Ok, so you’ve done your research. You’ve looked at the numbers. You sat down with your team and developed a strategy. You’ve targeted your demographic and are ready to start content marketing. You purchased your first camera to start producing your own images and…now what?
As part of your content marketing efforts, you want to create unique and stand-out images that people are going to want to share organically. Luckily, there are a few quick tips we can provide that will get you snapping away with ease, even if your photography is limited to Instagram.
Regardless if you are shooting on a $20,000 camera, or your phone, your image has to be composed well if you want to create engaging content. Choosing how to frame your subject is very important. The basic of all composition rules is one you are probably already familiar with: the rule of thirds. Put simply, the rule of thirds leverages the fact that humans find subjects that ARE NOT centered, more pleasing. Specifically, if you drew a 3×3 grid over your viewfinder (like a tic-tac-toe board), your image is going to be most interesting if it is focused where the lines intersect. Like this:
Many digital cameras and phones will have an option to overlay a grid on your preview screen, which we recommend turning on to make things easier. Placing your subject of interest properly within the grids will allow you to create a well balanced image that naturally guides the viewer’s eyes across your content.
Composition also starts with knowing where to take your picture from. Should you be close up, or far away? What about the angle, low or high? Time of day is important as well. Early morning sunlight and the evening sunset will provide the most dramatic lighting. Make sure that whichever way you start composing images, don’t become comfortable with framing your subject the same way. Mix it up to keep things fresh and make your social media pages’ content varied and interesting.
Depth of field is also very important. When you look at a subject with your eye up close, notice how the background isn’t entirely in focus. You can emulate this with a camera by choosing lenses with a shallow depth of field. Many phone cameras are also equipped to produce this effect. Find the right distance from your subject that will allow you to keep your subject in focus, but blur out everything else. This isolates what you want to focus on and will make your subject “pop”. As with any other rule with composition, play with the depth of field for various images to find what works best, and don’t be afraid to shake things up!
Don’t ignore white balance! White balance is how the camera perceives the color white, and will vary depending on your lighting. Many phone cameras do a decent job of setting white balance on its own, but if you are using a professional camera, make sure you check the manual to find out how to properly set it. If you notice your images have a yellowish or blueish tint to them, odds are your white balance is set improperly.
The last thing we will briefly touch on is color correction. If your company is using Instagram (you are, aren’t you?), you’re already familiar with the basics. Instagram is a great tool that lets you use filters to boost or decrease saturation, contrast, highlights, and everything in between.
Most cell phones cameras apply some form of color correction automatically to compensate for poorer specifications. This means most images you take on a modern mobile device will already look pretty decent right away, and can be enhanced further by using Instagram. However, you may notice if you are using a professional camera that the quality may initially appear worse.
Don’t fret! There are a lot of free and professional tools on the internet that will help you get started. Load your image into programs such as Lightroom, GIMP, or Photoshop and start playing with saturation, contrast, and color sliders to find what looks best for your image. There are a lot of great tutorials available online to help you get started.
Now that you know how to create better images, your content marketing efforts are off to a good start! If you have any other questions concerning photography or your company’s strategy, feel free to contact us. Anchor Social is a full service content marketing company, and we’ll gladly help you out!