We all know ‘em: the fitness studios and gyms in our town whose social media feeds make us feel like we’re right in class, maybe even causing us to sweat a little bit just by scrolling through. They have all the followers, the likes, and every post has more comments than your Facebook profile when your friends realize it’s your birthday.
While this is all well and good, more importantly for these businesses, this locks in social media as a cornerstone of their marketing strategy and as a key piece for generating prospects, visitors, and ultimately, revenue.
When it comes to building a following on social media, content is key, and the most important piece of this is having eye-catching photos that stop people from scrolling past your account while they’re browsing their feed. Large fitness studios and nationwide gym chains may have larger budgets to pay photographers and marketers, but the reality is this: anyone can take great pictures with their smartphone and a little know-how.
Low Light = Low Quality
We get it. Your class has a certain feel to it and you don’t want to mess up your vibe. Unfortunately, a class of your best students doing Child’s Pose is a dimly lit picture away from looking like a room full of sleeping people.
To capture sharp photos with your phone, the first and easiest thing you can do is add some more light to your subject. To take it even further, natural light is your best bet. If your gym or studio has great track lighting or great exposure to natural light, let it shine through! It makes a world of difference in capturing the best photos.
By adding light, your camera is able to capture more detail, the photo will look sharper, and your phone won’t have to fill in pixels with its best guess of what’s going on, so your picture will automatically come out sharper.
Pro Tip: When you’re taking a picture on your cell phone, tap on your subject and it will automatically adjust the lighting to bring out its’ details the most. Tapping on the darkest part of the picture will make everything as bright as possible.
Focus On A Single Subject
Something we see often is class photos that focus on the entire group versus an individual. These pictures lack an emphasis for our eyes to lock in on and in turn, lack a reason for someone to stop and admire.
Standing closer to a primary subject and taking pictures at angles rather than head-on are two easy ways to help add depth to your shots. If you notice any online or magazine advertisements, they all have the main focal point that everything else stems around. This isn’t a coincidence and has been proven time and time again to be more attractive to viewers.
Pro Tip: When you are going to snap some shots of a class, use a team member other than the instructor leading it. Taking good pictures takes focus and doing this while leading a group fitness class is tough for anyone.
Use A Photo Editing App
Every fitness studio or gym should have a siren that goes off when a team member takes pictures on their phone and uploads them directly to social media. That wouldn’t get annoying at all, right? Before doing that, be sure to take the photo through an editing process.
The tools that are available for free right now would have cost an arm and a leg just a few short years ago. These tools are powerful, professional, and most importantly, easy to use for anyone regardless of their technology or photography experience.
Instagram has a great built-in photo editing platform, but there are also a ton of great tools available for free on the Apple and Google Play app stores.
VSCO and Snapseed by Google are the two most popular options. If for any reason they don’t suit your needs, a quick search will net countless options. Just ensure that your feeds utilize a consistent theme and filter.
As for how to edit your photos, these tools have countless presets that you can browse to suit your needs, but ultimately, you should sharpen the focus on your subject to draw viewer’s eyes, and enhance the lighting if needed to make everything pop. Blurring backgrounds and areas to reiterate movement are also effective tools for creating action in your shots.
Pro Tip: If you’re feeling lost, try searching YouTube for tutorials on how to properly edit photos for social media with your chosen app.
Show Off Your Brand’s Identity
Showcasing your studio’s ability on how to properly instruct students is an important aspect to focus on, but showing how much fun your members are having during class can be just as important because, at the end of the day, humans are social creatures. For most people, the best workout is the one that they’ll stick to consistently, and being around like-minded people is often the most important factor in keeping up with a fitness routine. Don’t be afraid to let your hair down and show how much fun people are having while taking your classes, regardless of your practice.
These shots let people see through the hard work and if even on a small level, connect with the members of your studio.
When you create a positive association with your social media, you are already taking the first step to creating a space that people would like to use for self-improvement.
Pro Tip: While taking more casual pictures, be sure to uphold the same quality of photos that you’re using for more sophisticated shots.
Stay Away From Digital Zoom
While it might seem like a convenient feature at first, digital zoom is the kryptonite of smartphone photography. For starters, phone cameras typically aren’t as powerful as their professional counterparts. Zooming digitally only focuses on a portion of the entire, available photo, and as a result, your phone is forced to enlarge each pixel to fill the selected area. This naturally causes the photo to lose its sharpness and become less hi-res.
As an alternative, move closer to your subject to get the shot you want and to maximize your camera’s power.
Pro Tip: It’s human nature for someone to look at you if you’re moving closer to them. For the best photos, be sure to capture people facing forward in order to catch them in a candid state.
Take More Photos Than You Think You’ll Need
When was the last time you hired a professional photographer? Your wedding? Graduation? Christmas party? Whatever the occasion, we can guarantee that throughout the event you saw them snapping shots at every opportunity they had. This isn’t because they get paid per photo taken. This is because they know that in order to get the best shots, they have to have as many pictures as possible to choose from.
By taking as many pictures as possible, you only increase your chances of snapping that perfect shot that everyone will love.
Pro Tip: Check your phone settings to turn on burst mode. This will allow you to take multiple pictures with a single press of a button and easily capture the full range of movement.
Taking professional photos for your studio or gym can seem like a daunting task at first, but we promise that if you use these simple tips each time you’re looking for that perfect shot you’ll have a social media feed that people will love in no time.