Every single one of us has the ability to take exceptional photographs with our smartphones. The thing most of us are lacking is the resources showing us exactly HOW to harness that ability, especially when it comes to social media photography.
To put it simply, people are not often taught how to create engaging content, let alone pick the right social media platform for photographers.
We’ll be discussing how to use your smartphone to take the photos that you may have thought were outside your realm of capabilities. By using these tips, and with a little practice, you can take your business’ social media account to another level.
While our tips do mention iPhones, these techniques can be applied to any smartphone.
1. Research Content on Social Networks
Before you start taking photos, the first thing you’ll want to do is research. Find a brand you love that has a high follower count, this is important because you want to get your inspiration from companies who clearly know how to capture a user’s attention with their social media photography. They wouldn’t have a high follower count if they didn’t. Pay attention to their aesthetic. Instagram is one of the best places to do this, because it’s a great platform that is specifically made to share photos.
Take a look at the backgrounds they use, the lighting, colors, and concepts of the photos on their Instagram account. This will automatically give you a better understanding of how to see through the eyes of social media managers and professional photographers.
Remember that every detail of their posts are there because someone took the time and chose to put them there. Nothing was by accident.
Also remember that everyone is inspired by someone. Don’t be afraid to be inspired by the brands and content you love. This helps you identify your own personal style. If there’s an aesthetic you love, then go for it! You’ll be far more likely to put in the time and effort required to make quality material.
2. Correct lighting is essential
You’ve probably seen in movies a scene where they are doing a photo or video shoot, and they have to rush, or even call it off because they are losing the light. This is a real issue!
Lighting is the most important thing to consider when taking a good photo.
The best lighting is straight from nature. However, it’s important to remember that there is such a thing as too much light. Too much light can cast odd shadows in your photos. The best natural light is found either in the shade on a sunny day, or when the skies are overcast.
If you’re “team indoor”, having a good ring light is well worth the small investment. There are several out there, even ones that fit on your smartphone!
Of course, another option when shooting indoors, is to stand in front of a window, where you will get natural light. You’ll want the subject facing the source of light, with the camera shooting in the same direction the light is traveling. This will help you avoid dark shadows. No matter how many shots you take, if you don’t follow this simple rule, they won’t come out right.
Also important to note, is you NEVER want to use the flash on your camera. The light is much too bright, and will quickly wash out important and beautiful details in your photos.
Here are a couple of examples of photos taken of objects using different light sources:
As you can see from the images above, you can see much more detail in the photo of the object taken under natural light.
Another tip, is to enable the autofocus/auto-exposure setting if you have that option on your phone.
3. Attention to Detail is Important
The easiest way to start taking better photos, is to practice on things that you love.
If you don’t care about your subject, you’ll quickly lose interest. Take photos of things that you care about, inspire you, and match your business’ vibe.
An easy way to do this is by taking pictures of your business behind-the-scenes. You’d be surprised at the things you capture that you sometimes don’t give a second thought to. If you have office pets, they are fantastic subjects. Also practice taking photos of decorative items, place them in different lighting, try different angles. The point is to experiment and have fun!
The next step would be to capture photos of the things you love in front of different backgrounds. Clean backgrounds work best as they highlight your subject.
This doesn’t mean your background needs to be plain, it means that your background should not distract from your subject. This will automatically make your photos look more professional.
Take a Look At the Photos Below:
4. The Rule of Thirds
To ensure your photos are more interesting, use the “Rule of Thirds”
What this means is if you split your photos into thirds, your subject would only take up one-third of the space, the rest would be blank space.
If you are using an iPhone, you can use the grid setting in the camera. You want your subject to be centered on an intersecting line of the grid.
Here is What You Do Not Want:
Here is The Correct Way to Center Your Subject
Having the subject correctly centered ensures that the viewer’s eyes are drawn to the subject immediately. This makes the subject stand out more so than if they were not centered using a grid. Also placing your subject just left or right of center in the entirety of the photo, makes it more interesting to the eye. You only want to have the subject directly centered in a photograph when you want the viewer to focus on the subject completely.
When your subject is off-centered, you create more blank space in the photo, thus making the image cleaner. If you pair images with a larger amount of blank space with other photos on your social media profiles, it will change the feel of your profile. You can also use this technique when putting images on your website.
5. Never Use Zoom
Never, and we mean never, use the zoom feature on your phone.
Using the zoom feature automatically reduces the quality of your photos. It’s never worth the trade of having a close up image to reduce quality.
Having quality photos will always make potential customers view your brand as more professional, which in turn creates a better sense of trust.
If you need a close up image, and are not able to get one organically, simply crop your photo when editing.
6. Use a Good Editing App
Your photos will always look better when edited.
Editing doesn’t have to take a lot of time, and will allow you to make sure you are putting your “best face forward” to existing and potential customers. We recommend these:
- VSCO Cam
With social media photography, we recommend using the same filter throughout your profile so your brand will look consistent, and make your feed look fluid. You can always adjust other aspects of your photo such as temperature, contrast, saturation, and exposure.
7. Pick the right social media platforms
After you’ve put in all of this hard work to get your photography looking great, the next step is to make sure it’s seen. While there is no bad press, some platforms lend themselves more to photography than others. At the moment to top social media channels to get your images seen are:
Don’t forget to Practice!
Hopefully after reading this, you feel more confident and are ready to tackle your social media photography projects on your own! We’d love to see what you do.