brightly colored surface. Incorporating a flavor
cue such as an actual strawberry would help
tell the story about the water’s taste. Just don’t
go overboard: Too many props can create
visual clutter, which can keep a viewer from
really engaging, she says.
4. Beware of shadows. Overhead lighting casts shadows that aren’t always flattering,
Beisch says. She suggests observing how your
product looks when you light it from the front
versus from the side using professional lighting or daylight from a window.
5. Use body-flattering tricks. To take a
head shot of someone who would like to
appear thinner, Phoenix-based professional
photographer Michele Celentano suggests
asking the person to wear a V-neck shirt to
elongate the neck. Have him or her stand up
tall—the body compresses when it’s in a sitting position—and lean forward slightly. A
person’s neck and chin will appear thinner
when the person is looking up at the camera,
so photograph your subject with a higher
camera angle by standing on a step stool or
chair, says Celentano, who is also an educator
and author of Photographing Families: Tips for
Capturing Timeless Images (Wiley, 2013).
6. Crop smartly. Cropping a photo can
help viewers focus on a main idea, Rizzuto
says, so while it may be important to take a
picture of yourself with your storefront in the
background, it’s less crucial to show the entire
building. Take care not to crop people at their
well: ‘Sit on this stool in front of that dark
backdrop and glue a smile on your face,’ ” says
Tony Rizzuto, a professional photographer
and educator in Missoula, Montana. “Head
shots should make you look professional while
communicating your personality.” If you’re
photographing employees, he suggests, tell a
funny joke and take a shot soon after they’ve
had a laugh. “Your subject will be smiling and
appear friendly and unguarded but won’t look
like they’re laughing for no reason,” he says.
2. Please the palate. Shoot food when
it’s fresh. “If food sits too long it looks cold
and dried out,” says San Francisco–based
photographer Leigh Beisch. And while filters
like those on Instagram can create fun imagery, avoid ones that could cast an “
unappetizing” color, she warns.
3. Uniquely display your product. Props
and surfaces can create an environment that
helps tell the story about your product and
make the photo more likely to be remembered,
says Beisch. For example, to shoot a new kind
of strawberry-flavored water, she says, you
might use a background that feels natural or
healthy, like a clean, light-colored wood or a
20 ;e Costco Connection SEPTEMBER 2013
Seven tips for creating photos for social media
By Mindy Charski
SOCIAL MEDIA NET WORKS have matured
into trendy, low-cost platforms that small businesses can use to build stronger bonds with
customers and attract new ones. But these virtual communities don’t thrive by words alone.
Visual content, such as photographs, is
increasingly being used to communicate messages, and not just on photo-oriented networks such as Pinterest and Instagram.
Facebook users collectively upload more than
300 million photos each day, for instance.
“We live in the world of visual social
media,” says Costco member Julia Kocs,
founder of Kocs Brand + Communications in
Berkeley, California. “And it is not going away.”
Photos, including videos and visual representations of data called infographics, can help
business owners share information quickly
and engage viewers. In fact, Dan Zarrella,
social media scientist at the marketing software company HubSpot, found that posts with
photos on Facebook are more likely to be
shared, liked and commented on than those
with text only.
So with photography being more important than ever to market a small business, we
asked professionals, Costco members all, to
share tips for creating compelling snaps for
social media (they are appropriate for print as
well). Here are seven.
1. Show your company’s human side.
“Too often, head shots can look eerily similar
to those school pictures we all remember so
The Costco Connection
Costco members will find a variety of photo
services at Costco 1-Hour Photo Centers,
including digital, standard and canvas prints,
professional photo repair and more.