While it might be nice to have a professional photographer hanging around on a daily basis — that’s not always an option for most businesses today. Luckily, there’s a few helpful digital photography tips out there to help you take your own quality photos — without having to break the bank to pay for a skilled photographer.
Whether you’re taking a headshot for a new employee, snapping a group photo, or capturing your office space – these simple, yet helpful digital photography tips can go a long way in helping you produce quality photos your company can be proud of.
Location is Key
Location, location, location! One of the most important things that gets overlooked when taking your own photo is the location.
When taking a headshot, you want the subject to be the focal point — so find somewhere with a subtle background that won’t be distracting. Are you indoors? Blank walls and simple backdrops are your best bet if you’re going for more of a studio feel.
Looking for something a little more candid? Try photographing someone in their environment. Whether that means at their desk, in a meeting, or laughing with some co-workers — they’re more likely to feel comfortable and you’ll get that natural photo you’re looking for. Be sure to scout out the location a few days in advance. This will help you get a feel for whether or not it will work for your purposes. The type of photo you’re looking to take will determine the location.
Looking to take a fun group photo? Look for a unique area with ample space that will accommodate everyone.
Going for a professional headshot? Find a few spaces in your building or outside that might work. Monitor the lighting and atmosphere so you know what to expect when the day comes.
Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail
The phrase “fail to plan, plan to fail” couldn’t be more true when it comes to digital photography. Preparation is key when it comes to taking your own photos, which is why it’s always important to try and set aside some time beforehand to do some research.
Taking a headshot? Look at some inspiration online, and find examples of shots you like. Browse different styles, locations, color palettes and other things that might be helpful when it comes to taking your own photos.
You can also put together a Pinterest board with photos you like. This will help you gain a better idea of the type of photo you’d like to capture before going into a shoot. In addition to finding inspiration, be sure to schedule out time for your session.
Planning a group photo? Make sure you give everyone a heads up a few days in advance, and find a time that works best for everyone. Communicate what they should plan to wear so that there aren’t any surprises (steer clear of patterns and prints on clothing and stick to solid colors). Always plan more time than you think you may need so you aren’t scrambling when the times comes. You never know what to expect, so allowing for enough time is key. If you end up finishing early – great!
Timing is Everything
Natural light is the best light! Always try and take photos outdoors when possible, however it’s important you try and find a shaded area with the sun behind your subject. This will eliminate the chance of harsh shadows on their faces and squinty eyes. And believe it or not, cloudy days are better than sunny days when it comes to taking photos outdoors.
At this point you might be asking yourself: When is the best time of the day to take photos? The answer is simple: An hour before sunset. They call this “the golden hour” for a reason — the sun is lower in the sky and is therefore softer and less harsh on your subject.
But of course taking a photo outdoors isn’t always an option. No problem! When taking photos inside, try to find a good source of natural light, but not direct light. Avoid overhead lighting as it can cast subjects in an unflattering light.
You can never have too many photos! If you always take more than enough, this will ensure that you’ll find a few winners in the bunch. This is especially important with head shots, as most people are pretty particular when it comes to photos of themselves. This is also important with group photos, since you’re more likely to get some photos where someone isn’t looking or eyes are closed.
Take photos even when people aren’t expecting it, either in-between takes, as they’re talking or laughing with others. These moments often lead to some of the best, most genuine photos.
Now that you have a fool proof guide to taking your own photos, try taking some photos on your own. Relax, get comfortable behind the camera, and most importantly – have fun!
Every photo should have a central focus. If you’re taking a headshot, be sure to get up close but leave enough room for it to be cropped in tighter if needed.
Try to avoid your subject facing their body squarely to the camera, and have them turn their body 30º for a more flattering angle. Try shooting at eye level, or slightly above the subject, but avoid shooting looking up at the subject as this can be unflattering.
Looking to grab a great group photo? Make sure everyone is in the frame and as close to one another as possible. Depending on how many people you have in the group, try and create a few different rows by height, and have the first row kneel in order to avoid anyone being blocked by someone taller in front of them.
If taking your own photos simply isn’t an option, it might be worth approaching a digital marketing agency like Vital that includes digital photography as part of its monthly digital marketing retainers. In addition to great photos, a digital marketing retainer can help drive traffic to your business’ website and hopefully convert leads into customers. Contact us today to learn more about how we can put our top photographers, as well as our digital marketing experts, to work for your business.