The Fundamentals of Taking Good Photos for Social Media

They say a picture tells a thousand words, but what do your brand’s social media photographs say about you?

In a world where everything needs to be Instagramable and Pinterest-worthy, the pressure to have high quality pictures for social media marketing is increasing day by day, but did you know it doesn’t have to be that difficult?

You don’t need to hire a photographer or even spend loads on fancy equipment in order to get high quality photographs for your social media channels. Instead, with a couple of easy changes, you can take photos easily yourself, no matter what your skill level is.

As I’ve recently started increasing the amount of photographs I use in my social media (especially on my instagram), I thought I’d share some of the tips I have picked up along the way.

So, why do you Need Good Photos?

With the way in which social media has evolved, text based posts perform a lot less than those that have either image or video.

With statistics showing that Tweets with images receive 150% retweets than those without and Instagram – a photo only social platform – is the second most popular social media platform in terms of monthly users, it’s easy to see that photography can be important in all aspects of social.

They increase engagement, show creativity and encourage discussion. What more of a reason do you need?

Camera vs iPhone: Which do you need to Use?

One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to improve their photography, is thinking they need to buy expensive camera equipment in order to take high quality photos.

This may be the case when it comes to photographs that will be used in print marketing, or if you are taking something that will be a little bit more editorial, but when it comes to social media – I have found my phone has done more than a good enough job.

Some of the latest phones (particularly Apple and Samsung) have incredible camera on them, meaning if you can get to grips with the best possible way to be using them, you won’t have to fork out for any new equipment to post engaging social media images.

Although It can be as simple as pointing and shooting with your camera phone, there are several small things you can do that will change the way you take photographs forever.

Tips for Taking Photos for Social Media

Try using the rule of thirds – A common photography trick, the rule of thirds is applied by aligning your subject between three lines (vertical and horizontal) and placing it on the top or bottom line. This draws the viewer’s eye directly to the subject, without it being directly in the middle of the photograph.

Use natural light where possible – If you can’t use professional lighting, it’s best to avoid the orangey hues of standard lighting, and use natural light instead. Take photos in a well-lit room, near a window or outside to get the best possible light. Bonus tip – if you are taking a selfie indoors, always do it standing in front of a window.

Make sure the image is high quality and not blurred – A high quality image does much better on social media than a blurry image with no focus. This is easy to do on a mobile phone by tapping the screen where you want to focus.

Experiment with different angles – There are so many different angles in which you can take one photograph, so have a play around as to which one is best. Whether it’s a strategically planned flatlay or close up of a product, experimenting with what works best will give you a variety of different shots for social media.

Use props in your photos – This is more common for flat lay photographs, however using props in your photographs can give them that little bit more depth. Whether it be notebooks, pens or a cup of coffee, try adding it into to your photograph set up to see what happens.

Try using different backgrounds – Gone are the days of shooting on a plain white background! (unless like me that’s your thing) Social media is becoming much more creative, so why not do the same with your photographs? Try taking photographs on coloured or textured backgrounds, of course keeping in line with your brand guidelines.

Keep a consistent theme – Although it may be tempting to post every single good photograph you take, sticking to your branding guidelines and overall brand feel shows consistency. Rather than seeing this as a limitation, why not take it as a challenge to find things that are ‘on brand’ in your day to day life?

Edit using mobile apps – It’s amazing what you can do to a photograph with a little bit of editing. There are lots of different mobile apps available for you to download that mean you don’t have to fork out on editing software and training, instead you can edit photos in an instant. My two favourites are A Color Story and Snapseed. If all else fails, you can edit most photos on the individual social media apps now.

What changes can you make to the way you take photographs?  Used some of my tips, why not tag me in a photo so I can see!

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