How to take the best social media photos ever
Want to capture your audience’s attention and tell your brand story in a compelling and engaging way? You can, with social media photos.
Did you know that Tweets with photos get an average of 35% more retweets and Facebook posts with photos get 37% more engagement? In general, posts with images get 2.3 times more engagement than those without.
You don’t need to be a professional photographer to take great social media photos. You can create stunning visual content without ever taking a photography course. All with the power of your smartphone.
We’ve put together our top photography tips, specially crafted by our design team to help you improve the quality of your social media photos. Share this with anyone on your team that’s responsible for creating and capturing content. Your social media stardom awaits.
Social Media Photography 101
Using a photo that’s the right size is important. It helps you control what people see so that your image is cropped correctly. We use this handy always up-to-date social media sizing guide to determine which size is best to use per platform. If you don’t have a design team at your disposal, you can always use free online tools like Canva or BeFunky to resize your photos.
Most platforms use a horizontal orientation. Instagram stories use images that are vertical. Think about where you’re going to post your content before shooting. If your image is going to be used in a horizontal orientation, your best bet is to turn your phone sideways when taking the photo. This way you won’t end up losing too much content when the image is cropped.
The above is an example of a photo taken at a vertical orientation
When the image is cropped for a horizontal orientation, quite a bit of content is lost
Take a step back
Create extra space around the subject of your photo. This way, you’ll have extra flexibility when you’re cropping and resizing the image. It’s important to create space so that you don’t lose any important content in your image. When in doubt, take a step back.
Do NOT zoom in
Most phone cameras don’t have great zoom capabilities. This means that when you zoom in, your image can become very pixelated. If the subject you’re trying to capture is far away, take the photo without zooming. Then attempt to crop it, and see if it maintains the same level of resolution.
The pink circle indicates the area that is intended to be the main subject
A great deal of quality is lost when the zoom feature is used
Consider all elements in the photo
Think about the content you are trying to capture. Where should it be placed in relation to the background objects? Is anything important being cut out of the image? Is there an object in the background that may be distracting audiences from the main focus? Is someone photobombing you?
The above is the original photo
The pink circle indicates an item that is awkwardly cut out once the photo is cropped to the appropriate size
Allowing more space around the objects provides you with flexibility when cropping. In this photo, the banner and the table were able to fit within the cropped image
Be aware of lighting
Be sure to always tap your screen on the main subject of the image, and your camera will automatically adjust the exposure and focus on that subject. If you’re in an area that’s dark, try moving the subject to a brighter area if possible. Always be aware of where your light source is coming from. Is it creating hard shadows on your subject? Is it causing your own shadow to appear in the image? Is it shining too bright on OR behind your subject? If so, try adjusting your angle or your subject’s angle if you can.
In this photo, the white chair is meant to be the main subject. The white circle indicates where the screen was tapped. This causes the camera to adjust lighting and focus to the pink wall, causing the white chair to be become out of focus and overly exposed
This time, the pink circle indicates where the screen was tapped—on the white chair, the main subject—allowing it to be in focus and properly lit
Be cautious when uploading
When uploading photos from your phone, don’t use a platform that can cause the photos to compress (Facebook Messenger, texting, email, etc.). Use a platform that will maintain the resolution of your photos (Google Photos, Dropbox, iCloud).
Now you’re ready to get out there and take some great photos! Still feel unsure?
Contact us and we’d be happy to help you come up with a powerful social media visual content strategy.