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5 Tips for Social Media Photography Success

Photo Taken from @PMGNorthBay Instagram

My colleague Tyffani and I recently had an opportunity to meet with some inspiring social media marketers who are also professional photographers at a Social Media Photography lunch program. The Professional Marketing Group hosted the gathering with speakers Erin Rose, Christine Tafoya, and moderator Shana Bull. Each of these creative ladies have a distinct style and method for taking photos for social media that have led to social media success for both their business and personal images,

especially on Instagram.

Here are the top 5 lessons we learned at the workshop.

1. Consistency vs. Flexibility

Balancing consistency with creative flexibility across social media platforms is one of the most important elements for success. Having the same fonts, similarly filtered photos, and maintaining a unique voice lead to strong brand consistency.

However, too much consistency leads to boredom. Balancing creative flexibility with consistency keeps followers interested and your social media photos fresh, new, and interesting to your audience.

2. Edit, Edit, Edit

Did I say edit? All three social media photography experts stressed how important it is to edit and re-edit every photo. Each one advised to never post an unedited photo. While a common perception of photography is that editing photos on computer software is better, the experts spoke differently- they all edit their photos on their phones with editing apps.

Some of the apps they recommended are:

Color Story, Filmborn, Pic Tap Go, Textgram, VSCO, Face Tune, Afterlight, Plann

My personal favorite: iPhone’s built in editing tool in photos

3. Good Lighting = Good Photos

Good lighting and good photos go hand in hand. Without proper lighting there is no way to get a good photo. Even the best editing apps can’t fix a poorly lit photo. The panel works primarily with product photos and their examples for practice were small items and trinkets.

Photo of Shana Bull demonstrating lighting - taken by Ali Werner

My instant assumption when considering good lighting? Expensive, professional equipment. But even the photography experts use budget lighting tools- white foam boards and white tissue paper! Having a white background and a proper light diffuser was key in the clarity and brightness of photos on a white background. They also used a phone camera lighting add-on, a small tool that dramatically changes the lighting of photos and diminishes shadows almost completely when used with a white foam board. Here is a similar, inexpensive product similar to the one they used.

While studio lighting is great for products, natural lighting is usually best for food and wine products. Shooting near a window in natural light is the best way to get great photos, especially on a cloudy day when the light is naturally diffused.

4. Content Banks

If we all had all the time in the world, it would be easy to have the supplies and tools necessary to take a new photo each day for social media. But, not many of us do! Creating a content bank of photos and ideas as a back up for days you don’t have time to take new photos is a huge help. When you do have time to take photos, take a couple extras for your bank. Having existing content is the perfect save for those rainy days you feel like you have nothing to post.

5. Strategy

Having a strategy is the most important element of running a client’s social media. Without strategy, these other 4 things hardly matter because they become a random mess! Establishing clear goals and intents of your strategy keeps everyone involved on the social media team on the same page and relationships with customers consistent on media.

My own takeaway- I don’t believe personal media needs to have a strategy. Creating a social media space that is personal and creative is the ultimate freedom. Interacting as yourself is extremely different from interacting on behalf of a company or organization, and knowing how to be both those people behind the screen is important to making yourself and your business successful on social media.

What do you think makes social media photography successful?

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