In our selfie-obsessed world consumers have become more and more astute to the importance of good photography and videography.
With heightened senses of what “looks good” potential customers are making more judgements than ever about your product, brand or service just by judging your photos or video.
That’s not to say that you have to invest in a professional photographer or videographer every time you want to create content, however, it does mean you need to think carefully about your imagery and ensure that it fits with the image you want to project.
Using photos and video in your content and on social media is about creating a scene, a story and a message. Not every single picture or video has to be framed and photographed like you’re David Bailey or Martin Scorsese. Think of yourself like a window dresser or a director, you’re doing more than just snapping what’s right in front of you.
Here are some of my top tips of things you should consider when choosing your images:
Find a way to frame your picture to give it an aesthetically pleasing look, maybe there are some background items or clean lines you can use to give it a particular shape.
Ensure your picture/video tell a story about your location. Is it in a studio (or a table you’ve set up to look like a studio shot) or are you wanting to show your product, brand or service out and about. Maybe you want to show customers interacting with your brand, merchandise on the shop floor or behind the scenes factory shots.
Wherever you are, make sure the “location” of your pictures is clear if the location is important. For example, no point taking a close up shot of a tin of beans if you’re wanting to show they’re on special offer in a big display.
3. Lighting & Quality
Being time starved is no excuse for making your audience and connections do all the work. If your picture/video is too bright, dark or grainy people won’t want to look at it (unless of course it’s a gimmick that is relevant to your brand development and image). Make sure you check the quality of your mobile or device camera before purchasing….if needs be buy a cheap but better camera quality pay-as-you-go mobile with a good data package for doing all your social media.
4. Save Time
You might be tempted to take out your big SLR camera or home video camera to do your pictures or video so that you can transfer them to your mobile device afterwards. Stop! This is time consuming and, in most cases, unnecessary. Try to streamline your social media content production by doing everything on the same device.
Choose your background wisely, it may seem obvious but be careful of shooting products or people against backdrops that clash or over-shadow the point you’re trying to make. So, if you have someone in a flowery shirt you probably don’t want to photograph them at a busy background. Someone in a pink top probably shouldn’t be snapped in front of a red wall. Take a second to consider everything in the frame of your picture, not just what you’re focusing on.
Social media sites like Instagram have popularised the use of filters so much so that there are many people who won’t post a picture without one. Be careful though, savvy users know when a picture is filtered and in most cases are happy with that.
Try not to use filters to “improve” the subject of your picture – use them to enhance or be more creative. For example, if you’re promoting a beautiful salad you don’t want to use filters to improve the colours – this could be seen by a potential customer as “fake” or “misleading”.
Contrasting colours and textures in your pictures can help to make things stand out better. A blonde woman against a black backdrop or a green apple against a red table will help to make an impact with the user.
8. Symmetry Or No Symmetry
Balancing your photos and video and using symmetry can be incredibly aesthetically pleasing to your reader, in fact some people respond much better to an equilibrium in imagery.
However, there are also a great deal of people who respond just as well to off-balance, creative shots that force them to think about what they are looking at. Whichever you choose to do for whatever picture the only thing you have to ensure is that you keep true to your brand/product/own identity.
9. Colour Or Black & White
Colour is your friend but black & white can be your saviour. Sometimes if the colours of the items, people or location isn’t important using a black & white filter on your picture can reduce imperfections and hide a multitude of sins. It’s also great for disguising pictures that maybe just aren’t fully in focus or are a little bit grainy. Be brave and experiment with some of the colour filters to give static or less impactful shots a creative edge.
10. Smiling & Eye Contact
Remember if you are using people in your pictures or video it’s important that the reader/user connects with them immediately.
The quickest and easiest way to achieve this is to have them smiling and show eye contact with the camera. Now, smiling won’t be appropriate for every company or organisation in every post, if this is the case make sure you balance your “serious” or “emotional” pictures that can make the user feel negative with something happy and cheerful.
For example, you might be a charity working with disenfranchised young people…one day you could be using a child model to talk about bullying or abuse – in which case the picture likely won’t have eye contact or a smile. BUT, you could offset this another day by representing a success story or a fundraising goal or promoting a fundraising event etc…
11. Stock Photography
Many social media consultants, speakers and professionals will try to put you off stock photography. Don’t listen! If you don’t have decent photos then find some, if you can’t take any just simply get one from a free stock library and then aim to change it at a later date.
Make sure you adhere to copyright law and ensure that you have the rights to use the photo(s). I have a free ebook here with 36 different stock photo websites that you can use.
Can we help you with your content creation?
Excalibur Press have a great team of experienced and efficient content creators, copywriters and publicists. If there is anything we can help you with please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 07982628911 or email [email protected]