Everyone is looking for photo tips for social media. We all want to look great on Instagram. Filters and apps create pictures easier than ever before, but it is kind of like microwaving a pre-made dinner. The end results may be there but the craftsmanship is missing.
The last few years we have been striving for the perfect Instagram grid. Beautiful, bright, airy images. But if you start with a photo that is flat, dark and dingy, you shouldn’t be asking how a filter can fix it, you should be asking, how can I make it better from the start.
I want to share with you a few of my priority tips to help you post with purpose through photography & social media.
Photo Tips to get Started on Social Media:
LIGHTING is KEY:
Photography translates as painting with light. We want to look for even, natural light.
Outside, clouds are a photographers best friend. They act as a diffuser, a soft box. Bright sunshine creates hard shadow lines, glare, and squinting. If clouds are not in the forecast look for shade. Go around the corner and shoot behind a building. Find a tree to go under, or a tree line to put between you and the sun.
ProTip: if shooting in “tree shade” watch the ground for patches and try to be sure your subject is in an even shade patch. This helps avoid the patch work of lines on faces and objects.
If shooting inside, window light is brilliant, and free! The trick is to use a window (or door) away from the sun. Soft, natural indirect light again avoids harsh shadows and highlights. If you can add in a few reflective pieces such as simple white poster board, that not only increases your light value, but reduces the shadows.
Flat lay photos can showcase your products and creations, and can be used to highlight your services.
Watch for BACKGROUND DISTRACTIONS:
If you are wanting a lifestyle social media presence to showcase you are your products, you want a natural, distraction free background in your photos.
What is distraction free? Take a test shot. What is the first thing that jumps out at you? Is it your subject or is it:
- a water bottle in the foreground – remove it
- a coffee cup in the background – remove it
- a dark shadow – block that light or move your subject
- a hair out place – fix it
- a necklace or tie that hangs uneven – adjust it
- a tree branch coming out of a person’s head – change your angle
- extra people walking behind – wait for them to go
By taking the extra few minutes to take a test photo, and scan the space you are photographing, you can avoid unwanted distractions in your image.
Build a PHOTO BANK
Picture this. A baker makes a beautiful cake, with the best decorating she has ever done. Over the next several months she fills her social media with posts on all the celebrations her cake would be perfect for. Each post has a beautiful story that suggests a different event.
- A birthday
- An engagement
- An anniversary
- A baby shower
- Mother’s Day
- A retirement
Sadly no one reads the beautiful stories because when people reach her feed they see the same photo used over and over again. They don’t bother to click the Read More of the caption. They never get to her story, her deal, her call to action.
Had she taken multiple photos, at different angles, of her perfectly decorated cake, she could have showcased them on her grid, or homepage in multiple ways.
ProTip: Shoot video as well to create Reels and Stories.
A little pre-planning of how the photos could be used creates an opportunity to bring in props to shoot with the cake, and create a photo bank to use later.
Dandelion Digital brand photography for Temi Bakes Pre-planning the photos not only makes the photo shoot go smoothly, but it helps you pre-plan your content. How-to posts to Educate. Behind-the-scenes to Entertain. Showcase posts to Endorse your CTA. Need more information on this, ask about our brand photography for social media
A photo bank is essentially a safe place to deposit your pictures. An external hard drive or cloud where you can create folders for easy access. Folders can be by date, project, location. Whatever works for you.
Cloud drives are especially important if you are part of a team, or you outsource any aspect of your business to a VA or social media manager. Google Drive, Dropbox, Prime for example, allow for multiple access points and sharing. Just be sure you have them set with secure passwords and authorizations.
I hope these photo tips come in handy as you get started, or look to take your social media to the next level.
Looking to upscale your photography with a branding photo shoot to really showcase you and your business. I would love to chat.