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How to take top-notch shots for social media on your smartphone

By Lois Ransome on August 16, 2019

A picture paints a thousand words, which is why visual content consistently performs better than plain text on social media. But how often do you have photos professionally produced for your social channels? 

The reality is that most of your photos are probably taken on a smartphone, so ensure your images are top-notch with our top 10 tips for taking the very best photos on your smartphone.

1. Invest in a tripod

Go hands free and ensure your photos are level by investing in a small tripod. These can be picked up from Amazon for less than a tenner, but are totally priceless.

2. Be aware of lighting

Smartphone flashes aren't great, they cast a horrible stark light and are very unflattering for portraits, not to mention the red eye!

Take advantage of natural light by shooting outside, but if you have to take photos indoors then position yourself near a window for optimum natural lighting.

3. Shoot according to the platform

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all favour landscape images for posts, whilst you’ll need square shots for your Instagram feed and portrait for stories.

As a rule of thumb turn your phone on its side and shoot landscape, as you can always crop your images for Instagram.

Social platforms change their optimum image sizes all the time, so keep up to date with this quick reference guide from Hootsuite. 

4. Don’t zoom!

Zooming is a big no unless you’re using a professional camera. On a smartphone zooming diminishes the quality of a photo.

Instead of zooming, stand closer to your subject, or if that’s not possible take the photo from where you are, then crop the image to your liking.  

5. Clear the scene

Be sure to tidy away any items that may ruin your shot. 

This is particularly important for tradesmen when taking photos of their finished work. Pop any tools or materials out of sight so as to not detract from the quality of your work. 

If you’ve made a bit of a mess run the hoover round, it tells potential customers that you’ll make good and clean up after yourselves when you’re finished - always an added selling point! 

6. Practise the rule of thirds

One of the most basic principles of photography and key to creating a well balanced composition is the rule of thirds.

The principle is to break the image into thirds both horizontally and vertically leaving you with a nine frame grid. The frame serves as a guideline for where you should place your subject, either at the intersections or along the lines.

At its most basic, if you’re taking a photograph of a landscape, the horizon should lay on one of the lines so that you’re photographing either two-thirds sky and one-third land or vice versa.

7. Turn on HDR

If you’re using an iPhone make sure you turn the High Dynamic Range (HDR) setting on before you take your shot. HDR automatically blends together 3 different images taken very quickly at different exposures to create a single photo with better colours and detail. 

8. Tap on your subject

Once you’ve framed your composition, tap on your subject to ensure your smartphone focuses specifically on that point.

9. Shoot from different angles

Practise makes perfect, so take several shots from different angles and select your favourite.

10. Use online editing tools

There are so many tools and apps online for editing your shots including Pixlr and Adobe Photoshop Express, which are free and easy to use. Crop, straighten and resize your images before you put them online, you can even remove red eye.

Just don't go overboard as heavily edited photos often look heavily edited, unless done by a professional. 

Learn more about making the most of your social media channels with a Social Media Training Course from Digital Reflow. Alternatively, if you’re too busy to keep on top of all things social, let us manage it for you with a comprehensive social media strategy. For more information please get in touch now.