If you’re thinking about investing in some professional content for your brand you will undoubtably want the results to be as useful as possible for as long as possible, so you’ll be pleased to hear that there are lots of things you can do to make your budget stretch further and keep your social media profiles full of great images and videos for months rather than weeks.
Here we share 7 tips for sharing, shooting and editing to get the most out of your content, and luckily a few of these tricks also lean into the top performing strategies and algorithm-pleasing social media trends for 2024 too.
7 TIPS TO MAKE YOUR PROFESSIONAL CONTENT GO FURTHER + LAST LONGER
1. CREATE YOUR PERFECT CONTENT MIX
Not everything needs to be a professional image and audiences don’t want that - share a mix of user generated content (and create incentives for your customers to tag you so you get lots of good quality UGC!), info-posts with graphic images you can create in Canva (think mini blogs - SEO is going to be huge on social media channels this year) and #behindthescenes style unpolished videos that share your story authentically.
New health brand @pausedwellness have a brilliant content mix meaning they only drop professionally-produced content in every 3 or 4 days - not only does it look great but it tells a much richer, authentic story. You can see more of the photography content we produced for Paused here.
It will be useful for you to know that if you hire a content creator for a product based business you should expect to get 20-40 images from a 1 day photography shoot - depending of course on the complexity of the product, styling, lighting and set ups.
For food brands 15-30 shots would be a more realistic expectation but again the styling and preparation of the food could vary wildly and if we’re talking cooked dishes or recipe photography it could be as low as 5-10 image sets (maybe you would have some variations on these images for ‘extras’ though.)
For film again it will depend on even more variables and it’s probably not helpful to try and put a number on this!
But my point is - if you’re product based like Paused shown above, and we delivered 30 images from a days shoot, and you shared 20 pieces of content a month (every weekday Mon-Fri so 5 posts a week) and our professional content was shared every 3-4 posts, so say 6 out of 20 posts, your 30 pieces of professional content should last 5 months. That’s a good chunk of time for 1 days budget!
2. SHARE CAROUSELS (or a #photodump as its now called in 2024!) of repeating images but change the lead image each time
For some reason Instagram is loving carousels again and they’re currently the best performing content type as I write this in Feb 2024, so make the most of this and share multiple images on one post with a carousel post.
‘Won’t this use my content up faster though?’ I hear you shout: no! Not if you repeat images in different carousels but always make sure the lead image - the one that stays as the preview on your grid - changes each time.
By doing this your grid will still have variation and IG will do its thing of showing people the best performing images (not necessarily your first image in the carousel) to get the most engagement.
Your carousel images could be any type of image - behind the scenes, UGC, close ups, failures - keep it casual and lean in to it being a #photodump.
3. ASK YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER FOR FULL, UNCROPPED IMAGES IN HIGH RES (works best on busier images)
This means you can take multiple crops from the same image, creating different pieces of content that will look new and different to your audience.
A note for the poor creatives who have to produce pleasing compositions for all crops (speaking from vast experience here) - images are best designed for one crop rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. However, even if you know you want a square or 9:16 crop for your content, we always shoot full frame and you will have space to play with for other crop options if you ask for the full image, uncropped.
As well as different crops you should be able to zoom in quite a lot if you have high-resolution images - this will create a much bigger difference than just changing the crop, so play with zooming to create different scales for your content too.
And if its been shot overhead, you can rotate it of course because there’s no ‘top’ of the shoot, its essentially 2D.
Try one of these editing tools or do all three to create more content from one shot.
The example below shows our full shot for Brockman’s gin with three different 4:5 portrait crops that could be taken from it. See behind the scenes on our two week shoot for Brockman’s here.
4. CREATE VIDEOS FROM YOUR STILL IMAGES
Following on from the previous point, if you have the full images in high resolution you will have more scope to create video from them.
Its easy to create pan and zoom movements in editing apps (CapCut is my current fave for quick and easy reels type edits) as long as you have extra space around your focal point.
As long as you always end on the in-focus area of your images its hard to go wrong - experiment with adding professional photography into your behind the scenes or process video content.
5. LEAVE NEGATIVE (EMPTY) SPACE FOR GRAPHICS AND TEXT OR ASK FOR A CLEAR BACKDROP SHOT
Similar to getting the whole image high-res without cropping, but this gives you even more options by taking a few props away after you’ve got the shot allowing more empty space. This takes seconds and could give you several more crops and options to add logos, text or links over the image.
If your photographer’s nice (like ours) you could also ask for a blank backdrop shot with the lights left in situ so you have a surface image in keeping with your content ready to add text and graphics over - a bit more interesting and elevated than a flat colour or stock texture from Canva. And again, takes seconds.
You’ll need to decide if the focus should stay where it was when the product was in or changes to bring the backdrop/surface into full focus.
6. SHIFT THE FOCUS
Another quick change done in the studio while you’re shooting is to change the focus do a different product or from your product onto something else after you’ve got the shot.
For example in the gin shot the focus could be on the cocktail instead of the bottle of gin. This wil give an extra ‘free’ shot but also give different cropping options as you’d always crop around the focal point (nobody wants an image with nothing in focus!).
7. GET AN ACTION SHOT
And the last in-camera change we would suggest is to bring a hand or some action into your shot. This could be a quick swicth up for an extra shot as long as your lighting isn’t too strong to bring hands in (as hands normally come in to the set quite high too - they can easily be overexposed and grabby).
And don’t forget - any content without text/graphics in can be flipped to give the mirror image too.
I hope you found this article helpful and if you’d like any info on our content creation services please get in touch!