You may think that you need a high-quality camera to take photos for your business. The good news is that you don’t need to invest in a camera. As long as you have at least a mid-range smartphone, you can likely take very good pictures with it. If you have a high-end smartphone, there is no question about it. Your phone is more than capable of taking high-quality images that will catch your customers’ attention.
But saying you can use your smartphone to take photos for digital marketing is one thing. Doing so well can be intimidating. The following tips will help you overcome that intimidation and take great photos.
1. Clean the Lens
Before you do anything else, take a second to clean your smartphone’s lens. Given how much we use our smartphones, this is an essential step. You likely have fingerprints on your lens, and those can make images look fuzzy or soft. Or dirt may cause foggy streaks.
This is as simple as occasionally using a good lens cleaner. Then, use a soft cloth regularly to touch up the lens.
2. Set the Highest Resolution
Before you start taking the photos, go into the settings in your smartphone’s camera. Confirm that it is set to the highest resolution. This will give you the best-quality image and the most options for editing. The tip below about avoiding the zoom function serves a similar purpose.
3. Always Stabilize the Camera
Your hands may be steady, but it’s always best to stabilize your phone. This eliminates the risk of your hands shaking and causing small imperfections. The good news is that there are a lot of compact, affordable smartphone tripods. And if you don’t have another option, just prop it against a wall, water bottle, or another object.
4. Don’t Use Flash – Use Other Light Sources
Lighting is crucial for any photo, but you don’t want to rely on your phone’s flash. Ideally, you will never use the flash in your photos. Instead, you will add more lighting from another source. This is because the flash tends to deliver harsh lighting.
The best light source will always be natural light. But that isn’t always feasible. Indoor lights, another smartphone’s flashlight, or candles also make good options. Just make sure to position the light so you aren’t taking a picture right into it.
5. Stick to Simple Backgrounds
No matter the type of photo you are taking for digital marketing, try to stick to simple, soft, and neutral backgrounds. This is especially important for product photos. This may require changing your angle slightly to find a unique point of view, but it is worth it.
6. Try Different Angles
Speaking of angles, don’t always take photos of things that are directly in front of you. Experiment with taking photos from other angles. Depending on your goals and what you are photographing, you may want to bend down and shoot up or climb up higher and shoot down.
7. Use Portrait Mode Strategically
Depending on the background and the focus of your photo, consider using portrait mode. Given the name, it may seem like a no-brainer to use portrait mode when taking photos of people, such as employees for the About Us page or behind-the-scenes photos. But you can also use it for animals or even objects.
That is because portrait mode lets you focus on the subject within the foreground. It reduces the depth of field, making the object you focus on clear but everything else slightly blurry. This makes it a good option if you can’t use a simple background.
8. Use the Grids as Your Guides
Your smartphone will have the option to turn grids on or off. Turn them on whenever taking photos for your digital marketing. These grids will help with two things. First, they will help you make sure the photo is straight. Second, they will help you follow the rule of thirds, which brings us to the next tip.
9. Follow the Rule of Thirds
This photography rule says that the subject of your photo should not be centered in the frame. Instead, it should sit on the lines that divide the photo into thirds. This is where the grid lines come in handy. There will be two gridlines, each horizontally and vertically, dividing the image into thirds. Place the focus of your photograph on the line.
10. Avoid the Zoom
You may want to use the zoom feature on your smartphone camera but don’t. As you zoom in, the resolution of the photo decreases. This makes your photos look grainy and makes them harder to edit. So, if you need a close-up photo of something for your business, get close to the object in question.
11. Don’t Use Effects During Photography
Modern smartphone cameras have a lot of cool effects, such as black and white or various filters. While these look cool, they limit your options and can be applied later. It’s better to take a photo without any effects, as this lets you experiment with every single option available later on.
12. Adjust Your Exposure
Modern smartphones let you adjust many of the same settings that you would on a standalone camera, including exposure. Use this to your advantage if you understand how exposure affects images. On many phones, you don’t even need to do anything fancy. Just tapping the screen on the part of the image that you want to be sharp will automatically reset the focus with good exposure.
13. Edit in a Consistent Style
You want to edit your photos before using them for digital marketing. When you do so for the first time, decide what type of style you want. This is important as you should be consistent with your style across all your photos. This will help with your branding. For example, you may want to use the same filter on all your photos (but you don’t have to).
With the above tips, you will find yourself taking high-quality photos with your smartphone. Use them in all your digital marketing, from your website to social media to paid ads.
Blamah is the founder of Web Collaborative, a full-service creative agency. He is an established marketing strategist and consultant. He is also a graduate of Bucknell University and native of Chester County, PA with extensive experience in business development and brand management.
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