Photography is one of the keys to effective communication on social media. Many people are visually driven, and the quality of an image attached to a post is often enough to encourage these people to click on, like, and share a post. Social media users who do not understand the power of visual media will often play at a disadvantage compared to their competitors.
Greg Kadel describes how photography and social media intersect, explaining how a social media influencer can use photos to encourage better interaction with and sharing of their posts.
Hand in Hand: Photography and Social Media
When planning a social media post, a writer must also consult with a photographer or find the right stock photo to enhance their work. Without an image attached, many people will simply scroll past the post, ignoring it completely. An image needs to perfectly match the tone of the social media post, and it needs to be of high quality.
Using amateur photography techniques will make the poster look as if they are not an authority in the field. This can be seen in video as well, where videos shot vertically rather than horizontally make a social media user or business look unprofessional.
Social media is inherently a visual medium. Many people quickly scroll through their news feeds, stopping only when they see a compelling image. The lack of a visual element will cause posts to be overlooked.
Avoiding Cliché Photo Ideas
Many of the trappings that once made a photo compelling have now fallen by the wayside. Some photo techniques that are now out of fashion include lens flares and “filtered” looks. Today’s social media accounts need to have a more authentic vision of their content.
Use Proper Framing and Composition
In order to make a positive impression on social media, the basics of photographic framing and composition need to be observed. These elementary techniques will help your photos shine and will help them look more professional.
When framing a shot, it is best to use the rule of thirds. This means separating the photo into nine rectangular segments. Try to put the subject along one of the vertical lines. This will give the viewer a better view of the background and will drive their eye to explore the entire image.
When photographing a square composition for Instagram, putting the subject directly in the center of the frame is also effective.
Using the background, midground, and foreground effectively requires some practice, but this is another application of the rule of thirds. Your composition should bring a sense of motion and dynamic activity to your subject.
When taking a photo for social media, make sure that the resolution is high enough to appear attractive at a variety of page zoom settings. For example, Facebook has a full screen viewing mode which may make smaller images look unpolished and unfocused. Make sure that you upload an image with at least 1000 pixels in dimension, with 2000 pixels an even better choice.
Even quick snaps for social media require proper editing in order to be effective. Not overusing filters is an important consideration. Sometimes a filter may help you express yourself artistically, but more often it will make your photo look “canned” and unprofessional.
Explore editing the shadows in your photo. Try to make the image look more like the way it was when you saw it in real life. Sometimes shadows and highlights are distorted by the camera. Edit the colors to give them more vibrancy. However, don’t go too far or your colors will be oversaturated and unrealistic.
Tell a Story
The most effective photo for social media will be accompanied by a compelling story. Too many social media users spend their time making “humblebrags” or only sharing their best accomplishments. This can turn off viewers who would rather see an authentic view of the subject. Text is particularly important on Instagram, where a thoughtfully constructed caption can draw in users and make their content more shareable.
Sharing and Hashtags
Sharing your photos effectively can be the key to social media success. When you share a photo, make sure that you are doing so in the right area. If you are a local landscape photographer, try joining local interest groups and sharing your work there. This will most likely bring you traffic to your business page, where people may be interested in purchasing copies of your work for themselves.
Another aspect of social media that you need to leverage is the hashtag. Hashtags are especially crucial on Instagram, where a user can post as many as 30 hashtags per photo. It is best to put your hashtags in the first comment to the photo so that they will not be a distraction to the viewer.
Communicating Effectively Through Photography
Social media is intricately tied to visual expression. Photos and videos need to be professional and well-curated. Taking care to avoid clichés, use proper framing, resolution, and editing, and making sure that your post is correctly tagged will go a long way toward ensuring your social media success. Greg Kadel encourages all professional users of social media to enhance their photography toolboxes.