You know that cameras are a powerful marketing device. Images are crucial to a startup’s survival in any industry. They draw people to your content, help your business stand out, and they also make it appear relatable and interesting.
Many businesses get good mileage out of using stock photos and paid photo services, but there are some cases when you just need your own photos. For instance, you might need to take product photos, or a candid shot of your office and workers for the holiday newsletter. You might also think that your brand will be best represented by taking its own photos for social media such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
It’s undeniable that a business doing its own photography in house can add a personal element to its branding that makes the business seem sympathetic and inspires customer loyalty.
When it comes to using photography for branding, however, it can be feel like you’re taking a shot in the dark if you’re not used to being behind a camera. While there are tutorials of all kinds for every type of camera on the Internet, taking a class can often feel like information overload as you get started.
There’s no need for digital photography to feel intimidating. Not only is it impermanent and endlessly manipulable, but there are also simple rules for getting the best out of your camera.
Whether you’re using your phone to capture an ordinary day around the office or whether there’s a DSLR waiting on your marketing manager’s desk, following a few key ideas can enable you to take better photos.
Put Together a Tight Shot
One common problem with photography is the tendency to try to capture too much with our photographs. If you’re trying to show an ordinary day at the office, getting everybody in the same shot as they do their different tasks will feel busy and indistinct. Similarly, tight and clear photos are particularly important for marketing shots where you don’t want your viewer distracted by unnecessary details.
A good picture relies on focus, and this doesn’t just mean camera focus. Purposeful and specific frames are the best for capturing the tone and feel that you want to convey.
This can even go as far as limiting the color palette and textural surroundings so that the image doesn’t send confusing or contradictory signals. Images that feature too many different colors, while realistic, can flatten an image or make it hard to focus on what’s important in the picture.
To do this, keep your lens close to the subject matter and the action. While you can always crop your photos later, it’s best to try to fill the entire field with your subject.
Convey Feeling with Storytelling
Even in a more rational business space, photography is an opportunity to capture the emotional and empathetic responses of customers. Candid photographs that feature people are more likely to elicit an emotional response. Your marketing photography can use these responses to tell a story.
Ideally, the image’s composition should control what your viewer takes away from it. To compose this story use tone, color, and the relation of objects in the frame to each other. Viewers will interpret the image based on:
- Which objects are close together and which are far apart.
- Whether the objects are in the background or foreground.
- Whether the subjects are cast in warm or cool light.
- What the color palette conveys, as well as how it interacts with the rest of your theme and branding.
If you find that your image isn’t creating a clear enough story, tweak it by removing unnecessary objects and adding things that will hint at what you’re trying to say.
Storytelling doesn’t always have to incorporate a human subject either. Graphic designers and marketers work a lot with flat lays because they give the viewer the perspective of working in a certain situation.
Generic flat lays may seem like an array of the tools of the trade, but even they tell a story based on their arrangement. For instance, is the composition orderly and full of straight lines to suggest precision? Or are many of the objects going in different directions to suggest creative disorder?
Slow Down and Try Out Different Angles
It’s fast and easy to go up to a scene that you want to photograph and snap a quick, top-down, high resolution brightly colored image. This may not always be what you want, however. The fastest route and perspective can often create the dullest pictures, which may force you to snap photos over and over all the while wondering why you aren’t getting a lot of traction on your social media accounts and customer response.
The most interesting photos are the ones that challenge and intrigue the mind. To do this, it’s necessary to shift the camera’s perspective. To do this, you might need to move your body to find different angles for taking the photo. Of course, you don’t want to completely lose the impression of your subject for the sake of just using a wacky angle.
Take your time behind the camera and try out a few of the more useful angles. If you shoot from below, your subject will look grand, even imposing. Whereas, if you shoot from above, your subject will seem smaller and, in some cases, more sympathetic.
Giving yourself the time to do a more extensive shoot like this can give you some good, well composed, and varied shots that are all usable for your website and social media posts. And remember that you will take many photos that can work in more than one place online.
Taking your own branded photography gives your customers the feeling that they know and can trust the individuals behind the business. This can be difficult to implement when you think that you don’t have the tools of professional photographers to make photos that will stand out amid the stock photos and the professional work of many other companies.
Even the average smart phone has the capability of taking high quality photos, these days. It’s all about developing a skill for observation and composition and being able to see the side of your company that will make it sympathetic to customers.
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