How to Create a Cohesive Instagram Theme Without Using Presets

How to Create a Cohesive Instagram Theme Without Using Presets

This is a post for all the gals who can’t justify spending $60-$100 on lighting for photos. I just can’t do it! That’s two weeks worth of groceries for me and it’s just not in the cards. Yes, there are more affordable options but I also struggle because most that I like don’t look good with really dark, brunette hair.

This post will discuss how I got two different,
consistent looking themes without using presets and just using the free Lightroom app and the free version of Facetune! 

These are the themes:

White Spaces


Pink Tint


You can see the first theme has a really bright, white spaces theme and the second has a pink tint to all the photos. I achieved these by spending no money and by not purchasing any presets!

The first section of posts (white spaces) is from around January/February and the second is literally from the last few weeks. You can see I like to switch it up every few weeks or so and try something new. I actually started a new theme on my IG on July 5th so you might be able to tell by now!

How to Edit:

The main tip in all of this is to try and get similar colors throughout all the photos. On the left you can see some of the cohesive colors are rust, lilac, blush pink, and gold. These tones are throughout all the photos and then the white really brings them together and makes it look clean.

On the right you can see my main colors were basically all of the colors of the rainbow but I used that to my advantage. I still tried to keep white spaces in there but I did it more subtly and didn’t make that the main focus. I then added a pink overtone to really draw all the photos together.

Facetune: I usually open my photo in Facetune and then only use the “Retouch” section. The two tools I usually focus on are the “Whiten” and “Vibrance” buttons. They really allow for whites and colors to pop which is what I personally prefer.

Lightroom: I use Lightroom to edit the whole photo! Usually to make the whole thing brighter and to up the highlights. I also use it in my “pink tint” feed to really get the pink tint!

(TIP: for my flatlays I always use just a white twin-size bed sheet!)

White Spaces Process:

Original Photo:


1. Facetune: For this shot, I used the vibrance tool (rainbow) at 100% (this can be adjusted depending) to make the colors in this really pop!

2. Lightroom: I just opened up the photo in Lightroom and went to the “light” section. Then I just upped the exposure, highlights, and contrast. The amounts change per photo but for this one we didn’t need much!

Before and After: That’s it! This process is super easy for the white spaces one. It also doesn’t require much work! You can see how much brighter the shot looks and it can really make your feed look cohesive.

Pink Tint Process:

Original Photo:


1. Facetune: For this next photo I used Facetune only to brighten up the colors on my dress to make them really stand out! I did that using Vibrance at 100% again.

2.  Lightroom: For the “pink tint” effect, I use the same three editing tools (exposure, highlights, and contrast) again BUT I also go over to the color section and up the tint.

Before & After: This is SUCH a drastic change. They look a little washed out and I’m not sure why but the change is awesome and really brings a brightness to your photos!

So there yah have it! Two easy ways to give yourself a cohesive Instagram theme without spending a ton of money on presets! Again, that’s not to diss anyone that uses them, but it’s just not fiscally justifiable for some people (like me) at the moment!

I hope you guys enjoyed this post and use these tips on your own feed! If you decide to try them out leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram at @sequinsandsales!

xoxo, Mandy

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Senior Fashion Merchandising/Apparel Design major at Georgia Southern University! This is my blog where I post about lifestyle, fashion, and make DIYs for you to copy! I would love to connect so give me a follow (:

4 thoughts on “How to Create a Cohesive Instagram Theme Without Using Presets

  1. Omg LOVE this! I’ve really been needing some free apps to help with my pics. Afterlight is what I’ve been using and it’s great, but not everything I’d hoped for.

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