In this day and age, having good photos for your business puts you ahead in the game. Good images are attracting, they tell the story, and they draw people in to want to learn more about what you are doing and why. But what if you’re not a photographer? Or don’t have an amazing camara? Can you still take great pictures that get more people interested in what you are doing? Absolutely! About half of the images on my feed were just snapped using my iPhone because that was all I had on me in that moment.
I’m going to share my best and simplest tips to taking great photographs below– regardless of what level of ability or camara you have. Yes, I began as a photographer by trade (before the farm I shot weddings with my own photography company) but now I’ve chosen to channel that passion into our life and business– and enjoy it even more!
A word of advice to all you small businesses out there:
TAKE MORE PICTURES THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED.
They come in handy. Having a stockpile of good photos to pull from year round for advertising, social media, website upgrades, and promotions, is very useful.
#1–USE ‘RULE OF THIRDS’
Imagine a grid across your images dividing them into thirds horizontally and vertically (see below). You want your main subject matter to fall along these imaginary gridlines, with the main focus point at one of the intersections. For example, if a person is the main subject of your shot, then their face should ideally be centered at an interesection point. However if I’m zoomed in and my main focus is the carrot held in somebody’s hand, I will make sure the carrot is centered on one of the four focus points. Does that make sense? (For scenic pictures, your horizon line should fall along either the 1/3 or 2/3 gridline. (see pic above)) For whatever reason, this is more pleasing to the eye!
So rather than shooting something straight on and making your subject dead center, move your lens slightly and place them on a grid point. (TIP: If you don’t nail the placement during picture taking– that’s okay! You can always crop the images later to make them more visually appealing afterwards. Most editing apps display a ‘Rule of Thirds’ grid over the image for better cropping.) The more you practice the Rule of Thirds, the more natural and easy it will become, and your images will begin to look so much more stunning!
#2–Avoid harsh sunlight
Instead, shoot in the shade or during ‘Golden Hours’. Golden hours refers to the first two hours after sunrise and the last two hours before sunset, the beginning and end of the day when everything is bathed in a soft warm light. Basically, you want to avoid harsh direct sunlight as much as possible. Direct overhead sunlight makes for steep contrasts of dark shadows and blown out highlights– not nearly as pleasing to the eye. (Cloudy days are great to shoot anytime.) So moving your subject into the shade, waiting for cloud cover, or shooting during the early or evening hours of the day makes for much more beautiful images.
#3–CHANGE UP YOUR ANGLES
Rather than always shooting your subjects straight on, climb up high on something and snap pics from above. Or get yourself down low on your knees and hold your camara at ground level to snap pics from a new perspective. Variation in your photographs draws interest and makes your subject matter more appealing. Get creative and try new angles!
I also strongly recommend using an editing app to add that final touch of brilliance and flare to your photographs. (My favourites are VSCO and Snapseed for editing my iPhone pics; and I use Photoshop on my desktop for big camera images) Choose a couple of favourite filters, and use them regularly to create consistency with your images. This is another way people will recognize you.