How To Take Better Photos With Your Smartphone:Tips For Small Business Owners

 In Branding, Education

Are you trying to create cohesive, aesthetically pleasing brand images to use for your biz’s social media and don’t know where to start?

We all know that hiring a professional for every single piece of photographic content just isn’t practical or financially feasible for many small businesses. And while having your images done professionally would be ideal, the truth is that there is a lot you can accomplish by yourself when it comes to your brand images.

No matter the brand, people are taking amazing images with their smartphones these days. If you follow my tips below, you can also elevate your brand photos from “happy snaps” to polished and professional!

Good Lighting

Lighting is probably the most important aspect to consider when taking a photo. Nobody finds a dark, dull, blurry photo appealing.

Your light needs to be natural (no yellow lamps or ceiling lights and no flash) and you need a lot of it! Indirect window light is the very best light source, so I always position the items I am photographing close to a window when it is possible and play around with different angles to see how the light works best. You shouldn’t stand directly between your subject and the light source, as you will cast a shadow.

Quick tip: Bathrooms are an amazing place to photograph in because they are usually pretty bright, and the reflective surfaces bounce the window light all around to create nice, even lighting

If you are photographing something which cannot be moved, simply wait until the time of day when the room is at its very brightest and then take your photos. Remember to open blinds/curtains wide and to try different angles.

Background

For photographing objects or flatlays, it’s always a good idea to experiment with different backgrounds. My favourite go-to’s are my grey wooden tabletop, a small marble photography backdrop and some big white canvasses (these are amazing – just be aware that heavy items will “sink in” when using canvas as a backdrop).

If you are photographing an item that cannot be moved, just make sure that there is no clutter in the background that will distract from the subject – tidy up and only keep what is necessary.

Quick tip: You can also make your background more interesting by layering it with one or two textures. Think jerseys, a piece of muslin – the options are endless!

Focus

At the risk of being obvious…. Make sure that your photo is in focus.

When you have your camera open and you have framed the picture you wish to take, make sure to tap on your screen the part of your photo that you want to have in focus. Once the focus is locked on that spot, hold VERY still and then click away.

Also, make sure that you take a couple of photos for every one photo that you need – even professionals still miss focus and an out-of-focus images truly is the greatest shame because there pretty much isn’t anything that can be done to redeem it.

Remember: This is another reason why good lighting is so important. Photos taken in bad/poor lighting with a smartphone will, nine out of ten times, be blurry for technical reasons that I think are a bit too complex for this beginner’s tutorial.

Composition

So here’s the thing: The techniques for good item- and flatlay photos take a lot of practice to perfect. I am still learning and improving every day!

So on this topic I will say that you should firstly search your Pinterest, Instagram etc. for brand and product images and flatlays that appeal to you. Not to copy them, but to be inspired. And then practise, practise, practise!

It may be a bit overwhelming to put together an elaborate flatlay when you are just starting out, so instead try to focus on simpler, minimal photos which will allow you to become comfortable while putting all of these photography tips to use. Play around with different angles, and don’t be shy to “chop off” some of your setup to create a great detail shot.

Quick tip: Google “the rule of thirds for photography” and see how you can apply this to your images. Your phone’s camera has a built-in grid which you can set to be on display while taking pictures, which will make implementing this method a breeze!

Editing

My husband always rolls his eyes at me because I won’t even send him a quick, casual photo I took before I have edited said photo. Yes, I am a bit extreme.

But when it comes to your business, your photos need to be edited. I’m not talking extreme Photoshop skills, here. I am talking about a few basic adjustments which will take your images to a whole new level. A few good (free) editing apps you could try are: Snapseed, Picmonkey or Lightroom Mobile.

You can Google appropriate basic editing tutorials, depending on what software you end up using.

My go-to: I use Lightroom Mobile for my personal photos on a daily basis and I love it! It is user-friendly, and definitely up to the task of editing your brand images. To illustrate my point – the images contained in this blog post were all edited using the Lightroom Mobile app.

As a side note, I am not being paid to endorse or recommend any of the products mentioned in this post

There you have it. I hope that you will apply these principles and enjoy the journey towards better, on-brand images.

I am working very hard behind the scenes to bring you more valuable and educational content, so remember to keep an eye on my Instagram for updates, and please leave a comment if you found this article helpful!

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