I strongly believe that images are SO important when it comes to using social media effectively for your business.
What I hear a lot though is that many of you are struggling when it comes to taking photos for your business. So, I called in an expert to help out!
The amazing AJ Harrington, content creator and editor, has written this article addressing the key points for you to consider when photographing your products.
Over to you, Amanda!
Your product images are really important when it comes to connecting with your audience and have them buy from you. When was the last time you bought from an online store that had crooked, grainy, dull product images?
By putting a bit of prep time and thought into the images that you share you will start to build up trust with your audience. Quality images instil trust that there is a quality product behind them. And if you build your brand into your images by being consistent you start to build recognition and hence a connection.
Social media, after all, is about connection. You want your audience to know it’s you talking when they see your image in your feed. You want them to remember you for the fabulous things you produce, not the dodgy images you share, right?
So I’m going to share 5 things that you need to be aware of and start doing when you are taking and sharing your product images on social media.
Make sure your background isn’t too busy. Get up against a blank wall or think about creating a flat lay. There are so many DIY backgrounds you already have around your house; a wooden table or chopping board, wrapping or scrapbook paper, coloured card, marble bench tops, pieces of fabric, bed spreads or throws. There are plenty of options at the local hardware store too. Start looking around and you’ll be amazed at what you can use. You just need to make sure that it doesn’t reflect light, is cohesive to your brand and that it doesn’t detract from your subject.
Natural light is your friend. If you can, avoid overhead lights. Position your subject near a window and use a reflector opposite the window to reduce shadows and increase the light. A reflector is a stiff white board that literally reflects light back on your scene. I use Coreflute sheets but foam core, painted MDF, stiff cardboard, or even a white bed sheet pegged between two chairs can work! If you’re having trouble getting enough light inside on an overcast day then head outside and set up put there. Always check that your shadow isn’t falling over the subject and isn’t in the frame (something that is hard to avoid with overhead lights at night).
Is your shot straight? If you are taking a shot with the product standing up make sure you are front on to it instead of slightly overhead. When you have your phone on an angle you introduce distortion. If you’re creating a flat lay experiment with a structured grid arrangement or a more free-flowing lifestyle look.Is it balanced? Does your eye wander around the image settling on your subject or are all the elements pulling your attention away? If you are taking the photo to use on Instagram and want the 1:1 square ratio then shoot in that mode on your phone (in settings on Android or swipe on iPhone) and have your “rule of thirds” grid overlay on. This will help with your composition and balance.
4. STYLING / STORYTELLING
To really engage your audience you need to be telling a story. And the simplest way to do this is to give your subject something to do. How does the customer actually use the product? Is it something that is displayed on a shelf? Style it on a shelf! What do they use it with? If it’s food incorporate cooking utensils, if it’s a baby bib include some cute shoes and soft toy for example. Include props that add to the story. Be deliberate with your theme and your colours. It’s important here not to confuse your viewer and really try and sell the lifestyle or the emotion you want them to feel when they use your product
Our phones (well any camera on auto) want to make our images an average grey. So if you’re taking an image on a white background it will dull it down. I recommend editing every image, even if it is just to increase brightness. Or if you have lots of bright and dark bits you may need to lighten your shadows. Sometimes getting your image perfectly straight is hard to do when you’re taking the image so fine tune it by adjusting the perspective (you can do this in Instagram). Be consistent with your editing and try and achieve a consistent look. Limit the number of filters you use (you can reduce the filter effect if you find it is too strong on some images) and remember that you every image you share needs to build on your brand awareness.
If you want more in depth tutorials on any of these points you can have read through my Photography Tutorials on my blog or follow me on Instagram. And please, if you have any questions please reach out! I love to help.
AJ Harrington is a product, website and branding photographer with a base in Mandurah, Western Australia and servicing clients in Perth and over east. AJ has 10 years photographic experience and specialises in capturing the essence of a brand through storytelling. As a visual storyteller, AJ is able to connect brands to their audience by giving a time, place and emotion to the subjects she photographs. She creates visual content that is personally styled and perfect for each client. AJ is a mum-of-one, an Instagram addict, coffee lover and a small business supporter.