In this episode of the Mattie James show, we’ll be discussing how to elevate your visuals as an influencer. The first thing a brand or your audience does to your content is see it, so prioritizing your visuals is important if you want to be taken seriously as an influencer and eventually paid to create content. Listen below.
When I look back at my early content as a blogger, I easily cringe. I knew nothing about lighting or composition. I don’t know why I insisted on wearing so much blush, and the worst part of my visual content was that most of it had no point. I was just shooting and posting just because I thought that was what I was supposed to be doing. Now, I’m a lot better at creating visuals because I have a process. In today’s episode, we’ll breakdown the 3 steps in that process – research, references and repetition.
Most people aren’t good at creating visuals because they never did the research about how to create visual content in the first place. They simply did what they thought got a certain result and then they kept doing that thing without getting better. An hour on Google and Pinterest is a game changer as there is so much amazing, free content on how to create great visuals. From the tools to use, from the best time to shoot in the day and how to get specific results. The possibilities are endless.
Stop assuming that something is easy or expensive to do. Actually take time out to get answers or even ask for them. If there’s an influencer whose content you love, ask what camera or software they use. You’ll be surprised how willing people are to share the information, but stop assuming and declaring that you just can’t do it.
It’s not that you can’t do it, it’s just you didn’t do your research ahead of time. Be intentional and schedule time to do research for whatever you’re trying to accomplish. At least an hour of uninterrupted time should get you some real results with substance and set you up for success.
To get better at visual content, you will need an endless amount of references. References are simply examples of what you’re trying to create. For example, if you’re trying to shoot outfit posts wearing jeans and a trench coat, head over to Pinterest and search for outfits with trench coat. A slew of photo results will come up. Save the ones that resonate with you and look similar to what you would like to shoot. The goal here isn’t to emulate and copy what people are doing, but to take what you like from these photos and make them your own.
I have so many reference folders on Pinterest, Instagram and Google Drive. I have various secret Pinterest boards that have shots that specifically reference upcoming content for my blog. I also have Instagram collections title Mommy & Me shots that reference photos I want to take with the girls and even a Mattie & Chris collection with references for the next time me & Chris take photos.
The more references the better.
I learned about having references from artists like Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez who have mentioned in many interviews about the references they’ve used for music videos and photo shoots. The best of the best creatives know that references help you get crystal clear on visuals.
The more you create content, the better you will get at it. I encourage you to create to the best of your knowledge and ability, put it out there, then rinse and repeat. You’re not going to be great when you start. You might not even be good. That’s ok.
It’s about creating over and over and over again. Putting it out there to your audience is important because that’s part of the process. Avoiding feedback is more detrimental than getting criticism.
Plus, when it’s out to the public, it’s under a different lens. You realize that it’s not as bad as you thought or you see what you could’ve done better. When you keep the visual content you created to yourself, you don’t have that opportunity to honestly critique yourself or even better, praise yourself.
Commit to the habit of creating visual content for you blog, Instagram and/or YouTube. Even once a week is consistent enough. But if once a week is what you’re going to commit to, then actually commit.
Creating visuals isn’t necessarily about having the newest and most expensive equipment or even looking perfect. It’s more so about process – and making sure you’re doing your research, looking to references before executing and creating over and over and over again so you creating great visuals becomes the default.
Being an influencer isn’t as easy as it looks, but it can certainly become your business if you want. You just have to be willing to do the work.