Tips for Social Media Photography

Social media platforms are like a throwback to the 35mm images of the past.

The rectangle shaped photographs accepted in popular social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook makes the process of shooting and uploading images online require a new set of understanding and skill. That said, there are other formats to consider at well just like the cover photo on Facebook where it’s rectangular and long, it needs to have an image that is composed with a landscape look.

This makes social media photography more complicated than it looks like, if you are an aspiring professional photographer you will need a more than basic understanding of how to present your images in your social media profiles in a much professional looking and better way. Here are some ways on how you can improve in presenting your images in social media.

Framing & Composition

An image where your subject is positioned in the center of the image won’t be too interesting to view at and frequently summons the “amateur” tag. The rule of thirds encourages you to split the image in your mind into three parts, and place your subject either in the right or left third of the photo. It’s commonly acknowledged as good composition even in social media platforms.

social media photography

The profile picture you retain on social channels – Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Foursquare and many others – are square shaped and the rule of thirds basically won’t look good. So, if you are shooting a series of images intended to be used as profile images – whether to highlight a product or support a campaign – compose and place your subject in the center of the photo and apply a lot of exposure on it. Bear in mind that you’re going to be cropping this image to a square, so a photo that’s lengthier than it is horizontally will eventually mean your viewers will see less of the subject in the thumbnail.


Images posted on social media channels automatically decreases its quality so its recommended to always shoot images with proper lighting and accompanying correct camera settings. This can be made possible by adjusting the ISO and white balance settings. To simplify things: a higher ISO number allows you to shoot images faster and capture more pleasing light. So when shooting in darkened indoor places but you want to produce a brightly lit image, you can go as high as your camera ISO settings can allow (It may be up to ISO 6400 and higher for newer cameras). ISO starts from 50 and up. Another way is to match the existing light in the shooting environment to the white balance setting. If you are shooting indoors using fluorescent lights, select that setting

social media photography

Background & Style

Choosing a background and styling your images posted on social media channels is very important. If you are highlighting a product, study the brand’s sense of style and apply that insight when shooting your subject. Always shot a subject with a background related to it, you cannot allow your subject to be out of place with the background. Styling is also required when you post something in social media. Food photographs for example requires decent styling you don’t just take a picture of a plateful of food, make sure to dedicate time styling the plate, the background and making it appear more colorful tasteful in photographs.

Camera Angles

This is an interesting and underrated trick. Camera lenses of all makes – even the ones on smartphones – are generally made of some sort of curved glass. Altering the positioning of the camera to the subject can change the style of the image and convey some creative essentials to your photographs. Try taking photos from below or above your subject, or try moving to the subject’s side and shooting from an angle versus straight on. Not only will the subject seem more fascinating, the background will look interesting too. Imagine an image as a 3D object. This will help refresh the content on social media postings and give it some leash of life.

Social media is the new and revolutionary marketing tool for photographers. Milk it for what you can get the free advertisements and the opportunity to reach new audiences and attract clients is very promising. Make sure you do all the right things when you post your work online, as this will be your branding and online calling card.

About Kristine Buenavista

Tin oftentimes takes her folding bike and old camera along country roads. Sometimes, she forgets to take pictures (though she never forgets when she finds great photos elsewhere). She narrates through words and images here. Travel, creativity, laughter, cerveza negra, scavenge hunt for beauty, starry-windy nights are among the things that make her feel weightless.

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