How to take brand photographs for social media
Do you strive to keep your social media up to date but get stuck when it comes to the photography bit? Do you struggle to take good enough photographs on your phone? I get it. You’re trying to stay on top of your game by keeping top of mind when it comes to your customers. But with all the other hats you have to wear, the prospect of also learning how to take a good photograph can be overwhelming.
Social media relies on images to tell your brand story, appeal to your ideal client and increase your reach. You might want to show your personality by showing a bit of your home life, what fires you up, what your business is all about. It could be photographs of your children’s artwork, a behind-the-scenes shot of your desk, the tools of your trade or something interesting that you’ve picked up on a recent walk.
Personal Branding Photography encompasses all of this (and more) and will provide enough imagery for at least a month of social media posts. But what if you need something now? Or you’re not ready to invest? Or what if you just want a few images today?
To help you, I have put together some tips based on how I photograph clients’ Personal Branding Sessions.
1. No flash, please
I love my studio lights when working with portraiture clients, but I almost always use natural light for items that tell brand stories. The flash on your phone (and probably even the one on your camera) can create a harsh, direct and generally unflattering light and a dodgy colour cast. Instead, position your subject near a window (but not in direct sunlight) and embrace that beautiful soft light. All of the images on this page were taken in natural sunlight.
2. Don’t complicate things
Help the subject stand out by keeping your background clear of any distracting features. You could do this in one of two ways.
Photographers will deliberately blur the background to minimise distractions. You can do this with your DSLR by shooting with as wide an aperture as you can (ie. a smaller f stop number such as f1.8). You will need to adjust your other camera settings so as not to let in too much light.
Alternatively, grab a chair and get up above the item. Shooting from up high is common practice on the likes of Instagram. In fact this style of photography even has it’s own name; it’s a flat lay. Now you know.
3. Know who you are
When using surfaces as a background, think of the look and feel that you’re trying to convey. Most of the time I keep the background extremely simple, for the reasons above. But the background can enhance your brand personality .
Using the background to create the mood of your brand is effective. For example, a neutral background conveys a calm, minimal approach, while an item placed on pebbles could portray an affinity with nature.
A glimpse of the background can hint at the environment. For example, kitchen tiles in a food post. You might even want to ignore the ‘keep it simple’ rule above and go all out with a patterned retro tablecloth backdrop, if that shows off your brand better.
As well as more accurately representing your brand, knowing who you are will help your images look consistent when viewed beside each other. Think of those important 9 squares.
4. Back off!
When shooting for client’s personal branding images, I leave what is known as ‘white space’. White space is the area around the subject in an image. For example, it is the background scenery in an outdoor portrait, or the surface that you shot your flat lay on.
White space is required for two reasons. Firstly, it makes it easier to crop to fit your social media proportions. For example, if you zoom in too close in camera, your Instagram square might be cropped too tightly- ever done that? You’ll also need more space around the subject if you’re creating a banner image for your website.
Secondly, you might want to put a text overlay or your logo on an image. Close crops mean the text covers a larger part of the image, so potentially covering a crucial area. If text or logos are going to feature in your image, shoot with this in mind.
5. Milk it
Don’t forget that your images can be re-used. After going to all the effort of capturing that shot, it would be a shame to only get to use it once. Most ‘evergreen’ images can be reused at a later date- perhaps cropped differently or with a text overlay. The pros do it all the time!
Get in touch if you would like to find out more about Personal Branding Photography, or just to talk business!