5 essential tips from a professional social media photographer

You have the ability to stop social media users in their scrolling tracks with striking photography! Our professional photographer & content creator, Kat, put together her 5 top tips to help you create better social media photography to gain the attention of your followers. 

One. Lighting

Light is probably the single most important part of photography. The type of light you choose shapes the look and feel of your photos. Often brands pick a style of light and stick with it. Ever heard the terms ‘light and airy’ or ‘dark and moody’ thrown around about social media photography? These words pertain to LIGHT. 

Some other terms you might have heard:

  • Natural light 
  • Studio light 
  • Harsh light 
  • Soft light 
  • Golden hour light 
  • Flat light
  • Backlit 

If you don’t have professional lighting equipment then you need to learn about natural lighting and what time of day will work best for you. If you’re solely relying on natural light, then invest in a reflector. Reflectors are usually inexpensive but have the ability to bounce light, filling in shadows as well as blocking harsh light.

Pro tip: Avoid shooting at midday as this is the brightest light of the day and is very challenging to work with. Midday sun brings harsh shadows, heavy contrast and if you’re working with models = squinting!

Two. Backgrounds

Use simple backgrounds/backdrops when shooting products to ensure the focus remains on the product or subject matter. Here at Legendary, we use seamless backdrop rolls from BD Backgrounds as well as slabs of marble, tile and wood flooring, available from DIY stores such as Home Depot

social-media-photographer-legendary social media vancouver

Three. Framing & Composition

Don’t be afraid of negative space or cropping out some of your subject matter. Play around with your framing to create a more interesting image. I personally love shooting through sheer fabrics, flowers or other foliage making the edges of the images slightly blurred to create an interesting composition. 

photography-legendary social media vancouver4. Props 

Add interest to your product/flat lay photography with props! 

So, for this one, it’s key to remember that your props should compliment your product or subject matter – add appropriate details or highlight key ingredients. For example, the images above highlight the flavours of the Refresh beers we shot for Steamworks Brewery. Photography is a form of storytelling, so what are you trying to communicate with your image?

Prop suggestions: 

  • Textures (fabrics, ribbon, cheesecloth etc)
  • Flowers
  • Ingredients (fruits, nuts, lavender, eucalyptus)
  • Bottles, straws, balloons, sunglasses, bags, towels
  • Dishes, trays, cake stands, cheese boards
  • Paper, envelopes, cards, scissors, stamps, stationary 

5. Editing

We use Lightroom for image selecting/culling and basic adjustments (such as colour correction) as we can batch this and apply to all our selected images. 

Here at Legendary, we like our work to look clear and crisp. Of course, most of the work is done in-camera to ensure this but we do add sharpness in Photoshop as well other basic adjustments (levels and curves if more is required) and retouching on any unwanted marks and splodges.

We also recommend ensuring that your editing styles remain consistent so your social feed reflects this consistency and your brand becomes more recognizable. 

There are also a plethora of mobile apps available if you’re using your phone: 

Pro tip: Consider compressing your images for web usage by using photo optimization software that will compress file size with compromising image quality, such as Jpeg mini

Are you aware that Legendary is now offering product and social media photography as a standalone service?

We’re creating imagery that tells a story, inspires a feeling and stops a scroll! 

Erin is the owner and founder of Legendary Social Media. She's trying, and failing, to be vegan. Directionally challenged. Cripplingly addicted to coffee and chocolate. Swears she'll travel the world (again) ... someday. Mommy to Zylo.