Great photography is paramount on social media
Updated: Feb 14, 2020
Why is strong and unique imagery priceless on social media?
In Australia, as of June 2018, 51% of small, 58% of medium and a whopping 80% of large businesses (up from 60% at the same time in 2017) have a presence on social media (Yellow Social Media Report 2018). Why is that important to you? Well, it means, at the very least, your business is competing against 51% of all businesses in your industry on social media - if you aren’t doing social media well… you might as well not do it at all.
So why is GREAT photography so important to your social media presence?
Photography and visual imagery are what makes your content appealing, it’s what stops people mid scroll, or has them reverse scrolling to read your post. Great photography will allow consumers to recognise your brand, it will be engaging and inviting, it will make your business stand out from the 51% of other businesses that are also hoping to catch their attention on social media.
What photos should you be hoping to capture?
Ideally, you should aim to capture the essence of your business. Ask yourself what is your point of difference? What makes your business special? It can look different depending on your business but it could include:
Formal portraits & headshots (generally used for more corporate industries to highlight your staff and their skills)
Casual headshots (often used to introduce your team & make them approachable)
Team photos (either formal team photos or casual ‘at work’ & ‘at play’ team photos)
Office photos, both including staff or highlighting your point of difference (these photos are great for showing where you work, sharing your company ethos, and highlighting your company values)
Branding photos (of your sign written office, worksites or vehicles)
Before and after photos (great for trades that undertake home renovations; builders, cabinet makers, landscapers etc or for service providers like beauty therapists and hairdressers)
Product photography (highlighting your products to allow customers to easily see what they are purchasing via the photo - this is exceptionally important for e-commerce businesses that don’t have a shopfront and are encouraging online purchases)
Do you have to pay for professional photography?
No, you don’t HAVE to hire a professional photographer to take ALL of your photos, however, I would strongly recommend that you arrange at least some of your photos be taken by a professional photographer.
I recommend that the photos that you intend to share across both social media and your website (headshots, team photos, branding photos and some before & after photos) be taken by a professional. A professional will ensure that you have the right lighting, the right balance and that the photographs are fit-for-purpose (i.e. of a high enough quality for your website). You can then intersperse these professional photos amongst the photos that you take yourself throughout your social media account, this will ensure that you retain a professional, yet approachable feed.
A great way to designate what you take vs what you outsource to a professional is to ensure that the photos that you take are candid, in-the-moment images that you couldn’t have scheduled a photographer to take for you. Rather book a photographer to capture the consistent branding photos and the ones that you just don’t have the skill or camera to capture well (i.e. wide-angle real estate photos)
How do you take your own great photos?
If you are wanting to take your own photos for your business you can take some fantastic photos using just your late-model cell phone or a DSLR camera.
My tips for taking great photos are:
Make sure your photo tells a story - A picture can say 1000 words
Utilise natural light as best you can. Play with taking the photo from different angles to see where the lighting is best. Morning light and overcast days are your best friend - the brighter the light - the harsher it can be - so try to avoid the middle of sunny days.
Invest in a lightbox if you are regularly taking product photos, a lightbox will ensure that your product is always perfectly lit.
In photography, there is “The rule of thirds” (refer to image above) where two lines run parallel both vertically and horizontally across your image. The rule suggests that if you aim to ensure that the subject of your photo is captured where the horizontal and vertical lines intersect you will be onto a winner for your photo as this is where the eye is drawn.
When capturing people (particularly in headshots) try to shoot from just above, or on the same plane as the subject. If you shoot from below your subject you will highlight their double chins.
Use a tripod if you are shooting close up imagery, or in poor light, this will limit blur and ensure consistency between photos of different subjects (i.e. to ensure headshots/product photos etc are consistent).
Who is using fantastic imagery across their social media accounts?
Below is a list of my favourite accounts (on Insta) based on their imagery and why I love them:
Their imagery really showcases their team, their values and their point of difference. While the imagery and content may polarise some, it means that @thedigitalpicnic are consistently attracting their ideal client and their ideal staff!
When scrolling through their feed you are left in no doubt that @pretty.little.designs are responsible for THE MOST amazing panty transformations and that if you need an organised pantry that won’t have potatoes rotting in the bottom or a tin of curry powder that expired in 2002 they are THE pantry experts to fit you out.
Looking for some yard inspiration? @hd_landscapes are consistently showcasing works of art and design. No two landscaping jobs are the same which highlights to me that they are TRUE professionals. Many landscapers/interior designers and architects have a ‘style’ that they don’t stray far from, the boys @hd_landscapes - they can do anything!
Photography is what is going to capture the attention of your potential customers. You could write the most amazing copy in the whole world, but without eye-catching imagery - 99% of people will scroll right past.