Use Natural (and Bright) Light
Turn off your flash! The flash on your smartphone is still just an LED light, and it can emit a strange hue onto your photographs. Instead, try shooting with natural light sources to take professional looking pictures.
Invest in a Tripod
Some basic equipment can make a big difference when embarking on your own journey into photography. To take professional looking pictures, your camera (or smartphone, whichever you are using) needs to stay completely still during the entire exposure. Otherwise, your shots can come out with a “smeared” look to them. A tripod will keep your camera or smartphone perfectly still during shots and can be purchased online for a minimal cost.
Invest in a Lightbox for Product Photography
Like a tripod, a lightbox is another basic piece of equipment that will aid in your quest for professional looking pictures. If you are going to be taking your own product photography, a basic lightbox is absolutely essential. A light box (which is often sold in a set with high powered LED lamps) is a square contraption with translucent sides that diffuses light coming in from multiple sides. Lightboxes allow for bright, shadow-less lighting against a simple or solid background and crisp product photography that is e-commerce site worthy!
Make Sure Subject is in Focus
Whether it’s a person or one of your products, professional looking pictures require the subject of your photograph to be in focus. With this in mind, make sure that you are close enough to see details but not too close that the photo looks out of context or cannot be cropped later on. On most digital camera and smartphones, you should be able to tap on the viewfinder screen to use the focus box. On an iPhone, hold down a spot on your viewfinder to lock focus.
Keep Composition in Mind
Follow the "Rule of Thirds"
A really basic composition rule to follow to take professional looking pictures is called the “rule of thirds.” To follow this rule, imagine a tic-tac-toe board, placed on your phone’s viewfinder, with two vertical lines dissecting your view into 3 even columns. This photography rule says that you should place the subject of the photo (whatever is the most interesting or eye-catching) on the intersection of those lines. Note for iPhone users: your smartphone has a grid option available. You can turn on this option by visiting Settings – Photos & Camera and enabling the Grid function.
Make Sure You Have the Proper Resolution
The resolution of your pictures needs to be high enough to look good on both large and small screens, i.e. on both smartphone, tablet, and desktop screens. 72dpi is a good standard to follow. Usually, the bigger the better (unless you are taking your photographs on a high-resolution digital camera). If you are using a smartphone, don’t resize or over crop the original image. The standard size of a smartphone photograph is fine. If you are using a professional digital camera, you may need to resize it. Don’t hesitate to reach out and talk to your web designer if you have questions about the sizes of your imagery.
Use Some Basic Editing Tools
Fortunately, if you take your photographs on your smartphone (or even upload your digital camera shots onto your computer), there are a lot of basic photo editing tools that come standard on camera or photo library apps. These are a great resource to clean up your pictures. But, unless you have advanced knowledge of such photo editing tools, it is best to stick with only making minor adjustments like light and exposure. Avoid filters of any kind.
Plan Ahead for Future Photography Needs
When you take time to do a photoshoot, consider planning ahead to take pictures for future photography needs as well. Think about future blog and social media posts, upcoming product or service launches that will need promotion, and any seasonal photography needs. If you are taking pictures of your staff conducting business services, consider asking them to bring a change of clothes. One photo shoot could turn into multiple pieces of material that you could spread out use over the course of the year.
If you think you need a little help, let us do it! We can guide you through your photoshoot or professionally edit your photos. We're always here to help!