Visual social media is now a hot topic in marketing.
It's not really surprising visuals: photographs and videos have been selling products for years.
Our brain process images better than text and done well they work.
These days all social media platforms have got their head round this and provided us with great ways of presenting images.
Engagement increases by around 30% with a photo and 20% with video.
That's the great news.
OK there is some bad news...
Done badly it could really damage your business whether that business is you, a service you sell, or your products.
What are your options to get great photos?
How can you stand out from the crowd?
You must differentiate.
Don't have the budget?
There is one more route you can take, no it's not ripping off photos and hoping nobody will notice as copyright infringement comes with a hefty fine.
You can take your own photographs!
Want to find out more? Read on...
Get into the habit of taking photos all the time.
You may have a story/blog/brochure or quote you want to illustrate already in mind so think around the subject, don't always opt for the obvious.
Photos can illustrate all sorts of things, here are a selection of mine, most of these are shot with a small compact or my smart phone
or be the cover of a brochure about healthcare or,
inspiration for a colour palette
Be creative with your composition. We don't need to see the child in the photo but it still tells a story, (you must have written parental consent for publishing shots of under 18's in the UK)
Leave a little bit to the imagination, and there's plenty of space to overlay text that will read.
Look for evocative images. Everyone likes the sea....Usethe rule of thirds to compost your picture
This image is perfect for a quote which can then be used in Twitter, Pinterest etc
Or it could be used for an invitation, an illustration for a brochure...the list goes on.
I hope I've given you food for thought.
Keeping things tidy...
I used Canva to overlay text. It's a really cool design tool.
In five years time, you will thank me for this advice. Build your own library, it's valuable and it's yours.
Social media platforms are developing all the time.
Why, because they want their share of the social media apple and in order
to get that they have to stay ahead, or at least (in some cases) keep up!
So here are two Twitter hacks that you may not know about but are really useful.
Pin at tweet to the top of your feed
Pick a great Tweet, one that you want people to look at and not
disappear in the great ramble of Twitter feeds...
In other words, it doesn't get lost.
It could be:
And here's how to do it:
Below is an example of one that I pinned to my Twitter feed. It sits at the top
until I decide to change it.
I got a few engagements even though I forgot to hashtag it!
Yes, I did, so Twitter if you are listening to me, can we have an
edit button next, like Instagram?
That brings me to my next point.
How did I put that Twitter post onto my website?
It's really simple:
You can do it with a video too.
This is Buffy the rat slayer, well, we like to think so!
You can do this with other people's Tweets too.
©Lynn Keddie 2015
A few years ago I went to a seminar by Andy Rouse, the award winning wildlife photographer.
I don't want to be a wildlife photographer I specialise in horticulture, so why did I go?
I went because
I photograph people so I took a course by Boo Beaumont, also an award winning portrait photographer. The opposite in character to Andy. Boo is quietly spoken. She too is passionate and inspirational.
If you want to make it in this business you need to get out there.
You may find yourself in situations that may feel difficult, or,
Photograph in less than ideal conditions.
After 15 years in the business here are my tips to keep your work fresh and get even better:
Observe. Watch the world around you.
Experiment. Get out of your comfort zone.
Read, look, research images
Enjoy yourself. Don't be tough on yourself if things don't work out
And my last thought
Never think you've made it-always aspire to better.
Here are a few I made earlier...
Pinterest is growing fast
As-well-as collecting and sharing beautiful images;
It's now a place to brand your business and sell your product , but
It's social media so don't spoil the fun by shouting too loudly.
Be smart and, join the fastest growing party!
In the infographic below we show you how to
Pin the BEST way
And if you like this infographic why not Pin it to one of your boards, or
The camera can be a weapon, it is also a valuable tool. . Get to know it, experiment with it but remember;
the quality of the camera does not determine the beauty of the image.
'Never work with animals or children.'
It's true and I would add insects to that list too!
But sometimes you have to.
So here are my tips on taking pictures of animals that look good.
Don't expect things to happen quickly, you can't rush animals they're in charge.
Plan in advance:
Once everything's set up, travel light.
Walk around slowly, stand still and observe the animals.
When you see something you want to photograph be ready to press the shutter, take several shots rapid fire, to ensure that you get one where the animal is in the perfect position. They just don't get, 'stand still and smile'.
So here goes, these are my favourite shots from this shoot.
Look for good groups to photograph
Zoom in for a really tight crop.
Look for patterns, odd numbers work best.
Look for great light and go for the emotional pull.
Put images in context.
Try and catch moments like this where there is a dialogue,
'Hold my hand, we can cross the road together'
And you don't always have to focus on the face
to take a great shot.
What is negative space?
Here are some examples....
A black and white photo shows negative and positive space (the subject) clearly.
There is negative space between them and around them. I placed them at the bottom right to create tension. Can you read a dialogue here?
The paving in this image is negative space.
The lines fall diagonally which, together with the shadow, and placing of the subjects creates balance and movement.
The image below is the same subject but not as good composition, can you see why?
The couple's shadow falls outside the frame of the shot.
The tension is lost, it seems unfinished, messy.
The vast expanse of paving criss-crossing over the canvas (negative space) draws your eye towards the skateboarder.
Draw a 3 x 3 grid over this image, the skateboarders chest is bisected by two of the lines.
This is the rule of thirds. Key parts of an overall image look best at the intersections of these lines.
Introducing another person changes the dynamic. What story is this now telling?
How does negative space work with colour images?
This photograph shows the flowering habit of this plant. Each flower is distinct from the other, created by negative space helped by using a blank background. This would be more difficult to achieve in a garden setting. But there are ways around this.
