GROW! Marketing and Public Relations Tips

Social Studies Lesson 3: Capturing Quality Photos that Tell Your Brand's Story

Posted by Aubrey Olson on Mon, Aug 28, 2023 @ 5:09 PM

pexels-cottonbro-studio-4507738 copyWelcome back to Social Studies! If you’re not signed up for our weekly email series stop now! Subscribe here and start at lesson one. 

This third installment of our series on elevating your social media game in the world of gardening explores the crucial art of capturing quality photos. 

High-quality visuals are indispensable to any successful social media account. They convey your brand's personality, tell a compelling story, and keep your audience engaged. You don’t want to distract anyone from your project because of a blurry photo. But you don’t need fancy equipment or professional photographers. 

So, what is necessary? 

Read more to dive into the easy tips and techniques for creating stunning images (using only your smartphone) and maintaining consistency in visual storytelling.

What Makes a Good Image?
A good picture should be visually appealing, tell a story that resonates with your gardening audience, evoke emotions, inspire, and showcase your expertise. Remember, you'll lose engagement and followers if your images are poor quality, so invest time and effort in honing your photography skills.

Tips for the Best Smartphone Photography:

Gear: Invest in essential gear for your smartphone:

  • a phone tripod for stable shots
  • an overhead arm tripod for diverse angles
  • a phone gimbal stabilizer for smooth movement during tours. 

Don't worry about fancy microphones; most current model smartphones capture decent audio quality.

Lighting: Natural light is your best friend for crisp and vibrant images. Use continuous light with 2 or 4 bulbs to simulate sunlight if necessary. Ring lights work wonders for live sessions. Always turn off unnecessary lights when filming.

Quick Tips: 

  • Clean your phone lens before filming to avoid smudges affecting image quality. 
  • Experiment with your exposure settings, but make sure to keep brightness consistent regardless of the level of natural light
  • Tap the top right corner (if you are on an iPhone) and choose HD60 for clearer images.
  • Use built-in features, like slow-motion or time-lapse, for specific story content.
  • Follow us on Instagram @GardenMedia for updates and new tips as they are released

How to Hold a Phone: Remember the "Squeeze, Stabilize, and Tuck" technique to prevent shaky shots. Always use both hands to stabilize your phone and film with the back camera, not the screen side front camera (or selfie camera?).

Consistency: Maintain a cohesive look using the same filter on all images. Do you find that Instagram uploads a different quality photo than you see in your photo gallery? If so, be sure to adjust your Instagram settings for high-quality uploads. (Settings>Account Data Usage>High Quality Uploads)

Editing Apps: Explore various editing apps like InShot, Splice, Quick, CapCut, iMovie, Adobe Premier Rush, Filmr, Filmora, and Promo to add professional touches to your photos and videos. 

Presets are a great way to bring richness to a photo or create an effect, but tread lightly. Presets should only be used to get a photo closer in line with reality, not farther from it. They can also create a cohesive look for your feed - using the same filter(s) every time; it will gradually start to feel familiar to people.

Music Selection: Choose music that matches the vibe of your content. Consider royalty-free options to avoid copyright issues.

Transitions in Reels: Plan ahead for seamless transitions and incorporate a human element, not just objects popping onto the screen.

Storyboarding: For sponsored content or more intricate shoots, outline each frame's content, including logos, duration, and spoken words. Having this document while discussing content with a brand ensures everyone involved is on the same page.

Influencer Deliverables: Before starting a collaboration, clarify whether the content should be vertical or horizontal, the expected duration, and any required cutdowns.

Homework: Analyzing Professional Instagram Accounts
Examine your favorite professional Instagram accounts, be it brands or influencers, and answer the following questions:

  • Is there a consistent look in all of their photos?
  • How do their photos tell the story of what the account is about?
  • Are there any photos that stand out in a negative way, and how do they compare to the performance of other pictures in their feeds?

Mastering quality photos is essential in social media, especially in the beautiful gardens we want to share. Investing in the right gear, understanding lighting techniques, and ensuring consistency will captivate your audience and foster a loyal following. Quality visuals are a window into your brand's personality and allow you to tell a compelling story that resonates with your gardening community. 

Stay tuned for our next email in the series, where we'll explore the art of incorporating a human touch into your digital social space. And if you stumbled upon this blog and haven’t signed up yet, do so here.

See you next week as we continue nurturing your social media garden!

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Topics: social media

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