Smartphone manufacturers go to great pains to get professional photographers to use their products to show what stunning images can be captured with their phones. While it’s true that today’s cell phones are capable of capturing stunning images in the hands of a professional photographer, that doesn’t mean the phone itself does all the work, nor can any other camera take stunning photos all by itself. It doesn’t matter how high end your camera is if you don’t know what you are doing with it. This doesn’t mean, however, that business owners can’t take great photos of their businesses, it just means they need to follow some guidelines and practice a bit. The good news about digital cameras, however, is that taking 100 photos
1. Frame your photos in thirds
Photography operates on something called the “rule of thirds.” Some cameras will come with grid wires in the viewfinder or as a feature you can set on a touchscreen that divide the frame into 9 sections. These 9 sections are created by 3 equidistant vertical lines dividing the frame in thirds and three equidistant horizontal lines dividing the frame in thirds. By lining up the “heaviest” part of the photo into the top, bottom or middle third or left, center or right third, you can add interest and depth to the photo.
2. Play with lightning
If you are photographing the exterior of your building, you’ll want to take several shots at different times of day to get the most dramatic lighting. Generally speaking the best times to take photos is within about an hour after sunrise or about an hour before sunset. In photography, these are often referred to as “golden hours.” During those times, you’ll get a soft, rich light that can add a magical glow to your business. Don’t be afraid to try a few shots midday, however, because depending on the location of your building in relationship to the sun, you might get some spectacular flare.
3. Change the perspective
Most people are used to simply pointing a camera straight at a subject, lining them up in the middle and taking the shot. You can get much more dramatic shots, however, by changing the perspective. If you have the ability to shoot a photo downward from high above your building, try it. Get low to the ground and try shooting a photo upwards at your building. Drones are becoming less and less expensive and easy to use, so if you can get some drone shots of your business all the better.
4. Take lots of shots at different times
Whether you are shooting indoors or out, light is going to play a key role in getting great shots, and the light is constantly changing. Professional photographers take hundreds of shots to get one that is just right, so you’ll want to do the same. Play with lighting, times of day, angles and framing. Check each shot quickly, and take several shots at one angle and time of day. Each one will be slightly different, then change it up entirely and take another shot from a completely different angle or at a different time of day. You may be shocked what a dramatic difference perspective and lighting make.
5. Use photo editing software
Even professional photographers spend hours and hours tweaking, honing and fine tuning their photos to perfection. The good news about modern editing software is that it is non-destructive, so it makes changes in layers over the original image. You can play with different filters and tools and if you don’t like the results, you can just delete the layer and start over.
Whether you need photos of the exterior of your building, the interior of your business or even products, you can learn to take your own photos with just a little practice and a few tips. Photography is often called “painting with light,” so more than anything else, light is often the key to getting a great shot. Outdoors, you can take shots at different times of day and indoors, you can use lamps, flashes or other types of light to create drama. Drama in photography terms is essentially the interplay between light and dark. The more drama there is in a photo, the more it captures and holds your attention.