Check this out: Holiday stop motion video & social media photography showcase

The team at Legendary had a lot of fun creating holiday photography and stop motion video assets for our clients. Due to COVID-19, Christmas arrived a little early this year. As soon as Halloween was over, we saw Christmas trees and holiday decorations popping up all over Vancouver! 

A lot of planning goes into the assets we create. Our in-house photographer, Kat, works alongside an account manager and sometimes with the client themselves to create a plan of action. It goes a little something like this:

  1. The account manager creates a schedule of upcoming promotions, events and themes to discuss
  2. Schedule a shoot date
  3. Create the shot list 
  4. Prop shop
  5. Photoshoot and styling
  6. Editing 
  7. Delivering the final edited files

After all the hard work that goes into creating and executing content, it’s super satisfying to see everything come together, so we want to share some of our work with you today!

What we created for The Facial Room

Our client The Facial Room offers an exclusive experience that goes beyond delivering beautiful Eminence Organic Skincare products across Canada, and we need to emulate that in our work – especially our photography work, as that’s what initially draws customers in. 

For The Facial Room, we currently create and run the following elements of their social media marketing:  

  • Styling & photography for a visually cohesive feed
  • Facebook & Instagram content creation
  • Community management
  • Social media advertising campaigns
  • Blogs for SEO
  • Email marketing campaigns 
  • Stop-motion videos

To kick off the holiday season this year, The Facial Room ran an irresistible Black Friday promotion for their customers. Check out our photography work on the homepage of their website and how it came together:

 

We also created a blog (which is great for your SEO btw, you can read more about that here) sharing more in-depth product knowledge with customers, giving them product suggestions and gift ideas for the upcoming holiday season.

We made sure to share the blog in early November, allowing customers enough time to plan their gifts and get their orders in (before Canada post is overwhelmed by the holiday season). Check out the blog post here!

 

As you can see in this blog post, we shot lifestyle images of The Facial Room owner, Patricia Asmar, and her daughter against a holiday-themed backdrop. During our lifestyle shoot, we paid close attention to the colour of props, clothes and products to ensure the final images were cohesive with all our other product photography.

Check out The Facial Room on Instagram to see what awesome promotions they’re currently running. 

And here is the stop motion video we created for their Black Friday promotion in action! 

What we created for Waves Coffee House

Our longtime client, Waves Coffee House, is a Vancouver-based chain with over 31 coffee shops across BC and Alberta. Not only is Waves all about serving customers delicious coffee and locally made snacks, but they also invite their customers to connect with each other at their local Waves Coffee shop. We just love this sentiment!

For their holiday campaign, we created photography for their social feeds that showcase their holiday beverages, snacks and gift sets. Check out some of our favourite shots from our holiday photoshoot:

social-media-photography

As part of their social media marketing, we also create the following:

  • Instagram and Facebook content 
  • Community management 
  • Paid social media ads
  • Spotify ad campaigns
  • Stop-motion videos
  • Influencer campaigns 
  • Giveaways and contests

Check out the stop-motion video we created as part of their holiday marketing campaign:

 

What we created for Love & Natural 

Love & Natural is a skincare eCommerce platform that was born during the COVID-19 pandemic when Winne, the owner, wanted to help her clients and others by offering personalized skincare solutions online. 

Check out some of our favourite photography from this holiday period: social-media-photography

Since coming on board with us, we have built a multi-faceted social media plan for Love & Natural. Our work so far has included creating and managing the following:

  • Styling & photography
  • Social media management across Facebook & Instagram
  • Community management
  • Traffic advertising campaigns (leading audiences to your website)
  • Conversion advertising campaigns (converting sales on the website)social-media-photographer

We also created this stop motion video for the launch of their new product collection, Esenti Body Mists

Are you thinking of stepping up your social media game in 2021? Then look no further! Legendary offers well-rounded knowledge and services that could help elevate your business to the next level!

How our social media photographer set up an at-home studio

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures, our social media photographer, Kat, has been shooting our client photography from home since March. With these few tools and tips, let us guide you through the process of how we create scroll-stopping content from home. 

