Taking professional photos was a labor-intensive process before smartphones were the norm. Thanks to smartphone technology and mobile apps, we can now take great photos and edit them with the click of a few buttons.
With that said, there are a few best practices you should consider when taking photos on your mobile device – especially if you’re using the photos to promote your business on the Internet. Check out these tips below to improve your smartphone photography skills and take great small business pictures with your smartphone.
1. Use gridlines to balance your shot.
One of the easier ways to improve your smartphone photos is to turn on your camera’s gridlines. Once you do this, you will see a series of lines on your camera’s screen.
These lines are based on the ‘rule of thirds’, which is a photography theory that claims images should be broken down into three parts. According to this principle, your photos will be more balanced and aesthetically pleasing if you place your points of interest within these intersections.
To turn your gridlines on:
- For iPhone: Go to your settings, click ‘photos and camera’, turn ‘grid’ on
- For Samsung Galaxy: Launch your camera app and go to your settings, turn ‘grid lines’ option to on
2. Set your camera's focus.
When you are taking a photo on your smartphone, the camera will automatically focus on the foreground of your frame. However, many photos do not have an obvious subject. This is especially true when you are taking a wider shot for your small business.
In these scenarios, you should set your cameras focus manually. To do this, all you need to do is open your camera app and tap the area of the screen where you want to sharpen the view. Once you do this, a square or a circular icon will appear on your screen, shifting the focus of your shot to the area within that icon.
3. Focus on one subject.
Some of the best photos include one, clear focal point. Set up the shot to focus on a single subject. To make the subject stand out even more, follow the ‘rule of thirds’ mentioned above and ensure that two thirds of your photo is negative space. Once you’ve taken your shot, you can use filters to make the subject matter even more vivid. Try adjusting the brightness, contrast and saturation to see if this helps your subject stand out even more.
4. Experiment with color blocking.
One great way to make your subject matter stand out is through color blocking. This technique will put a filter on your entire photo making it black and white, except for one single object or subject. There are many apps, like Touch of Color, that can automatically apply this treatment in one click.
5. Avoid zooming in.
If you’re taking a photo from far away, it may be tempting to zoom in on your camera. However, zooming in can unfortunately make your photo appear blurry and pixelated. Instead of zooming in, we recommend stepping closer to your subject. If you’re unable to do this, go ahead and take the photo from a distance and crop it later. With these approaches, your photo will be much higher quality and easier to optimize.
6. Capture small details.
Close-up photos that capture all of the small details are the most compelling. These types of photos are also a great way to market the products you sell on your business on the Internet. When editing close up photos, try using the sharpen tool within an editing app to make the close-up details even more clear.
7. Use natural light.
When setting up your photos, make sure that there are sources of natural light, so you do not have to use the flash. Often times, a flash will cause photos to appear overexposed and washed out. If your photos appear too dark when using natural light, try using the exposure tool within an editing app to see if you can make the image appear slightly brighter.
8. Set your camera app's exposure manually.
To improve the quality of your photos, you should also manually set your exposure. Your mobile phone will automatically adjust how much light it will let in, but often times, it’s best to do this by hand.
To do this, all you have to do is tap your screen (similar to setting your focus), view the sun icon that appears with the vertical scale and slowly move your finger up or down the scale to adjust to the optimal light level.
9. Clean your phone's lens.
As a small business owner, you’re often on the go, and you likely carry your phone around with you in your pocket or your bag. It doesn’t take long for a camera’s lens to collect dust. To make sure you’re taking high-quality photos, take time to clean your lens with a soft cloth. This simple act will help you save time editing your photos down the line.
Imagery is a critical element of marketing your small business. By following these simple tips, you will be setting your business up for success with high-quality, professional photography.