by Kerrie Kelly
With more than 1.25 billion users on Facebook and another half a billion between Twitter and Instagram, social media offers a reach that’s just too good to pass up for any entrepreneur. At Kerrie Kelly Design Lab, it’s been one of our greatest returns on investment of time and money. What keeps us at it is that we really have fun with it and as a result, we get a lot of great feedback.
Any social media expert will tell you that photos are crucial to audience interaction, and camera-phone technology has come so far that even an amateur can produce great looking photos. But there’s a little more to it than “point and shoot.” You need to develop a basic knowledge of proper lighting, focusing techniques, and post processing. If you’re just getting started at it, or resolving to ramp up your social media game in 2015, here’s the perfect posting recipe that has worked so well for us.
First, let me say quickly that we leave the portfolio shots to professional photographers who leverage professional grade lighting, Photoshop and years of experience to capture our work much better than our phones ever could.
After the pros are done, we layer in lots of our own behind-the-scenes and how-to photos, using home lighting techniques and our ever-impressive smartphone cameras and apps that work wonders. Whether those are shots of fabric samples and finishes we’re considering, or of the crew having a great night out at a charity event, giving our audience a sense of our daily lives and who we are never fails to garner us lots of likes, shares, tags and retweets. That gives us a natural and non-forced way to engage our audience in conversation and keep them coming back for more.
Whatever the situation, when the cameras come out, our rule of thumb is to FLIP it!
Use your camera’s focus function before you click. On most contemporary smart phones, that simply means touching the screen in the area where you want the sharpest focus. Use depth-of-focus or app functions that mimic it to intensify the effect.
This is the most important element of compelling shots. Use natural light wherever possible. When it’s not, experiment with ambient, task or accent lighting in the room. In general, you want even light coming from multiple directions to fill out shadows. Work those dimmers on your overhead lights and strategically position your desk and floor lamps! Then, embellish your shots with in-camera controls and Instagram filters to make the light shine.
Use camera controls and app filters to smooth out the rough spots, add color, shadow and warmth. This part is fun! Don’t overdo it, though. People know the difference between enhancing and exaggerating, and they lose interest quickly if they sense that what they see is not what they will get.
Use one of the many apps that allow you to post to more than one social media platform at one time. Be careful not to over post. Tag colleagues and clients (as appropriate), and keep it positive where the competition is concerned. Monitor activity and respond quickly to feedback.
FLIPping it has worked so well for us, but we’re always up for learning something new—what are your best social media tips?
Award-winning interior designer Kerrie Kelly writes for Home Depot on lighting topics related to design. If you’d like to review some of the overhead lighting options Kerrie discusses in her article, you can visit homedepot.com.