If you have a business and you’re active on social media, you’ve probably discovered that you’re constantly in need of new images to post. Many businesses schedule a photoshoot with a professional photographer which will give them 3-6 months worth of photos and content to post.
But what about the times you want to capture photos in between the professional shoots?
You may be at an event, spending time with your clients, or you may have received a new product in the mail. There are plenty of times and occasions where you can bust out your smartphone to snap photos that can – and will be – good enough to use within your marketing.
Here are 5 quick tips to help upgrade your business and marketing photos… for the times you don’t have a professional photographer with you.
- Find the best light
- Compose your photo using the rule of thirds
- Watch the background
- Take photos at different angles and distances
- Do a quick edit of your photos
Good lighting is crucial to creating good photos, and is often the difference between a good photo and an excellent photo. When you’re shooting with your phone, chances are you’ll just be using the natural light around you. Generally what’s best is to face the light. This is the simplest and easiest thing to do to make sure your subject will be well lit. Turn towards the light and face it.
One good thing about shooting on your phone is that it does a pretty good job exposing the photo properly (so it’s not too dark or bright). In the event that it doesn’t, you can adjust the exposure manually.
All you need to do is tap on the screen, on the subject of your photo. When the sun image appears, slide your finger up to make the picture brighter, or down, to make the picture darker. This is for the iPhone, but it will be similar on android phones too.
So what exactly is the rule of thirds? Just imagine a naughts and crosses board on your screen. Two vertical lines dividing the screen into equal thirds, and two horizontal lines going across the screen, doing the same thing. Then place the subject or the important part of the picture along one or two of the intersecting lines.
The rule of thirds was actually used by painters back in the Renaissance period to help create asymmetry. If elements are too centred and balanced in a photo, it can look boring, or even wrong, so using the rule of thirds helps to create a much more dynamic picture.
Check out your phone settings to see if there’s a grid or rule of thirds you can switch on to help guide your photo composition.
It’s always a good idea to take a look at what’s in the background of all your shots. If you’re
shooting inside, make sure there aren’t any messy cables or computer wires, and tidy up what can be seen within the frame. You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference moving things around the background of your shot can make. Often when I’m on a shoot, we spend up to 30 minutes just moving things around the background to get a nice shot. You could also spruce up the background with some flowers or plants too if you don’t just want a plain coloured wall.
Another simple thing to do is to make sure the horizon line is straight. This is for whenever there’s an obvious line on the horizon. You could be shooting outside and have the ocean, a road, the city, or even a brick wall in the background. Make sure it’s straight and even, unless you are intentionally shooting on a diagonal or taking a creative approach with the angles.
If you are shooting portraits, a general tip is to shoot at eye level. This means if a person is tall and standing up, and you’re short (like me!), you’ll need to stand on a stool to match their eye level. If they’re sitting down for the shot you also need to crouch down to get to their eye level. The same thing applies for when you’re shooting animals. Get right down to the ground so you can be on the same level as the animal, and this will often provide a really nice shot, much better than if you’re shooting down at them from a standing position. Try it with your pets at home and see how different the shots look!
Where you can disregard this rule is in two situations. If you want someone to appear small and
helpless, or little and cute, such as the famous Puss in Boots picture, shoot down at them from a high angle. And the opposite of this: if you want someone to appear dominant, strong, like a leader, you can take a low angle approach and shoot up at them. Have a play with angles and experiment to see what works for your photos.
Also make sure to mix it up and shoot a combination of close-ups, mid shots and wide shots, so you have a variety of angles and sizes of photos to play with and use, as you may find that a close up shot works particularly well as one photo on your Instagram feed, but a wide shot with text might work well for another post.
I’m a huge fan of the basic editing that comes with the photos app on the iPhone, and I use this nearly every day. The first thing I usually do is hit the auto button and see if I like the difference that it makes to the photo. From there I can scroll across and adjust the other settings such as exposure, brilliance, highlights, shadows, contrast and so on.
There are also filters you can select from on your phone, and the Instagram app. There is a range of great filters that you can scroll through and choose from, to change the look and feel of your photos with one simple click.
If you would like to do a bit more in-depth editing you can download photo editing apps from the app store. There are hundreds of them, but two of my favourite apps are Lightroom and Snapseed. These two apps give you the flexibility to edit your photos much more extensively than the basic editing that comes with your phone.
Well, that’s 5 quick tips on how you can upgrade your business and marketing photos with just your phone.
Want more quick, easy-to-watch online courses about business photography and videography? Head on over to www.joyceongcreative.com
Written by Joyce Ong
Joyce is an international photographer, video producer, best-selling author and educator. When she’s not working with her industry leaders such as Virgin Unite, Johnson & Johnson, OzHarvest and Sony Music, Joyce is passionate about wildlife and has filmed documentaries in Africa. Joyce also enjoys running workshops around Australia and online, to share her skills with others.