Tips for taking your own photos for social media

Angel Blog, Social Media

Pennie Withers is a Commercial and Event Photographer working in the Thames Valley and London.  She helps businesses stand out from the crowd by enabling them to have professional photographs on their websites, marketing materials and social media.

In the second guest blog of a three-part series by professional photographer Pennie Withers, she provides you with some tips on taking your own photos for social media.

Tip 1

The rule of thirds: images where the subject is off centre are always much more interesting.  Divide your camera frame into 9 squares (see below) and place your subject on one of the intersecting lines – instantly your photo will look much better. Eg;

Tip 2

Use leading lines to create interest in your shot.  So – a bit like the rule of thirds, you are basically just making your shots that little bit more creative than just photographing from straight on. Here are some examples where things like walls, horizontal lines and a pathway are used to add that interest:

Tip 3

Do NOT use flash!  If you are using a phone in particular, the flash is never any good and the photos end up looking really rubbish.  So – take my advice, take your photos on overcast days – you won’t get any shadows or rings under the eyes.  Or – if you can’t avoid a bright, sunny day, head for some top-shade.  This is created either by doorways or under trees.  Your subject will still be lit beautifully, but won’t be blinded by the sun.

Tip 4

On the same subject as top 3 (ie – lighting….) try to shoot your photos during the ‘golden hour’.  This is the time either shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which almost all photos look absolutely gorgeous.  (Think about those holiday photos early evening when the sun is going down). Eg:

Tip 5

Control Exposure. This is fairly limited on smart phones, but can still make a big difference. On I-phones when you have a photo you’d like to take, simply tap and hold the screen and you will see a slider, which allows you to increase/decrease exposure, and lock it. This can also lock focus – so you can decide what is in focus and what is not.

Tip 6

Minimize your editing effects. I’m a sucker for a filter on instagram, and it can be fun to apply them but before you do it, ask yourself is it really necessary?  Is it possible they detract from the image?  Sometimes, a simple crop, good lighting and composition are all that is necessary. Here is a photo that has been edited way too much!

Tip 7

Keep your lens clean! It may sound really obvious, but you’d be amazed what I see… your phone sits in your pocket, your handbag, on your desk etc. and gathers finger prints and goodness knows what else in the process.  Before you take a photo – give it a little wipe and you’ll be guaranteed crystal clear photos every time!

I hope you found my blog useful. Next time I’ll be covering copyright of images.

If you have any questions or would like to have a chat about photographs for your website or social media, do give me a call on 07715 8895457 or drop me an email on


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