Updated: May 5
Do you have a smartphone? Most of us do, but the real question is, are you using it to its full potential for your business? You can use your phone for things other than business calls or text messages. For example, using apps available on your smart device you can create better photos of your business!
Your phone can be used as a replacement for professional equipment, which means you can cut the costs of taking photos and hiring a photographer until you’ve scaled up. It’s important to make sure all aspects of your company are represented online. If people are looking for what your company offers, they need photos to help them make their decisions.
The idea behind this blog is to show different ways you can use your phone to shoot better photos of your business, market your products or service, and grow faster, on the cheap!
Before We Start: Smartphone cameras have improved a lot
A smartphone camera is not the same thing as a digital SLR, but it can do things that would have been impossible with film. And you don't need to be a professional photographer to take good photos of your business.
So if you ever felt that you have a good idea for a business or product, but just can't seem to find any way to show it off? Use the tool you’ve already got - your high-tech smartphone!
There are apps you can use to improve your shots
If you're serious about taking pictures of your business with your smartphone, you'll need to spend some time learning how to take great pictures with that device. Luckily, there are several great photography apps that can help.
The two best ones are Camera+ and Hipstamatic. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, so you might want to try both, but they both have excellent manual override options so you can take full control of the camera if you wish.
You should also consider Camera MX. This app provides a wide range of filters that can help give your photos a more professional look. It's not as powerful as Camera+ or Hipstamatic, but it's an excellent option for those on a budget.
Sometimes less is more: don't go overboard with filters
The only reason to use filters in your photography is to get a desired effect. But you shouldn't go overboard with them.
There are occasions when you should use a filter to get a specific effect. But if you never take photos without a filter, or if you use too many filters, it can make your images look unnatural, and detract from your business's brand identity. Not all photos need a filter. If you're shooting an image of a product on a white background, for example, there's no need to add a filter to achieve that clean white background that makes the product stand out against the rest of the image.
Also, using that same image of the product on your website is not the best time to add a filter because it will make your site appear unprofessional and amateurish. If you add a filter in this case, it should be something subtle so it doesn't distract from the purpose of your photo.
Throwing ten or twenty different filters on an image will have the opposite effect from what you want - it will distract people from whatever message you're trying to convey. The same goes for applying a bunch of borders and other effects in addition to using filters - while they may look good individually.
The right lighting will make all the difference
You've heard it said that photography is all about light. It's true. Without good light, you're not going to have a great photo. The best photos are taken in natural light, but there are ways to improve the quality of your photos even when you don't have direct access to natural light.
What's the first thing you should do? Check out the lighting in the area where you are taking your photo. Is it dark? Is there enough light to see your subject? Are there any harsh shadows? If there are, move to an area with better lighting. Sometimes this will require moving outside or adjusting a window or door so that more light is coming into the room. If that can't be done, find another angle for your photo that minimizes the shadows cast by other objects in the room.
Play with angles
When you set up your photo, you'll want to play with the angle of the shot. For example, if the product is flat on a table, you can stand at an angle to it, looking down on it. This is good if you want to show off the size of the product or if there is some detail that you want to highlight (such as its texture).
If your lighting is coming from above, an overhead shot can be visually striking. If your lighting is coming from below, it's nice to look up at the object.
You will also want to consider how much of the background there is in your shot. Is it distracting? Can it be removed? And if so, how?
When you're shooting a photo of your business, try to vary the angle. People might think the picture is boring if it looks like one they've seen before.
For example, if you're standing in front of your building, try moving to your left or right and shooting from a diagonal angle. Or try shooting from above or below to give your photo a different perspective.
Practice makes perfect (or at least better)
It's better to take a lot of photos than to take just a few. This way you will learn how your phone camera actually works. The more you know about how it works, the better you can use it. Take your phone everywhere you go, and take pictures of everything. It's not that you'll be using them for anything, but having the camera around will make you more aware of what is worth photographing.
Every time you get a new phone, start this process again from the beginning. The new screen alone will give you ideas about new ways to shoot things.
Find inspiration from other photographers using Instagram
There are so many amazing photographers on Instagram that it's hard to know where to start.
To find photographers on Instagram who are sharing content related to your industry, you can use the search function located under the magnifying glass icon in the top right corner. Enter keywords that are relevant for your industry or audience, then click "Search" at the bottom of the page.
From there, you can follow users whose work you love. You can also browse through the hashtags used by other users to find more images that inspire you. Just click on any hashtag to see all posts with that hashtag.
The best way to find the right photographers is to find the ones with many followers. You can do this by going into Instagram and clicking on "explore" at the bottom left of the screen.
You don't need a huge budget to take good photos. Let your phone be your main camera and use it to its full potential. And remember, a good photo should tell a story. Make sure you know what that story is before you take a snap.