Does your social media imagery need some work?
By Emeka Ikechi, Director, Vanity Studios
If growing your social influence is important to you, you need to think about the image you project. It is how you develop your reputation as a thought-leader, an influencer or networker.
What you say on your social platforms is important, but the very first impression have will be based on how your profile looks. On platforms like Instagram, it may be the only thing peopleuse to form an impression.
So, what types of images do you need to grow your social following?
The most important image you will need on your social media profiles is a good headshot.When people can see your face, they gain an impression of who you are, which makes communication feel much more personal.
Unfortunately, many people have terrible or unsuitable headshots for their profile: serious professionals do not have low resolution holiday snaps on their LinkedIn. This is a common big mistake. You need your images to appear much more professional.
However, professional doesn’t need to be serious and boring. Bring your headshots to life by experimenting with different poses and styles. Perhaps your LinkedIn headshot is more business-like, but your Facebook headshot is a bit more playful. Try out different outfits to fit the mood of the image. Take note of what gets the best response, and do more of that.
It is also a good idea to keep your headshot regularly updated. If you change your look(haircut, makeup, facial hair), change your headshot. For example, at Vanity Studios we dress headshots to fit the season: perhaps a Christmas jumper to celebrate the festive season, but a bright t-shirt for summer.
If you are promoting products, having some product shots clearly visible on your social media is essential. People visiting your profile or business page will want to see what you are selling, how it works, and where it might fit into their lifestyle.
Rather than shooting the product against a plain background, consider showing the product in-situ to bring it to life. Your handmade earrings may look great against a black background,but a stylish shot of someone wearing them will feel a lot more real and relatable. If your ‘product’ is more abstract—perhaps an experience, such as a holiday or an entertainment—show it being lived. Make it easy for people to imagine having or using your product.
I often suggest to my clients that they model the product themselves, doubling as both headshot and product shot. It also shows that you personally use the product: it’s not abstract or a money-grab, it’s a product you believe in and use yourself!
To bring even more personality to your profile, consider doing some action shots. These could show you in a work environment (perhaps delivering a presentation), or they could be more fun and demonstrate who you are.
Do you love movies? Get some shots of you dressed up as your favourite superhero. Work as a chef? Let’s get you preparing some food. Put on medieval experience days? Don your suit of armour and get into the studio!
The trick with action shots is to make them fun yet classy. It can be very easy for them to look awkward and cringe-worthy if they aren’t done well. A professional photographer is essential if you want them to look good. A reputable studio will also be able to provide a range of quality props to complete the look.
Whatever images you decide to include on your social profiles, the key thing is to make them high quality. This doesn’t just mean higher resolution; I have seen some terrible photos in spectacularly high resolution. Also bear in mind that most social platforms will limit file/image size or scale down the resolution to fit.
Starting with a high resolution image gives you a lot more options, but merely having more pixels is rarely enough. Images need to shout quality, and this is achieved through good composition, utilising techniques—like depth of field—and setting up lighting to show your best side. Processing images with a few Photoshop touch-ups or effects can also help transform them, making them jump off the screen.
So, before you crop and upload that pixelated photo of you at a wedding, consider whether it would be better to get a series of high-quality photos captured by a professional. Good imagery is not just an expression of who you are but an illustration of how you communicate.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emeka Ikechi is Director of Vanity Studios, a contemporary studio for photoshoots in the centre of Shoreditch in London. Since 2009 Vanity Studios has been providing clients with high quality professional photos and an excellent photoshoot experience. The team of photographers and make-up artists ensure each client receives bespoke photography that meets their requirements.