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Photos for
Social Media
Advanced Digital Strategy MGMT X 466.05 UCLA
Lecturer: Valters Lauzums 2024
Overview & Concepts
Understanding the strategic use of photos in social media and how to improve the
quality of photography in your social media workflow.
Connect, inspire,
and influence
The human brain is built to process visual information and
photography is the most accessible and impactful media format
that can communicate the experience of a person, place, or
object.
Adding visual elements has a significant impact on
visibility and and engagement. Any type of visual content
is 40 times more likely to get shared. Image posts are
more accessible than video, but video content better
engagement on some platforms. Young adults and teens
are the most active users in sharing photos.
Image Preferences
on Social Media
Visual content on social media is more likely to be shared and
remembered than non-visual content.
Posts with an image receive 94% more views on average. More than
90% of the most popular social posts includes an image.
90
Psychology & Aesthetics
of information
transmitted to the brain is
visual
Humans have an inherent preference for things that are
aesthetically pleasing. This can be seen in the attraction to
symmetry, certain color combinations, and proportions, which
are often equated with health, vitality, and good genes.
%
It takes is 1/10th of a second to form an
impression of a stranger from their face
Cognitive Heuristics
Humans use cognitive shortcuts to process information quickly.
The brain, handling an immense amount of sensory input, tends
to take the path of least effort in decision-making. Making quick
judgements based on appearance is a heuristic that allows for
immediate, although not always accurate, assessments.
The appearance of people and things plays a significant role
in our everyday behavior and decisions.
Images are processed 60,000x faster than text.
Various studies have shown that high-quality, visually
appealing images receive more visibility in social feeds and
better engagement. Photos that are clear and have bright
lighting tend to perform better. Social media profiles with high-
quality photos are also perceived with favorable associations.
Engagement
Research from Adobe indicates that high-quality images with
vibrant colors can boost engagement by up to 45%.
80% of users find well-lit photos more attractive and engaging.
Photos for
Commerce
While authenticity is crucial, quality cannot be compromised. Visuals
imagery is the most important factor in purchase decisions.
Perception of Realness
71% of consumers prefer ads that feel personal and real,
indicating a broader trend in visual marketing.
Products & Services
Photos with products or services are most effective
when they are high-quality and professionally taken.
For brands, adding a photo can improve memory recollection by 65%,
compared to 10% for a text-only social post.
Authenticity
and Content
Consumer preferences show that authenticity is
important for content, and that generic corporate
messaging is perceived as insincere.
The perception of authenticity is subjective but
does not mean low-quality visual elements or less
aesthetic value. Good content is measured by
performance and engagement data.
Consumer Preferences
Despite polished and high-quality content receiving more
engagement, 83% of consumers believe that influencers who
create authentic, engaging content are more effective than
those producing highly polished content.
Influencer Photos
Airbrushed images of models are falling out of favor with
consumers. One study reported that 68% of women and 53% of
men feel negatively about seeing overly edited photos, as it sets
unrealistic and unattainable standards.
Excessive Photo Editing
90% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding
which brands they like and support. This preference extends to
the type of visual content, with a clear preference towards
authentic photos over obviously staged or edited ones.
Authenticity
Content created by customers generates significantly higher
engagement than brand-generated content. 56% of consumers
are more likely to buy a product after seeing it in a relatable or
authentic photo posted by another consumer.
User Generated Content
Various studies show that consumers consider visual appearance to be
a key deciding factor in a purchasing decision.
In e-commerce, 67% of consumers consider clear, detailed images to be
more important than the product information itself.
Research from Nielsen indicates that ads with high-quality creative are
2.5x more effective than ads with low-quality creative.
Photo Quality
Investing in quality photos is critical for brands and businesses. Across
various ad campaigns, photos consistently yield the highest engagement
rates (Theiss et al., 2016). For digital shopping, 56% of users start by
exploring images, even before reading product titles or descriptions.
The use of smartphones has created a unique scenario
where photos of individual people are often not
representative of the actual aesthetic quality they possess
and have the capability of communicating in their photos.
Like it or not, judgments based on appearance play a
powerful role in how we treat others, and how we get
treated.
People
Psychologists have long known that people viewed as
attractive will experience better outcomes in life.
What is qualified as attractive depends on context and the
individual. In the digital age, the perception of appearance
is weighed heavily by your photos.
Research in social psychology by Willis and Todorov
(2006) showed that first impressions are incredibly
powerful and people establish character traits like
trustworthiness within a few seconds of meeting someone.
In the digital age, our first impressions are often formed
online.
First Impressions in
the Digital Age
Research on Linkedin showed that profiles with professional, high-
quality photos receive 14 times more views.
Investing in high-quality photos will have a positive impact in your
personal and professional life.
Engagement
Feed algorithms prioritize photos of people and faces
because they receive more engagement than other types of
imagery. Eye-tracking studies have shown that users often
look at faces first before moving to other elements in an
image. Viewing photographs of people can also create
mood improvements significantly more than other activities
like music or eating chocolate
Photos with faces perform 38% better in terms of engagement
compared to those without faces on Instagram.
