Visual storytelling is an all-important aspect of most social media campaigns. In fact, 32% of marketers agreed visual content was the most important asset in their strategy, with blogging in second place at 27%, according to the 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.
Thanks to the invention and innovation of the smartphone, every marketer and business owner can create visual content, simply by taking and posting great photos of their products, employees, and company events on social media. However, creating compelling, eye-catching, and professional-looking imagery — photos that get people to click — takes practice. So, we wanted to take you through what we think are the best social media photography techniques, so you can create a library of professional-looking photos for your business.
Lighting Plays a Crucial Role in the Quality of your Picture
The key to great lighting for social media photography is to use a natural light source as often as possible. If you’re shooting indoors, position your subject close to the windows. If you must use artificial light, avoid using flash and make sure your lighting source is behind you, shining on your subject. If you’re taking photos with a smartphone indoors, use a higher ISO setting (up to ISO 3200). If you take most of your photos indoors, it may be worthwhile to invest in a three-point lighting system. This setup will eliminate the shadows and color casts that make indoor photography look hard and flat.
Composition: Use the Rule of Thirds
A basic tenet of photography composition is to follow the rule of thirds. How? Start by using your imagination to divide the photograph you are about to take into three blocks. Next, position your subject in either the left or right block, snap the photo, and voila! You’ve created a compelling and professional-looking image. If you need help visualizing your image divided into blocks, most smartphones have a grid setting that you can turn on to help you determine how to take the photo.
Refrain from using the rule of thirds in every aspect of your social media photography. For example, the rule of thirds won’t work for profile pictures on social platforms because they are square. Similarly, in product detail images for ecommerce websites, the subject should remain in the center of the photograph.
Remain Consistent in Branding & Style
If your company has a style guide, be sure to follow it closely by choosing backgrounds and subjects for your social media photography that reflect your brand’s guidelines. For example, a bold, bright image will not match a brand that is neutral and minimalistic — even if you’re sharing a photograph of a company surprise party. Try to match the look and feel of your company in your photography to tie your brand together. Take photos in front of your offices or stores to highlight your branding; you can even use your trade show booth as background.
Pay Attention to Sizing
Sizing images correctly for social media is no simple task. There are specific photo size and resolution requirements for each social media platform as well as variances according to where and how each image is displayed. For example, a shared photo on Facebook has a different recommended upload size than an event page photo or a shared link. Luckily, many social media management software companies post regularly updated guidelines to social media photography and image sizes that can be used as resources.
Edit Your Photos Carefully
Even if you’ve just captured a great-looking image directly from your camera or smartphone, do not post it to social media without editing it carefully. Your smartphone camera’s built-in filters allow you to adjust for contrast, exposure, highlights, and shadows, and even simple tweaks like cropping and straightening can improve your photo dramatically. If you want to try advanced options, the editing software Lightroom or Photoshop are both used by most professional photographers.