Six Secrets For a Successful Social Media Photoshoot

It takes just 13 milliseconds for the brain to process an image.

That statistic alone should tell you why visual content is so crucial to social media success.

Even with the most painstakingly crafted copy, most fans aren’t going to stop and read a brand’s post unless it’s accompanied by an image or video that immediately captures their attention – they’re simply scrolling way too fast.

And given that brands need to post to each of their channels several times per week, or even per day, the pressure is on to generate enough high-quality visual assets to remain competitive.

This makes organising a social media photoshoot a particularly daunting task, as you’ll need to fit lots of different shots into a small window of time to remain cost-effective, but each one still needs to stand out in its own way.

Thankfully, we’ve gained a lot of experience over the years and now have our own in-house production studio, Brazen Live, so we’ve perfected the art of planning the perfect shoot. Here are our six simple rules…

The right person for the job

It goes without saying that some photographers are better than others, but it’s not just a question of talent. A celebrity photographer might capture great shots on the go, but might not have the detail-oriented eye to create a perfectly crafted fashion flat lay. The key is to choose someone whose photos echo the style you’re hoping to capture for your brand.

Set the scene

Where you host your shoot is just as important as the photographer. Specialist photography studios often own a treasure trove of useful props that will help you keep costs low on set while still producing diverse, high-quality images, and offer more control over elements like lighting.

On the other hand, shooting on location allows you to create a more natural, relatable feel that’s well suited to social media, and means you can opt for highly aspirational locations, if budget allows. Choose wisely though, as you’ll need to factor in weather, transport, nosy passers-by and whether the destination provides enough versatility to create a variety of shots with different backdrops.

Know your formats

In an ideal world, you’d re-shoot each shot in different dimensions to optimise images for each social channel. For example, full-screen vertical shots are much more likely to draw attention for fans scrolling through their Instagram feed, but Twitter cover photos and certain Facebook ad formats still require landscape shots. Realistically though, this might not be possible on a budget, so try to aim for shots that will still work when cropped to different sizes or settle on square sizing, which works well across most channels and formats. It’s also a good idea to identify a smaller number of key shots to capture in large, high-definition formats for use across PR stories and other marketing channels.

Be the hero

It’s easy to get caught up in the artistry of crafting the perfect scene, but remember that your product still needs to be the star of the show. Having said that, cheesy, unoriginal and overtly promotional shots aren’t likely to gain you any fans on social media, so always try to incorporate your brand in a way that feels innovative yet still natural.

Lead the trend

Hashtag trends are a golden opportunity to reach new audiences and niche interest groups on social media. Keep a close eye on what’s trending and think creatively about how to leverage hashtag-led photo layouts like #FromWhereIStand, #NotFakeSymmetry and #FollowMeTo for your brand. A word of warning though – don’t just jump on bandwagons for the sake of it unless you have a unique and compelling perspective to add to the conversation.

Get a little extra

It’s often said that smartphones mean we’re all photographers now. While we don’t recommend ditching the professionals and embarking on a shoot armed only with an iPhone, that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of your time overseeing photographers on set to capture additional content.

Experiment with different phone formats like panoramic shots for Facebook tilt-to-view posts, Boomerang GIFs for Instagram and behind-the-scenes shots to illustrate company life on LinkedIn.


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