Got a business with an online store or social media profile? You may be selling some great things, but without great images to back that up, it’ll be hard to convince your customers.
We live in a buzzing ‘scrolling culture’ where online content has mere seconds to catch consumers’ attention and make a great impression. A blurry or dark photo isn’t going to do this.
Smartphones have made it easier than ever for people of all ability levels to get some nice snaps. So it’s important to know how to make the most of their features to capture the best photos you can of your products to compete with others on the newsfeed and on this age of very competitive SEO techniques.
Here’s a list of smartphone photography basics you need to know to succeed…
One of the first things you learn in any photography class is to identify different types of light, and to avoiding direct light like the midday sun. This washes features out and makes harsh shadows. Not pleasant on the eyes when showcasing your products.
Find a well-lit environment during the photographer’s ‘golden hour’ – right after sunrise or right before sunset. This lighting forms a soft, flattering glow on the subject, ideal for smartphone images.
Or work with the diffused light of a cloudy day, which again fosters a natural glow, meaning you can leave the professional reflectors at home, only taking the humble smartphone to get creative.
2. Directional lighting
Knowing the basics of light includes where to place it in relation to your product…
• Front-lighting – can come from the camera or behind the camera and casts shadows behind the product to highlight its shape, and add a little drama.
• Side-lighting – strikes the product from a 90 degree angle from the camera to illuminate one side and create a natural contrast.
• Back-lighting – you guessed it. The light is behind your product and is a great way to experiment with silhouettes.
This is simpler than you may think. Craft a great photo by imagining a visual line and how it directs your eyes. Do your eyes follow edges to the subject at the centre of the image? Are there trails that bring your attention from one side of the image to the other? These are called ‘leading lines’.
You may have also heard of ‘framing’, one of the oldest photography tricks in the book – using parts of the foreground to form an artsy frame around the subject.
4. Rule of thirds
Another staple of composition is this. To turn boring scenes into some quality aesthetic, divide the image into 9 equal parts, 3 horizontal and 3 vertical. Place the product on one of the intersecting points.
Or, divide the image’s layers into simple thirds. You may choose a feature to take up 2/3 of the image for a particular effect. Play around with the possibilities
The two angles that are most flattering for a wide-angle lens will also work for the smartphone in successful marketing. These are:
• Straight on – when the camera is placed directly in front of your product
• Bird’s eye – the classic overhead you find paying pilgrimage to foodie experiences
There are no hard and fast rules. As with any creative endeavor, we encourage you to experiment and find what unique angles work for you and your product.
And if you’re still in need of some skill-refinement, there are smartphone photography crash courses you can take in Sydney and other cities around Australia. Yes, there’s a growing market in teaching people how to use the numerous photography apps out there! Better photos will greatly improve the chances of your business getting noticed and getting ‘liked’ on social networks.