Worth a Thousand Words: Photography Tips for Social Marketing

by Brittany McSorley

When it comes to social media marketing, what you say is important, but what your followers see is equally crucial for a successful strategy. Visuals are important for branding and establishing your online presence. In addition to your business’s logo and any color schemes you may stick to, the photos you share to your social accounts create the backbone of your marketing identity.


Not every business owner also happens to be an incredible photographer, which can make marketing photography somewhat tricky. Happily, now that everyone is equipped with a smartphone that includes a seriously good camera, you only need to remember a few important tips to take photos that will boost your marketing efforts.


Keep It Simple

No clutter in this photo taken for the Welch Company in Scituate!

It can be tempting to include a lot to look at in a marketing photo, but avoiding visual clutter is actually very important. When you’re taking photos, establish an object or area that will be the clear focus of the image. Anything that looks too busy will be a visual turnoff for your followers.


Let There Be Light

This shot for Violandi and Warner Interiors is aglow with natural light.

Natural lighting is the best way to go when taking photos for social, so try to find (or create) flattering lighting situations for marketing images. If you absolutely must seek out lighting assistance, beware the use of harsh flash or overexposure, both of which can give photos an unnatural, artificial glaze. It’s much more fun to work in a sun-filled room than an over-lit studio anyway.


Framing is Key

A beautifully framed fireplace for C.J. Riley Builders in Osterville.

In your photo adventures, remember that the rule of thirds will almost never let you down. This involves breaking a photo down into 3 x 3 grids, using two horizontal and two vertical lines. (Never fear—your phone definitely has this grid built into its camera features.) If you aren’t sure where to place the subject of a photo, summon this grid and position the subject along where these lines intersect to create the most visually stimulating version of your image.


Another way to creatively arrange photos is to seek out natural frames, like windows or entryways, and position your subjects within the spaces they create. And don’t be afraid to take a photo from an unexpected angle to create visual interest.


Mind Your Lines

Vertical lines make a serious statement in this shot for Patriot Builders in Harwich.

Don’t let the rule of thirds distract you from watching vertical and horizontal lines in your photos. This is especially important for beach shots (plentiful here on the Cape). Be sure the horizon is always level in these or any other landscape photos. Neat lines are also a must for architectural images. If the shape of a doorframe or window is collapsing into a V, for example, you may need to lower and/or straighten your camera.


Focus on Focus

Pay attention to the way your camera is focusing before you snap a photo. (This is another task your phone will likely handle on its own, but it never hurts to check.) Depending on where your subject is in the frame, play with the focus to find the most interesting way to showcase it.


Sell a Lifestyle

This Executive Landscaping marketing photo is all about lifestyle. Wouldn’t you like to live here?

You want any images you use for marketing to be of the highest quality possible. Appealing images add an aspirational aspect to your marketing strategy, so keep in mind what your customers want from your service. If you’re a builder, your photos should showcase the kind of spaces people dream about living in. If you own a clothing store, share photos of the high-end fashions your customers most admire. Use images to show your followers what’s possible when they patronize your business.


Candids Are Your Friend

A candid from Colombo’s Cafe in Hyannis makes the bar all the more inviting.

It’s easy to forsake candid pictures and aim for the perfect shot, but when it comes to images of yourself, your employees, or your customers, you don’t need to stick to forced smiles and rigid poses. Snap some in-the-moment photos that reflect the real people and real work that goes into your business. Your followers will find that far more interesting than endless “Say cheese!” posts.


Seek Out Symmetry

A symmetrical shot for the Black Cat in Hyannis.

Symmetry is incredibly pleasing to the human eye, so capture it when you can. This is best for photos without people in them—landscapes, nature shots, even close-ups of objects or architectural details. Have you ever found yourself getting lost in Monet’s Japanese bridge paintings? Exactly. Symmetry is good.


Don’t Over-Edit

This behind-the-scenes Roadhouse Cafe photo is simple and sweet, no excessive editing required.

If my count is accurate, there are six billion different filters you can lay over a photo before you post it online, but this, like over-lighting, can lead to an artificial vibe, and you don’t want customers thinking “artificial” when it comes to your products or services. You can make significant improvements to your photos by playing with exposure, focus, or shadows and highlights after the fact, but say no to filters unless they’re very subtle. You want your pictures to look true to life, and just a smidge prettier.


Don’t you feel more prepared already? Grab your phone, keep these tips in mind, and before you know it, photography anxiety will be a thing of the past, and you’ll have plenty of material for sprucing up your social marketing.


All photos by Jennifer Kain DeFoe on behalf of KDC clients.