Selfies, being personal and relatable, often receive more positive
reactions in terms of likes and comments.
Humans are naturally drawn to faces displaying emotions and images
showing genuine expressions receive more engagement. Photos showing
faces expressing high-arousal emotions such as happiness receive more
likes than those with low-arousal emotions like contemplation.
Genuine Expressions
Research has shown that people are more likely to trust and empathize
with images that display genuine, positive facial expressions.
Trust & Empathy
Emotions
Images of smiling faces on social media are not only more popular but also more likely
to elicit positive social interactions
Selfie posts make up a significant portion of photo uploads on
platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. However, they distort
your facial features and are not an accurate representation of
how you look in real life.
Selfies
90% of young women report using a filter or editing their photos before
posting them on social media.
29% of people would post a picture without editing it first, meaning two
thirds will edit their photo first.
Excessive selfie-taking has a strong relationship with mental health
issues such as self-objectifying and narcissistic behavior.
Dating apps
Photos with a genuine smile that is showing your
teeth can increase messages by 40%
Research from various sources highlights the
broad usefulness of dating app analytics for
application in marketing communications. Data
across multiple apps shows consistent patterns
such as negative effects from overly edited photos.
Using selfies on dating profiles results in less
matches and profile interaction.
Users who include a full-body photo in a dating
profile receive +200% more messages
High-quality photos receive 90% more likes than
their lower-quality counterparts
Lecturer: Valters Lauzums 2024
Taking Better Photos
Understanding the strategic use of photos in social media and how to improve the
quality of photography in your social media workflow.
Hardware for
taking photos
While smartphones have made impressive
advancements, professional cameras still hold
advantages in certain aspects like sensor size, lens
quality, and manual controls.
However, for a vast majority of users and use cases,
the gap between phone and professional camera
capabilities is rapidly narrowing.
Smartphones allow for immediate capture, editing and
sharing of photos. Compact size and ease of carrying a
smartphone create continual photo opportunities and 93% of
photos are now taken with a smartphone.
Smartphones
Computational photography uses algorithms to enhance
image quality, while cameras currently don’t.
AI is used for real-time scene and object recognition,
enabling faster and more accurate autofocus.
Features like Apple's Deep Fusion technology use machine
learning for pixel-by-pixel processing of photos.
Traditional cameras, such as DSLRs and mirrorless models,
still hold significant advantages in terms of image quality,
especially in challenging lighting conditions or specialized
photography like portraits and wildlife.
Cameras
Images taken with a professional camera are rated 70%
higher in quality compared a smartphone.
AI is used for real-time scene and object recognition,
enabling faster and more accurate autofocus.
Features like Apple's Deep Fusion technology use machine
learning for pixel-by-pixel processing of photos
Sports
Focuses on capturing the fast-paced action of sports
events. This type of photography requires fast shutter
speeds and often long focal lengths.
Fashion
Used for advertising or fashion magazines, it focuses
on fashion items or products, often combining artistic
and commercial elements.
Street
Involves capturing candid moments and the human
condition in public places. It often aims to tell a story
or capture the essence of daily life.
Lifestyle
Focuses on capturing people in real-life events or
milestones in an artistic manner, essentially telling
stories about people's lives.
Product
Focuses on capturing images of products for
commercial purposes, like advertising, product
images, and promotional content.
Macro
Involves close-up shots of small subjects, like insects,
flowers, and small objects, to capture details that are
usually not visible.
Portrait
Focuses on capturing the personality and mood of an
individual or group. Includes family portraits,
headshots, and senior portraits.
Event
Involves photographing guests and occurrences at
any event or occasion, such as weddings, corporate
events, concerts, and parties.
Fine Art
This is aimed at expressing the photographers
perceptions and emotions and is often created for
artistic purposes or a gallery setting.
Genres & Styles Types of Photography
Methods for
Good Photos
Each part of the photography process has a
proportionate impact on how much this flatters your
natural features for an aesthetically pleasing photo.
The reversal is also true.
The photography location and techniques you
choose are usually easily implemented, but your
comfort level and self-expression can take practice.
Lighting
Lighting illuminates he subject but also shapes and defines the image,
creating mood, atmosphere, and depth. Good lighting will dramatically
enhance the aesthetic appeal and overall impact of a photo.
85% of photographers believe that lighting conditions have more
impact on the final photo than any camera setting.
Composition
Composition is the arrangement of visual elements within a
photograph, to create a harmonious and engaging image. Good
composition balances elements, enhances appeal, and creates a story.
Photographs adhering to the rule of thirds are 60% more likely to be
viewed positively compared to centrally composed photos.
Natural Light If professional lighting equipment isn't available, you'll have to use natural light, any light
created by sunlight. Natural light is abundant but you need to pay attention to how the sun
behaves throughout the day and in different weather conditions. Ambient lighting is also an
option, such as natural lighting from outside that lights up a room through a window.
