Nowadays, instead of pictures being worth 1000 words, social media has come to rely on pictures having space for at least a handful of words.
I’ve seen a lot of discussions lately on use of images to catch the eyes of people scrolling by on Facebook or Twitter. Many of those discussions also warn about the danger of scooping images off the internet and using them in your own posts. Ask my friend about that danger. He had to pay a sizable sum to Getty Images because he made that blunder last year. Now, he himself takes many of the photos he uses for his business.
There are many sites where you can access free images, but I’m not here to talk about those. One of the problems I’ve noticed with those sites is that you start to see the same image in posts by dozens of other people.
For instance, I used a stock photo from a free site when I created a graphic for one of my early blog posts. Once I used that stock photo for my graphic, I started seeing that same dang photo used everywhere! I did not want people to start questioning whether I wrote a specific piece, or if it was a different website. Just like you, I want to stand out when I’m creating a post about my business on social media.
One way to avoid using a free stock photo that ends up becoming the go-to-picture-of-the-year among social media marketers is to take your own photos specifically for your use on social media.
How will the pictures be used?
First, you should ask yourself what you will use the photos for:
- Creating quotations to post on social media
- Incorporating images into blog posts or newsletters
- Creating hero space graphics for your website
- Creating featured images with blog post titles for use on social media
- Creating Pins specifically for use when pinning things on your Pinterest boards
Close your eyes and imagine how each looks. How much copy will be on each photo? This is a very important question to ask yourself, because it will determine how you frame your shot. For a longer quotation that covers nearly the entire image, you’ll probably end up making the image somewhat transparent, or more like a watermark behind the words. It will be the words that are showcased.
Framing the Shot for Future Uses
Thinking about featured images for blog post titles, hero space graphics, or images that will be used with an advertisement, you may want the subject of the image off to the side. Here is where you will need to be sure to take several shots of your subject:
- One with the subject close up and centered, with a square area
- One horizontal photo, with the subject centered
- One portrait/vertical photo, with the subject centered
- Several horizontal with the subject offset, to allow room for a quote, title, or other text (left, right, up, down, however many you want)
- Several portrait/vertical with the subject offset, to allow room for a quote, title, or other text (top, bottom, etc.)
You’ll likely want to use the highest resolution you can when you take your photos, to ensure high quality for the posts you’ll make with these photos. Once you have your own stash of photos, your social media posts will stand out more, since there’s no chance of someone taking the same photo the same way as you. Here’s a good article about the “Rule of Thirds” in photography, which gives tips on how to balance an image using vertical and horizontal lines.
Below, you can see an example of one of the photos I grabbed variations of for my social media posts. Yes, I was walking in my neighborhood and there just happened to be a typewriter on the sidewalk (Berlin is like that). Keep your eyes open. You never know what you’ll see!Have you ever taken your own photo for use in a social media graphic? Was the photo inspired by a quote you already knew, or was the text inspired by the photo?
Bernadette Geyer is a freelance editor and translator, as well as the author of Branding for Beginners: Why consistency is the key to creating and maintaining a brand image. The book leads you step by step through the process of putting together a Brand Style Guide, which is basically a cheat sheet for the way you market your business! The Brand Style Guide will keep you consistent throughout all of your marketing materials, making it easier for customers to recognize your brand and remember your key messages, while saving you time and energy.