How to take better brand photos for instagram and social media

You’re going to need images for your brand!

It’s a visual world out there and people want to SEE your brand, just as much (if not more) than they want to read about it.

And, I know that many of you don’t have the luxury of hiring out a photographer to create your own custom images – especially when your business is still in the early stages.

Of course, you can totally just use good ol’ stock photography – see my list of resources from Day 6 of the challenge to help you out. That’s a valid, easy option for finding great images.

But, what if you want images that are more one of kind – or what if you want to utilize the power of Instagram in marketing – and you don’t want to rely on other people’s photographs?

That’s where your own creative efforts come in! Yay, fun!! 🙂  Right? Or could be totally scary, too.

You may not be good at this already, which is just fine. Heck, I’m an actual photographer, who gets paid to take photos of people from time to time and I still fumble around with this to figure out what the right types of images I should be using for my brand. It’s an ever evolving process and something that you’ll get better and better at. 

It’s going to take some practice as you fiddle. You’ll get better at seeing things worthy of your beautifully curated instagram, and it will get easier to edit and create images that capture the mood of what you want.

Today, I’d like to share a few tips – specific to instagram for taking and editing images that are “on-brand” and that work well to tell your brand story.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Be clear about what you want to say and HOW you want to say it visuallyUse the worksheet from yesterday to get yourself clear.

2. Be consistent with telling that brand story and try to not go off track (too much). Your images all grouped together and all speaking with the same voice is what’s going to have a powerful branding impact.

3. When taking photos – don’t be afraid to take many to get the right one. Try different angles and points of view. Get up high, shoot it up close, pull back, etc. As a photographer – sometimes I’ll take TONS of shots just to get the 1-2 that I’m after.

4. Pay attention to what’s in the background. Noise and “ugliness” behind your main subject can really distract and take away from the impact. I’ve been known to physically move things away that just don’t fit – or move my subject to somewhere with less background noise.
Here’s an example of this – a photo that my mom (love you mom) took of me at an art show I recently had:

I think the chairs take away from just how awesome this was and although I love my daughter madly, her looking at me like I’m a weirdo is a bit distracting.

Sometimes you can edit your way out of stuff like this – but at a cost. You can’t see all of the paintings with me in the edited version and the image quality isn’t as great zoomed in.

What would have been better is – if in the moment – I would have just moved those chairs out of the way and took a moment to set the stage a little more thoughtfully. But, hey, I was nervous and there were people around – I wasn’t thinking clearly. 🙂

The edited photo is a little more on purpose though and would work better for sharing on Instagram (in all my dorkiness). *wink* But, that dorkiness is part of my brand, it’s who I am and what people like about me – so it’s a good thing to share and promote.

5. Approach how you edit your images in a consistent way. Keep in mind the story that you’re telling and the mood and vibe you want to convey.

Some of my favorite phone apps for editing (on an iPhone) are:

VSCO Cam – my go to absolute favorite, especially for creating film-like black and whites.

Be Funky
ShakeIt
After Focus
Snapseed

Here’s a before and after of a photo I took of my cute pup – I saw him sitting there on the brightly colored rug and thought – YES! That is so my brand colors and I can also show off my adorable work mate, who keeps me company all day. 🙂

But, when I took the photo, it was just, blah. The cart wheel is in the background and the curtains distract and he is a little blurry.

I used VSCO Cam to crop, brighten it up and wash out the curtains in the background – and the filter I chose makes the whole thing feel a little bit like in a dream – happy and nostalgic. This photo is a lot more intentional and more “on brand” that the one shot straight out of the camera.

What will happen when you start to edit your images – really thinking about your brand and what story you’re trying to tell – is that you’ll develop a system – your favorite filters – a little brighter – or converting to black and white, etc. And that consistency will help to solidify and build up the recognition factor of your brand.


 So, what is your action prompt for today?

Take some photos on your phone, of course!

But not just any old shaps – take photos that will help tell the story of your brand and the message that you want to get across TO your ideal customers.

See if you get 2-3 images that are edited and ready to go for sharing. You might have to venture out into the world to do this, but I bet there is plenty of subject matter around your home that you could focus on.

Don’t be afraid to experiment, strategically stage some items, or take photos of things you don’t usually think to shoot. Use the worksheet from yesterday to inform the way you approach this. See if you can find new ways of SEEING today.

Oh, and please.. have some fun with it, will ya?