The common path of the eye on a design is from top
to bottom and then left to right. The best design is not
always symmetrical. Each user will focus on
intersections from the rule of thirds grid. The No. 1 focal
point is the intersection at the top left – 41 percent of
eyes will rest here and look at this part of the image or
screen first, making this an ideal location for a logo or
other key information.
The eyes then move to the intersection directly below
it – 25 percent of eye stops. Then users will look to the
top right intersection and finally at the bottom right
intersection.
Rule of Thirds
Asymmetrical Composition
Composition Technique
for Eye Movement
Lens Examples
Focal Length & Angle of View
50mm: Often used for portraits and street
photography due to its similarity to the
human eye's perspective.
135mm: Celebrated for its ability to produce
incredibly flattering portraits due to its natural
compression effect, making it a favorite for
headshots and close-ups.
85mm: A favorite focal length for portrait
photographers, offering a flattering
perspective and the ability to shoot at a
comfortable distance from the subject.
200mm: Many photographers believe that
this is the most flattering lens for face, and
need to be taken at a distance. Your photos
will be dangerously appealing and the most
flattering version of you.
Camera Lenses for
People Photography
Focal lengths and the distance of the subject will
significantly change how a person's face looks in a photo.
Short focal lengths (wide-angle lenses) will distort facial
features when the subject is close to the camera. Selfies are
the most common example of facial distortion, with studies
showing they can change the size of a nose to look 30%
larger.
A study published in the journal "Perception" showed that portraits
taken with an even longer focal length (around 85mm to 135mm) are
more flattering and accurately represent facial features, as they reduce
distortion.
Lenses with focal lengths of 50mm to 85mm produce images that closely
resemble the perspective seen by the human eye.
Lens Distortion
Smartphones & Camera Lenses
Accurately Capturing
Facial Features
Lens: Telephoto
Distance: Far Away
Lens: Wide Angle
Distance: Very Close
Camera Smartphone
If you are using a smartphone, it’s better to step
back 7 or more feet away from the subject
before taking a photo, to minimize distortion.
This close proximity inherent in selfie photography often exaggerates facial features,
especially around the edges of the photo, due to the distortion typical of wide-angle
lenses. The result is a less flattering portrayal compared to photos taken with a
better telephoto lens, which offers a more compressed and natural appearance.
Facial Distortion
Example & Comparison
Inaccurate Proportions
from Lens & Distance
This distortion creates an unbalanced representation of facial
proportions, skewing the symmetry and proportions. This makes a
nose, forehead, or anything else close to the camera larger.
Wide Angle
Prime Lens
Portrait Lens Wide Angle
Natural Poses
Natural, candid poses often result in more engaging
and relatable images than stiff, posed shots. The
prefere for this is linked to the concept of emotional
contagion, where the emotions conveyed by the
subject can be 'felt' by the viewer.
Depth of Field
Depth of field refers to how much of the image is in
sharp focus by blurring the background. This
technique is particularly effective in portraiture as it
isolates the subject, minimizing distractions and
emphasizing emotional expression.
Golden Hour
The best natural light occurs during the "golden
hour," which is shortly after sunrise or before sunset.
While timing can make this difficult, the low angle of
the sun during these times produces a soft, diffused
light that is flattering for human subjects.
Best Practices
Professional Techniques
Photo Environments
Natural Light Outdoor Settings
Urban landscapes, such as city streets or
architectural structures, can add
contextual relevance and interest.
Urban Settings
Beach and Waterfront Indoor Spaces
Natural settings, particularly those with
greenery like parks or gardens will
improve mood and support genuine
expressions.
Natural light, especially during the golden
hour (shortly after sunrise or before
sunset), provides ideal lighting conditions.
Provides natural beauty, open spaces, and
soft, diffused light, especially during early
morning or late afternoon.
Lighting is a concern for indoor photos,
and open spaces with large windows that
allow ample natural light are optimal.
For street photography, areas with good
ambient lighting, such as well-lit urban
streets or markets, are ideal.
Public Spaces
Locations & Atmosphere
Photo Studios Photo studios with controlled lighting setups will get you optimal
results. Controlled lighting allows for the manipulation of
shadows and highlights to flatter the subject's features, allowing
you to create lighting based on preferences, not the weather.
What we can refer to as a genuine smile, also called
"smiling with your eyes" or the “Duchenne smile”
simply makes you look like you’re genuinely happy.
Scientists have pinpointed more than 50 different
types of smiles, and research suggests that the
sincerest smile of all is this Duchenne smile.
Smiling
Keep a small space between your two rows of teeth for a
more natural, softer smile.
In a genuine smile, involuntary muscle contraction raises
the corners of your mouth and the areas around your
cheeks and eyes.
1
3
Crows feet
are visible
Corners on Mouth
Raised
Duchenne
Smile
2
Cheeks are
lifted up
Start your facial expression slightly before the shutter
clicks. This gives you time to fully develop the emotion
before it's recorded.
