Now is the time!
I will start this one with a little disclaimer: I am not for a second suggesting that alongside all of your business objectives and personal targets, you try and become the UK’s best product photographer in 2021.
However, in a time where so many businesses are so heavily reliant on online presence, it’s important to be able to effectively use your smartphone’s camera to your advantage. Creating high-quality images and online marketing material with your smartphone is now not only strategically effective, but a very viable alternative!
Things to know
One of the best things about modern smartphone cameras is that they do a tonne of the heavy lifting for you. You just don’t need to understand the technical jargon or be too aware of what is going on under the hood, the phone will do all it can to create a visually interesting photo for you. In most circumstances simply pointing and clicking is going to be enough to capture a decent image. However, there are some basic principles worth knowing if you want to be able to stand a little above the crowd. The three we are going to take a quick look at are:
I am going to show you an example of framing. If you look below, you’ll see two images; both of which focus on the same subject, albeit, framed differently. These were both taken on my iPhone, with no editing done at all.
If this figurine was the product, brand or service you were promoting; which image would you choose? If my example has worked (you cannot account for taste) you will likely say the second image. This is due to the way it is framed. The majority of the image is taken up by the subject, without any real distracting elements or objects. Framing is all about where the eye is being drawn to in an image. Far too often I see an image of a person/product with a backdrop of open space which detract from what they’re trying to promote. As a rule of thumb, always try having your subject fill up most of the frame — it makes it much harder to go wrong.
Composition is a theory that can get a little more complicated, but again on a surface level, composition is just about how your image is arranged (i.e what is in your image, how all elements of the image work together, the way in which it is laid out to be pleasing to the eye etc). A really common composition trick, which I’ll display below, is the ‘Rule of Thirds’. This rule states that a subject in your image — be that a person, a tree, a car or anything else, should ideally fall into one of these lines (see below):
As you can see the main focus of the image is the largest and nearest tree, this sits firmly on our thirds grid. If you can imagine a person standing where the tree is, the image would also still work well.
There are other places the tree could be positioned, for example, dead central is another composition go-to that works well. However, if the centralisation was even slightly off, it would create a composition which would not be pleasing to the eye.
If you take a look through any photographer’s Instagram account, you will see this rule being applied almost 90% of the time. Some smartphones will even have an option to turn this grid on in the camera, making it even easier for you. Give it a try!
And finally, we come to the last tip, but perhaps the most important one of all — lighting.
The peak time to take a snap is golden hour; the period of the day where the sun is setting and a warm glow of illuminating light appears on the edge of the horizon. Well, apart from being spectacular weather to spend an afternoon basking in, it’s also fantastic for capturing truly stunning pictures. Just check out the example below:
See what I mean about soft shadows and warm light?
Obviously, we can’t always take our staff portraits or product photos at sunset, so what can we do to really utilise these benefits? Well, the first thing to do is just observe the lighting wherever you’re looking to take a photo. If the lights are harsh spotlights coming down from the ceiling, or bright beams shining through the windows, it’s probably not the right spot. Try and find somewhere that has a nice, flat, soft light that isn’t creating hard shadows in your image. Natural light can be great for this, even the dull grey skies we get so often in England can actually be a decent source of simple lighting.
If you want to be taking photos more often, the best thing you could invest in is a simple softbox or right light solution. These can be bought pretty cheaply these days and will make photography so much simpler; allowing you to create and control soft lighting which enhances your images.
Beyond these tips, as with anything, practice makes perfect. If it’s something you’re interested in or want to get better at, you live in the right time! There is a plethora of free tutorial content all across the internet for you to take full advantage of!
If that doesn’t suffice and you want to bring some professionals who have years of experience in the field, feel free to contact us anytime!