Social media is becoming an increasingly visual medium with billions of photos being uploaded each and every day. Because of that if you want your photos to be able to stand out, they need to look amazing.
The good news is that you don’t need an expensive or top of the line camera to capture amazing photos. What you do need however is the right technique and approach – both of which require skill and experience.
If you want to start to take your social media photography up a notch and capture more impressive photos, there are a few essential tips that will make a world of difference.
Experiment with the Frame and Composition
The manner in which you frame and compose your shots can have a big impact. Not only can it make the subject stand out more, but it will influence the overall aesthetic of your photos.
While there are many techniques that can be used to frame and compose photos, the ones that you should try initially include:
The Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds is an easy composition technique to use. It involves arranging the subject and elements using the gridlines and intersection points of a 3×3 grid – which can normally be enabled in the camera settings.
By using the rule of thirds you’ll be able to produce off-center photos that are more aesthetically pleasing, and balance the elements more effectively.
Center the subject and use symmetry
Another easy composition technique is to center the subject directly and try to use symmetry to balance the elements around it. While more mundane, this technique is a very good option for square photos – such as on Instagram and some other social media platform.
Over time you can experiment with other framing and composition techniques and principles, and see how they affect your photos.
Shoot in the Right Light
Ideally you should try to snap photos in brightly-lit environments that have lots of soft light that is diffused and evenly spread across the subject.
If you’re using natural light but shooting indoors, try to make sure there is a large open window that lets the light through. If you’re using your own lighting, try to diffuse it with a softbox – or better yet a three-point lighting solution.
On the other hand if you’re shooting outdoors you should avoid the hard light during noon and try to shoot at other times when the light is softer. Some of the best photos can be shot during the golden hour right after dawn or before sunset – as the lighting conditions are truly amazing.
Use Visual Storytelling
The most iconic social media photos share one thing in common: Visual storytelling. Essentially these are powerful photos that are able to visually convey a story that impacts viewers and makes them react emotionally.
It is important that you try to use visual storytelling in your social media photos as well – despite the fact that it isn’t easy. A good place to start is by defining the subject, the action, the location, the time, and the reason.
In other words when people look at your photo they should be able to identify:
- What is taking place (the action)
- Who it is happening to (the subject)
- Where it is happening (the location)
- When it is happening (the time)
- Why it is happening (the reason)
That should form the basis of a solid visual story – and one that will set your social media photos apart.
Keep in mind that on social media you don’t need to tell a story in a single image, but can create a series of photos or a collage – which could be easier.
Show Off a Unique Perspective
One way to make your social media photos look less mundane and more unique is to show off a different perspective.
That is a lot easier than it sounds – mostly because the majority of photos are captured from a single perspective: eye-level. As a result if you switch things up and capture photos from below or above eye-level, you’ll be able to provide a more unique view.
Before you snap any photo, you should experiment with different angles. If you want you could try to shoot the subject from ground-level, from overhead, or even frame it within another frame (such as an arch or window).
The more unique your photo is, the more likely it will be to stand out and attract attention on social media.
Try Adjusting the Manual Settings
Although the automatic modes on cameras have improved by leaps and bounds over the years, if you want precision then nothing beats adjusting the settings manually.
By trying out the manual settings you will be able to control the exposure more effectively and make sure that the white balance is perfect as well. It does take some experience however, which is why the sooner you start – the better.
Learning the basics of shooting in manual mode is actually a lot easier than it looks and you can start by trying out different aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings. In time you can start to use them to produce specific effects such as bokeh, motion blur, and so on.
In addition to the tips listed above, you should also try to learn how to edit your photos so that you can make alterations and improvements to them as required. All you need to do is find a decent and user-friendly editor, and for example you could try a photo editor.
The one caveat you should be aware of when editing your photos is to be careful that you don’t over-edit them. Any alterations that you make to your photos should be designed to bring out their natural beauty, and not eclipse it completely to the point where it starts to look unnatural.
All of that starts with capturing more naturally-amazing photos however – which is what you should be much better prepared to do right now.