Firstly, we recommend that you purchase photography equipment that packs away in a space-efficient manner. Or alternatively, invest in some storage boxes, so you can pack your gear and props away at the end of each shoot. Working and living in the same space can present some challenges, so keeping things tidy and organized will certainly help you work productively.  

The basic equipment needed for a home studio setup

    • Camera. Your camera doesn’t have to be a professional camera, you can still create beautiful content with your phone camera.
    • Tripod. If you are working with a professional camera, then consider using a tripod to steady it. We also recommend getting a tripod with an arm extension for shooting flat lays. 
    • Lighting. You can rely solely on natural light if that’s all you have, but we recommend setting up near a window with the most available light even if you’re using studio lighting as well. Amazon has some great start-up kits available for under a hundred bucks, such as this one
    • Light reflector. One of Kat’s most used items, great for bouncing light back into shadow areas or softening harsh light. 
  • Backdrops. We use paper backdrops from BD backgrounds or Savage. We also use fabric from Dressew and marble slabs from Home Depot. If you’re on a budget, use a plain bed sheet or your natural wall colour. 
  • Backdrop stands. Some budget-friendly options are available on Amazon if you want to properly hang/drape your backdrops.
  • Props. Flowers, plants and decorative household items will certainly bring your products to life. 

Find the best light

We adore natural light! Try to find a space in your home that has the best natural light for your setup. If you’re shooting in the middle of the day, avoid harsh midday sunlight by using a diffuser. If your home doesn’t get much natural light, consider purchasing some budget-friendly lights. If you’re just starting out with photography, then these continuous lights will definitely do the trick! 

Our social media photographer, Kat, generally uses flash whilst working from home as her apartment is south-facing and gets very little natural light. Here, you can see her at-home setup taken on an iPhone vs her professional image using flash photography. 

social-media-photographer-legendary social media vancouversocial-media-photographer-legendary social media vancouver

Create your studio setup

Once you have figured out where in your home you’re shooting, it’s time to set up your studio. Set up your backdrop stands, backdrop and table. We often shoot flat lays, so by shooting off the ground slightly, we’re saving ourselves from bending over too much. Once you have this setup, you can easily interchange your backdrop with fabrics and textures. Swap out the plain white backdrop for a marble tile to add some variety. 

We recommend setting up a tripod as it allows you to:

  1. Steady the camera
  2. Slow your shutter speed if you need to allow more light into the camera
  3. Take the weight off your back and shoulders
  4. Allows you to set the camera down while you style your shot or move products in and out of the shot
  5. Allows you to change the angle of your shot

Let your creativity flow

Get creative! The more unique, original and creative your content is on social media, the more engagement it will receive from your audience. 

Here are four tips to help you get creative: 

  1. Vary the angles of your shots! Try shooting overhead flat lays, eye-level shots, close-ups and wide shots. 
  2. Depth of field. Even if you’re using your phone, most phone cameras now give you the ability to change your depth of field. 
  3. Experiment with lighting. Play around with shadows or even add a gel to your light source.
  4. Props! We recommend laying out all your props on a tray so you can clearly see what you have to work with, making it easier to visualize your shots. You can read more tips on props here

If you’re working with people, then props can give them something to interact with. Check out this recent shoot we did for Le Hibou Kids. Here below, you can see our studio setup (including the props) and then how the kids interacted with them. So cute!  

social-media-photographer-legendary social media vancouver

Final thoughts

Good luck with your home-studio setup! Play around with it and have fun– why not take your audience on the journey with you and show them some #BTS of your home studio setup. And just remember that you don’t need to invest in expensive photography gear when you’re just starting out. 

If you’re shooting food, then check out our tips for better food & beverage photography. We hope you found our tips from our social media photographer helpful! 

5 tips for better food & beverage photography

We hope you’ve been enjoying reading our photography and styling blogs as much as we’ve enjoyed writing them! 

Today, our top tips are for food and beverage photography. We have a few restaurants and food truck clients, including Waves Coffee House and Disco Cheetah Korean Grill, that we create content for, so we’ll share some tips as well as demonstrate how we’ve applied it to our work. 

