I know I’ve been banging the “get a professional photographer in” drum throughout this series, but the fact is that taking your own photos is fun and cost effective (if you can get it right). What I hope I’ve helped you highlight is that ‘point and shoot’ just won’t cut it, but where do you go from here? Cue a guest blog from the fabulous Vicki Knights!
Image: Vicki Knights for Sprinkles and Swirls
As Fiona has explained during this blog series, if you really want professional looking photos on your website, you really do need to hire a pro.
However many business owners now have blogs and want to share photos on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. And it’s unlikely that you can justify hiring a professional photographer every single time you make something new or see something that inspires you. And you really don’t want to share awful photos of your products that just devalue your brand and your business. So it’s a great investment for your business to learn how to take great photos.
Image: Vicki Knights for Button and Bean
You will ideally need a digital SLR camera (one with interchangeable lenses) and you will need to invest in some training to learn how to use it properly. Unless you are willing to spend hours reading the manual! Please don’t think that you can just buy an expensive camera, stick it on auto and start taking amazing photos. There is a lot more that goes into photography than just the kit! You would be much better sticking with a more basic camera but learning the fundamentals of photography and really learning how to use your camera.
If you want to start taking better photos right now before you attend a workshop or hire a professional, here are a few tips to get you started:
Turn off your flash. The pop-up flash that most cameras have, tend to wash out colours and makes everything in the image look a bit flat. Not really what you’re after when trying to sell your products!
Instead take what you want to photograph to the right light. Inside, look for a lovely big window. Window light is a fantastic light source. Ensure that you don’t have the direct sun shining on your product though.
When photographing outside, you need to get your product out of the direct sun. Midday on a sunny day is the worst time to shoot! An overcast day is great as the light is softer. If it is sunny, then take your product into the shade and shoot there.
Shoot your product from lots of different angles. Get up above it, down below it and walk around it to find the best angle. The beauty of digital is that you can shoot away without it costing you anything! Then you can choose the best shots when you look at them on your computer.
Don’t always put your product in the centre of the photo. Images tend to look more interesting and dynamic when the point of focus is over to one side and not always centred.
And lastly, try to include something else in your shot to add some context. The viewer won’t know the size of the product without something else in the photo to add some context.
I hope you’ve found these tips useful!
Vicki Knights runs Oh Snap! Photography workshops for Creative Business Owners with MakeMe Workshops in Cobham, Surrey. If you are interested in getting started with photography I highly recommend you check out her blog.