When you’re scrolling through your social media newsfeed, certain images will catch your eye, and others you’ll scroll straight past.
“Research has found that our brain can process an image within 13 milliseconds,” says Amber Pace, lead photographer at Social Media Photographers.
“Images that aren’t cluttered and are clear and in focus are easier for our brains to recognise, and tend to be images that we like to look at, whereas if an image is dark, out of focus or has too many visuals to choose from, we’ll scroll straight past it.”
Thankfully, you don’t need to be a professional photographer to take great photos for your work social media platforms – it’s all about using your smart phone the right way and mastering the basics of great image composition.
Have a hero of your photo
The hero of a shot could be the location where you train, the exercise equipment you’re using for a session, or a healthy meal in a food shot.
“If there’s a clear hero to a shot, it helps you understand what you’re taking the photo of and it also gives the shot a purpose or storyline, because there’s always got to be a reason or purpose for the photos you post on social media,” explains Pace. Ideally, photos should be newsworthy, inspirational or educational.
Get the lighting right
“The classic tip is to have the light behind you, although that’s almost irrelevant these days, because when you’re taking a selfie you need the light to be in front of you,” says Pace.
“So, my lighting advice would be to be aware of where the light is and make sure it’s shining onto your subject.”
Avoid zooming in
Most smart phones don’t have the technology to keep an image sharp when you zoom in, and instead the image ends up being blurry.
“You’re better off getting close to the hero or subject of the shot, but if you can’t, you can crop it afterwards and still maintain detail and a nice, sharp image,” says Pace.
Cropping an image is also a good way of removing anything unnecessary or distracting from the scene. “Look at the items in your shot and decide if they detract from the ‘story’ or adds value, then if they detract, crop it out,” advises Pace.
Use your guidelines
The camera settings on your phone will allow you to turn on your 'guidelines', which splits your viewfinder into a grid of nine.
“Try placing your hero subject on one of the cross sections of the grid,” advises Pace. “This helps us 'read' images better and guides our eyes around the image rather than focusing directly in the middle.”
Guidelines also help you consider where the horizon line is, and let you make the most of those stunning sunrises at early morning training sessions.
“If the purpose of the shot is to share the sunrise colours, fill the frame with two-thirds sunrise,” adds Pace. “If the sky isn't your focal point and the purpose of the shot is the training activity, fill the frame with two-thirds of the training activity.”
Master the flat lay photo
To perfect the flat lay style photos that are popular on Instagram (think shots from above of someone’s carefully positioned café breakfast, smoothie, favourite magazine, sports watch etc) keep it simple.
“When you’re learning, keep it to three to five items, then as you get more confident styling shots you can start adding more items to your flat lay,” advises Pace.
Keeping the flat lay colour scheme simple (think two or three colours) is also a good idea, for a professional-looking photo.
Get more tools and tips from our Grow Your Fitness Business Toolbox