Looking to create better, more engaging images for Instagram? Have you considered the part your backgrounds can play in audience response?
Sharing well-designed videos and images is now key to being successful on most social media platforms, and Instagram is definitely no exception. The better your photos look, the more they'll stand out, and this, in turn, will help you increase engagement, traffic and sales.
When putting together Instagram posts, a lot of people pay minimal attention to the background. This is a huge mistake - especially on Instagram where the data shows that images with more background get 29% more likes than those without.
Therefore, to help you boost your Instagram performance, I've created this list of Instagram background ideas for your content.
Take note of these suggestions, and you'll be on track to improving your Instagram content in no time.
1. Foam boards
Foam boards can make for convenient Instagram backgrounds for photos. They come in various sizes and colors - if you take a lot of photos of people, it's best to use bigger ones, while smaller ones will do for most products and content.
You can also purchase different colors to experiment with. Make sure you start off with the light ones as the aforementioned study found that lighter images get 24% more likes on Instagram.
If you want to experiment with darker colors you can get them too - the colors that generally work best are white, black and grey, as they're neutral colors that go well with everything.
A couple of other great benefits of foam boards are that they're long-lasting and light, making them easy to carry around.
By using a foam board, you can easily create simple, effective images like this one from Etsy.
It’s a great photo with plenty of background space - the simple white colored Instagram background gets the sloth toy to standout. It’s very cute.
The Etsy Instagram account regularly posts creative photos that get lots of likes on Instagram. Check them out for inspiration.
Paper is another great Instagram background option.
You can use various types of paper, ranging from book pages, newspapers, wrapping papers, menus, and so many more. You can even take printouts of designs you like on paper and use them as backgrounds.
Paper also comes in environmentally friendly options too. If you're looking for a white background for Instagram that's also easy on the environment, you can use paper made from sustainable sources.
The Dum Dum Donutterie regularly posts photos like this with their custom wrapping paper in the background.
It's a nice way to brand their photos too.
3. Cloth and other fabrics
Cloth and other fabrics can make great Instagram backgrounds for photos. They can range from blankets to clothing to towels, and you can use various colors here too.
It's a good idea to pick clothing with texture too, as images with high amounts texture get 79% more likes.
Here’s a nice photo from Chobani with a piece of cloth in the background.
If you're looking for a natural background, wood is one of the best Insta background options - and you likely already have it in your house, in the form of your table or chopping board.
You might frequently see it used as background for Instagram photos with food in them, but it can be used to display other things too.
Check out the below example from Emily Boyd Jewellery.
A lot of things will look good on wood, so try experimenting with wood in the background to see what your photos look like.
Walls come in so many shapes, colors and designs, and can also make for wonderful backgrounds on Instagram. If you come across an interesting looking wall, don't hesitate to take some snaps for your Instagram account.
If you're very strict about branding and colors, you can have a wall designed just for your Instagram backgrounds. You can even use wallpaper.
Topman's Instagram account regularly posts photos of models standing in front of walls while wearing Topman clothing.
Another option for a natural Instagram backdrop look is water. This could be water in a pool, bathtub or bucket or even a lake.
It can be significantly beneficial if your water looks blueish, as images that have blue as the dominant color get 24% more likes than red images.
Hence, if you have a pool or lake nearby make the most of it.
Here’s a great photo from Mango with a lake in the background.
Creating a background filled with nature should be easy, as nature can range from a few plants, to grass, to the sky, flowers, mountains, and so many other things.
Nature can also be very soothing to the eyes.
The above photo from Mango is a great example of using nature in backgrounds, but here’s a simpler one from Madewell.
They just took a photo of a model standing on grass wearing the shoes they want to promote. It’s simple and effective.
8. Fresh produce
Using fresh food - like vegetables, fruits and nuts - can also work. They can give your photos that fresh look - the backgrounds can consist of one type of fruit or vegetable or they can be a mixture of a couple or more that look good together.
And like wood, you probably already have some fruits and vegetables in your house which you can use. You can also take photos directly at the supermarket (provided they're okay with it).
This photo from Innocent Smoothies is a great example of how fresh produce can be used to spruce up Instagram backdrops.
Flooring comes in so many designs, patterns, colors and textures. Hence, it's another great option for your Instagram photo backgrounds. From today onwards pay attention to the floorings you walk upon daily. You'll come across plenty of backgrounds for Instagram.
Here’s a photo from Naps Design that shows a dog bed on some flooring.
It’s simple, but it gets the bed they designed to stand out.
Paintings can make for great Instagram backdrop photos. You can buy them from painters or you can make them yourself. The design options here are endless.
Here’s an example of something you can create from pwhs.
11. Metallic surfaces
Metallic surfaces can also be used as backgrounds for Instagram - but you need to be careful with picking the background and adjusting the lighting, as highly glistening ones will outshine other components and make it hard to get your message across.
Here’s an example of a photo with a metallic background from Fenix For Interiors.
The background doesn’t glisten much. This is how it should look.
12. Pre-designed Instagram background images
This is the best option if you’re in a hurry - it’s also effective if you’re creating quote images. These images can be created in seconds.
Barnes and Noble regularly use pre-made backgrounds like this to create and share quotes and messages.
Making the most of these Instagram background ideas
These are 12 great Instagram backgrounds for photos, but you obviously don’t need to use all of them. Pick a few themes to try out which suit your products and brand best and see what you can do, then go from there.
Hopefully, there are at least some that work for the presentation style you're going for - but either way, at the least, I hope this post gets you thinking about your Instagram backgrounds, and how they can be used to best effect.
A version of this post was first published on the Social Marketing Writing blog.