We all know that social media photography has gotten easier as the years have gone on thanks to yearly improvements in smartphone cameras, new apps coming out on those smartphones, and physical tools to make photography easier. But what are our favorite tools for social media photography? Here are our 5 favorites that you can incorporate into your social media photography.
1. Smartphone Camera
This one seems like a no-brainer, but you don’t need a high-end camera to get quality photos for your social media feed. All you need is a relatively good camera on your smartphone. And luckily for us, there are plenty of options for those who prefer different software.
Looking at just the US, the two most common smartphone manufacturers are Apple and Samsung. It is no surprise that Apple has continued to dominate the smartphone market share with 47% market share in Q3 of 2021.
One of the main reasons for this market control is because of Apple’s software that comes on every iPhone sold, but another reason is because of the camera system. Taking a look at the Pro models, it comes with a 3-camera setup which includes a 12 megapixel telephoto, wide, and ultra-wide lenses. This combined with the software used to process the images, creates some of the best images you can get off a smartphone.
Some prefer the Android OS rather than Apple’s iOS, and for those people, Samsung has the highest market share at 34% in Q3 of 2021. They make a wide variety of phones throughout the year, but their most popular is their Galaxy family oh smartphones.
Just like Apple’s iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy phones come with a very strong camera system. The Galaxy S21 Ultra, which is the most comparable to the iPhone 13 Pro Max, comes with a quad-camera setup. This includes an ultra-wide, wide, and dual telephoto cameras. This camera system makes high quality images that are on par with those of the iPhone.
These smartphones are some of the best available, but they are also some of the most expensive. You don’t need to go with these top of the line phones to get quality images. There are plenty of options in the med-tier price range such as the Google Pixel 6.
2. Photo Editing App
Every smartphone comes with limited editing features where you can make simple changes to any of the photos on your camera roll. Those will work well in a pinch, but there are other options out there that allows you to be a bit more specific with your changes.
Some of these apps are either free or come with a free trial, but many of them will either have a one-time fee or a monthly subscription.
One of the best free options out there is called Snapseed. Snapseed isn’t for the casual user, but if you’re looking to edit the exposure, color, masking, or editing individual layers then this is for you. Snapseed’s excellent traditional tools and nondestructive editing make it one of the best photo editing apps for social media photography for those who need to spend time fine-tuning their pictures.
On the paid side of things, Adobe Lightroom is part of a cloud-based workflow that includes storage of your entire photo library and access to the full-resolution files on all your devices. The great thing about this app is that it’s a great learning platform. It’s ever-growing library of interactive tutorials will teach you to edit your images like a pro, which is good considering how deep the app is. There is a standalone Lightroom app that is free, or you can pay $4.99/month for the Premium subscription, or you can purchase the entire Lightroom system for $9.99/month.
3. Ring Light
Lighting is an incredibly important part of social media photography, and just photography in general. Therefore, we recommend using a ring light. A ring light is a circular lighting tool that evenly illuminates the subject of a close-up photograph. Some selfie ring light attach directly to your smartphone, and others might include a kit with a tripod and gooseneck.
Why couldn’t you just use the flash on your expensive smartphone though? Well, a ring light produces a soft, direct light on a subject, minimizing shadows. When you take a photo using a ring light, your subject is lit evenly across the whole face. Other light sources may produce brilliant lighting on some parts of a subject while leaving others in harsh shadow. This harsh lighting might work for some photography, but for social media it is common to want softer lighting rather than harsh lighting.
Not all social media content is still photography. Some prefer to add some video to their feed, and that is where a tripod will come in handy. If your content is stationary, then removing the swaying that will naturally come from holding a camera will automatically make your video seem more professional.
5. Gimbal Stabilizer
This is the flip side of the same coin for video content. If your content consists of your subject matter moving, they you should invest in a gimbal stabilizer for your phone/camera. A gimbal is a tool that uses motors and intelligent sensors to support and stabilize a camera – meaning you can film silky smooth video footage while on the move.