If you’re marketing your business online, you gotta be showing up visually. Whether you’re selling a product, giving a behind-the-scenes glimpse at your process, or just letting people know what your face looks like, your audience wants to know what’s happening in your world. And it’s not enough to just tell them – they want to SEE. They want to connect with you as a person. This is super important in terms of building a community, but essential in terms of selling.
And – lucky us – we live in a time where photography is easier and more accessible than ever! New phones are equipped with great cameras, AND they fit in our pockets. To be honest, it makes my heavy DSLR seem a little absurd, but I digress.
Without further ado, here are 3 things you need to start taking good phone photos:
1) The ability to distinguish between good and bad light
I use the words “good” and “bad” very loosely here, because “good” and “bad” light is very subjective. I’ve seen some stunning photos taken in what I would consider to be “bad” light. But for the sake of this email. I’m going to assume you want your photos to be evenly lit without bright spots or harsh shadows, clear and sharp, and exposed properly.
(If that’s not the case and you’re looking for something different/more dramatic but need help getting there – contact me and we’ll hash it out!)
For our purposes right here right now, we’re going to say bad light is in a dark corner where your photos look noisy/grainy and the colors are slightly off. Additionally, indoor overhead lighting is almost never pretty.
We’re also going to say good light is right next to a big window with indirect sunlight coming through. By “indirect” I mean if your pet is napping in the light, it’s probably too bright.
Indirect window light is the most flattering and predictable light. It gives a nice, even brightness and soft shadows. You can also get a big piece of white foam board (like the ones you put your science projects on in middle school) to put on the opposite side of your window to reflect light back onto the dark side of your subject.
And even if you only have one good window to photograph by, that’s okay! Don’t worry about using the exact same spot every time. You can change up your scenery by hanging up a large piece of material for a new backdrop, adding props, and/or moving furniture around to make it look like a whole new space. And honestly, you’re probably the only person who’s going to notice. Except me. But I won’t tell.
2) A basic understanding of composition
I don’t want to get too much into the “rules” of composition here (because you can read about them everywhere), but I will say this: Try to avoid centering your subject as that can be rather boring to look at, unless you’re doing it purposefully. Add props and textures to the foreground and background of your image to create depth. And, most importantly: Leave enough space around the edges of your photo – it’s really easy to remove excess space by cropping, but a whole lot harder to put more space in.
3) An editing app that clicks with you
I know #nofilter is all the rage in this digital photography age, but the truth is: your camera is just attempting its best rendition of what it thinks you want your photo to look like. In other words, if you don’t control how your photo looks with editing, all you’re going to get is your camera’s best guess. And digital cameras are smart, but not smart enough to understand your creative vision.
The app you use to edit doesn’t really matter – it’s more important that it’s easy to use and it does what you need it to. Lightroom is my favorite, it’s probably the most in-depth, but has a bit of a learning curve. You might also look into Snapseed, Afterlight, and VSCO.
And! One of the best ways to make sure your photos look professional is to edit them consistently.