Visual Social Media Tools


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An overview of social photo/video tools, with ideas, tips and examples, aimed at reporters and photographers.

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Visual Social Media Tools

  1. 1. Social Photo and Video Tools for News Mandy Jenkins, Overview: Mobile photo tools like Instagram and Vine are extremely popular with audiences. While they may not be traffic drivers, they are a key element of any news brand when it comes to photography. Milestone: Video: Instagram videos are 15 seconds maximum. Another tool that is gowing in popularity is Tout, which can have 15 seconds on free accounts and up to 45 for paid accounts. Filters: Using photo filters and other editing tools on Instagram and other social services should be regarded the same way as Photoshop use on news photos. Some news organizations opt to ban the use of these editing tools on breaking news images, but allow it for features and studio shots. Others just stipulate their use must be identified in captions. Copyright: While these social media services do not claim any copyright ownership over your images, you do grant them the right to use those images however they wish. Watermarking: If you want to make sure your credit is on images across social media, add watermarks with: MyPix (iPhone), Add Watermark (Droid), PicMarkr (Web) or Visual Watermark (Mac or Windows) Getting Started Set up an account and link it to your Twitter and Facebook accounts – cross sharing images will draw audience. Use hashtags: Hashtags on Instagram and Tout are the same as on Twitter – they tie images together that have a common theme (#Christmas), event or place (i.e. #Spokane). Using hashtags gets many more people seeing your images. Be part of the community: Do hashtag and location searches on and follow local users. Like and comment on their photos. They’ll follow you back. Republishing: You need to get permission for the paper to use a photo on the site or in print. Content them in the photo comments. You can also use tools like Storify to display Instagrams on the site.
  2. 2. Ideas Take some shots at local events and use a common keyword hashtag to tie them all together. Encourage readers to she their own with the same hashtag, which would make it easy to curate them all together into a slideshow on the site. Share a favorite image from your day of assignments or on a daily story. Be sure to add a caption and credit, link back to a related story or photo gallery on the site if there is one. Hold photo contests for readers and others in the community around events or themes. The Chicago Tribune is great at this. Make quick videos to explain a news event, show a scene or preview a longer story or interview. You can shoot and stitch multiple scenes together in the Tout and Instagram apps. (You can also upload videos produced elsewhere) Examples Chicago Tribune: Chico Enterprise-Record: NowThis News (video): NY Times Fashion: East Bay Gazette: USA Today: Jane Tyksa, Contra Costa Times: Jason Halley, Chico Enterprise-Record: Denver Post Tout: