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! 

How to set up social media ads that lead to sales

What’s the goal of working so hard on your company’s social media? For most eCommerce businesses the answer is: increasing sales. 

Remember that social media is a marketing tool. That means posting to social media is a long-game effort, that contributes to building your brand which will impact sales over time.

Still, most business owners want to see an uptick in sales right away. We can achieve that using social media by running paid ad campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest, for example.

Here are 5 tips that our agency uses to set up ads on social media that lead to sales.

Tips for social media ads that lead to sales

One: Set up your eCommerce site to integrate with social media sites 

If you have an eCommerce site, you need to make sure it’s integrated with social media sites. On Facebook, you can do this with Facebook Pixel. Then you can build your product catalogue on Facebook, using Pixel to integrate that into other sites like Shopify and WooCommerce. This allows your website to share data with Facebook, in order to more accurately track where your online sales are coming from.

Two: Establish your target audience

The easiest customers to reach out to are the ones that are already interested in your brand or could quickly become interested. You can connect with these customers through a carefully constructed target audience list. Make sure you establish the type of customer you are targeting – the more specific, the better. Create cold audiences by narrowing down your customer’s age, interests, location and online activities. You’ll also want to show ads to warm audiences who have already interacted with your brand, by buying products, liking your social media posts, signing up to your email list, or visiting your website. 

Three: Get product awareness

Now that you have your target audiences established, it’s time to start marketing. Doing conversion ad campaigns requires a multi-phase approach and money for ads, placements, and more. The first phase of a conversion campaign is getting people to know your brand. People usually aren’t going to buy your products when they’ve never even heard of your company. So create content to introduce yourself! Videos are great for this, as long as they are short and engaging. Once you’ve gotten your company name out there, you’re ready for the next stage… 

Four: Foster product consideration 

Now it’s all about your products. Don’t worry about selling them – focus on getting potential customers to look at them. Create ads that will drive people your site to scroll through the products you have available there. One of the best ways to do that is with photos of people engaging with the products. Just make sure the people are smiling and happy. This may sound like a cliche, but it is because it can make a huge difference in sales. 

Five: Send out targeted campaigns 

The final step is closing the deal. This is where you convert your audience into customers. You can do this through dynamic product ads. These are ads that show the exact products the viewer was looking at on your site. It’s a great way to convince a potential customer to pull the trigger and make a purchase. 

Once you have customers, don’t forget to re-target them. Tell them when you have sales, new products, or when it’s time for them to reorder. That way, as you build your customer base, you also build return sales – the basis for any long-term business!