Equipment 

Use a tripod (preferably with an extension arm)! Tripods are great for so many reasons – a few benefits are: 

  • They steady your camera and eliminate blurry images
  • They save you from back pain (holding your camera and bending over for 8+ hours will result in some unfortunate aches and pains)
  • Extension arms allow you to capture awesome flat lays from above
  • They allow you to move more freely between your camera and subject (for when you have to make those tiny styling adjustments)

Another piece of equipment our photographer Kat always has on hand is her reflector – it’s compact and lightweight so she never leaves for a shoot without it. A reflector is a great tool to redirect light, fix shadows or even block out unwanted light. 

Backdrops

The backdrops you choose for your food photography are so important! They set the tone of the overall image. We recommend using textured backgrounds to add depth and interest. 

For one of our favourite clients, Disco Cheetah, their branding is very fun and colourful, so our backdrops always reflect this.

social media photographer- legendary social media vancouver

Composition

Don’t be afraid of negative space! It makes for a more interesting composition and draws the viewer into the main focus of the image. In the context of marketing, negative space allows room for graphics. Very important for commercial purposes!

Experiment with different height levels within your image. For example, if you’re shooting sweet treats, then consider using cake stands. Creating layers with height will add depth and interest to your images.

Incorporate actions into your food and beverage photography. For example, cutting a cake or pouring milk into a coffee will bring the image to life. To make a shot look less staged, feature people or hands.

Consider how the final image will be used. If it’s for Instagram, then it’s likely going to be cropped into a square. So make sure you leave room for cropping and avoid zooming in on the subject too tight. 

social media photographer- legendary social media vancouver

Props

The food is the hero! So keep it simple with props when it comes to food photography – there’s no need to go overboard with added elements and pull focus away from the food. The props should also compliment the food or drink within the image and make sense to the context of the image. 

For example, below is an image we shot for Disco Cheetah. Note that the props used in this image are the small dishes for extra garnishes, dips and sauces, as well as the cloth napkins and the menu. 

social media photographer- legendary social media vancouver

Of course, cloth napkins are not available to use at Disco Cheetah’s restaurant or food truck, but cloth napkins are an easy way to elevate this style of food photography!

Depth of Field 

By using a lower aperture setting, you can focus on one specific item. This is a great way of drawing the viewer’s attention to the main subject while making the background appear softer. If you’re photographing a table setting, then you’ll need a higher aperture to ensure more of the frame is sharp and in focus. 

social media photographer- legendary social media vancouver

Conclusion

Photography is an art form, so there are no hard and fast rules. We encourage you to experiment and see what works. These are just some of the tips and tricks we have collected along the way. 

Want to know more about what we create at Legendary Social Media? Check out our creative services

5 pro tips to styling product photography

We recently shared our 5 essential tips for creating better photography for your Instagram feed. But what about styling better photos? We’re going to specifically focus on product photography here, but you could apply these 5 tips to photography in general! 

Understand the brand you’re working with

This might sound obvious, but it’s imperative that you understand the brand you’re working with and its target audience. So before you shoot, clearly communicate with your client and create a brief from this conversation. Words like ‘modern, clean and crisp’ or ‘fun, bold and playful’ are clear indicators of what they’re looking for and will influence the overall aesthetics of the images you create. 

Proportion and scale 

Be very mindful of proportion and scale in your product photography. Objects have the tendency to look larger to the camera eye. When styling, I always opt for smaller props and here’s why:

  • Smaller props don’t pull focus away from the actual product
  • You can potentially fit more product into your frame
  • Small, relatable props will give an indication of the product size IRL

For example, jade rollers generally only come in one size. So by featuring this alongside your skincare products, it gives the viewer an accurate perspective of how big the bottles/containers are in real life. 

Colour scheme

Choose your colours wisely! 

Colour is an integral element of photography as it evokes emotions and feelings within us and colour palettes can determine how we perceive a brand. For example, here at Legendary, we love using fun, bold colours because we want to represent ourselves as fun and energetic (WHICH WE ARE BTW).

By contrast, for our client Love & Natural, when shooting, we tend to stick to clean white, neutral colours and greens because they’re calming and natural. 

