8 Ways to take Better Photos for your Instagram and Business
You know that in order to connect with your audience, attract the right customers, and grow your brand (and the opportunities that come from it), you need to be sharing consistent on-brand content.
I know that’s easier said than done, especially if you’re not a visual content creator yourself or don’t think of yourself as a “creative” entrepreneur with a visual eye. Maybe you have no idea where to start, or you might be sharing photos you’re just taking on your phone yourself.
Either way, I’ve got some great tips for you (if you don’t want to hire a professional photographer), no matter if you use a point-and-shoot camera, your phone, or a DSLR.
You can use these tips yourself, or share them with your “Instagram husband/wife”, friend or business partner.
1. Understand your brand
Before creating content and taking photos, you have to know what you want to capture. What story do you want to tell? What is the photo for? What is it supposed to do?
I always think about the purpose each photos has and why I’m taking it. This creates clarity and helps you narrow down your options.
Also think about your audience and target market - who are you serving and what problems do they have? How can you provide answers and solutions? Thinking about serving your audience and being helpful should generate some ideas for you.
2. Shoot in daylight
Photos come out so much better if you use natural light. The best light to shoot in is filtered daylight. If you’re shooting inside and the sun is streaming through the windows, you can pull up a light, white curtain to filter the light.
Shooting outside in bright sunshine creates harsh shadows, so aim for overcast days or shoot in the morning or afternoon (when you get that soft, golden light). Shooting in a too dark environment creates grainy photos when you edit them, and artificial light looks rather ugly (and can create those annoying shadows too).
3. Try different angles and distances
Move around and give different perspectives a go. Move from side to side to see which option looks better (trust your gut if you’re not sure), zoom in or move closer, move away, shoot from above at an angle, shoot top down for a straight overhead shot, or kneel/squat down.
Each position will give you a completely different image and tell a very different story about whatever is in front of your lens.
For example, if you’re shooting something small or a child, move down to their level. Or if you’re taking a photo of yourself, consider your favourite facial angles and position the phone or camera at eye level height to not distort your proportions.
4. Keep it simple
Don’t overcomplicate your photo and composition. Make sure you know what the main focus of your photo is and the point you’re trying to bring across. What are you trying to say? Once you’re clear on that, test out different focal points to emphasise what you want to communicate.
Apart from focusing on what’s important, make sure your photo is actually in focus and sharp (unless you want blur to emphasise movement for example).
5. Play with depth-of-field
The previous point also relates to depth-of-field. For example, you can create a blurry background and bokeh to draw the eye to the key part of the photo and so create focus. Or you can shoot at a narrow depth-of-field (using a high F-stop number if you’re a DSLR user) to create focus in the distance, for example if you’re photographing a landscape, or shooting food from top down.
6. Align straight lines
I’m passionate about this one! It’s something I can’t stand in photos and that instantly catches my eye if not done right. I can’t help it.
Make sure that your lines are straight (unless of course you’re shooting a tall building, or some other exception - but we’re talking about general ideas here)! Move around, move your body, change the way and height of where you’re holding the camera. Sometimes you just have to move a bit to the right or left for your lines to be aligned. Trust me, having straight horizontal and vertical lines will make such a huge difference to your image, and create a much more pleasing photo for the eye (even if others might not notice consciously).
One key tip here is to just be aware of this! Once you remember to keep your lines straight, the easier part is to move around. So don’t forget. If you remember one thing from this article, remember this one.
7. Frame differently
Try moving your subject around within the frame of the image. Try placing it to the side or the top/bottom of the frame. Or maybe dead centre if that works really well for whatever you’re photographing.
Also keep in mind the Rule of Thirds, which is generally an easy way to create photos that are easy on the eye.
8. Edit your photos
Lastly, this can take a good photo to great! Depending on where I’m editing my photos, I use Lightroom (and sometimes Photoshop for more unique adjustments), or VSCO on my phone (I’ve used it for ages and like to keep things simple. I know there are many other great editing apps for your phone - a quick Google search will give you plenty of options).
When editing, focus on adjusting your exposure, white balance, getting your lines straight, adding or removing a bit of contrast, applying a filter (find a couple of go-to filters, especially if you have a certain style), bringing back some blown-out highlights, and sharpening the image.
To end with, let me know...
1. if this guide is helpful in the comments below or on Instagram.
2. if you would love to see more photography and similar tips like this.
3. if you have any questions.
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