Photography always communicates a message. That’s why social platforms like Instagram and Facebook focus mainly on photos and videos. It’s amazing what 1 image, or a series of images can communicate with a simple glimpse.
But, it’s far beyond social media – think about your every day. How many times a day does your eye glance over pictures?
-Billboards on your drive to work
-As you sit, drink coffee and read your morning news. Whether that’s on paper or on your mobile device, I would argue the pictures are what draw your eye into what you decide to read.
-Text messages from your family
-Posters and advertisements as you head to the grocery or your favorite restaurant
-Menu photos at your favorite restaurant (ever ordered something solely because the picture made your mouth water?)
Images bombard us everyday, so now think about the messages your marketing images are conveying. Many brands settle for sub-par photos which result in two main outcomes:
1. Image is Ignored: The photo doesn’t grab the attention of the audience and so therefore is ignored. Think of all the images you scroll past on your phone or drive by everyday, but don’t recall.
2. Image Confuses Audience: This is just as bad as being ignored. You may actually have a beautiful photo, but if it doesn’t accurately represent your brand, or display the correct message, customers leave confused about the purpose of your photo.
So, how do you stop using inferior photos? With these ingredients:
The right equipment and knowledge
You may have a professional camera, but do you have everything you need to capture the right images?
Remember to always consider the best lighting options and lenses. Your subject will determine your lens selection. You’ll use one lens for an extreme close up for texture or product shots. Or, if your subject is far away, you’ll use a different lens to get the greatest detail and light exposure.
As for lighting, you want to maximize your natural light if possible using diffusers and reflectors. Or, with the right lighting placement indoors, you can create a setting that looks natural and makes your subject pop.
When taking photos, try to change up your angle. Don’t shoot from your height at all times, try different angled shots to add variety to the images of your subject.
Also, in post production, some editors get a little too creative. Some edits are fine, but as you edit the image, continually ask yourself, “does this look natural?” If you answer no, then reverse that edit.
People may not be able to pinpoint what looks off about the photo, but they’ll notice something and it will distract them from the message you’re trying to send.
A beautifully created photo is your goal, but you only get there if you have strategy from the beginning to the end of the process. Before you begin your photoshoot, think about the message you want to convey with these photos.
What’s the purpose you have for these images? After you’ve shot for a while, take a look back and re-evaluate, does the subject dictate a change in your message? Do you need to rethink or refocus the purpose?
Marketing cannot succeed without strategy. So anytime you pick up a camera, start typing a blog, or filming a tv commercial, there first needs to be a determined strategy.
Remember to use the right equipment and right strategy, for the right job. You will not always need a professional camera and crew. If you’re at your company picnic and want to post a few photos on social media, then use your smartphone. That’s ok!
But, just because you’re using your smartphone, doesn’t mean you should forget the tips above. Use strategy and creativity to take creative shots for your own social media. Don’t miss my other tips in the video at the top!