Smiling Techniques
To help replicate a natural smile, you will
need to feel the difference in your face and
remember how this facial muscle action
feels. Once you identify the feeling of your
genuine smile, try to memorize it. Practice
engaging your whole face when you smile.
The more you do it, the easier it will
become. Simulate your smile ahead of
time, particularly if you know in advance
that you'll be in a photo opportunity.
Practice
One common way of presenting a natural
smile is giggling or laughing. If the shot is
one where you're able to laugh and smile
outwardly, then do so. Think of something
funny, even if it involves the photographer's
clothing or something amusing that's
happened to you in the past. If you can't
laugh on the outside, laugh inwardly.
Laughing creates a more natural pose
because it relaxes and calms you.
Giggle
The squinch is the way your eyes look when
you have a genuine smile on your face.
Another term for this expression is the
“smize” (smiling with your eyes). It’s not
just your mouth that moves, your cheeks
lift up and your eyes slightly narrow. Also,
note that your eyebrows don’t lift. If
anything, they lower slightly. To practice,
try to do a small squint that only uses the
eye muscles and no other facial muscles.
Squinch
Weight Distribution
An effortless way to add elegance to your stance is
by shifting your weight to the back leg. This creates
a naturally graceful 'S curve' in your posture. Be
mindful to maintain an upright position to avoid
looking stiff.
Waist Forward
Leaning slightly from the waist towards the camera
can significantly slim the silhouette. This posture
helps improve the presentation of your figure and
aligns your chin and neck naturally.
Head Forward
Look good and avoid a double-chin by extending
your ears forward, mimicking a turtle. This subtle
motion elongates the neck and sharpens the
jawline, ensuring a flattering angle in every shot.
Better Posing
Professional Techniques
45 Degree Angles
Straight-on shots rarely do justice to anyone.
Positioning your body at a 45-degree angle to the
camera works wonders in slimming your profile and
adding depth to the photo.
Waist Forward
Irrespective of your height, a dancer-like posture
can create an illusion of height and elegance.
Imagine a string pulling you up from the crown of
your head, engaging your core and rolling your
shoulders back.
Arm Positioning
Avoid pressing your arms flat against your body.
Instead, create a small gap by lifting your arm
slightly or placing a hand on your hip. This
adjustment will prevent arms from appearing wider.
Sometimes, the best pose is no pose at all. Candid photos receive 25%
more engagement compared to posed pictures, and research indicates
that they are 40% more effective in triggering memory recall. Wedding
photographers and casual photographers are seeing 20% yearly growth
in “planned” candid photos.
Candid
To make a posed photo look candid,, engage in gentle movements - a
soft walk, a playful twirl, or a natural interaction. This approach often
results in photographs that are lively, genuine, and uniquely you.
The market for candid photography
services has seen a 20% growth annually,
as more clients seek natural and
unposed imagery [10].
Photo Editing
Photo editing is common among consumers and one
survey indicates that 72% of consumers edit their photos
before posting them. Most frequently this is for adjusting
lighting and color on individual photos.
Ethical concerns have grown around photo editing that
drastically alters and misrepresents influencers and
brands are increasingly being called upon to disclose
when images have been significantly edited.
Users aged 18-29 are the most likely to edit their photos, with a
staggering 85% reporting regular use of editing tools.
Approximately 68% of all photos posted on social media
undergo some form of editing before being shared.
What to Edit
Lighting is a critical editing tool as it sets
the mood and overall feel of a photograph.
Adjusting exposure with brightness,
contrast, highlights, and shadows will bring
out details in underexposed or
overexposed areas. Advanced features like
HDR merging and tone mapping allow for
balancing the light in photos with a wide
range of light and dark areas. As with all
editing, there is only so much you can do
with edits.
Lighting
Adjusting colors involves changing the
white balance to ensure colors are
rendered naturally, correcting color casts,
and enhancing saturation and vibrancy..
Tools like HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance)
sliders give precise control over individual
colors, allowing for creative and artistic
expressions in color grading. Color
correction and enhancement help create a
consistent aesthetic.
Colors
Retouching includes removing blemishes,
smoothing skin, sharpening details, and
sometimes reconstructing missing or
damaged parts of an image. Techniques
like cloning, healing, and frequency
separation are used to clean up
imperfections while preserving the natural
texture. This category is important for
portrait photographers and anyone looking
to present a polished image.
Retouching
Photo Editing Tools
Professional Techniques
Photoshop
Photoshop is less popular for photo
editing, but still has good capabilities
in graphic design, digital art, and
more complex photo editing tasks.
The layer editing system enables
intricate photo adjustments and
composites.
Lightroom
Now preferred by most professionals,
Lightroom excels in most photo
editing needs, especially with high-
volume batch processing. Lightroom's
strength lies in its non-destructive
editing environment and cloud
integration.
VSCO
VSCO is a favorite among social
media users for its simplicity and
tools. VSCO stands out for its array of
film-like filters and easy editing tools
that cater to an artistic user base. The
app also features a unique online
community.
