well.

 

I’m sure you know the type of account I’m talking about. Whether they have three hundred or three hundred thousand followers, they’re beautiful.

 

And let me tell you, they don’t happen by accident. But if that’s the look and feel you want, it is possible to get it. Let me show you how.

 

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.

 

Decide on the look and feel you want


Are you drawn to photos that are crisp, clean, and vivid? Or maybe to photos that look a bit more like a painting, with more muted colors and subtlety?

 

There’s nothing wrong with either look, but if you post both your Instagram feed will end up looking a bit of a mess.

 

Think about your travel agent brand. Your colors, your font, your website aesthetic. Are you a luxury travel brand? A Disney-focused brand? A travel agency that sells mostly cruises, or Europe, or the Caribbean?

 

The look and feel of your Instagram feed needs to be an extension of your brand overall, so if your logo is cutesy and you now sell luxury, it may be time for a rebrand. But that’s another day and another post!

 

Once you’ve decided what overall look and feel you like and reflects your brand, consider creating a social media vision board. The best part? You can do it right in Instagram!

 

Find a post you like, something similar to what you’d like your Instagram feed to look like. Touch and hold the bookmark under the photo on the right-hand side, and your saved collections will open up.

 

Create a new collection and call it something like “Vision Board”. Over the next few days, keep saving posts that you’d like your posts to look similar to.

 

Bonus points if they’re subject matter that is similar to what you could post. It doesn’t work as well if you save a bunch of beautiful, blue and white photos of Greece but you mainly sell river cruises. The colors and the subject matter aren’t that similar.

 

After you have at least 25 posts saved, open up your collection. It’ll display in thumbnails, just like your profile does when you open it. Start scrolling through, and figure out what it is about those photos you like and want to incorporate into your own Instagram feed.

 

Is it the color? Is it the subject matter? Do you love a mix of close-up photos, like artfully arranged food, and panoramic vistas? Do you gravitate towards photos with a cooler color tone (think more blues and greens), or a warmer color tone (reds, oranges and browns). Sometimes these tones are part of the photo when it was taken, but more often they’ve been created through good editing.

 

Once you’ve figured out a  few things you like that work for your brand, decide how you want to work those elements into your own Instagram feed.

 

Do you want a rhythm to your content, like a panorama shot followed by a close up followed by a picture with a person followed by a food shot?

 

Do you want the look and feel of your feed to change with the seasons, either through the subject matter or the colors?

 

At the end of the day, it’s up to you. After all, you’re creating something that, first and foremost, you need to like. Otherwise you’ll never do it!


Curating your travel agency instagram content


Now it’s time to figure out where you’re going to get your content from. Do you love to take picture, and have a camera roll full of photos of places you could easily incorporate into your Instagram feed that make sense for your travel agency? Great!

 

I know not all travel agents love to take photos, and that's ok. But if you don't you’ll need to figure out where your photos and videos will come from.

 

It could be stock photography from a site like Unsplash or Adobe Stock, purchased photographs, or content from suppliers. Wherever you get it from, make sure you understand how you’re allowed to use it.

 

One thing you must never, ever do - take someone else’s photo that you don’t have permission to use and repost it. That includes if you’ve given them credit. Unless they’ve given you specific permission to use their photo, you’re violating their intellectual property rights and you could find yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit.

 

 

Now that you’ve decided what type of photos and videos you want to post, as well as where to get them, it’s time to figure out how often you want to post. It doesn’t have to be every day!

 

If it makes sense for you to post 1-3 times per week, that’s ok. If it’s every other day, or every day, that’s ok too. The important thing is to be consistent, and make sure you have enough content to maintain your posting schedule.

 

Do you have photos or, even better, videos that don't fit with the overall look and feel you want? Consider using them as part of your Instagram story. If you want them to stay available, add them to your highlights so they stay on the platform for more than 24 hours.


Composition and photography tips


You don’t need to be a professional photographer to take great photos for your Instagram posts and videos for Instagram reels. Focus on good lighting and interesting angles. What’s in the foreground and the background that can create interest?

 

Keep the rule of thirds in mind. What is that, you ask?

 

It’s a technique in photography that divides your image into thirds, top to bottom and side to side. If you turn on the grid on your camera, you’ll see there are two lines up and down and two side to side, specifically to help you with the rule of thirds.

