Around 1 billion people use Instagram. Amongst those, 500 million users log in into the platform daily to check recent updates from their friends, peers and influencers.
A vast proportion of Instagram users are millennials, the largest group of consumers for hotels nowadays according to Marriott. It is, therefore, an excellent platform for engaging with and reaching these prospective customers. However, with 95 million new posts appearing daily on the platform, pictures need to stand out to be remembered. So how can you use real-life locations to create the perfect Instagram photo?
How to take high-quality photos and utilise the spaces to their fullest
We have posted previously on how to take great photos on the phone, but you should make sure you try to use accessible spaces creatively and innovatively, whether you take a picture with a phone or a professional camera.
When developing your Instagram account, consistency is vital. You should post regularly, potentially aiming for the same time of the day, when your followers are the most active, and don’t forget to engage with your audience on a regular basis as well. Statistically, the highest engagement rate occurs during weekdays, between midday and 6 pm. In Instagram’s business account mode, however, there is a recently developed feature which tells you exactly when, on any given day of the week, your followers are most active, making the engagement data personalised for you.
However, quantity should not undermine quality. Posting often makes sense only if you keep up with constant great quality photos and interesting captions. It is true that practice will help you create better content and use spaces in a more creative way, but you should always double check the content you want to post. Asking a question relevant to your audience at the end of the post could be a good strategy for increasing engagement. You should also check out our recent post on how to create engaging captions.
Using a particular filter or colour scheme on Instagram may help with developing a unique aesthetic for your profile. Often simplicity is key. Even if you have just a phone in your hand to shoot photos, remember that the majority of Instagram users will engage with your content from their smartphone devices, so while the image quality does not have to as high resolution as a billboard poster, for example, it still needs to be excellent. Clear focus and a working knowledge of some basic photography rules may be helpful too.
Want to know more? Check our guide on how to establish an Instagram aesthetic.
A fantastic shot by Swayy influencer @jetset_jen, of an amazing picturesque atmosphere captured in Italy. The colours itself look magical and take the audience straight to the bewitching place, but the back shot of @jetset_jen wearing a yellow dress and bow highlights the scenery even more, and makes the picture look like something taken straight from a fairy-tale.
How to use real-life locations responsibly
Some national heritage sites don’t allow to take photos. This may be for security reasons, or you may have to obtain a special license to take pictures there, especially if the images are being used for commercial purposes. When visiting such locations, make sure beforehand that you are allowed to take photos. Asking and checking the rules first won’t hurt, and makes you look more professional.
In the same manner, if you are taking photos on the street, in front of cute house doors, or next to somebody’s car, be aware that the owners may not wish to have their property featured on an influencers’ Instagram. For instance, some houses in Notting Hill, in London, known for their photographic appeal, now have notices stating whether or not they are happy with people taking photographs in front of their doors. It is essential that you respect their wishes.
Doing locations shoots and repurposing existing spaces for the use of Instagram is a great way to get some high quality photos. However, whilst promoting your content and taking those ace shots, you must always maintain your respect towards local people and the environment. Ask yourself the following questions before you begin: are your actions hurting someone? Are you affecting someone’s day or life in a way you shouldn’t? Should you have some permission? Is it ethical or moral to take this particular photo in this specific way? Particularly if you have travelled abroad, local communities may have different traditions and customs than your home country, and you should make sure you remain considerate of those. Travel responsibly.
Another beautiful shot by one of Swayy’s influencer, @saltinourhair, using local scenery to its fullest.
How to use hotel spaces creatively
If you are, for instance, promoting a hotel during your stay in a new location, try to use the spaces of the venue creatively. Just taking pictures of your room probably won’t provide better content than images seen on the company’s website. So, while the hotel marketing team have probably instructed you what they expect from you (and you should definitely follow that so that your collaboration runs as smoothly as possible), you should always aim to add some personal touch to your photos. Make your content honest and authentic.
Try to use all the spaces – unless you’ve been specifically instructed not to – which may include the hotel’s exterior, bedrooms and suits, or maybe the café and restaurant. And always remember to finish up with a winning caption.