Snapseed
Snapseed is popular among casual
users and has many quick editing
capabilities such as selective
adjustments. It also offers automated
tools like a healing brush, which are
usually manual and time-intensive.
Hiring a
Photographer
If you can budget for it, get a professional photographer. It's
worth the time investment to have good photos. You can also
find a semi-professional or student photographer who has the
gear and lower rates, but the outcome will not be as good.
Thank you
Advanced Digital Strategy MGMT X 466.05 2024

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Photos for Social Media - Summarized Research & Best Practices Lecture for for Advanced Digital Strategy Course (MGMT 466) at UCLAx

  • 1. Photos for Social Media Advanced Digital Strategy MGMT X 466.05 UCLA
  • 2. Lecturer: Valters Lauzums 2024 Overview & Concepts Understanding the strategic use of photos in social media and how to improve the quality of photography in your social media workflow.
  • 3. Connect, inspire, and influence The human brain is built to process visual information and photography is the most accessible and impactful media format that can communicate the experience of a person, place, or object.
  • 4. Adding visual elements has a significant impact on visibility and and engagement. Any type of visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared. Image posts are more accessible than video, but video content better engagement on some platforms. Young adults and teens are the most active users in sharing photos. Image Preferences on Social Media Visual content on social media is more likely to be shared and remembered than non-visual content. Posts with an image receive 94% more views on average. More than 90% of the most popular social posts includes an image.
  • 5. 90 Psychology & Aesthetics of information transmitted to the brain is visual Humans have an inherent preference for things that are aesthetically pleasing. This can be seen in the attraction to symmetry, certain color combinations, and proportions, which are often equated with health, vitality, and good genes. % It takes is 1/10th of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face Cognitive Heuristics Humans use cognitive shortcuts to process information quickly. The brain, handling an immense amount of sensory input, tends to take the path of least effort in decision-making. Making quick judgements based on appearance is a heuristic that allows for immediate, although not always accurate, assessments. The appearance of people and things plays a significant role in our everyday behavior and decisions. Images are processed 60,000x faster than text.
  • 6. Various studies have shown that high-quality, visually appealing images receive more visibility in social feeds and better engagement. Photos that are clear and have bright lighting tend to perform better. Social media profiles with high- quality photos are also perceived with favorable associations. Engagement Research from Adobe indicates that high-quality images with vibrant colors can boost engagement by up to 45%. 80% of users find well-lit photos more attractive and engaging.
  • 7. Photos for Commerce While authenticity is crucial, quality cannot be compromised. Visuals imagery is the most important factor in purchase decisions. Perception of Realness 71% of consumers prefer ads that feel personal and real, indicating a broader trend in visual marketing. Products & Services Photos with products or services are most effective when they are high-quality and professionally taken. For brands, adding a photo can improve memory recollection by 65%, compared to 10% for a text-only social post.
  • 8. Authenticity and Content Consumer preferences show that authenticity is important for content, and that generic corporate messaging is perceived as insincere. The perception of authenticity is subjective but does not mean low-quality visual elements or less aesthetic value. Good content is measured by performance and engagement data.
  • 9. Consumer Preferences Despite polished and high-quality content receiving more engagement, 83% of consumers believe that influencers who create authentic, engaging content are more effective than those producing highly polished content. Influencer Photos Airbrushed images of models are falling out of favor with consumers. One study reported that 68% of women and 53% of men feel negatively about seeing overly edited photos, as it sets unrealistic and unattainable standards. Excessive Photo Editing 90% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support. This preference extends to the type of visual content, with a clear preference towards authentic photos over obviously staged or edited ones. Authenticity Content created by customers generates significantly higher engagement than brand-generated content. 56% of consumers are more likely to buy a product after seeing it in a relatable or authentic photo posted by another consumer. User Generated Content
  • 10. Various studies show that consumers consider visual appearance to be a key deciding factor in a purchasing decision. In e-commerce, 67% of consumers consider clear, detailed images to be more important than the product information itself. Research from Nielsen indicates that ads with high-quality creative are 2.5x more effective than ads with low-quality creative. Photo Quality Investing in quality photos is critical for brands and businesses. Across various ad campaigns, photos consistently yield the highest engagement rates (Theiss et al., 2016). For digital shopping, 56% of users start by exploring images, even before reading product titles or descriptions.
  • 11. The use of smartphones has created a unique scenario where photos of individual people are often not representative of the actual aesthetic quality they possess and have the capability of communicating in their photos. Like it or not, judgments based on appearance play a powerful role in how we treat others, and how we get treated. People Psychologists have long known that people viewed as attractive will experience better outcomes in life. What is qualified as attractive depends on context and the individual. In the digital age, the perception of appearance is weighed heavily by your photos.
  • 12. Research in social psychology by Willis and Todorov (2006) showed that first impressions are incredibly powerful and people establish character traits like trustworthiness within a few seconds of meeting someone. In the digital age, our first impressions are often formed online. First Impressions in the Digital Age Research on Linkedin showed that profiles with professional, high- quality photos receive 14 times more views. Investing in high-quality photos will have a positive impact in your personal and professional life.
