Welcome to part 2 of our Visual Marketing series where we’re discussing the need to visually represent your business in an authentic manner, and how to do it. If you missed part 1 on design, go ahead and start there, we’ll be here when you get back.
Today we’re talking about digital photography. More specifically, we’re talking about some basic tips and techniques you can use to quickly up your photo game and better promote your business.
Despite the fact that most everyone has a camera in their pocket and access to a multitude of editing apps via the App or Google Play Store, many are unaware of even the most elementary photography basics. Just snapping a picture, throwing some Photoshop on it and calling it a day won’t get you very far when you consider that over 95 million photos are shared on Instagram alone every 24 hours. If you want to rise above the endless flood of competing images, you need a reliable strategy.
Whether you’re taking employee photos for your website or snapping a quick pic for your social media profiles, the quality and tone of your pictures says a lot about who you are as a business and helps you stand out in a crowded digital world.
Successful business owners and marketers understand how to tell their company’s “story” and engage their customer base through some basic tips and tricks of the photography trade.
And the good news is, these tips and tricks won’t require any major investment of time or money! You can still use your smartphone and favorite editing app. So here goes Photography 101…
Keep It Simple
A common photography pitfall is the tendency to overcomplicate the picture. But this only clutters up the image, makes it tough for your subject to stand out and tends to confuse the viewer.
Empty space, referred to as “negative space” by the pros, is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, countless awe-inspiring photos have consisted of just one interesting subject and a plain background.
These simple photos are also better suited for sharing on social sites like Instagram where they will, more often than not, be viewed on the small screen of a phone.
Painting With Light
Lighting is SO important! And the 2 different kinds of lighting, natural (i.e. the sun) and artificial (i.e. a lightbulb) as well as different positions and placements of the light will give your photos differing looks and feels…
No post on photography would be complete without a nod to “golden hour”, the holy grail of natural lighting conditions. The “golden hour” occurs about 1 hour after the sun rises and 1 hour before the sun sets each day. Because of the sun’s lower position in the sky at these times, the light is very flattering and you won’t have to worry about uncomely shadows when taking your pictures.
If you happen to be shooting indoors, you can still take advantage of natural light by positioning your subject near a window. But if it’s impractical or even impossible to shoot closer to a window, table lamps, flashlights, or, for the more ambitious, studio lights can help illuminate your photos as well.
Keep in mind that the direction and angle of the light, whether indoors or out, will impact the outcome of your photo. As a general rule of thumb, positioning the light source in front of the subject is great for portraits due to the even distribution of light, but positioning the light source behind the subject can make for some very creative silhouette images.
The Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds is one of the quickest ways to take the quality of your photos from average to breathtaking. It’s also one of the easiest.
Imagine that there are 2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines dividing your picture into thirds and creating 9 equal sections. Basically, mentally visualize your image beneath a tic-tac-toe board.
(Image created by User:Moondigger)
Where the vertical and horizontal lines meet is where you want the points of interest in your photograph to be. For example, if you were to take a picture of your friend, following the rule of thirds, you might position her face towards the upper right, where the upper horizontal line meets the vertical line on the right of our imaginary tic-tac-toe board, rather than in the middle.
When taking photos, determine the main points of interest and attempt to position them near one of the 4 imaginary intersections.
Shoot From Different Angles
Since most photos seem to be shot at chest level, you can create interesting images by changing the perspective from which you shoot. One of the easiest ways to do this is to simply crouch down and take the picture from a lower angle.
A couple benefits of shooting from a lower angle include the possibility of capturing interesting details in the foreground of your image; details that would have been lost were you standing when taking the photo, as well as your ability to frame your subject against the sky; an easy way to remove distractions and clutter from your pictures.
Yes, you can still use your beloved filter app! But choosing the right one can help your photo pop and get noticed.
First aim to choose filters that represent your brand… A cool-toned, dark filter for a company selling organic baby clothes might not be the best fit.
Also, if you plan to post your photos on Instagram, have a look at the current most popular filters. These are the ones customers enjoy seeing so, if it works with the message you’re trying to convey, slap it on there!
Photography is a beautiful art form and now you have some tricks up your sleeve to make your pictures a bit more beautiful. Never underestimate the value of these tried and true principles! By employing them, you have a better chance of engaging your customers and standing out amongst the competitors in your industry.