Have you ever found yourself mindlessly scrolling through your social media feed when a photograph caught your eye? Maybe the post wasn’t even relevant to you, but the imagery begged your attention. If you’d love some of those scroll-stopping photos for your own business, this post is for you! Whether you’re the one taking the photos or the one posting them – or both! – here are my best tips for Instagram photography.
A few quick statistics for you: I’m sure you’re aware that world of social media has grown drastically over the last decade. Smart Insight’s 2020 analysis shows that there are 3.96 billion social media users around the world, and – probably thanks to the pandemic – social media use has gone up over 10.5% this year. Plus, I was surprised to find that 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile daily – so it’s not only people interacting with friends.
Wondering if you truly need an Instagram account for your business? The simple answer is “yes!”
Who am I talking to? Pretty much anyone who wants to be seen, including: photographers, marketers, and businesses of all sizes. These days, if you want online presence, you need an Instagram account.
How Can I Attract an Audience with Instagram Photography?
I get it. You maybe not be overly excited about writing content each day and adding one more thing to your growing to-do list; but I have a feeling you’ll love this image-driven platform that doesn’t rely so heavily on words. All you need are some images that will catch eyes to pair with a short post. The photos are how you win Instagram.
Best Practices for Taking Great Photos for Instagram:
Make Your Product Stand Out
Utilize color and composition to make the product the obvious focal point of the image. Experiment with color blocking, color and light contrast, rule of thirds, and focus. Be sure to scale the image and remove any unnecessary or distracting pieces. Since people scroll through their feeds quickly, it’s important to make you focal point clear and bold – catch their gazes immediately.
Use Leading Lines
Direct eyes toward the product or focal point. Compose the image so that elements converge at the subject. Leading lines are not actual lines but can be created with props, shapes, and other elements. You see this a lot with human subjects, like a portrait featuring a couple at the end of a pathway or between a row of trees. But you can use in product photography, too! For instance, I use prop edges, tableware, or other design pieces to lead their eyes over to the focal point.
Tell a full story, or show different features of your product by posting images in a sequence. Use several images to display all that you have to offer, like different flavors or designs. Or maybe use them to demonstrate multiple ways to use your product. For instance, for a reveal, you might include a photo of an unopened package, another photo of the product inside the open package, and a third photo of the unwrapped product.
Sometimes viewers won’t stop to watch a whole video…but a moving clip is likely to pique their interest. I like stop-motion clips because they serve a similar purpose as GIFs or boomerangs, but they are often more unique and creative. They make your photos pop a bit more. You can also use motion clips to feature the functionality of your product. (If you need some help with this, connect with me HERE.)
Behind the Scenes Photos
Contrary to popular belief, selfies are not quite as effective as people would like to think. But it is important to show humans every now and then. A better alternative to the selfie: behind the scenes photos. These are much more interesting, and your audience will like to see what goes into the making or your product (or if you’re a photographer, the steps you took to create a cool image). Great Instagram photography requires an authentic, personal touch, not hundreds of perfectly staged images.
Make it Interesting
I saved the best for last. This is one of my personal favorites because my style often involves bold colors and creative compositions. You should see my studio – it almost looks like a science lab some days! I love experimenting with just about anything. Even my cat has played a part in photos – the perfect spill led to a great photo opportunity. Try adding a fun (but not distracting) backgrounds. Play with composition, texture, and lighting.
Need a collection of photos you’re proud to showcase on social media? I’ll love to help! Message me HERE.
Lindsay is a Los Angeles-based food, product, and commercial photographer. She specializes in Still Product & Food Photography, Lifestyle & Portrait Photography, Stop Motion, and Food Styling. Connect with her HERE for product marketing!