4 Tools For Great Photo & Video Content

For anyone not familiar with creating images or video, some of the more complex options out there can feel overwhelming, not to mention the fact that they often come with a seriously steep price tag.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to creating boring ads or dedicate hours to learning how to use tools like Photoshop or After Effects at a professional level. There are tons of options out there that are simple, straightforward, and free.

In this guide, we’ll be going over a few of the best tools for beginners and busy business owners.

Canva

Canva is a tool that lets you create infographics, social posts, and more. It’s free to use, but additional features can be unlocked when you purchase a premium membership. Alternately, individual premium elements can be purchased on a per-use basis. Canva can be used on either desktop or mobile.

Getting Started

Before getting started, there are a few things that can make creating images in Canva even more manageable.

First of all, get the hex colour codes for all of your brand colours. If you have a brand documents or are in touch with the designer who worked on your logo, you can access the info you need that way. If these solutions don’t work for you, use a colour dropper tool, like this one. It will give you a code, such as “#000000”. You can use this in Canva to add your brand colours to text and elements for a consistent, professional feel.

Second, get a copy of your logo and upload it to Canva. We recommend that you use the highest-quality version you can, and that you make sure the background is transparent. You can then use this logo in any images or infographics that you create.

Finally, think of what types of images you would like to use. While it’s possible to use amazing stock images from sites such as Unsplash, you can also use photos you take yourself. Using unique photos that showcase your products, services, and company culture can help set you apart.

The Basics

  • When you create an account and log in, you’ll see a wide range of image size options.
  • When you choose an image size, Canva gives you further examples of templates that fit with that size.
  • Some of these templates are relatively straightforward, while others have elements that require a premium membership to use watermark-free.
  • Within each template, you can add, remove, or recolour elements. You also have the option to create a design from scratch.
  • You can add text in a variety of fonts, as well as images and elements like arrows.
  • To arrange a visually appealing image, just drag and drop the elements to create a design that you’re happy with.
  • You can share your work with team members who also have Canva accounts.

Our team has found that while it might be beneficial to start with templates, over time, you’ll develop your style and create designs based on what works best for your brand.

Tips

On Facebook, ads with more than 20% of the image covered by text do not get shown to as broad an audience as if they had less text (this is called “limited reach”).

Fortunately, there’s no need to break out a ruler to make sure your post conforms to the guidelines. Use Facebook’s text overlay tool to check how text-heavy your image is.

If your image is very text-heavy, consider trimming down the number of words you use on the image itself, and putting the bulk of your message in your post’s text. You could also state your message in a video. If this still doesn’t work, it’s worth considering whether or not you’re trying to say too many things at once.

Clips

Clips is a straightforward video app that is available for free for iPhones. It allows you to shoot and quickly edit videos. What most businesses will find useful about Clips is the ability to import existing video from a device’s library, as well as shoot video in square. Square is the ideal format for Instagram posts and also looks appealing on Facebook.

Getting Started

Clips is not an app that requires a significant amount of setup to use. However, if you are looking to add extra flair to your content, it can be helpful to keep any existing video or animations your use frequently, such as a standard title card or a logo animation, saved to your device.

If you’ll be shooting video using Clips, it’s important to ensure that you have a well-lit area without significant background noise or interruptions.

The Basics

  • When you open Clips, you have the opportunity to choose Scenes, Library, Camera, or Poster.
  • The Poster option lets you get started with a title card, while Library and Camera let you either upload or take a video.
  • Once you import or choose your video, you can tap it and select options to enhance your video. These include Live Titles (which can be used while shooting the video or for narration as you record the video), or Effects, which allow you to add labels, emojis, and more.
  • When adding a clip, you can hold down the red button to combine portions of the clip.
    • It’s important to be aware that if you are speaking while doing this, Clips will record your voice. While it’s highly useful if you want to add narration, the app will also pick up any loud background conversation or noise. If you accidentally record background noise, simply tap the clip, select the “mute” option and select “mute recorded audio”.
  • You can trim or rearrange clips.
  • When you’re happy with your video, you can export it and easily upload it to social media.

Tips

The Scenes option is an AR-like filter that allows you to change the background of your video. While this might be useful if you’re shooting a fun video for your personal feed, we usually recommend against using it for business content.

Our second tip is that when creating a video, it’s important to be mindful of the time limits that exist on different platforms. For example, for Instagram posts, videos over one minute will be cut off after 60 seconds.

Adobe Spark Post

This option is similar to Canva, in that it allows you to create images for social media. However, it also offers the ability to add animation effects to make your post more visually interesting.

Getting Started

You will need an Adobe account to use this app, even if you are using the free version. It’s also a good idea to have all of the images you need saved to your phone already.

The Basics

  • Choose a template that you like. If you have the premium version of Spark Post, you can add your own logo, and if you don’t have a premium version, you can simply remove the watermark.
  • You can add your own images, change the text, as well as resize your post for different platforms.
  • Once your image is complete, you can export it as either a video or as a photo.

VSCO

VSCO is a great app for creating a consistent look with your images. There is a free version of the app with basic presets and standard editing tools like contrast, saturation, and grain. The paid version is $19.99 USD per year has a much wider array of presets and editing tools. We  love that the presets mimic film photography, and that you can adjust the intensity. VSCO also outlines their featured filters, and explains the look that they can help you achieve. If you’re just starting out or want to subtly enhance your image rather than apply a particular “look”, the free version works perfectly. However, if you are aiming to create a specific or  highly artistic style with your content, the full version and its wider range of presets and tools might be ideal.

The Basics

  • Take a photo in the app, or upload an image to the gallery.
  • Edit it using presets and photo settings.
  • You can create “recipes” using different presets and settings, and apply them to all of your photos for a consistent look.

Let Us Know Your Thoughts

What do you think of these tools for creating quick social media posts? Do you have a favourite tool you’d like us to review, or is there an app that you’ve always wanted to try but never got around to using? Let us know!


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