By now, most of us know that photos are key components of social media posts. Good photography can add vividness to your brand, strengthen your voice, and make your posts more memorable. Effective photos can also help catch viewers’ attention, form relationships with viewers, and establish recognition for your brand.
The key is making your photos visually connect with your audience. You can do this by making your viewers feel like they are present in the photo. As human beings, we prefer on-site experiences. We tend to trust our first-hand perceptions and feel more confident when we are able to feel and see things by ourselves. Therefore, photographs that provide us similar experiences are more likely to catch our attention and increase our satisfaction of viewing.
So how do you accomplish the task of making your audience feel “at home” in the picture? Below are three tips that I’ve found that can make your job a bit easier.
1. Straighten the photo’s horizon and align lines.
Generally, people prefer straight and leveled lines instead of strange angles because we tend to seek visual balance in everything we do. Therefore, no matter whether shooting a scenery picture or a portrait, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the surroundings and the lines that will make up your photos. In fact, even for photos of objects, people prefer the ones with horizontally or vertically structured patterns. By creating a balance in your photographs, viewers are more likely to enjoy the picture and therefore, engage more with the content.
Sephora does a great job of making sure the lines are perfect.
2. Try not to take photos of people.
To make your audience feel more present in the location of your photo, you need to avoid elements that would potentially hinder such an experience. Objects or figures that are recognizable as human are intrusions of the viewer’s own immersions and privacy. So ditch the photos of people and let your viewers imagine themselves in the photo, walking along the beach or strolling through the meadow. Take for example, the photo below done by Free People. This photo invites you to imagine yourself right there in the cabin.
Studies show that the faces of people in photos tend to catch much of the viewer’s attention, disrupting the viewing experience but sometimes, your photos need to have some sort of human figure in them. If you find that you do need to include a human in your photo, try to avoid emphasizing facial elements or, more simply, only get the person’s back.
3. The angle you shoot your photo matters.
The shooting angle plays a huge part in shaping your audience’s viewing experience. Different shooting angles, even for the same object, create different effects for viewing. To allow your viewers to really “feel” and “see”, take photos from angles that viewers generally see from their perspectives. For example, pictures of food that are shot from the side tend to get more engagement compared to those that are shot from straight above. Below are two photos, both from Chipotle. You can see for yourself how the two photos have vastly different amounts of engagement.
From the side:
When angles are more familiar, viewers can more easily start their journeys of imagination and that leads to more engagement.
In the end, a picture is art and requires many factors to perfect; however, by carefully crafting your photos with these techniques, you will start to see more engagement with your pictures soon!