Building a brand and an online presence is key to stand out as the expert in your industry. Showing up online consistently will build trust with your followers and fast track you to expert status!
Social media is free marketing. When used consistently to engage with your ideal client, it can quickly become a lead generator. You’re an expert in a lot of things, but maybe content creation doesn’t come easy?
As a brand photographer I love brainstorming with my clients to come up with a shot and prop list for their branding photo session. While we’re able to create months worth of social posts at one time, sometimes you’re just missing that perfect picture to go along with your Instagram caption. That’s when an iPhone shot comes in!
If you’ve asked yourself, “How can I take pictures for Instagram?” or “How can I take professional headshots and lifestyle photos of my business?” then this post is for you! Whether you just need a few Instagram posts to interlace with your professional branding photos or you need to DIY your whole social feed, these are my tried and true tips for taking better brand and Instagram photos with your phone.
Lighting is everything, but it can be tricky when you’re not sure what to look for. My first pick is always natural light in a bright room. I look for windows or doors that can be opened, and I turn off artificial lights like lamps and overhead lights. Here are your best options when it comes to lighting your brand photos:
Natural Light- If you’re taking brand photos indoors, find a spot with plenty of natural light. A big window with sun shining through will create the perfect lighting for your pictures!
Soft light and Open Shade – If I’m outside, I always try to find open shade or I wait until there is soft light. Soft light happens within the 2 hours after sunrise and the 2 hours before sunset. If you can take your photos outside on a sunny day in some open shade, it will take the guesswork out of finding the right light.
Backlight- If you are outside in direct sun, you will want to turn your back to the light. Squinty eyes and a bright face don’t create a grid-worthy photo. By turning your back to the sun, you will still have light around you but it won’t be a distraction.
Pro Tip: Taking product photos or flatlays? Find your source of light and watch for your shadow. You don’t want to block light with your body or cast a shadow.
Framing is essentially the difference between an average photo and a great one! There’s a lot that goes into framing, but today I’m sharing 3 ways to elevate your framing and capture a perfect picture!
Composition – Composition is everything that makes up your photo and it’s what makes your picture stand out! The best place to start when composing your picture is to think of the rule of thirds. (Rule of thirds: When you cut the photo in 9 equal parts, with 3 vertical sections.) For the rule of thirds you’ll want the focus of your picture to fall on one of these intersecting lines. I obviously don’t do this for every picture, but it’s a great practice to keep in mind!
Other elements of composition include headroom and negative space. These refer to the empty areas between and around your focus. Don’t be afraid to leave a little breathing room in your frame.
Pro Tip: Negative space works great to add text for ads or instastories!
Keep it Straight – A crooked picture is always distracting. Aim to keep your background nice and straight. If your picture is crooked, use the crop and straighten tool on your phone to edit it.
Eliminate Distractions – Your branding pictures are a representation of your work. You want them to appear clean and professional- even if they are a little silly or goofy. A cluttered desk or messy background will take away from your final image.
In order to create cohesive brand content with your phone, you’ll want to edit your phone shots to match your Instagram feed! My preset collection was designed to produce a clean, true-to-life color edit for pictures taken with your phone! They are perfect for business owners that want a consistent and cohesive Instagram feed. Plus they are specifically designed to easily edit your phone pictures. That way you can seamlessly blend your own images with your branding photos online!
Ready to DIY?
If you’re going to DIY your brand photos or plan an Instagram photoshoot, I recommend tag teaming with a friend or setting up a tripod/self timer. You can see step by step how I plan my own branding sessions here for ideas on locations, outfits and props! Remember, you don’t have to be posed and looking at the camera for each picture. The beauty of a branding session is that it’s more than a headshot. Try taking some “behind the scenes” kind of shots and pictures where you are working or not directly interacting with the camera.
Not sure what kind of photos to share? Here 5 ideas of Instagram pictures you can take today!
- A shot at your favorite local coffee shop
- A headshot
- Behind the scenes shots of your office or your workspace
- An on-brand flatlay displaying your products or tools that you use for your business (or snap a picture of your tools on your desk)
- A get to know you post… Think a picture of yourself that shows personality and allows your followers to learn something new about you! Are you a fur mama? Share a snap of you and your pets! Do you love to read? Post a picture of your latest library finds! Are you a plant lady? Go ahead and brag about your green thumb!
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