7 Tips for Creating Eye-Catching Instagram Photos
Whether you're a digital marketing whizz or prefer to live off-grid, there's no denying that Instagram has, in recent years, become a pretty useful business tool. No longer merely the home of selfies and 'what I had for breakfast' posts, Instagram has levelled-up its platform to make it intrinsic to businesses, freelancers, and brands. It now allows you to delve into your analytics, to personally and informally interact with your clients (both existing and potential), and to provide a visual moodboard of your company. But what if you're not quite sure how to create imagery that will best represent the nuances of your brand?
These tricks will help you create photos and imagery that will keep your clients entertained and well- informed, providing them with an insight into what your brand is *really* about. From colour schemes and framing to finding the right lighting, here are 7 tips to help you create eye-catching Instagram photos.
1. Make sure the quality is good
It sounds an obvious point to make, but a high-quality image can make all the difference when it comes to your Instagram. Why? Because your profile is a visual representation of your brand to potential clients: if the quality of the imagery is good, then the quality of your product or service is probably good, too! It also implies a level of effort and care that has gone into your work, making you seem more reliable.
Don't worry if you don't own a heap of fancy camera equipment, or even a digital camera. Nowadays, the camera on your smartphone is just as good when it comes to social media imagery!
2. Establish a colour scheme and stick to it (but not too rigidly!)
Think of your colour scheme as a guideline, and not as a rule. By using similar colours in your imagery, you'll start to develop a certain style that is associated with your brand - this will help customers to recognise you more quickly and easily! It also makes your grid look neater and more tied-together. If your company branding/logo uses a certain colour palette, try to recreate this in your imagery, too.
A good way to achieve this is by editing your photos in the same way each time. By using the same editorial process, or applying the same presents, your photos will appear more uniform on your Instagram grid.
3. Use the rule of thirds
An age-old photography trick, the rule of thirds is a sure-fire way to make your photos look more professional in seconds. When taking your photo, turn on the 3x3 grid (if using an iPhone or SLR camera) so that your viewfinder is split into 9 sections. When shooting a certain subject or scene, line the key element of the image up with one of those lines or sections!
For example: if shooting a sunset over the ocean, try to line up the horizon line with the top horizontal line, instead of placing it right in the middle. Your image will immediately look more professional and better-composed.
4. Try to find plain backgrounds
When shooting a picture of a product, or even a person, try to use plain backgrounds that don't distract from the subject itself. A plain white wall, wooden table, or white bedsheet are common backgrounds that you'll see all over Instagram. Whilst a white wall or wooden table can give an image a professional look, bedsheets and softer backgrounds imply cosiness or a more relaxed appearance.
Make your imagery more interesting by including other items in the background, such as a cup of coffee, candle, or plant for laid-back imagery, or a keyboard, pair of glasses, or notebook for more business-related content.
5. Show your beautiful face!
People love to see the face behind a brand: and your Instagram shouldn't be any different! A 2017 study has even shown that Instagram posts which include your face perform around 40% better than other types of imagery. When it comes to small - or large! - businesses, your customers will always want to know your story, as well as the story of the brand.
If you're not comfortable with the idea of sharing an overly-formal, office-style headshot, then try a more relaxed picture of you with one of your products, or working from your desk at home. With the changing perception of how businesses should operate, there's no right or wrong when it comes to how professional you "should" appear!
6. Get creative
Instagram is over-saturated. Although trends become trends for a reason, there's only so many times you can see the same image over and over again before your brain becomes numb to it. Create imagery that stands out against your clients' feeds by tapping into your creativity. Photographing a product? Try placing that product in an unexpected environment, or giving it movement (e.g. throwing it into the air). Create photos that make people stop and take note.
7. Good lighting is everything
There's only so much that PhotoShop can do. When taking your imagery, try to make sure you find the right lighting. The perfect weather for outdoor shooting? Bright but overcast! Direct sunlight can over-expose your imagery and cast overly-dark shadows. If you're shooting indoors, turn off the overhead lights and position yourself as close to a window as possible, to make sure your lighting looks natural.