Why You Should Incorporate Instagram Shots into Your Next Photoshoot
If you run a business of any kind, you’re probably already fully aware of the importance of Instagram for marketing your products or services. You are also likely understand the value of good photography, and perhaps even regularly commission a professional photographer to produce your marketing images for you.
For some reason though, even businesses that appreciate the benefits of outsourcing photography to a professional studio often decide that they can do a good enough job of shooting these images themselves when it comes to Instagram. Given the enormous importance of Instagram as a marketing tool right now, and the risk of damaging brand image with subpar photos, this makes very little sense.
It makes even less sense when we consider that, if you already regularly commission a professional photographer to shoot product or lifestyle marketing photos for you, a few shots for Instagram can very easily be tagged onto the brief at minimal extra expense.
Next time you are planning a professional photoshoot, we suggest you consider incorporating Instagram images directly into the brief. Here’s why.
Instagram is an incredible platform for reaching your target market, communicating brand values, and increasing product awareness. Indeed, it’s fast becoming one of the best methods of driving traffic to e-commerce stores.
What’s more, with newly introduced “shoppable” posts, consumers can now complete their journey on the platform, from discovery right through to checkout. Allowing you to turn follower engagement directly into sales.
Why a Strong Presence on Instagram is Essential for Your Business
Some companies have already reported increases in sales of up to 8% since the shoppable posts feature was first introduced to Instagram in the US (Marketing Week). Earlier this year this feature also became available to users in the UK. If you’re brand doesn’t have a strong presence on Instagram, then clearly you’re not going to benefit from this potentially significant boost in sales.
However, even long before the advent of shoppable posts, Instagram was already one of the most effective tools in any business’ marketing funnel, allowing brands to reach an enormous audience. Here the numbers speak for themselves:
- More than 800m monthly active users
- 7 out of 10 hashtags are branded, aiding content discovery and enabling user-generated content to be used as a part of a brand’s social media marketing strategy
- 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business on the platform
- 30% of users have bought at least 1 product they initially found on Instagram
- Instagram boasts the highest engagement rate of all social networks
(Source: Sprout Social)
As a platform designed specifically for the sharing of photos, Instagram users are an inherently receptive audience who will enjoy seeing photos of your products. Indeed, Instagram users are not a passive and indifferent or resistant market, but instead actively want to see what you have to offer: product posts out-perform lifestyle content and images or videos from celebrities and influencers.
Why Use a Professional Photographer for Instagram
If there was ever any doubt in your mind about Instagram, hopefully by now we’ve fully convinced you of the importance of the platform for the future of your business. That’s all very well, but acknowledging that Instagram is a good idea and signing up for an account are one thing; spending money on commissioning a professional photographer to shoot images specifically for the platform is another.
Why make this extra investment, especially when so many other smaller companies don’t bother and just do it themselves?
Well, for starters, the fact that some of your competitors maybe haven’t yet cottoned on to the importance of high quality Instagram imagery is precisely why you should – as it will give you a clear lead. But on top of that, there are many other highly convincing reasons as to why you should hire a professional photographer to shoot your Instagram imagery. Those that follow are just a few of them.
When it Comes to Business, Instagram is Realer than Real Life
For anyone who has grown up with Instagram, its benefits are likely self evident. Or, at least, it will be very apparent the degree to which the average young person gains much of their information about the world from the platform (and indeed social media more generally).
Given this fact, as far as marketing is concerned, Instagram is no longer secondary to “real life.” If you realise the importance of using professionally produced imagery for your marketing elsewhere (website, print, ad campaigns etc.), then it clearly makes little sense to imagine that the same level of quality, professionalism and attention to brand image isn’t also required on social media.
If you care about your business, then you need to care about it across all media. If you wouldn’t shoot a billboard campaign for your brand yourself using a smartphone, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it for Instagram either. Indeed, given that people now seem to spend more of their time looking down into glowing screens than up at the sky, Instagram is the new billboard campaign.