This image was published in The Garden (RHS).
The grass becomes the negative space here.
This photograph featured in The Simple Things.
This is the most technically tricky shot of the bunch. Negative space is created by setting a wide aperture rendering most of the foliage out of focus. Except the rose and also the leaf, which becomes part of the narrative of the image.
This photo appeared in Gardens Illustrated.
Whether you're an aspiring photographer, or a blogger using photography to sell your story you want to get noticed, right?
Does it seem like an impossible dream?
No it isn't.
In fact, it's easier than ever to get your images seen, and by the right people.
Here are my 10 tips
1 Show your friends
Obvious, but do it. Show your work to friends and family then it gets easier showing your work to the rest of the world.
Post regularly on Facebook it still has impressive year-on-year growth in social media referrals at 58%
[source Danny Wong Shareaholic Content Media Traffic Report October 2014.]
And you get feedback on the shots they like the best.
2 Start a Facebook business page
You can add a business account to your personal account and reach more people,
even advertise your work to your target audience for a few pounds.
I told my Facebook 'business' friends about a print that I was selling and several people
wanted to buy one.
3 Twitter is not just for chatting
I have met many people who just don't get it,
but I have a loyal following and have made money (4 figures) using Twitter
So what are my tips?
Subscribe to my mailing list and I will let you into my secrets.
(I promise I will never spam you just offer you lovely surprises and useful information).
And, follow me
4 Pinterest is no longer just the pin board of cupcake fanatics and wedding planners.
In 2014 Pinterest had the fastest growing social media referrals with 67% increase year-on-year.
[source Danny Wong Shareaholic Content Media Traffic Report October 2014.]
The UK lags behind the US but you can bet it's going to be the place to be seen, so start Pinning now.
And of course it's so full of inspiration, all at the click of a picture, bliss!
Follow my boards and see what I love!
More on how to use Pinterest for business in a future Blog!
5 Instagram the arty site
6 Google+ not rocking my visual world yet
7 Picture libraries
Google picture libraries or stock photo libraries and you will see A LOT.
It's a very competitive market as they all vie to get their material bought.
The prices you get for you images vary hugely from pennies to pounds, nickels to dollars .
Specialist libraries command better rates and consequently you get decent money for your beautiful work.
And always, always, always keep your copyright.
Once it's gone, it's gone for good. You will never make another penny for that work.
8 Magazines and books
A traditional format that is trundling into digital slowly
I'm talking from the point of view of the publishers here not punters.
It has worked for me for the last 15 years.
But, the whole publishing industry has been turned on it's head and it has been painful, costly and traditional publishers are struggling to make digital publishing profitable.
I can't see lots of traditional magazines existing outside of 2016.
There are lots. Google photography competitions
10 The Art World
Thankfully another area which is being challenged by the internet.
Now it's much easier to get your work displayed via on-line galleries and
Thanks for reading this, if you enjoyed it and want to find out more please jot your details down on my mailing list. I won't spam you, but I will offer useful advice, latest headlines and help to get you noticed.
Winter means short days and not a lot of light.
Bare earth and dying foliage.
Muddy fields and rain.
It also means crisp frosty mornings,
watery winter sunlight, and
Photography in Winter requires a special kind of commitment:
Hot tip: In very cold weather keep your spare battery (you do always carry a spare don't you?) In your trouser pocket to keep warm, that way you can swap your batteries over when they get too cold and stop working properly.
Hot tip two: Carry a hand warmer. In temperatures of -8C I thought that my automatic locking on my car had stopped working, it was actually my fingers!
Wait until conditions are right:
These are some I made earlier...
So wrap up, get out there and have some fun.
1 Stop using auto
Instead dial onto aperture priority or shutter priority and experiment.
2 Understand your lens
If you have more than one lens, choose one and go out for an hour or so, shoot 40 or more shots varying the way you use that lens. Go home, take a long hard look at the results on your computer screen and see what you can learn.
3 Photograph a willing subject
Ask a friend if they will model for you. Say you will need them for about 1 hour and then photograph them. Work out how you will pose before hand. If you are using natural light, make sure you chose somewhere that has interesting light, diffused if possible.
4 Clean your equipment
Keep your kit clean. Use a lint free cloth I like Pec*Pads. Keep your bag dust free and organised. Regularly download images from memory cards then format to erase them. Keep a cloth in your bag to wipe your camera if it gets wet. Always keep a lens hood on your camera.
5 Set up a still life
Place your subject close to a natural light source, frame and shoot. Experiment with different apertures and camera angles. Try fruit, musical instruments, bottles anything really.
6 Move (pan) the camera
While you are shooting a subject either sweep it up or to the side when you press the shutter. Alternatively, zoom the lens in when you shoot, you may need a tripod. Experiment its great fun.
7 Try light painting
In Winter, when there is more darkness than light try this. Set your camera up on a tripod. Set to bulb. Click the shutter and stand with a torch 10 feet in front of the lens. Make a picture with the torch, after say 60s. Depress the shutter again and look at the results. Keep trying adjusting the shutter speed till you get the right effect.
8 Use a tripod
Essential for longer exposures they are a bit cumbersome to begin with, but I wouldn't be without mine.
9 Use a neutral density filter
Useful to darken skies and balancing the light over a whole frame. It doesn't affect the colour.
10 Share your photos
...the list goes on and will probably get longer! Ask for feedback and give feedback to others. It is about sharing after all.
Sign up for my newsletter if you want my HOT 3 tips if you want to take great photos
Found photographing in rain or shine for magazines and the like.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.