Instagram Photography 101

Instagram can seem a little daunting to a new user, especially when you are using it to market your brand. Fortunately, instagram photography is not rocket science, and you don’t need a degree in marketing to do a good job utilizing instagram for your business.

First of all, before anything, you must understand that utilizing social media marketing is different than other forms of marketing in terms of your goals. You are not looking to initially drive sales or leads, as you are with many paid forms of advertising. You are looking to increase the awareness of your brand, and establish your brand’s identity through photography.

Instagram Photography

Using clean, beautiful photos that clearly convey your brands image should be your number one goal when getting started with instagram. Instagram is a image driven platform, and if you don’t have beautiful images, you aren’t going to stand out.  Not a professional photographer? Don’t worry, you don’t have to be.

Decide on how you want to portray your brand.

Instagram is all about telling your brands story through images, so your images need to convey that individually, and as a whole when you look at your profile. Spend some time looking around and find instagram accounts that you would like to try and emulate. Note the styles they use, the colors and filters they select for their images. This is all important to be aware of when you are taking photos for your brand.

Instagram Profile Overview
Make your profile work for you.

Always be on the lookout for a good image.

Just because you’re not working, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be keeping your eye out for a good instagram photo. There are plenty of times where I’ve snagged a good image because I had the frame of mind to look for it. Almost all of us have a phone with a camera more capable than most dslr’s from ten years ago, so you don’t have any excuses to why you didn’t get a shot.

Instagram Photography Oregon Coast
Not a work day, but doesn’t mean you can’t get the shot.

Crop out the chaos.

Good instagram photographers show their viewers what they want to show. Most of the time, a photograph doesn’t show the whole picture. Keep this in mind. Some of the best shots I’ve ever taken show only a small slice of the whole pie. The photo below of the Japanese Gardens in Portland conveys a sense of peacefulness and calming.  The truth behind the image however couldn’t be further from that. In fact, I had to battle through hordes of tourists and carefully frame my shot in order to get all the people out of the image. The reality of the situation around this image wasn’t calm or peaceful, it was total chaos.

Instagram Photography Portland Oregon
I took this photo while surrounded by way too many people, all jostling for position and trying to walk around me on a narrow path, however I was able to frame everyone out of the photo to get the feel I was after.

Learn & Use Instagram’s Editing Features

Once you select a photo you want to use, instagram gives you tons of options beyond just filters to manipulate your photos. Play around with these tools, and use them to your advantage. Don’t go overboard, but tools like brightness, contrast, highlights, shadows, and tilt shift can go a long way to make a good photo great. Is that perfect sunset shot you took look a little off kilter? No worries, just adjust it before posting and straighten out that horizon line.

Instagram Photography Editing
Instagram has many great built in editing tools, make sure to play around with them and use as needed.

Become An Amature Photographer

Study up on some basic photography principles. Learning the rule of thirds, depth of field, framing techniques, lighting and proper white balance will all drastically improve your photos. A good photographer tends to be a good instagram photographer. Seek out and follow professional photographers on instagram, and take notes of their photos. If they are making money off their images, there’s a reason for it. Also, knowing what your camera can and can’t do will keep you on track.

Instagram Macro Photography
Playing with your phone’s camera and utilizing it’s features is important in being successful with instagram. This photo was taken to test out the Google Pixel’s “Lens Blur” mode, which allows the Pixel to portray depth of field in the photograph.

When in doubt, ask your network of friends or community what they think. Seek out advice from more experienced users or photographers, and be open to criticism. If you would like to learn more,  contact us and we can schedule a private session to help you get the most out of instagram!

Social Media Marketing

Socail Media Marketing

Why is social media marketing important for your business? Well for one, it is one of the fastest growing ways of communicating, and it spans over several generations, allowing you access to millions of potential customers! Using social media can be one of the most effective ways of reaching new customers that you can target specifically for your business.

We all know time is money, and sometimes the grind on social media can feel like you’re spinning your wheels and going nowhere. However, if you follow a few of these simple steps, you can start to make a difference in how your social media accounts work for you.

1.  Pick a platform and put your focus on it.

This might seem counter intuitive, because more platforms means more potential customers, however you don’t want to stretch yourself thin. It is better to do a great job on one or two platforms than do a poor to mediocre job on several platforms.

2. Use high quality images.

Instagram

This one seems obvious, but many people don’t really adhere to this one. Blurry, poorly framed photos are the death of a social media account. Remember, most people aren’t using their personal social media accounts to look at ads, so don’t make your images seem like ads. Tap into the core vision and feel of your business rather than actual day to day business pictures. Leave that for the tweets and the stories.

3. Connect with your customers.

Don’t be afraid to comment, like, and follow people who you think are interesting or could be connections in the future. Even if they’re your competition! Remember, social media is networking at it’s core, and networking is what can make or break your business.

Now get out there and start posting! If you need more help or have questions about social media marketing or using your social media accounts, feel free to drop us an email or give us a call anytime!