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3 Photo Mistakes Commonly Found On Social Media


The days of text covered graphics and low-quality photos are over. If you don't use high-quality pictures on social media, your reach and engagement will suffer significantly.

​Because there are so many great photos published on social media, the bar of expectation for each picture to be great, has been raised. With the improvement of smartphone and DSLR cameras, there is no excuse for a poor photo.

If you don't believe me or think it's not that big of a deal, scroll through your social media feed and compare the engagement on posts of text graphics, flyers, or wait for it - the scanning or photo of a printed news release, to those awesome photos posted by other agencies. There's no comparison!

Let's face it, don't we all also gravitate toward those epic pics of food, places, people, etc. when we are on social?You don't have to be an expert photographer either; most new smartphones are capable of taking pretty decent photos. But, if you don't know how to position, frame and edit, a good camera does nothing for you.

Even though anything can cause a bad photo or photo shoot, here are the top three most common mistakes I see when it comes to pictures on social media.​

Mistake #1: Bad Lighting 

​Photography is all about lighting.

Mainly, lighting with the right quality and direction. Many photos I see are backlit, too dark, or have too many shadows. If you look for those three lighting issues when you look through the lens, you can reposition (turn) or move the people and objects to give the photos life and depth.

Mistake #2: Not Paying Attention To The Background 

​Nothing like making sure you are focused on getting the perfect photo and pose of a person only to realize later that you didn't pay attention to what was in the background. I've seen it all, from the photobomber (intentional and unintentional) to the tree growing out of a person's head, and even confidential information in the background. These are mistakes that you can easily avoid if you pay attention to the details. Don't become overly focused on the object or person, and have a second set of eyes to review your work before you post.

 Mistake #3: Overprocessing

Every photo can benefit from some post-processing (aka editing), but there comes the point where it harms the picture. The purpose of editing is to enhance, not change, the photo. Filters on filters and getting too crazy with the editing sliders (contrast, saturation, etc.) can make the picture look fake, harsh, or too soft. For example, there is a difference between tan and orange skin; orange skin is an easy indication that your colors are off. Always remember that if you make dramatic changes, they will draw attention.

Who We Love... 

​Some of our favorite law enforcement social media accounts when it comes to high-quality photos are Corona PD, and of course my agency Chino PD. Check them out for some inspiration, and hit that save button the next time you see a pic you like so you can refer back to it for some ideas.

Ready To Step Up Your Game? 

We are now offering frequent photo classes for law enforcement social media managers and social media managers for fire, EMS, and other public safety units. Check our list of current classes to sign up today!