Jan 25, 2018

Photography tips for better social media (and more followers)







**For the purpose of this blog I am going to be talking about photography, specifically for social media for a public profile or business. When you are uploading purely for personal memories and purely for fun, there are no boundaries and real life photography can be just as beautiful and appealing. But for business purposes, whether that's for marketing a product or promoting your profile, it can make a huge difference when you upgrade the quality of your shots.

How the hell would I know?

I run an online based art business and after documenting for an entire year where my sales came from, it was almost 80% through Instagram and my Facebook page.

I do have other systems in place like a mailing list and I go to the odd market or event and meet people in real life, but the bulk of my income comes directly from social media. That means no paid for marketing or adverts, I simply generate my income from the photos I share of my life and my products.

So I wanted to share with you some tips, to help you increase your sales and following through social media.

It makes me sad when amazing businesses upload average quality photos, just for the sake of ticking the 'social media' aspect of their to-do list. Or they upload photos that don't really represent their personality or values. It can make them appear unprofessional or that it's a chore for them.With a little bit of effort and a few easily implemented tips, I can help you create beautiful images that will make you excited to share on social media, in turn generating interest and engagement and hopefully sales.

I get it that not everyone is obsessed with social media and wants to spend every waking hour curating a beautiful feed, trust me I certainly don't, but in this day and age, a social media platform is a great thing to have, when we're trying to sell a product.

I have a passion for photography, pretty much anything creative, and I like to document my feelings/mood/day in depth so Instagram is basically my favourite place to hang out online (apart from this blog of course).

Anyway..

First up is a list of things to NOT do.

These are the things that make me feel like somoene's running their fingers over a chalk board, because my creative brain sees no reason for this, it's just one of my 'things', I feel exactly the same about bad fonts, I have severe font phobia)

-Badly lit, grainy photos. Again, if you're capturing a moment of your kid doing something adorable, who gives a shit what the lighting is like, snap away and capture that moment. But when you're taking a picture of a child wearing something you're trying to sell, ie. a tutu or a headband, put a little bit of effort into the general setup of the shot, the lighting etc.

-Not cropping out people making stupid faces or standing funny in the background, there's a crop tool, use it.

-OVER FILTERING OR FACETUNING an image (This is my biggest pet hate. Hence the CAPS haha. Facetune or other similar apps were designed to slightly smooth a surface. ie. SOFTEN wrinkles on your face, or remove an ugly pimple, but please note it was not designed to smooth every single centimetre of your entire face and body, eradicating all normal human form giving you a fuzzy, obviously edited, unrealistic and just pain freaky complexion)

-Over filtering distorts the quality of an image, it makes it look unrealistic and also looks like it's been done on a phone and quite frankly, unprofessional.
Stop bashing out the mayfair filter, it's not 2013 people.

-Different sized photos in your instagram account make your feed look messy (ok I'm being picky, but still if you want your feed to look amazing, all these little things improve the flow and remember people will see a polished feed, high standards and expect that your business also operates in this way. Which works vice versa)

-Mess in the background, I'm talking a pile of dirty laundry in the corner of your selfie, or a half eaten sandwich. Just no.


MY AWESOME HACKS FOR BETTER PICTURES

- IT'S ALL ABOUT THE LIGHTING
Whether you're taking a selfie or getting a product shot taken.
Go to a well lit area. Not harsh sunlight so you're squinting and crying. But an open well lit area, or by a window.

-LED LIGHTS ARE A GAME CHANGER
If you need to capture a shot and it's not daytime or you're inside, use an LED Selfie ring light or get one of those sexy LED light phone cases. Goodbye awful light, hello beautifully lit selfie, at any time of the day or night. LED Lights were a game changer for me. It means I can photograph a painting I'm working on in the evening and it still looks like I've taken it on a sunny morning. They come in all shapes and sizes, so if you're someone who is taking a lot of photographs and is constantly working with light issues, maybe invest in a slightly bigger one you can plug in. There are hundreds of very inexpensive options.

-FLATLAYS
- When taking product shots or flatlays, arrange items neatly (in a square format works nicely) on an aesthetically pleasing plain or (plain-ish) background. This can be as simple as using a white piece of card.
My personal favourite is contact paper. Buy some gorgeous varieties of contact paper and stick it to a large surface, cardboard works just fine. I have some marble contact paper that I use, stuck to a box. I can transport it anywhere and have a ready made marble top flat lay background. It's the best $5 I've ever spent.






If you're going to do a flat lay to display a product that you are selling, it's a good idea to display it with relevant objects and to create a room.
For example, when I am selling a painting I will often style it in a room situation or amongst pretty objects that will compliment the style of the painting.
For example, when photographing my 'Carrie' print I have displayed it here with things that compliment the colours of the print but also the theme.
This is one of my best selling products.


Another couple of examples.....



-TRIPODS AND SELF TIMERS
Ok this next tip will probably make me sound like a raging saddo BUT if I waited around for someone to take a photo of me, I'd have about 3 photos on my entire feed, and they'd be bad photos.
So when I need to take a photo and I need to be in it, I whack the camera on my tripod and hit that self timer button. This works with any camera and any phone, you can even get those little remote control buttons so you can keep pressing it and don't have to keep running back and forth to press the button on the camera #genius
This works great when taking family photos or a group shot of friends too.

-BASIC EDITING
There are a few tools I use every single time I upload a photo
I don't like to go overboard and make it look either over-edited or photoshopped so hard it looks like surreal.
But my go-to's are simply
Crop
Slightly increase brightness
Slightly increase saturation
And if I'm using instagram I'll choose the fade filter

BEFORE

AFTER
GENERAL TIPS THAT HAVE WORKED FOR ME
- Don't focus on the numbers, instead of constantly seeking new followers, show up and be helpful for those who have already chosen to follow you, to the people who leave comments and take the time to watch your stories.
- Engage, I may not have the largest number of followers, but I am so grateful for the ones I do have, I see it more of a community, full of wonderful people that I am constantly engaging and building relationships with. It's social media after all.
- Every business is different and I guess it depends on what kind of products you are selling but for me, I have found that showing behind the scenes creation, personal thoughts and feelings, not only makes you relatable but also gives a potential customer that 'know like trust' opportunity.
-Utilise insta stories. Ok so insta stories is my guilty pleasure, I have spent way too much time some days watching peoples stories. But it's real and I love seeing into peoples lives. And to be honest I have bought products from people just because I develop instacrushes from watching someones story. I see their personality and  enjoy watching them and seeing what they have to say.
You often hear a lot about the fakeness behind instagram and peoples flawless feeds. I appreciate a polished feed for aesthetic reasons, but I love the messy behind the scenes  look into the lives too.
Try and be as authentic and true to your values and brand as you can be.
I believe we are truly lucky to have social media in this day and age. Yes there are problems that come with this, but remember it's a tool and you should use it with love. It's a platform where our voices can be heard, it's a platform where Mums, Dads, teenagers, Grandparents, anyone can create businesses, earn an income and create amazing opportunities for themselves and others.

AWESOME THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED TO ME THROUGH INSTAGRAM
-Making friends with people in different countries I never would have come into contact with otherwise
-Gaining a community of supportive women who have been through breast cancer, offered advice, support and a friendly face
-Insta friends that have turned into real life friends
-Amazing collaborations
I hope this post has been helpful and don't forget to come and hang with me on instagram



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