Lifestyle Photography on Instagram
For florists, Instagram is a boon. It’s an excellent platform to display your goods as well as your flower arranging skills. There are two broad categories of pictures that brands post to Instagram: professional, studio shots of products and more casual shots taken out “in the real world.” While it might seem that sticking with just studio shots of your flowers is the right move, many Instagram users gravitate towards pictures that show how products work with their lifestyle. In this article, we’ll discuss how florists can leverage this tendency for their benefit, as well as best practices for non-professional photos.
THE RISE OF LIFESTYLE EXPERTS ON INSTAGRAM (AND THEIR IMPACT)
Although people love following celebrities on Instagram because they represent their aspirations, Instagrammers also enjoy viewing images taken by regular folk. They feel they can relate to “lifestyle experts” on Instagram, because these are real people doing everyday activities such as cooking, eating, and walking
One of the reasons that lifestyle experts have become so popular is because they know their audiences incredibly well. They don’t guess what kind of photos will work well – they’ve already learned this through building their personal brands. Lifestyle experts post what their audiences want to see.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
What does the rise of lifestyle experts on Instagram mean for florists? You might take it to mean that photos can be far more casual. However, simply because a professional photographer doesn’t snap the shot in front of a white screen doesn’t mean you can afford to be sloppy.
When it comes to taking lifestyle photos, there are a few principles you need to keep in mind. For starters, you need to keep your photos visually consistent. Your Instagram account should have an overall theme and feel, and that should reflect your brand’s personality. You want your photos to be instantly recognizable, which is why you should use the same filter to edit all of them. Moreover, maintaining a consistent color palette enables that coherence.
Lifestyle photography shows that your business is run by real human beings – in other words, your flower shop is not a faceless corporate entity. To that end, you should share photos and videos that put your processes, people, values, and flowers in the spotlight. This type of content gives people a deeper look into your brand.
On that note, your Instagram content must also reflect who you are. If your content doesn’t match what customers encounter in-person, you’ll come off as inauthentic. Inauthenticity repels Instagram followers and customers.
How do you ensure your Instagram content is authentic? Ask yourself if a photo feels natural to you. If you rock an edgy haircut, a prominent tattoo, and your style leans more Bohemian than preppy, a monochromatic arrangement on a coffee table in a living room styled by Pottery Barn would be out of place. You’d probably be better going to an industrial setting to capture young people holding whimsical bouquets or sporting flower jewelry.
The most appealing photos are the ones that look effortless. Your audience can tell if you’re trying too hard to come across in a particular manner. They can also tell if you’re trying too hard to sell them something. While Instagram is a great platform for marketing, you have to be subtle to be successful.
Additionally, these effortless shots are also the least cluttered. You don’t want to put too many items in a single shot – it will distract and ultimately drive away your followers.
Your goal should be for your audience to form a connection with your shop. Photographer Jennifer Wu, whose work has appeared in dozens of major newspapers and magazines, recommends shooting photos at eye-level, so your followers feel that they’re next to you as you look at your flowers.
FLOWERS BY JANIE: AN INSTAGRAM SUCCESS STORY
Flowers by Janie is a Calgary-based flower shop run by Janelle “Janie” Gerestein. She posts photos on Instagram using the handle @flowersbyjanie. Gerestein has nearly 7,500 followers. Some of her most popular photos have been lifestyle photos. “I think that even though people want to see pretty, they want to see authentic images that aren’t as staged and feel more real-life,” she said. “My followers like seeing real couples and real flowers for those couples.”She posts lifestyle photos and videos often to her IG stories, which always garner lots of viewers and comments.
What is one piece of advice that Gerestein has for florists? “Invest in a good camera!” she urged. “I just bought the iPhone X and it takes amazing photos. I also have a professional DSLR Sony Digital camera. It’s important that the photos look aesthetically pleasing or there won’t be much interaction from followers.”
Instagram success is possible without staged photos of your flowers. As long as your photos are authentic, consistent, and attractive, you’ll gain followers, increase engagement, and likely attract some new customers.