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Improve your photography skills with our simple hacks
Improve your photography skills with our simple hacks

Become a social media photography pro without the need for an expensive shoot

Hannah McKernon avatar
Written by Hannah McKernon
Updated over a week ago

It’s expected that social media photography will not always be perfectly polished as it helps us keep it real. However, we all want to ensure our business is represented in a professional looking manner. Professional photographers and photoshoots can be expensive, and are not a practical option for capturing moments on the move. Here are a number of hacks you can practice on a smart phone to improve the quality of your images.

1. Framing and composition

As a rule, don’t centre everything in the middle of the frame. We know it's tempting to keep it central, but trust us; off-centre often works much better. As a guide, follow the rule of thirds which encourages you to divide the photograph in your mind into thirds, and position the subject either in the left or right third of the image. It works like magic.

Pro tip: you can also turn on the grid feature on your phone for a guide. Take a look at this handy article from iMore on how to enable grid lines and some other great camera phone tips.

2. Lighting

Where possible, try to use natural light sources such as windows to help brighten your pictures. If you’re shooting a portrait, aim to use shaded, hazy light to eliminate harsh shadows and if you’re taking photos of people indoors, get them to turn towards the window’s light for a nice, soft effect.

3. Background matters

Of course your subject matter in the foreground is most important, but a great background will really make it pop. Suppose you want to take a picture of some fabulous new shoes in stock. The shoes are the focal point, but you want to showcase them against a nice background, too. In this example from Keith Scarrott Shoes, the red boots pop against the neutral background, and the colours in the delicate zigzag detailing on the wall behind the figure are reflected in the foreground.

Background ideas:

  • Go outdoors and find a clear, colourful, or neutral background such as the side of a brick building

  • Place products on wooden tables, floors, or cutting boards

  • Hang a piece of ironed fabric on a wall to use as a backdrop

  • Find a colourful wall to shoot in front of

  • Use stone, tiles, or rock walls as a background - textures and contrasts between the subject matter and background will make for an interesting image

4. Camera angles

This is such a simple, yet effective trick. Many of the more interesting photos you see on social media are achieved by shooting from an unusual angle.  Try shooting from below or above your subject. Or try moving to the side and shooting them at a 45 degree angle versus straight on. Not only should the subject appear more interesting, but the background will, too.

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