How to Create Professional Phone Photography for Your Small Business

May 5, 2020 | Richmond Small Business Community, Small Business Marketing, Social Media Tips

Whether you’re trying to create content for social media, Google My Business, or want to give your website some pop, high-quality, and professional photos are more important than ever for a business. Your business’s photos are the ultimate first impression, quickly showing clients your vision, brand, and style.

While photos are vital for your business’s success, it can be difficult to get quality photos. You could use a stock photo library, but these often cost a lot of money in the long run and are rarely as effective as original photos. You could also hire a professional photographer, but if you don’t have the time or if it doesn’t fit into your budget, this may not be the best option for you right now.

Luckily, there is an easier and cost-efficient way to take professional-looking photos for your business: use your smartphone. Any smartphone made in the past few years has been made with photography in mind, appealing to people wanting to post high-quality pictures on Instagram or Facebook. For you and your business, this means you have the tools to take your own professional photos right in your pocket.

After reading this post, you’ll have 6 great tips to help you take professional-looking photos with a smartphone to best represent your business on social media or Google My Business. These tips work for both Android and iPhone devices.

 

Apply a Solid Foundation

This may seem self-explanatory, but it’s important to know what you want to shoot before you try to take professional-looking photos. Consider what you want to convey about your company to possible clients. Do you want to look professional and knowledgeable, or casual and friendly? Having a clear vision for how you want to represent your company will only help in choosing the best ways to photograph your staff or services.

 

Capture The “Golden Hour”

There’s an idea in photography called the “golden hour”. It’s the period of time one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset, and it offers the warmest and photogenic visuals. While you may want to capture that feeling in your photos, you don’t have to ruin your sleep schedule to do so.

Natural light is your best friend when it comes to smartphone photography. Most flash options on phones create unnatural and ugly photos, while proper usage of natural light can elevate even the simplest of pictures. Try to take company photos outside while it’s overcast, so the sun doesn’t cast harsh shadows, or even use lamps or other light fixtures when inside. Lighting can make a flat, inexpressive photo look vibrant, exciting, and of course, professional.

Pro Tip: In order to keep the daytime sun from ruining your photos, try shooting on overcast days. They are ideal for shooting natural light photography, as the sun doesn’t create shadows or create a lens flare.

 

Stick to the Grid With The Rule of Thirds

Another rule in photography is “The Rule of Thirds”. This rule states that photos should have this grid with four intersecting points

The subject of your photo, which is whatever you want to focus on, should be placed either on one of these four points or on the lines themselves. This improves the shot’s composition, creating clearer and stronger images. 

Before you try drawing a grid on your screen, know that most phones come with options to apply this grid to your camera. Simply go to your settings in the camera app and enable the grid function. It’s also important to follow other rules of photography that work with the rule of thirds, like using negative space to emphasize the subject or using leading lines to focus a client’s line of sight.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have a grid on your camera phone, just remember to shoot your focus subject slightly off-centered to the left or right to create a more striking image. 

 

Change Your Perspective

Most photos you see online have similar perspectives: they’re shot at eye level while looking at a subject head-on. While reliable, this formula has been played out and rarely captures someone’s attention. Plus, many outside factors like lighting or location can ruin these types of photos.

If you find the sun is causing a glare, or you can’t quite fit the “rule of threes” into your frame, why not change your perspective? Consider finding unique ways to represent your subject, like shooting from below and showing the sky, or showing the person in a profile shot. Anything you can do to change up how a photo looks can only be enhanced once you apply the other tips from this list. 

Pro tip: To further help with lighting your photos, try to always shoot them with the sun facing your back. This avoids lens flare, making sure your creative images and perspectives are as clear as possible.

 

Don’t Lose Focus

Even if you follow all of the previous tips, the worst thing you can do is take a blurry or unfocused photo for your company. 

Most smartphones these days have the technology to automatically choose the best point to focus on in the foreground, but it’s not always accurate to your vision. That’s why it’s important to create the focal point with your phone’s camera by tapping on the part of the image you want to focus on.  

This makes sure that your image is clear and sharp, as opposed to blurry and unclear. If you’re capturing a moving subject, like someone running or a thrown basketball, then you should tap the screen right before you take the photo. It might take a few tries, but the results are worth it. 

Pro Tip: Some phones have the ability to take multiple photos at a time, giving you many photos to choose from after the shoot. Check your phone’s camera settings to see if it is available.

 

Go Beyond Filters

The previous steps help to improve your photo’s composition, which is the foundation of professional-looking smartphone photography. The next step to make your photos truly shine is to use an image editing app or software. While you could invest in software like Adobe Photoshop, there are plenty of free apps on your desktop and mobile device that offer similar tools to make your business photos stand out.

If you want to stick to using your smartphone, we recommend downloading the free app SnapSeed. This app offers tons of ways for you to manipulate and change your photos, like adding filters, changing the color saturation, and even improving the lighting. It’s a powerful tool that’s available for both iPhones and Androids. 

Pro tip: Is your photo too blue? Try adding warmer saturation with orange colors to balance the photo and vice versa.

For restaurants, we recommend Foodie, also available for free. This app is designed to improve the look of food photography, offering options that will take your quality photos to a whole new level. 

 

You Came, You Saw, You Captured

With these photography tips in your business utility belt, you can now tackle any visual obstacles that come your way. With your new skills, you can focus on your subject, use your phone’s camera settings and editing apps like a pro, and apply the foundations of art theory to craft the perfect composition. 

Now go forth, and create the best photos that represent your business!

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