Photos are everything on Instagram since it is such a visual network. The number one rule is to post high-quality photos that your audience is interested in seeing because, without that, success on the platform will be difficult to impossible.
You can get Instagram followers no problem, but keeping them means providing valuable content. If you have products to feature in photos – there are some key tips you need to keep in mind.
1. Keep it Natural
Yes, you can pose it, or create a concept for it, but it needs to look and feel natural, too. If you (or your models) feel tense in the photo, then there’s a decent chance that tension will come through in the final product – thus leaving your audience to feel that way. That means letting your model take a few moments to relax and do whatever it is you want them to do in the photo before you actually take it.
A social media brand photographer says that whenever she shoots sporting goods or athletic products, she always has the model do some stretches or exercises beforehand to loosen up. In the end, it creates a more authentic, natural, photo that serves the brand way better than a posed photo.
An easy way to keep things natural is to use real people you know, and are already comfortable with when you take your shots if you don’t have anyone else to take them for you. Instagram photos of real people tend to do to better than photos that don’t show people, and not everyone has to be a professional model to look good in a photo shoot. You can see why this is by reading more here.
Working with people you know – friends and family – makes it easier to create authentic lifestyle moments and get real expressions as you capture the moments. You can always take a series of photos and decide which one to use on your feed.
2. Have Someone Else Take Candids of You
In line with keeping things natural, get into the groove of whatever you’re having photos taken of. Focus less on the fact that you’re there to take photos for use on social media, and more on the activity that you’re doing. If possible, ask someone else to take the photos, so they can take them when you’re not paying attention.
Candid photos are the absolute best lifestyle shots and come off as more genuine than posed. And thanks to Instagram, we now have the plandid – or the planned candid. It’s a thing, and it works! Plan the concept of the photo and set it up, but surprise whoever is in the photo by taking it without warning.
3. Be Careful to Not Over or Under Sell
Brands placed in the lifestyle shots need to belong there and fit seamlessly into the photo. It’s nice when other brands promote you, and followers are generally happy you’re being sponsored because it means you’re doing well and getting attention.
But, for influencers, there’s a clear difference between promoting a brand, and completely selling out. If you try to put too many unrelated sponsored items into a single photo, it will become too cluttered. This prevents the eye from resting on any particular object and causes confusion. Eventually, the audience will stop trusting the account, and either unfollow or ignore future posts.
At the same time, you don’t want the item to be such a small part of the photo that it gets completely overlooked, because then brands will not want to work with you as an influencer when they don’t get their expected return on investment.
If you need ideas as to how you could feature a product in a photo that fits with your lifestyle and audience, the brand can usually help – but if you have to force it to make it work, that’s a good sign it’s not a good fit for you – no matter how well the campaign pays.
Never take a photo with items just to post it. It risks lowering your credibility because you don’t have an interest in the item, and will ultimately cause your followers to disengage. Instead, showing that you’re actively using or wearing an item creates a personal connection that’s easy to relate to.
4. Try Shooting Photos at Eye-Level
Shoot as many of your lifestyle photos from eye-level as possible, especially if they feature products. This angle provides a personal touch and can help users feel as though they are either looking at the object with you or they’re looking at it in person.
5. Use Action Shots
Action shots are always better than posed because it shows people what your products are capable of doing. If you want to take a photo of someone running in the park, don’t have them pretend to run.
Have them actually run, and capture various photos while it happens. You want to capture the story as it happens, and the only way you can do this is to have your model live the story you’re telling.
Whether you’re a brand trying to get better quality shots with models, or you’re an influencer looking to make brands happy with your sponsored posts, the key is to have fun and keep everyone involved having a good time so the positive emotions shine through the photos. It’s also important to make sure the photos are consistent with the feed and create an atmosphere followers can relate to.