  • 13. Engagement Feed algorithms prioritize photos of people and faces because they receive more engagement than other types of imagery. Eye-tracking studies have shown that users often look at faces first before moving to other elements in an image. Viewing photographs of people can also create mood improvements significantly more than other activities like music or eating chocolate Photos with faces perform 38% better in terms of engagement compared to those without faces on Instagram. Selfies, being personal and relatable, often receive more positive reactions in terms of likes and comments.
  • 14. Humans are naturally drawn to faces displaying emotions and images showing genuine expressions receive more engagement. Photos showing faces expressing high-arousal emotions such as happiness receive more likes than those with low-arousal emotions like contemplation. Genuine Expressions Research has shown that people are more likely to trust and empathize with images that display genuine, positive facial expressions. Trust & Empathy Emotions Images of smiling faces on social media are not only more popular but also more likely to elicit positive social interactions
  • 15. Selfie posts make up a significant portion of photo uploads on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. However, they distort your facial features and are not an accurate representation of how you look in real life. Selfies 90% of young women report using a filter or editing their photos before posting them on social media. 29% of people would post a picture without editing it first, meaning two thirds will edit their photo first. Excessive selfie-taking has a strong relationship with mental health issues such as self-objectifying and narcissistic behavior.
  • 16. Dating apps Photos with a genuine smile that is showing your teeth can increase messages by 40% Research from various sources highlights the broad usefulness of dating app analytics for application in marketing communications. Data across multiple apps shows consistent patterns such as negative effects from overly edited photos. Using selfies on dating profiles results in less matches and profile interaction. Users who include a full-body photo in a dating profile receive +200% more messages High-quality photos receive 90% more likes than their lower-quality counterparts
  • 17. Lecturer: Valters Lauzums 2024 Taking Better Photos Understanding the strategic use of photos in social media and how to improve the quality of photography in your social media workflow.
  • 18. Hardware for taking photos While smartphones have made impressive advancements, professional cameras still hold advantages in certain aspects like sensor size, lens quality, and manual controls. However, for a vast majority of users and use cases, the gap between phone and professional camera capabilities is rapidly narrowing.
  • 19. Smartphones allow for immediate capture, editing and sharing of photos. Compact size and ease of carrying a smartphone create continual photo opportunities and 93% of photos are now taken with a smartphone. Smartphones Computational photography uses algorithms to enhance image quality, while cameras currently don’t. AI is used for real-time scene and object recognition, enabling faster and more accurate autofocus. Features like Apple's Deep Fusion technology use machine learning for pixel-by-pixel processing of photos.
  • 20. Traditional cameras, such as DSLRs and mirrorless models, still hold significant advantages in terms of image quality, especially in challenging lighting conditions or specialized photography like portraits and wildlife. Cameras Images taken with a professional camera are rated 70% higher in quality compared a smartphone. AI is used for real-time scene and object recognition, enabling faster and more accurate autofocus. Features like Apple's Deep Fusion technology use machine learning for pixel-by-pixel processing of photos
  • 21. Sports Focuses on capturing the fast-paced action of sports events. This type of photography requires fast shutter speeds and often long focal lengths. Fashion Used for advertising or fashion magazines, it focuses on fashion items or products, often combining artistic and commercial elements. Street Involves capturing candid moments and the human condition in public places. It often aims to tell a story or capture the essence of daily life. Lifestyle Focuses on capturing people in real-life events or milestones in an artistic manner, essentially telling stories about people's lives. Product Focuses on capturing images of products for commercial purposes, like advertising, product images, and promotional content. Macro Involves close-up shots of small subjects, like insects, flowers, and small objects, to capture details that are usually not visible. Portrait Focuses on capturing the personality and mood of an individual or group. Includes family portraits, headshots, and senior portraits. Event Involves photographing guests and occurrences at any event or occasion, such as weddings, corporate events, concerts, and parties. Fine Art This is aimed at expressing the photographers perceptions and emotions and is often created for artistic purposes or a gallery setting. Genres & Styles Types of Photography
  • 22. Methods for Good Photos Each part of the photography process has a proportionate impact on how much this flatters your natural features for an aesthetically pleasing photo. The reversal is also true. The photography location and techniques you choose are usually easily implemented, but your comfort level and self-expression can take practice.
  • 23. Lighting Lighting illuminates he subject but also shapes and defines the image, creating mood, atmosphere, and depth. Good lighting will dramatically enhance the aesthetic appeal and overall impact of a photo. 85% of photographers believe that lighting conditions have more impact on the final photo than any camera setting. Composition Composition is the arrangement of visual elements within a photograph, to create a harmonious and engaging image. Good composition balances elements, enhances appeal, and creates a story. Photographs adhering to the rule of thirds are 60% more likely to be viewed positively compared to centrally composed photos.
  • 24. Natural Light If professional lighting equipment isn't available, you'll have to use natural light, any light created by sunlight. Natural light is abundant but you need to pay attention to how the sun behaves throughout the day and in different weather conditions. Ambient lighting is also an option, such as natural lighting from outside that lights up a room through a window.
