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4 Quick Tips for DIY Business Photography

In an ideal world, you could go out and cut a check to a professional photographer to take care of your business photography. He or she would take beautiful shots that put your company in the best light. Unfortunately, many organizations simply don’t have the budget. The good news is, you can take good photographs for your business or nonprofit. We’ll give you some great tips so you can take better business photos – ones you can be proud of.

But first, let’s start with some building blocks.

Good Photos and Social Media

Your business absolutely must have an active social media presence. You should have a verified Google listing with a Google+ page, a Facebook page, and an Instagram account would be a great idea too. 

But it’s not enough to have social media accounts if they don’t have photographs. Let’s be honest: most of us have the attention span of a goldfish these days. We aren’t captivated by text. If you want people to learn about your company, your photos can grab their attention until your words can keep their attention.

If you’re going to take the time to put photos on your social media accounts or website, know that nothing kills the value of a photo like a poor quality photo. This is the internet we’re talking about: everybody’s a critic. Even if your clients are not professional photographers, they KNOW bad photo when they see one.

Let’s break this point down into practical details by using an example. (For this blog, we’re talking specifically about product photography, but the principles can apply to better business photos in general: headshots, group photos, and images of your building or office.) Let’s say you own a primitives gift shop and you want to show your followers on Facebook these new snowflake canisters. So you stage them a bit and fill them with dried grains, then snap a photo of them.

take better photos
We deliberately tried to make this photo bad, and we succeeded! Then we did a little thinking and in 3 minutes, took another snapshot with the same iPad on the same table. Here are the results:

take better business photosThere are 4 main technical differences in these two pictures. And in these 4 differences, you can learn how to take better photos for your business’ social media pages and website.

How to Take Better Business Photos Without any Special Equipment:

1.  Razor Sharp Focus

If your photo is not in sharp focus, delete it. Don’t ever, ever let your potential customers or clients see it. What does a blurry photo say to your potential customers? It says, “This company does not care enough to take a good photo.” After you take the picture, zoom in, and make sure that the point of focus is SHARP. In this photo, it’s the foreground: the front of the canister which displays the snowflake.

2. Mind Your Background

In this photo, we created a simple backdrop to unclutter the background. In the top image, do you see those file folders in the background? Do you see the floor in the foreground? They’re distractions! Make sure your audience can really focus on exactly what you want them to see.

3. Consider a Different Angle

When most people take a photo, they stand up, hold the camera at arm’s length, and click. That’s what we did with the first photo. *Yawn.* For the second photo, we changed perspective by setting the iPad on the table and shooting slightly up at the subject. Play around with different vantage points. You’ll probably find something more visually appealing. The joy of digital photography is that you can experiment – so try to create the unexpected.

4. Soft, Even Lighting will Save Your Photo’s Soul

In the top photo, the window light casts a dark shadow on the front of the canisters. You don’t see anything really appealing here; the light is either too bright or too dark. When you’re setting up a shot, go for good light – but remember that the best light is almost always soft and even. If you’re photographing a small product or item, take the photo near – but not in – good window light. Make sure that the lighting in your photo is even from one side to the other. Remember this rule when you’re taking snapshots of people. Try to avoid harsh light. If you’re outside, find some light but even shade – that’s your best bet.

Before you post a photo online, think about how your potential customer or client will see it. Don’t settle for documentation. Make sure your photos really flatter the subject. Remember: photos that make the subject look great will make your business look great.

Gretchen Cobourne

Gretchen Cobourne works at Seapoint Digital as Creative Director, crafting and coordinating written content and images for our clients. She has 12 years experience as a business owner and photographer. If she’s not online, you’ll find her baking, playing the piano, or starting a DIY project that she may or may not finish.