Great photos catch the eye, engage, and sell products. Whether you’re promoting travel or selling clothes, you need beautiful imagery that makes people want to click on your photos and share them with their friends.
Standout photography helps establish brand identity and makes it easier for consumers to understand what your products are about. Are your images up to par? Here are some tips for taking professional-looking photos that will make your images stand out:
1. Be consistent with your editing approach.
No matter where you get your photos, they should have a similar look and feel for consistency. Use the same editing style for all your images to make it easier for people to recognize and appreciate your brand identity. If you use bright colors in one photo but a more muted palette in another, it may confuse viewers who are trying to get a sense of what kind of business you are.
Think about what your brand represents. Are warm colors and temperatures more appropriate, or would cooler tones better convey the mood you’re trying to create for your brand?
When deciding on an editing style, it should make sense for the image itself and should fit with the rest of your content. For example, if someone sees a photo professionally edited on Instagram and then sees an unedited version elsewhere (like when they check your website), it could confuse them.
2. Don’t over-edit your photographs.
One of the most common mistakes social media posters make is over-editing their photos. The result can be a photo that looks too fake or unnatural. It’s easy to overdo the filters and make your photos look “otherworldly,” and that’s unlikely to engage people unless it fits with your brand.
If you want to add color or lighten up your photo without making it look like a caricature, use selective editing tools instead of an entire filter or effect. For example, if you took pictures at night with only candlelight as your source of light, don’t use the “dark room” option on Instagram when posting those pictures. Instead, use their “color toning” tool, which allows you to choose between warmer tones (yellow) or cooler ones (blue). Err on the side of under-editing to keep the look more realistic.
3. Incorporate text into your images, but don’t go overboard.
You can add text to an image to convey a point. The text can be in words, phrases, or even just a single word but be judicious. If you have too much text in your image, it will distract from the main point of the photo. Keep it short and simple, so people can easily read what you are trying to say.
A good rule of thumb is no more than four lines of copy per image (one line for each letter). This works because most mobile devices don’t show more than two lines at a time before automatically scrolling down for more content. Try using contrasting fonts within an image. This will help draw attention toward them, as well as provide some visual interest for viewers.
4. Your image choices should reflect your brand
Your photography should reflect what a consumer can expect from your brand. It should have the same look and feel as the rest of your content and be consistent with the design elements of your brand. For example, if you’re a fashion brand, bright colors are probably more appropriate than dark tones.
Your photography should also appeal to your audience and stand out from other images in the feed. Think about how you would like to see an image on social media before posting it. You don’t want to end up with boring or low-quality pictures that don’t grab anyone’s attention! Finally, make sure each image is unique and interesting, so people will want to click through (and possibly share them).
5. If possible, take your own photos
There are many stock photo sites, both free and paid, where you can get images, but they’re often overused. If possible, snap your own photos so you have unique images to display. If you don’t use your own photography, edit stock photos to make them more unique, but keep the editing consistent from photo to photo.
Also, when you take a photo, you have control over what’s in it. You can be sure there aren’t logos on the wall or people in the background who shouldn’t be there. You can also ensure the focus is right and your pictures are well lit.
If you use a stock image, you lose this control. It might be impossible to find an image that doesn’t have something wrong with it — whether it’s a logo or a person who shouldn’t be in the shot. Even if you can find one, there’s no guarantee it won’t get taken down by the owner of the photo because they don’t want their images used by others without their permission. You also avoid copyright issues by taking your own images.
If you want to stand out on social media, ensure your brand’s visual identity aligns with how consumers see it. It’s also important not to get too caught up in any one trend or perspective. It’s important that your photography reflects your brand. Keep an eye out for what works best for your company and use those guidelines as your guide.