How to Capture Outstanding Photos for Visual Social Marketing

By Krista Neher

When it comes to visual social marketing, you have to take great-looking photos. A visual social marketing strategy isn’t complete without them, especially ones — taken on the go — of your business in action. Though you previously had to hire a professional photographer, now you can simply shoot your own photos that are unique, interesting, and engaging.

Taking photos is one of the simplest ways to start building an image marketing library. Regardless of the type of business you’re in, taking photos is a helpful way to start creating visual marketing content.

Some businesses might think that this option isn’t a good one for them, because they have no physical product or service to market, but that isn’t the case. Using a little creativity, any business can take photos as a part of its visual marketing strategy.

If you aren’t a professional, don’t worry. The key to success in taking photos is creativity and taking advantage of interesting photo opportunities. The idea here is to start taking photos to begin building a library of images that you can use over time.

You may not use all the images right away, but the bigger your library, the more you have to draw on when you need a photo for visual social marketing.

The key to success is to experiment.

When you’re shooting photos, the primary issue is how good of a camera you need. A professional-quality camera produces better-looking photos; however, professional-quality photos aren’t always necessary to best meet your marketing objectives.

When determining which type of camera you need, consider whether you need

  • Professional-quality photos: If you’re considering purchasing a professional-quality SLR camera, be prepared to spend between $500 and $1,000. This type of camera gives you a lot of flexibility in your photography, and you can use the additional options and controls to customize more aspects of the image. The downside is that you have to learn how to use the camera.

    Also, many professional-quality cameras take pictures that are too big to use on social networks — the images must be resized to make them small enough to upload to social networks, which is time consuming.

    Images can be edited; however, they have to be downloaded to your computer and uploaded into a photo editing application. Then they have to be uploaded to the social network on which you want to share them. The bottom line: Although professional-quality photos can provide more detail and better lighting, they’re significantly more time consuming to take and upload to social media.

  • Point-and-shoot: This type of camera costs significantly less than a professional-quality camera — you can purchase one for as little as $100. The benefits of using point-and-shoot are that you can easily get started and you have a lot more flexibility for taking photos with zoom and lighting settings.

    One problem with shooting photos from a smartphone is that you can’t easily control the lighting, shooting mode, or zoom level. A point-and-shoot camera overcomes these issues. One remaining challenge is that taking pictures with a camera involves uploading them to a computer, editing them, and (potentially) resizing them before they’re ready to upload to a social network, which can be time consuming.

  • The ability to shoot pictures from your smartphone: Smartphones typically take the lowest-quality images, and the options for shooting photos are limited (though newer smartphones are improving the situation). The benefits of taking photos with a smartphone is that you can quickly take the photo, quickly edit the photo, and quickly share the photo.

    A number of photo editing applications for smartphones let you edit photos directly on your device. (Some smartphones even have these features built in.) Also, after you’ve taken a photo, you can upload it to a social network in a single click so that you don’t have to download the photo to your computer and then upload it.

Although a professional-quality image from a high-end camera looks good, it may not be worth the time and effort, depending on how you’re planning to use the image.

Even if you own a high-end SLR camera with multiple lenses, a point-and-shoot model, and a smartphone with a camera, you may find that when you’re creating visual assets for social media, the applications on your smartphone make pictures quick and easy to shoot and share. Also, newer editing applications let you make more interesting photos without having to worry about photo editing software.

Depending on how you’re planning to use the photo, however, you may sometimes prefer professional images.

First plan how to use the image. After you know how you want to use it, you can better evaluate the pros and cons of different camera options. You certainly don’t need high-end photography equipment to be successful in visual social media marketing.