If you are a small or medium sized business owner there is a great chance that you have to take photographs of your products/ services’ end results by yourself. We get a lot of photographs from our clients that could work so much better on their websites if they’ve kept in mind only a few simple rules. So to make it easier for you we’ve created a little tutorial that may help next time you will be taking photos for your site. You don’t need to own expensive equipment and you’ve most likely got everything you need to take decent pictures that will represent your business well.
Most of the mobile phone cameras these days have got an in-built camera that is more than enough to take good quality pictures. Now depending on what the pictures will be for there are two approaches that you could use for achieving the best results size wise. Approach One: If you will be uploading images yourself to your website and they will be appearing somewhere within the text on your site or in an image gallery that doesn’t display full screen/very large images, there’s no need to set your camera to the highest possible quality. In fact, quite the opposite. I don’t mean set it to the lowest one but try keeping them on the smaller side because they will take less space on your server and therefore load quicker onto your site. Something like 1280x960px should work well for majority of the things. Make sure that before you upload them you resize them to the right size because that’s the ideal situation. If you’re taking pictures that will be displayed in full screen sliders or anything that will use most of the screen space you probably should go bigger than the above. Something around 2048 by 1536px (or somewhere around this size, depending on your camera) should be just fine. You could also optimise your images before uploading them for the best loading speeds. Approach Two: If you don’t understand the previous paragraph don’t worry. Most of the time your designer will be more that happy to help with your website and all image related issues. So to make their job easier try to take pictures big enough to suit high size purposes and if they’ll need smaller pictures- they’ll resize them and optimise them themselves. Set your camera to something around 6 mega pixels. Follow other tips from this tutorial and you’ll be fine.
Probably the most crucial element of a photograph that can easily ruin a nicely composed image with a great subject. Try to avoid flash- it makes pictures flat and dull. Instead try to find a good source of a natural light like window/door or even office lights.
In essence if you can see something clearly and the light level is decent it will be reflected in the picture taken by the automatic camera. Just make sure that:
- the main source of light is not behind the subject- don’t take pictures with windows, lamps etc in the background
- if taking pictures of people, make them turn their faces
towards the light source
- make sure you’re not standing in the way of a light source because you’re shadow will be caught
- try to avoid big, strong shadows on the background- play will the angle from which you take the picture etc
If you are taking pictures of buildings or anything outside it always helps when the day is nice but even on a dull day you can take good quality images (sometimes with a little bit of help from image enhancing on your
mobile editor- don’t get carried away though). Again just make sure you’re not taking pictures against the sun or other sources of light (and mind them shadows).
Make sure that camera focuses on the right thing otherwise a great picture may be ruined. You can always preview a taken picture, zoom in a little bit to see if the subject is in focus and not the background. Get closer to the photographed object. The optical zoom in mobile cameras for instance is limited because of their size. Instead they use digital zoom, which to you means lower quality images that are often out of focus as they demand a very still hand.
To achieve the best result, if possible, find a nice background. A light wall will do for portraits or some product photos. A patterned wall could be nice to. Try to avoid too busy, distracting backgrounds. Use your common sense. You should avoid unnecessary objects getting into the frames, cutting off limbs or any objects in strange places or half way through. Develop a good habit of getting to the level of the photographed person/object otherwise perspective may not work in their favour. Don’t use strange angles- it’s really difficult to make them work so the safest option is to avoid them.