Social Media Photography Tips: Be Authentic and Relevant

Maddy Sharkey

Content Marketing,
Digital Marketing

5 Tips to Creating Authentic Social Media Content

It doesn’t matter if you post every day. It matters what you post. The “secret” is out--nobody cares about invaluable clutter on their social media feed. Content strategy is turning to quality over quantity, and it’s important that businesses realize that social media content should have an intentional audience, purpose and goal. Once you know who you're talking to, where to find them and what you want them to do, now you need to tailor your message. And make it authentic and relevant, but how?

1. Focus on framing and aesthetics. Be consistent.

Let’s be real, not everyone has “the eye.” "The eye" is the capability to analyze visual aspects within a viewfinder (or frame) and decide if it is visually satisfying for the viewer. This includes composition, color, lighting, focus and how all of those things work in tandem to create the aesthetic. This is important for both catching the viewer’s attention as they scroll through their social feed, as well as making your product visually appealing. It's also important that images uploaded to a brand's social media assets maintain a similar look and feel to create a consistent visual brand voice and tone.

2. Have a shot list. Be original.

No surprise here, but there’s nothing special or authentic about overused stock photos. What’s the solution? Produce original social media photography! Bring your camera everywhere because you can’t plan the moments you are looking to capture and share to your social media page; they just happen. Those moments are also near impossible to find on stock photo websites. If they are found, the images have been used hundreds or thousands of times. The time you spend searching for the right photograph, getting the rights to it and purchasing it could be time spent creating your very own photo archive.

A checklist is crucial in this process.

  • Create a list of products or services offered by your business.
  • Create subcategories, keywords, or things you associate with that service or product.
  • Turn those ideas into tangible objects that can be photographed and related back to what you are selling.

Example: If your business offers Cybersecurity think of things that are secure like a lock. Then list all kinds of locks: bike locks, deadbolts, padlock, keys. Now go photograph those items in the proper lighting, settings, etc.


Image courtesy of Smart Photography Course

3. Get out into the community. Be present.

In order to be relevant, you have to get out there and capture what is happening today, right now, in your community. This is an amazing opportunity to have face-to-face conversations and network. “Are you a photographer,” the person asks as I snap a photo of map hanging on the wall. “No, I am with a company that needs a photograph of this because….” fill in blank with what your business has to offer! Hand them your business card, and BOOM, you have achieved authenticity. Antique shops are a goldmine for photo opportunities. It is highly recommended to politely ask businesses owners if they mind if you take some photographs in their shop.

4. Have a distribution plan. Be strategic.

Prepare at least one full week of social media ahead of time. This brings cohesive organization to your social media photography and feed. Don’t just logon to an app and start thinking of hashtags off the top of your head. Have a collection of hashtags that are categorized by types of posts you make and copy and paste them into your post. Look at the image and consider businesses or people you can tag in the post to get the attention of someone who may not follow or know you. This could easily lead to that business “sharing” your post, which has truly optimized your social media content.



5. Stay up to date. Be punctual.

Part of a great social media strategy is knowing what day it is. No, really, don't miss a holiday! Holidays and "national days" are a great opportunity to be original and creative with your social media photography. For example, if you're a bakery, your post on February 3rd may just be celebrating National Carrot Cake Day! While it is important to have your social media scheduled ahead of time, don't schedule it so far ahead you're missing out on current events. If something exciting happens in your community, or in the company, you want to leave a flexibility in the month to share those moments.

Consider your social media approach and before you click “post,” ask yourself, “Why am I posting? Who is my audience?” and, “What is the best and most visually appealing way to communicate this to my audience?” Put someone in charge who has an eye for aesthetics, is handy with a camera, isn’t afraid to get out into the community, and is organized and intentional with what they are doing. If you follow those steps, you'll be ahead of the curve!


Digital Coordinator & Junior Designer

Maddy is a graphic designer and enjoys being immersed in everything digital. She has been an East Side resident for over six years and believes Milwaukee is the place to be! She prides herself on always having a restaurant recommendation and believes a screen should be replaced with a good book every night.

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