The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Photos for Brands

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There are 95+ Million photos and videos posted daily to Instagram and according to a survey conducted by Instagram, 60% of people say that they discover new products on Instagram.

Keeping the above numbers in mind, it’s very crucial for any brand to stand out among these millions of images; stay appealing and interesting for its followers on Instagram. Thus, to be successful on a completely visual platform like Instagram, you need a really thoughtful strategy for posting great and engaging photos consistently on Instagram.

Another compelling reason behind having a good Instagram photo strategy is the kind of conversions you get from Instagram. It is evident from the numbers below.

Another obvious thing from the below statistics is that Instagram is the best medium for brand engagement, but sadly you can not link Instagram images to your website hence can not convert this engagement into measurable revenue. With Artifacia’s shoppable Instagram feature, you can easily make your Instagram feed shoppable and tap the brand engagement from Instagram. But it’s equally important to create and post engaging photos on Instagram.

Image Source: WebpageFX

If you are also looking for a sure-shot strategy for your brand’s Instagram photos, then this ultimate guide will provide you some of the proven techniques and best practices to generate photographs that convert well on Instagram.

Here are some steps that can help you build a photo strategy for your Instagram.

A. Photo Strategy

To represent a brand, all your content across different social media should be very consistent with the brand messaging and brand story. So, figure out what is the core component of your brand messaging before deciding the photo strategy.

For example, if you are a fitness wear brand, your core messaging will be around physical activities and sports. Thus, your photo strategy will be to add that core element of fitness in each photo you post like cycling, gym or any sport. Any photo which has some element of luxury or leisure will be inconsistent.

And if you are an organic food ingredients brand, your core messaging will be around natural, healthy and fresh food. Thus, you need to add the core element of health and nutrition in each photo you post. In this case, any photo which has junk food or sweets will be a strict no.

In short, every photo you post should be in line with your branding words.

Next, you should work on the cohesive look and feel of your photographs. Again, consistency is the key here. Keep the uniformity across all your photographs in terms of the below parameters:

1. Theme:
Think about the words that describe your brand best or the feeling one should have while seeing your Instagram photos. Is it minimal, fun, colorful or adventure? Make sure that your followers associate the same feeling with your brand photos.

2. Color Palette:
Decide on the color palette which depicts your theme. You can choose 2-3 colors in your palette which represents your business.

For example, in the case of luxury brands, black color is used in the palette because black color is mostly associated with luxury.

Tip: Don’t try to create the offbeat color palette. Research a bit on what colors are associated with what kind of businesses and use them. Our minds are trained to associate certain colors with certain themes.

3. Filters and Lighting:
Do you know, 60% of the top brands use similar filter and lighting for all their Instagram photos? This gives their content an identity and recognition among others. So, pick the filter that best suits your theme and color palette. And stick with it.

B. Before Every Photoshoot:

Once you are confident about the core messaging and above parameters, then you need to apply them in every photo shoot you do.

Before every photo shoot, decide what different story you want to tell. A photo shoot should be concept driven and be creating a different story for photo shoots makes photos more interesting. Here are some ideas used by popular brands; behind the scenes of upcoming products, sneak peek into your workplace, an overview of your tools, product photo shoots, shout out to your customers, upcoming products, etc.

C. Creative Guidelines:

Hiring a good photographer or photo agency is the best strategy for brands but if you are on a shoestring budget, here are some proven guidelines:

  1. Always post high-quality photos.
  2. Have a strong focal point.
  3. Make sure you frame the image well.
  4. Keep enough lighting around while shooting products. Try to use natural light for maximum impact.
  5. Use white space and negative space effectively.
  6. Try to have a single dominant hue in your photos, it helps in removing the chaos and improving focus.
  7. Try to have the maximum amount of background space, especially in product photos.
  8. Try to have a single dominant color instead of multiple dominant colors.
  9. Try to have more texture in your images as prominent ridges and shadows make images distinct.
  10. Don’t over filter your photos to degrade the originality and quality of the image.

