Increasing the odds of getting your Facebook friends to “Like” the pictures that you post is easy if you follow a few simple rules. I am not talking about the content of the photos, such as choosing to post open-mouthed selfies and pictures of your mac-and-cheese. That’s up to you. What I am talking about is getting the most impact out of the pictures that you take and that you want to share, because no matter how well documented you want the edge of your thumb to be, it never makes for a photo that anyone would enjoy.
Think About Composition
One of the downsides to the rapid rise of cell phone cameras is the demise of the use of composition in photography. Back when you had to wait several days and pay big $$$ to have film developed, people took more time to ensure that the picture was a good one prior to pressing the shutter button. Nowadays, most people see something, pick up their phone, shoot, and post. Done and done. The result is that there are millions of meh pictures posted on Facebook every day that would have been much more interesting if the photographer had taken just a little care in composition. Pay attention to what is in the background! Find lines that lead your eye to the subject! Use the “Rule of Thirds!” (Which has been around for years because it works. You can learn about it here).
Turn Off the On-Camera Flash
Please repeat after me. “Nothing good comes out of using the on-camera flash.” Whenever I attend a large event such as a concert, ballgame, or graduation, it kills me to see flashes going off in the stands. Since the average range of that tiny on-camera flash is 10-15 feet, it means that someone just got a great shot of the backs of the heads of the folks sitting in front of them. It sounds counter-intuitive, but the worst time to use an on-camera flash is when there is not enough light. You end up with overexposed faces, dark background shadows, unwanted reflections, and red eye. So please disable your flash.
Delete Out of Focus Pictures
The scene in that picture you took may hold some great emotional attachment for you. However, if the picture is out of focus or is blurry due to camera shake, you are the only one that will see any value in it. I am sorry to say that an out of focus picture means that you missed the shot. Please don’t post it on Facebook believing that everyone else will see what you do. Instead of the emotion you felt, other viewers would just see a crappy picture. Delete it and never look back.
Pick Your Best Shot
Let’s say you come across a gorgeous landscape scene or your kid does something that you think is cute. So naturally you’ll take 175 pictures of the same thing so that you can cherish the moment forever. However, there is no need to publish all 175 pictures to your Facebook page. People are too busy to take the time to look at all of those pictures and they will probably just keep scrolling. Instead, pick the best one out of the bunch and upload it. A single good picture will have a much greater impact than multiple pictures of essentially the same thing. You can always have those 175 pictures printed to a picture book for your own enjoyment.
Use Post-Processing Software
I know that you want to immediately post that picture you just took of little Johnny with a bowl of cereal on his head because it is just so adorable. Please resist the urge and prepare the picture for Facebook first. There are dozens of available software programs ranging from free and basic to expensive and complex, and any will be able to process your picture for Facebook, so use one of them, any of them. Crop any distractions (such as your thumb) out of the picture. Straighten the horizon. Adjust the exposure. Decrease highlights and open up shadows. Add some sharpening and vibrancy. Most importantly, optimize the picture for Facebook by setting the quality to 80, and resize to 960 pixels on the long side with 72 dpi. This sounds like a lot, but with a little practice, the entire process takes about 3 minutes.
Heed the five steps above, and your Facebook pictures will go from “no one cares” to “I wish I could “Like” it more than once!” After all, in the end isn’t collecting “Likes” what it is all about?
If you have any additional suggestions or comments, please leave them in the comments section below.