  • 25. The common path of the eye on a design is from top to bottom and then left to right. The best design is not always symmetrical. Each user will focus on intersections from the rule of thirds grid. The No. 1 focal point is the intersection at the top left – 41 percent of eyes will rest here and look at this part of the image or screen first, making this an ideal location for a logo or other key information. The eyes then move to the intersection directly below it – 25 percent of eye stops. Then users will look to the top right intersection and finally at the bottom right intersection. Rule of Thirds Asymmetrical Composition Composition Technique for Eye Movement
  • 26. Lens Examples Focal Length & Angle of View 50mm: Often used for portraits and street photography due to its similarity to the human eye's perspective. 135mm: Celebrated for its ability to produce incredibly flattering portraits due to its natural compression effect, making it a favorite for headshots and close-ups. 85mm: A favorite focal length for portrait photographers, offering a flattering perspective and the ability to shoot at a comfortable distance from the subject. 200mm: Many photographers believe that this is the most flattering lens for face, and need to be taken at a distance. Your photos will be dangerously appealing and the most flattering version of you. Camera Lenses for People Photography
  • 27. Focal lengths and the distance of the subject will significantly change how a person's face looks in a photo. Short focal lengths (wide-angle lenses) will distort facial features when the subject is close to the camera. Selfies are the most common example of facial distortion, with studies showing they can change the size of a nose to look 30% larger. A study published in the journal "Perception" showed that portraits taken with an even longer focal length (around 85mm to 135mm) are more flattering and accurately represent facial features, as they reduce distortion. Lenses with focal lengths of 50mm to 85mm produce images that closely resemble the perspective seen by the human eye. Lens Distortion Smartphones & Camera Lenses Accurately Capturing Facial Features
  • 28. Lens: Telephoto Distance: Far Away Lens: Wide Angle Distance: Very Close Camera Smartphone If you are using a smartphone, it’s better to step back 7 or more feet away from the subject before taking a photo, to minimize distortion. This close proximity inherent in selfie photography often exaggerates facial features, especially around the edges of the photo, due to the distortion typical of wide-angle lenses. The result is a less flattering portrayal compared to photos taken with a better telephoto lens, which offers a more compressed and natural appearance. Facial Distortion Example & Comparison Inaccurate Proportions from Lens & Distance This distortion creates an unbalanced representation of facial proportions, skewing the symmetry and proportions. This makes a nose, forehead, or anything else close to the camera larger. Wide Angle Prime Lens Portrait Lens Wide Angle
  • 29. Natural Poses Natural, candid poses often result in more engaging and relatable images than stiff, posed shots. The prefere for this is linked to the concept of emotional contagion, where the emotions conveyed by the subject can be 'felt' by the viewer. Depth of Field Depth of field refers to how much of the image is in sharp focus by blurring the background. This technique is particularly effective in portraiture as it isolates the subject, minimizing distractions and emphasizing emotional expression. Golden Hour The best natural light occurs during the "golden hour," which is shortly after sunrise or before sunset. While timing can make this difficult, the low angle of the sun during these times produces a soft, diffused light that is flattering for human subjects. Best Practices Professional Techniques
  • 30. Photo Environments Natural Light Outdoor Settings Urban landscapes, such as city streets or architectural structures, can add contextual relevance and interest. Urban Settings Beach and Waterfront Indoor Spaces Natural settings, particularly those with greenery like parks or gardens will improve mood and support genuine expressions. Natural light, especially during the golden hour (shortly after sunrise or before sunset), provides ideal lighting conditions. Provides natural beauty, open spaces, and soft, diffused light, especially during early morning or late afternoon. Lighting is a concern for indoor photos, and open spaces with large windows that allow ample natural light are optimal. For street photography, areas with good ambient lighting, such as well-lit urban streets or markets, are ideal. Public Spaces Locations & Atmosphere
  • 31. Photo Studios Photo studios with controlled lighting setups will get you optimal results. Controlled lighting allows for the manipulation of shadows and highlights to flatter the subject's features, allowing you to create lighting based on preferences, not the weather.
  • 32. What we can refer to as a genuine smile, also called "smiling with your eyes" or the “Duchenne smile” simply makes you look like you’re genuinely happy. Scientists have pinpointed more than 50 different types of smiles, and research suggests that the sincerest smile of all is this Duchenne smile. Smiling Keep a small space between your two rows of teeth for a more natural, softer smile. In a genuine smile, involuntary muscle contraction raises the corners of your mouth and the areas around your cheeks and eyes. 1 3 Crows feet are visible Corners on Mouth Raised Duchenne Smile 2 Cheeks are lifted up Start your facial expression slightly before the shutter clicks. This gives you time to fully develop the emotion before it's recorded.
