Whatever your line of business, chances are that you are using social media as a marketing tool and perhaps you also have a website to direct customers to. You can describe your services and tell your audience about yourself using words, but sometimes a photograph can illustrate your point far easier than any description – after all, they do say “a picture speaks a thousand words!”
But what do your photographs say about your business?
If you are selling luxury gift items but have poorly taken images of your products on your website, what do you think this says to the people viewing it? You are doing yourself and your product a disservice – worse, it might even be putting potential customers off from making a purchase!
In this article I’m going to look at 5 elements that you should consider when taking photos for your website and social media, and how to improve them.
5 ways to make your website photos better
1. Keep focused
There is nothing worse than looking at a low resolution, out of focus photograph – more often than not, it can be hard to make out exactly what it is you’re looking at!
You don’t have to be using an all singing and dancing expensive camera – the majority of smartphones are now more like cameras with additional functions than phones these days! If auto focus isn’t working you can usually tap the screen where you would like it to focus – if it still doesn’t work it may be that you are too close to your subject, so try moving back a little.
Consider using a small tripod for your camera or phone – that way you can be sure to eliminate camera shake as the cause of an image that’s out of focus.
To ensure your images aren’t low in resolution, set your settings to the highest possible file / resolution setting – you can always resize at a later date if it’s too big.
2. Light it up
Lighting is everything when it comes to photography, and just because you don’t have a fancy studio with lots of lights doesn’t mean you can’t light your images properly!
Natural light is free and the best source of light you’ll get – although try to avoid shooting in direct sunlight where possible as it can cause problems with getting the balance just right. If you need to use artificial lighting, avoid using the flash on your phone as it can produce harsh shadows or glare. Instead, use a torch or small LED light source off to one side of the camera which should produce softer shadows.
3. Don’t forget the background
Before taking the photo, have a look at what’s in the background. Is it messy or ‘busy’? If you can move the product or subject to change it then you should! After all, no-one needs to see what it really looks like behind the scenes – unless of course that’s what you are trying to show!
If you can’t move, try changing the angle that you are using to take the photo and you may be able to hide the worst of the background. Still doesn’t help? Try using the ‘portrait’ mode on your camera – as long as you have a bit of space between your subject and background, it will blur the background for you.
4. Keep it consistent
This is especially important if you are photographing your products to show potential customers or add to an online shop. If you shoot one on the kitchen table, the next outside and then another on a blanket you will soon start to have a confused looking product selection, especially if the images all sit together on the one page!
You don’t necessarily have to photograph everything in the one spot, but certainly it will help to keep particular groups or ranges of products together.
If you are struggling to find a background to suit, make one! That way it doesn’t matter where you use as you will have consistency in the images regardless of the location. You can look for a purpose designed photography backdrop, but it doesn’t need to be this fancy – a couple of planks of laminate as a floor and a clean wall behind it will work just as well! No wall? Use a few more pieces of laminate to create one.
This will also solve the problem of a messy background as noted above!
5. Careful composing and cropping
Last but not least, consider how you will crop the image to use on your website or social media.
For example – you might want to show the full image on your website or Facebook, but make sure you can crop it to a square for Instagram without losing important details.
Summary: 5 ways to improve the photos on your website and social media
And there we have it!
A whistle stop tour of a few basic elements that can make a huge difference to the quality of your photographs being used on your website and social media. Try them – I think you’ll be surprised at what a difference they can make!
If you’re still struggling with getting your photography right, why not join our facebook group – myself and the rest of the Due North Creatives team are here to help with all aspects of your marketing.