May 21, 2024

Curating the Perfect Instagram Photo “Dump”

By: Sneha Chopra

A perfect carousel post. You know you’ve seen it. Scrolling amongst the mundane, every day posts on your feed until you come across a combination of pictures so exquisitely organized and captioned it makes the voice in your head go “ahhh.” Some consider it a skill while some consider this an art.

Skill or art aside, there are some tools the everyday person can use to ensure they are curating a post that makes their viewers go “ahh.” Whether you’re a micro influencer trying to establish an aesthetic in your feed or just someone who uses Instagram to post artsy pictures of your life, here are some tips to creating a flawless photo dump. 

Quick Facts

Before we dive into the art of a carousel post, it’s essential to understand the Instagram feature and how it can benefit your feed. A study conducted by Social Insider on the use of carousel posts compared to images and videos found the following:

  • The most common carousels have two slides (33.10%) or three slides (19.69%), but some carousels use the maximum number of slides (6.77%). 
  • When making use of all ten slides available, the average engagement rate per carousel goes over 2%. 
  • While image carousels are more frequent (88.8%), carousels that mix images with videos bring the highest engagement rates per post – on average 2.33%. 

Inspiration

To try and mimic the art in your feed, you have to recognize it first. Look at your favorite influencers, celebrities’ or brand’s Instagram profiles and save the ones that catch your eye. Here are a few carousel posts that piqued my interest:

Purpose

Before structuring your post, make sure to have a clear purpose. Is this post to attract brands for partnerships? Maybe include some potential product placement pictures or tag where your outfits/objects came from. Is it to highlight your high fashion moments to attract modeling/styling opportunities? Make the first post an outfit picture, but include an eye-catching object or background. And if the post is just to put out a random collection of photos you’ve taken over time, choose pictures that tell a story or make the viewer pause to take a closer look. 

Themes

A lot of successful carousel posts include some sort of theme or overarching commonality. Some examples include: 

  • Pictures that all include the color yellow
  • “Outtakes” pictures from a trip abroad 
  • Half the pictures are during sunlight and the other half are during moonlight
  • Dumps dedicated to each season or term/semester at school
  • A series of photos centered around a brand or product

The key here is to organize your pictures into categories. Look at the images and find a common thread through all of them. Start clustering those images and find images that specifically supplement visuals side by side.

The Formula

To create the “perfect” Instagram carousel post, we have to go back to the roots of what this app is for: to share photos of our life that are aesthetically pleasing or perhaps provocative. What images do you see taking up your feed the most? Outfits, people, food, objects or things, art, animals, texts, etc. Including a combination of 3-4 of these things in each photo dump post is the key to a cohesive post. Here are some formulas that seem to work well:

  • The lowkey influencer
    • 1: Selfie
    • 2: A view
    • 3: A fit pic (opportunity to tag a brand or two)
    • 4: A meme or a photo with some text
    • 5: A BTS picture (opportunity for product placement)
    • 6: A good looking meal or snack
    • 7: A video or live photo of something funny or cute
    • 8: The same fit in a different context
  • The art lover
    • 1: A piece of art with a centering color or theme for the rest of the post
    • 2: An object or corner of decor with the same color (opportunity for product placement)
    • 3: An outfit pic with the same color (opportunity to tag a brand or two)
    • 4: A close-up of the fit 
    • 5: Picture including the color (either a view, food, or you again)
    • 6: A picture of you in lowkey fit with the same color
    • 7: Text/meme/another piece of art with the same color
    • 8: Another fit pic from before
  • The daily poster
    • 1: A picture of you 
    • 2: A picture of what you ate that day (opportunity to tag a brand or two)
    • 3: A picture or what you consumed that day (book, movie, music, etc)
    • 4: A picture of what you saw that day (a view, a moment with a pet, a close-up, activity, etc) (opportunity for product placement)
    • 5: A picture of you that same day, in a different context

Caption

Now a good carousel post also needs to have a good caption. In order to attract engagement, try creating a caption that prompts the viewer to swipe left on your photos. Maybe a random anecdote from the fifth picture or something to do with the most intriguing post in your dump. It’s important to keep a caption to a carousel post short and sweet since a long caption and a long post tends to drive viewers away from engaging. 

Conclusion

It’s important to note that carousel posts should be used sparingly to supplement a feed of images and videos as well. Using a pattern of post types or organizing your posting times will also improve your follower engagement. Hopefully these tips guide you to creating the most “ahhh” prompting posts on your feed and help you sort out what is considered eye-catching in the world of Instagram.

Sneha Chopra

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4 thoughts on “Curating the Perfect Instagram Photo “Dump”

  1. Hi Sneha! I love this post and really does a great job templating a casual Instagram post. Keeping “photo dumps” somewhat organized, but in an unorganized way is a hard balance but this post is super beneficial to making inconsistency, consistent. Will definitely be using some of these tips for a Spring Break dump!

  2. Hi Sneha, great work! The concept of your post is so original and creative I really enjoyed reading it. I think the formula section is really insightful and great way to structure photo “dumps” for your feed. I think your tip about writing a caption that references later photos in the carousel to boost engagement is especially helpful.

  3. Hi Sneha! I really appreciate the data you provided for number of photos in a carousel. This is great info for posting and I will definitely try to add these tips to my posting. It is helpful to know that posts work well with a variety of lightings.

  4. I really enjoyed this post! You provided tips but also backed up everything you were saying. You can tell you are very knowledgeable about this topic. It was cool how you specifically split up the posts into different themes like “art lover” or “lowkey influencer”. I thought everything you said was super helpful and I might even try to implement some of these tips in my own Instagram posts.

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