 

Your subject matter should, in general, be where those lines intersect. If there’s a horizon in your photo, it should fall either at the upper line or the lower line, either the sky or the land taking up two thirds of the photo.

 

The rule of thirds doesn’t work for every photo, and there are some that will look better centered. That’s ok, think of it more as a guide than a rule. And if you didn’t follow the rule when you took the photo, you can always try it when you edit.


Editing your photos


A little editing can go a long way. No beautiful Instagram feed got that way because the photos and videos looked that way when they were shot.

 

I recommend Adobe Lightroom for editing both photos and videos. It’s easy to use, can be used on any device, and will give you outstanding results. Think of it as Photoshop’s younger, more laid back cousin.

 

In Lightroom you can edit every part of your photo, from the lighting to the colors, and even remove objects that distract from an otherwise good photo. Plus you can use a preset, which is a pre-created set of edits, to keep your editing simple and the results similar. Think of it like an Instagram filter, but much, much better.

 

Make sure you don’t over-edit. Your images should look enhanced, not unrecognizable. Aim for a natural, yet polished look.


Both of the photos below have been edited in Lightroom. This is just an idea of the things you can do. Notice in the second set of photos you can even turn the lamps on if you know some creative editing techniques!



Planning your Instagram grid layout


Ever heard of visual planning tools? A tool like Later, my personal favorite, allows you to preview your feed as your scheduling your content so you can maintain a balanced, visually pleasing Instagram grid.

 

The goal is for people to understand a bit about your company and brand just by looking at your Instagram feed. For example, if you look at my travel company Instagram account, you can see that I sell Europe. Of the places I sell, the one I spend the most time in is England, so you’ll see that my content heavily favors the UK, with some Italy, Ireland and France sprinkled in. Also a bit of Germany, especially at Christmas, since I lived there last year.

 

There are a lot of gardens, castles, manor houses, and beautiful views, and the color palette changes a bit with the seasons or where I’ve recently been.

 

A planning tool can help you avoid photos or videos that look awkward together. Maybe the content is too similar, or the colors just don’t work. Or that photo you’re going to post is really similar to the photo you posted three photos ago, so they’ll end up constantly above and below each other.

 

I had what I called “the tale of two towers” that's still in my feed, but way down at this point. I posted photos of two completely different places when I was just getting started on Instagram. One was a photo of Hogsmeade at Universal Studios (before I narrowed my niche and content down to mostly Europe) and the other was a photo from The Cloisters museum in New York.

 

But if you put them three photos apart you end up with two almost identical compositions, each with a tower in the middle of the photo. I wasn’t happy with it when I realized how it looked! Things like that still happen once in a while, especially if I’m posting on the fly, but not very often.

 

A planning tool works a bit like a puzzle. You drop in the photos you want to use, and then drag them around until it looks the way you want. Then you save them and add the dates and times you want them to be published, as well as the Instagram caption, photo or video location, and Instagram hashtags.

 

It’s super simple, and if you have your photos and videos already loaded you can easily schedule a week's worth of completely original content in around 30 minutes.


The bottom line


Enjoying Instagram and creating a beautiful brand takes time, but it’s something you should have fun with. If you don’t enjoy Instagram marketing, don’t do it!

 

I love taking and editing photos and videos, and Instagram is a place where I can share them with whoever wants to see them. It’s part of my travel brand, but it’s not my whole brand. My travel agency Instagram is designed to give people a taste of the places they can explore with my services, and get them interested enough to go to my Instagram bio and then to my website.

 

It’s not designed to be a “here’s what I can do for you” showcase of my services, because I don’t need (or want) to get inquiries from ra andom potential customer on Instagram who saw a post or two and decided to reach out. I'm also not looking to be a travel influencer or travel blogger, with tens of thousands of Instagram followers.

 

My travel advisor social media posts are designed to highlight a destination or set of travel experiences that I love, and that I think an Instagram follower may enjoy seeing.

 

As your brand evolves, so should your Instagram feed. Don’t be afraid to try new things, but stay true to the essence of your brand. Authenticity is key; your followers can tell when you’re being genuine.

 

Interested in more travel agency Instagram tips? Check out my other Instagram-related posts.

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