For our client, The Facial Room, we create an ombre colour feed. That essentially means that every month, we focus on one colour hue and then blend it into the next month. Here you can see we use pops of colour from flowers, props like books and then sometimes the colour of the actual product itself. 

Here we went from green to blue:

social media photographer- legendary social media vancouver

Consistency 

Consistency is key to preserving the brand’s identity in photographs, all while achieving enough variety so that the social media feed doesn’t come out looking boring. A few key things to remember when styling your images: 

  • Context 
  • Cohesiveness
  • Repetition

What story are you trying to tell? Ensure that every element of the image makes sense to the context of this story and works together in a cohesive way. 

If you’re photographing a lotion and the main ingredient is almonds, then almonds would make a good prop and make sense to the image. It would also give the customer an instant visual of what to expect from product ingredients! 

If you’re creating a series of images, then try repeating one small element throughout the series to make the collection more cohesive. 

Rule of thirds

In photography, the ‘rule of thirds’ is a theory that dictates the image composition. The idea is that if an image is divided evenly into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, then the subject or items of interest are best placed on those intersectional points. 

The intention of this rule is to help you take a more well-proportioned and balanced image so when styling, keep this tool in mind!

Our eyes naturally move through an image from left to right, so perhaps try styling your product and props in a diagonal line that moves this way. 

I would consider this more of a guideline and not a hard rule. However, avoiding having your subject in the centre of the image will always make for a more interesting composition so keep that in mind when photographing and styling. 

social media photographer- legendary social media vancouver

Final thoughts

Ultimately, our goal with our product photography is to tell a story and sell a lifestyle. Product photography should be aspirational and evoke an emotion that makes the customer want to own the product. This is something that Legendary Social Media can do – contact us! 

 

Why is a professional photographer so expensive?

Have you looked into hiring a professional photographer? Received a quote, and thought to yourself “WTF! Why is it so expensive?” 

Here’s the deal as to why photography is expensive and what goes on BTS (behind the scenes). 

A social media photographer IS a professional photographer

Yes, we know- professional photography seems like a large expenditure in the short term, whether it’s for your social media, eCommerce website, print marketing or any other purpose! However, nothing has a stronger impact on a potential buyer than a visual representation of your brand or product. 

Photography is a major investment that your business should definitely consider. 

In marketing, visuals are the first element that evokes an emotional response (before text) and that emotional response is what will make or break a sale. The photos on your website and social media are representing you and your brand, and are a huge part of user experience. So obviously, you want to present your business in the best way possible. 

Professional photographer costs: The breakdown

Some clients may only associate pricing with the final delivered images, and it’s important for us to educate our clients in our photography process and what exactly goes on behind the scenes, so they have a better understanding of exactly what they’re paying for. 

There are a few key factors to consider in photography pricing, but these are the 5 most significant: 

One. Time 

For every hour of shooting, there are a few hidden hours of prep work and communication that you perhaps never considered:

  • Pre-production (Time spent planning the Photoshoot. Including emails sent, castings, building a team, creating mood boards, product acquisition and gathering of props) 
  • Travelling to and from the photoshoot
  • Setting up equipment/ breaking down
  • Time spent uploading, culling and editing images
  • Time spent communicating with the client, sending proofs and making adjustments
  • Discussions and final delivery to the client 

Two. Photography Equipment 

Photography equipment is HELLA EXPENSIVE. Just the camera body alone is upwards of $2.5K for a professional set up like ours. Here is a list of equipment a professional photographer requires to produce professional work and run a business:

  • Camera (including a backup camera)
  • Lenses 
  • Lighting equipment (studio or Speedlite)
  • Memory cards
  • Extra batteries
  • Tripod
  • Backdrop stands
  • Backdrops
  • Reflectors
  • Computer/ Laptop
  • External hard drives & online storage
  • Camera bags
  • Insurance (If you’ve spent thousands of dollars on equipment and you’re running a photography business, then you need insurance. This is upwards of $350 per year depending on what your needs are)
  • Rental equipment (we sometimes have to rent gear and this is a cost that should be factored into a quote for our clients)

Another consideration for photography equipment is that over time there is wear and tear on your gear and equipment needs to be repaired, serviced, cleaned and then eventually upgraded. 

