We’re so excited that Fork and Dram‘s Founder Tara Sura has given us her top five photography and styling tips for Instagram.
With over 80 million photos uploaded every day on to Instagram, it’s important that our visual content marketing game is stronger than ever! As a stylist and photographer I am often asked how to help create a ‘Visual Content Identity’ for clients; both for those who are just embarking on their social media journey with a new brand as well as those who have just completed a re-brand and are looking for a fresh approach. I thought it would be useful therefore to give you my top five tips for curating and developing a style for shooting still images for your brand’s social and digital channels.
1. Plan Ahead and Select Your Content.
Your brand guidelines will give you direction as to the tone, colours and message to convey in your pictures; these should all be carefully considered when planning what type of still photos you shoot. Your image should not only fit your niche, but fit your audience too so your images need to be relatable and relevant to your audience. Spend a little time figuring out your social media voice and what you want your feed to show. For example, do you want it to show behind the scenes of the day to day of the brand, or perhaps a collection of recipes to match your products or do you want your feed to be community led, populated with user content? This will help the style and overall feel for the brand and channels.
My next few tips are centred around consistency, the key to social media success and this couldn’t apply more to visual content.
2. Framing, Composition and Camera Angles.
A good photo has a clear point of interest, look for strong colours, shapes and lines when styling your image. The most successful and visually engaging social media accounts use similar if not the same composition and framing techniques. If we’re talking about smartphone photography, the lens is usually curved which can distort imagery depending the camera angle which is why today we see an abundance of overhead photography. Jump on the overhead bandwagon and get creative on your background with graphic patterns and lines or minimalistic styling or event messy styled looks! Flatlays are all the rage at the moment and very versatile whatever your product, have a look at this flatlay fantastic account! When you’re planning your content, it’s important also to understand what the images will be used for bearing in mind cropping and sizing for Facebook backgrounds, profiles and layouts on Instagram.
3. Natural Lighting
Lighting is the single most important styling element that defines a brilliant image. I always say that a poorly lit photo cannot be fixed with any “photoshopping” software no matter how good it is. Whether you use natural lighting or artificial lighting, keep the light source consistent. The key isn’t necessarily where you shoot i.e the location, but more about how much light you capture in the image. This is closely linked to how you edit your images (tip 5), the lighting of an image is key to the mood of the brand and it’s tone and different tones will resonate with different audiences. Have a look at the two following examples of images, how do they make you feel? What do you think each of the brand’s are trying to convey?