The fact is, more than any other promotional channel available to you right now, Instagram is the most obviously appropriate for visual marketing. And the same laws apply to social media as to all other forms of marketing: you wouldn’t let your intern take pictures for your press advertising campaign or to use on an Amazon listing, so why is it okay for Instagram? Quality photos will help to build your brand on social media. And if you’re going to do it, then you should do it right.
It will Save You Time
Sure, we know, marketing on social media can be an extremely time-consuming task. While outsourcing the work to a cheaper social-media “expert” might seem tempting, the reality is that others can’t always be entrusted with the job of representing your business in public – as many of those who’ve experimented with such outsourcing solutions have found out, to their considerable frustration and embarrassment. This means that you’ll likely need to take care of some or all of the actual management of your social media accounts in-house.
However, outsourcing the production of Instagram photography to an experienced professional makes a lot more sense. Rather than struggling to create interesting and suitably high-quality content for your followers, leave this to someone who does this day-in day-out. Thus freeing up a good portion of your precious time to concentrate on the tasks you excel at – and for which there’s likely nobody else better qualified.
To Guarantee Cross-Platform Unity
As with any form of marketing, when it comes to promotion of your business on Instagram, consistency is key. A dedicated shoot, or a shoot combined with the production of photos for your e-commerce or general marketing needs, will provide you with a set of images that are in keeping with your brand. This consistency – both in terms of brand image and quality of photography – is essential for anyone hoping to develop a successful business.
Maintaining a consistent and coordinated brand image is one of the main reasons why just hoping for the best and shooting your own photos for Instagram often works out to be a false economy. For example, realising the importance of attractive images to promote your business, it can be tempting to process them with a stack of Instagram filters in order to get them to stand out online. But by doing so you would likely end up with something that has no connection to the rest of your marketing imagery. People will find this confusing.
To Provide Accurate Product Descriptions
Worse still, with all the color shifts caused by these heavy-handed filter edits, the items depicted in your photos may no longer have much connection to the real product anymore either. And on a visual platform such as Instagram, the photo is the product description. Clearly there’s a risk of misleading customers here, which will not do your business any favours in the long run and may lead to increased returns.
Working with a professional photographer will help to guarantee that not only are your Instagram photos eye-catching and of high quality, but also that they accurately reflect the products you offer.
To Guarantee Instagram Optimized Imagery
But surely, if you’re already commissioning a photographer to shoot product photos etc. for your marketing use elsewhere, you can just crop these images down to square for Instagram, right? Why bother requesting extra shots specifically for Instagram in the brief, especially if this might increase the costs?
Of course, you’re absolutely right, you could indeed crop a regular photo to square and use it on Instagram. But by doing so you’ll likely ruin its composition.
What we mean by composition is the arrangement of all the elements within a photograph in a visually pleasing way. What this largely comes down to is balance. A scene that was balanced as a rectangle is unlikely to still be balanced once cropped to square format. A photo that will be used square needs to be shot square.
What’s more, Instagram feeds work in a certain way, and users view images on their feeds in a certain way too. What may make for a stunning, eye-catching image when used as a banner on your e-commerce store, or blown up full screen, might be totally lost on an Instagram feed. The photos that work best on Instagram were usually shot specifically for Instagram. This means concentrating on producing strong, graphic compositions that will stand out on a feed. Cropping an image after the fact is unlikely to provide you with images of this kind.
As photography for Instagram has now become a fully essential part of brand marketing, here at Photography Firm we spend an ever increasing amount of our time working on photography projects that include the shooting of images specifically for Instagram in the brief right from the outset. Having shared above some of the insights we’ve gained while shooting for Instagram, we hope you’ll now feel sufficiently informed to make your own decision about how to best go about producing photography for Instagram.
If you do decide that your Instagram marketing could benefit from the expertise of a professional photographer, we’d be only too happy to help out. You can browse our gallery of Instagram imagery here. Feel free to contact us if you require any further information or would like to discuss ideas for a shoot.