  • 33. Smiling Techniques To help replicate a natural smile, you will need to feel the difference in your face and remember how this facial muscle action feels. Once you identify the feeling of your genuine smile, try to memorize it. Practice engaging your whole face when you smile. The more you do it, the easier it will become. Simulate your smile ahead of time, particularly if you know in advance that you'll be in a photo opportunity. Practice One common way of presenting a natural smile is giggling or laughing. If the shot is one where you're able to laugh and smile outwardly, then do so. Think of something funny, even if it involves the photographer's clothing or something amusing that's happened to you in the past. If you can't laugh on the outside, laugh inwardly. Laughing creates a more natural pose because it relaxes and calms you. Giggle The squinch is the way your eyes look when you have a genuine smile on your face. Another term for this expression is the “smize” (smiling with your eyes). It’s not just your mouth that moves, your cheeks lift up and your eyes slightly narrow. Also, note that your eyebrows don’t lift. If anything, they lower slightly. To practice, try to do a small squint that only uses the eye muscles and no other facial muscles. Squinch
  • 34. Weight Distribution An effortless way to add elegance to your stance is by shifting your weight to the back leg. This creates a naturally graceful 'S curve' in your posture. Be mindful to maintain an upright position to avoid looking stiff. Waist Forward Leaning slightly from the waist towards the camera can significantly slim the silhouette. This posture helps improve the presentation of your figure and aligns your chin and neck naturally. Head Forward Look good and avoid a double-chin by extending your ears forward, mimicking a turtle. This subtle motion elongates the neck and sharpens the jawline, ensuring a flattering angle in every shot. Better Posing Professional Techniques 45 Degree Angles Straight-on shots rarely do justice to anyone. Positioning your body at a 45-degree angle to the camera works wonders in slimming your profile and adding depth to the photo. Waist Forward Irrespective of your height, a dancer-like posture can create an illusion of height and elegance. Imagine a string pulling you up from the crown of your head, engaging your core and rolling your shoulders back. Arm Positioning Avoid pressing your arms flat against your body. Instead, create a small gap by lifting your arm slightly or placing a hand on your hip. This adjustment will prevent arms from appearing wider.
  • 35. Sometimes, the best pose is no pose at all. Candid photos receive 25% more engagement compared to posed pictures, and research indicates that they are 40% more effective in triggering memory recall. Wedding photographers and casual photographers are seeing 20% yearly growth in “planned” candid photos. Candid To make a posed photo look candid,, engage in gentle movements - a soft walk, a playful twirl, or a natural interaction. This approach often results in photographs that are lively, genuine, and uniquely you. The market for candid photography services has seen a 20% growth annually, as more clients seek natural and unposed imagery [10].
  • 36. Photo Editing Photo editing is common among consumers and one survey indicates that 72% of consumers edit their photos before posting them. Most frequently this is for adjusting lighting and color on individual photos. Ethical concerns have grown around photo editing that drastically alters and misrepresents influencers and brands are increasingly being called upon to disclose when images have been significantly edited. Users aged 18-29 are the most likely to edit their photos, with a staggering 85% reporting regular use of editing tools. Approximately 68% of all photos posted on social media undergo some form of editing before being shared.
  • 37. What to Edit Lighting is a critical editing tool as it sets the mood and overall feel of a photograph. Adjusting exposure with brightness, contrast, highlights, and shadows will bring out details in underexposed or overexposed areas. Advanced features like HDR merging and tone mapping allow for balancing the light in photos with a wide range of light and dark areas. As with all editing, there is only so much you can do with edits. Lighting Adjusting colors involves changing the white balance to ensure colors are rendered naturally, correcting color casts, and enhancing saturation and vibrancy.. Tools like HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance) sliders give precise control over individual colors, allowing for creative and artistic expressions in color grading. Color correction and enhancement help create a consistent aesthetic. Colors Retouching includes removing blemishes, smoothing skin, sharpening details, and sometimes reconstructing missing or damaged parts of an image. Techniques like cloning, healing, and frequency separation are used to clean up imperfections while preserving the natural texture. This category is important for portrait photographers and anyone looking to present a polished image. Retouching
  • 38. Photo Editing Tools Professional Techniques Photoshop Photoshop is less popular for photo editing, but still has good capabilities in graphic design, digital art, and more complex photo editing tasks. The layer editing system enables intricate photo adjustments and composites. Lightroom Now preferred by most professionals, Lightroom excels in most photo editing needs, especially with high- volume batch processing. Lightroom's strength lies in its non-destructive editing environment and cloud integration. VSCO VSCO is a favorite among social media users for its simplicity and tools. VSCO stands out for its array of film-like filters and easy editing tools that cater to an artistic user base. The app also features a unique online community. Snapseed Snapseed is popular among casual users and has many quick editing capabilities such as selective adjustments. It also offers automated tools like a healing brush, which are usually manual and time-intensive.
  • 39. Hiring a Photographer If you can budget for it, get a professional photographer. It's worth the time investment to have good photos. You can also find a semi-professional or student photographer who has the gear and lower rates, but the outcome will not be as good.
  • 40. Thank you Advanced Digital Strategy MGMT X 466.05 2024