How to take better photos for your business…on your smartphone
Our photographer Bec Hughes, Creative Director and owner of House of Hues Ltd gives her top tips on how you can create professional-looking photos for your business, on a budget, on your phone.
By Bec Hughes
Great photographs can help elevate any business or brand, so if you’re up for taking matters into your own hands, here are our top tips for using your smartphone to produce high-quality images on a tight budget.
Find the Light
Light is your best friend (or frenemy). Indirect and natural light is beautiful but it can be a complex beast. Follow these steps for great and consistent results:
- Switch off room lights (they can create a yellow/orange look).
- Bring your subject close to a window or open doorway.
- Don’t put your subject in direct light. It is harsh and unflattering for both products and people.
- If you don’t have the luxury of shooting in this type of light, or even during the day, you can pick up really inexpensive lights, like these…
Think about your background
- Remove distracting items from the background.
- Also, make sure the background is relevant to whatever or whoever you’re photographing. Luxury jewellery probably isn’t going to look right on a rustic wood surface!
- If you’re photographing smaller items, check out https://www.photoboards.org for a great range of beautiful background boards
- You can also pick up cheap tile samples from any tile store. We love a marble tile from Topps Tiles that was just a few quid.
- And there’s no harm in ‘shopping your own home’ for pieces of timber or beautiful chopping boards, offcuts of material (velvet photographs nicely) or cushions, and even props. Go crazy.
The composition is King:
- The ‘Rule of Thirds’: ever noticed the grid lines on your camera screen? These divide an image into 3 and help you decide where to place your subject. But as we know rules are made to be broken, so play around with the position of your subject. Being different is fun (and a strong marketing tool)!
- Set your phone camera to 2x zoom. This will reduce the distortion that wider photos can have (like 0.5x zoom) and allow you to avoid background distractions.
- iPhone Portrait Mode for people. Just do it!
Tools of the trade
- Once you’ve taken your image, there are loads of editing tools, so have a play with each of them to see what they do. If you’re photographing products, it is especially important to make sure that the photo is true to colour. The warmth/temperature and tint tools will be your best friends for this.
- And of course, there’s an endless range of filters both in your phone’s editing suite, and Instagram. We also love the VSCO and Lightroom mobile apps for some extra editing and filter options.
- Try to build consistency across your photos wherever you can. This will start to help your brand look more cohesive and professional.
- Once you’re happy with how something looks, replicate it. Use the same backgrounds, lighting, and editing to build your ‘recipe’.
Experiment, play, and have fun:
- This is so important when trying something new. Take photos from different angles (sometimes moving just an inch will improve a photo), close up, further away, in a different light and against different backgrounds. It doesn’t cost anything to take more photographs. So get trigger happy, choose your favourites, edit them to perfection and delete the rest.
Now go forth, photography warriors!! Be brave, make mistakes, and embrace the creative process!