Here are some more best practices:

Source: WebpageFX

D. The Perfect Photo Mix:

You may find multiple types of photos even for a single theme but on a broader level, we can categorize all of them under following titles.

Figuring out a perfect mix of photos from these categories is a tricky thing and you have to do multiple experiments to find that perfect ratio that works well for your audience.

Let’s have a look:

1. Product Centric Photo
These are the most popular photos by brands on Instagram. These are as simple as lining up your products and showing them in all available colors or variants. Some fashion brands also showcase their best looks or complementary products in these photos.

An example of a product-centric photo from Zalando: Zalando Product Centric Instagram Photo-Artifacia Blog

2. User Generated Photos
UGC images works wonder on social media as they are from the real people who are using the products. Using this kind of images in your mix is very important for adding a sense of authenticity and social proof to your brand.

See how PrettySecrets sharing the UGC photo using repost app mentioning the Instagram handle of the user. Pretty Secrets User-Generated Content Photo on Instagram-Artifacia Blog Also, check out ==Pretty Secrets’s case study== on how they drove high-quality traffic from Instagram to their website using Artifacia.

3. Employee Centric Photos
These are the images taken by or of the employees. These images are as powerful as UGC images. Your followers love to know more about the creators of the products they use. These are like inside look into your business and workplace.

See how Starbucks talks about their employee Jesse and creates buzz around their barista. Starbucks Employee Centric Photo on Instagram- Artifacia Blog

4. Lifestyle Centric Photos
You should use Instagram not just to showcase your product but how your target audience looks like in their daily lives like the food they eat, their personalities and overall lifestyle. You can plan some photo shoots to showcase your products while they are being used by the models.

Australian activewear brand Lorna Jane does it beautifully and if you see their Instagram feed, you can easily connect what personalities their target audience have.

Lorna Jane Lifestyle Centric Instagram Photo-Artifacia Blog

5. Influencer Centric Photos
Having an influencer strategy for your brand is very effective in driving engagement as influencers have millions of followers who are your ready target audience. Hiring influencers or sharing their images on Instagram create peak interest for your brand among your as well as their followers.

Famous bag brand Lavie shared this photo from influencer @deekshakhurana who has 394k followers which is much more than 72k followers of @lavieworld. This alliance acts like a celebrity testimonial for your product.

Lavie Influence Instagram Photo-Artifacia Blog

6. Motivational Photos
A motivational post with a powerful quote which resonates with your followers can add an emotional appeal to your brand. You can also share the story of a real person who went beyond the odds and thrived to be successful. All the stories should be aligned with the core element of your branding words.

WhoWhatWear, the leading online destination for aspirational fashion shares fashion quotes like this on Instagram. WhoWhatWear Motivational Instagram Photo-Artifacia Blog

7. Contests Photos
Announcing regular contests about sharing images or some quiz around your products are very effective in creating a quick buzz around your brands. These contests help you in interacting with followers and incentivizing them. You can try out different forms of contests based on upcoming festivals or around your new product launch.

Here is a photo posted by Casabaio Paradise Resort for their ongoing contest asking the followers for post a selfie with their brand hashtag to win gift vouchers.

Casabaio Contest Instagram Photo-Artifacia Blog

E. Experiment:

Nowadays, Instagram is not only about photos. There are photo carousels, video, stories, live stories, boomerang and hyper lapse for your creative flexibility. You should experiment your content in these formats also. Try a photo carousel for a DIY tutorial, a boomerang about models blowing kisses from backstage and much more.

These new formats are very effective in capturing the attention quickly as mobile users make fast decisions if they want to engage with the content or not. Capturing their attentions from the first few seconds is the key here. So, keep experimenting and learning.

Hope you like this guide and let us know in comments what kind of Instagram photos are working best for you.

We at Artifacia help brands curate, publish and analyze their owned and user-generated content at scale. Our customers are driving high-quality traffic by using our solutions that spend 37% more time on the site, view 48% more pages and have 64% more e-commerce conversion rate.