Social Media photography guide

We love to see photos of people wearing our gear! Our photographers spend countless hours creating the best images to represent our style and dedication to quality. Now, we've created this guide to help you make the best photos possible without even having to use expensive equipment. Each section below will help you make better photos with the gear and time you have available.

 

1. Camera

To be honest, a dSLR is the best tool to create professional level images, but an iPhone (sorry android users) is a pretty close second. We've even used an iPhone 5s to shoot product photos in the past, and the newer models are even more capable. The important part is to use the tool that you feel most comfortable using, most of us have our phone on us 24/7.

Tips for dSLR users

  • shoot in raw mode if possible
  • turn the flash off
  • Use a 35-50mm focal length on full frame, 24-35mm focal length on APS-C
  • Use the widest aperture that your lens allows (f/1.4/2.0/2.8)

 

Tips for iPhone users

  • Turn HDR mode off
  • Turn the flash off
  • VSCO Cam app can be useful to achieve a pleasing look

2. Location and lighting

The location and available light can make or break a photo. When we shoot photos for advertising purposes, we look for a handful of things: Does the chosen location fit with our aesthetic? Is the light flattering to our subject? Can you see details of the clothing or gear in the photo? What mood does this location convey? In our case, urban or wilderness locations fit best. Overcast, dark and stormy or late evening sun look best (when in doubt, the last 2 hours of daylight are a good time to shoot).

Tips for location and lighting.

  • Last 2 hours of daylight (or golden hour)
  • Sun to the side or slightly behind the subject (if visible)
  • Is the light flattering to the subject (no hard shadows)
  • Is the location visually interesting with out being distracting

 

3. Technical quality

The last and perhaps easiest to identify aspect of taking great photographs is technical quality. There are several things to consider: 

Does the photo look good? 

This might be a little subjective, but it is the strongest test of whether or not a photograph is usable by us.

Is it properly exposed?

Below are three versions of the same photo taken with different exposure settings. The one on the left is overexposed, some brightest parts of the photograph are washed out and it feels like some of the color is missing as well. The center image is well exposed, we can see detail in the water and in the light areas of rock, but we can also see detail in some of the shadowy areas as well. The right image is under exposed, the shadow areas are black and we can no longer see the logo detail on the sweatshirt.

 Overexposed 

Overexposed 

 Correctly exposed

Correctly exposed

 Underexposed

Underexposed

Is the photo high resolution?

2000 x 2000 pixels is a good size, larger is better. Photos with a resolution of 1200 x 1200 or smaller are too small to use for many of our applications. 

Does the photo accurately portray the product?

This one is a little more difficult to nail down completely, but the basic idea is that the product in the photo should look like the product that the customer will receive. Skin should look like skin, water should look like water, grass should look like grass. Obviously there are a lot of artistic liberties you can take with the look of your photos, but there has to be a grounding in reality. 

 This photo displays the camo hoodie as it exists in real life.

This photo displays the camo hoodie as it exists in real life.

 This photo looks good too, except that the color of the camo hoodie looks wrong. A customer may order this product not realizing that what they receive will not match the photo.

This photo looks good too, except that the color of the camo hoodie looks wrong. A customer may order this product not realizing that what they receive will not match the photo.

 Black & White photos can also sometimes (not always) be misleading. If the product is colorful, the photo probably should be too.

Black & White photos can also sometimes (not always) be misleading. If the product is colorful, the photo probably should be too.

If you have any additional questions about shooting photos for social media drop us a line HERE