One of our studio lights recently required a new flash tube and that set us back a cool $374!

professional-photography- legendary social media vancouver

Three. Editing Software

So once your photographs have been taken, they then need to be processed. This usually requires software like:

These require a subscription and have fees (either monthly or yearly). 

Four. Other Digital Tools

Nothing in life is free, even the software used to deliver edited photographs to our clients. We use Pixieset (a local Vancouver app) but there are other similar (paid) subscription-based apps out there that do the same thing. 

Even a simple tool like Google Drive requires a subscription so we can host the thousands of photos we capture every month.

Five. Experience and Skillset 

Whether a photographer has had professional training or is self-taught, they have likely spent years learning, honing their craft and developing their own personal style of work. 

“If I do a job in 30 minutes it’s because I spent 10 years learning how to do that in 30 minutes. You owe me for the years, not the minutes”. ~Davy Greenberg

Our very own photographer, Kat, studied photography at Newcastle College. Learning and gaining a practical skillset that she has been able to apply to her work for the past 10 years. As part of her previous work as an eCommerce photographer for a fashion brand, she has also gained a unique eye for styling, paying particular attention to detail and working in a fast-paced environment. 

Final thoughts

Like most things, you get what you pay for when it comes to professional photography.

Photography, including social media photography, is much more than:

  • Show up
  • Shoot
  • Edit
  • Send

There’s planning, equipment, experience and hard costs to factor in as well. The great thing is, photography is a powerfully impactful marketing asset that lends huge credibility, shareability and presence to your brand.

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! 

Social media photographer services now available

We have some exciting news! We’re now offering product photography as a standalone service to brands located anywhere. 

That means beautifully styled photographs you can use on:

  • Social Media
  • eCommerce websites
  • Email marketing
  • Print marketing materials & signage 

Our social media photographer has shot for…

We recently shared a post showcasing some of our social media photography for Steamworks Brewing Co. Our in-house photographer and content creator Kat has been shooting & styling from home during COVID-19 to create fun and eye catching product photography for the Refresh and the Steamworks Instagram accounts. 

We have also been working with The Facial Room for over a year to create their social media, website and email marketing photography. With our social media photography, The Facial Room is able to showcase their products and promotions in a beautiful and unique way. 

Professional photography is incredibly valuable to any business or brand as it allows you to showcase your products & services to potential customers instead of telling them. Humans are visual creatures after all. 

social-media-photography- legendary social media vancouver

 

Step up your Instagram game with social media photography

Your potential customers could discover you on Instagram. This is your opportunity to give them insight into what you have to offer. The photography you chose to use forms the backbone of your marketing. It sets the tone and initial perception of your brand. High quality photos will elevate your brand perception. 

Professional photography is versatile! By investing in photography, you can use your images cross-sectionally across different media platforms and improve user experience: 

  • Website landing pages
  • Website banners
  • Website eCommerce
  • Email content marketing 
  • Social media
  • Printed marketing materials

social-media-photgrapher- legendary social media vancouver

 

Why a professional social media photographer is worth the $$

Look, Instagram is a noisy space. You know what stops people from scrolling?

Pictures. Really stunning ones.

And when people stop scrolling, they notice your brand. Getting noticed can lead to followers and sales.

We see this every day with the accounts we shoot social media photography for, and we would love to do the same for you. 

SEO tip for eCommerce photography

The images on your website will contribute to your SEO, by having alt tags and descriptions, you’re allowing search engines to understand the content of your website. 

Some of the products that could benefit from professional photography:

  • Skincare
  • Clothing & apparel
  • Food
  • Beverages 
  • Home decor 

By using Legendary Social Media’s professional social media photographer services, we’ll help capture the essence of your brand and further develop your brand identity – bringing what’s unique about your business to the forefront of your marketing. 

Get in touch with us for a custom quote on any of the following:

  • One-off product or brand photoshoot
  • Regular monthly photoshoots
  • Bi-monthly photoshoots

PS we also offer stop-motion video! If you’re interested in any of these services, please contact us!