5 Techniques to Snap Better Pictures for Your Brand with Your Smartphone Camera

A business owner has endless opportunities every day to share bits and pieces of what makes their company special. But I can’t expect you to have a pro photographer available 24/7!

Let’s go over 5 techniques to help you improve that next smartphone shot so that you have the confidence to post your best DIY photos yet!

1. Clean your lens.

There’s nothing I hate more than a smudgy lens. It makes your images blurry and can cause a haze or glare across your image. Clean your lenses before important shots, if not before every time you snap a photo.

*Use a “lens cleaning cloth” to avoid damaging your camera lens over time. (You probably have half a dozen or so of these microfiber cleaning cloths laying around – they are often included with eye glasses, sunglasses, any gadgets with lenses, and are a popular give-away item at conference booths!)

2. Find Better Light

Excellent photos, no matter the camera, begin with beautiful light. Lighting can drastically change the focus and mood. Check out how Soft vs. Hard light can change the aesthetics of your photo:

SOFT LIGHT:
Less saturated colors
Less contrast
Flattering skin tones
Lighter shadows
Even highlights
Softer textures

HARD LIGHT:
More saturated colors
More contrast
Harsher skin tones
Deeper shadows
Sharper highlights
More defined textures

I personally LOVE soft light. In the studio I use big “diffusion” that softens my harsh strobe lighting. When outdoors I look for shade or back-lighting. 

Below are 3 super-short (and elementary) videos (below) shot with my smartphone to show examples of worse vs. better light found in most homes and yards:

3. Compose with Intent

Take more than one shot. Slow down. Study each composition you frame. Hold the camera steady with two hands or a tripod. Make sure your main subject is sharply focused. Try different angles. Pay attention to the background. Try different “modes” (like Portrait Mode, Night Sight, and Panorama) and not just your standard camera setting.

4. Zoom for an Accurate Perspective

Cell phone cameras are very wide angled. Therefore, perspectives can be skewed if you photograph a subject too close to “fill the frame”. If you are photographing a person up-close, like a headshot, zoom in just a little for a more true-to-eye perspective.

I borrowed this GIPHY because a visual example does WAY better to illustrate what I am describing. See how this subjects facial features morph as the “focal distance” is changed? (In this example, the human face looks well balanced around 50mm.)

BUT WARNING!!! Do not OVER zoom… Because there are two kinds of zoom, and one is DOOM! ūü§£

“Optical Zoom” is GOOD

Optical enlarges a picture optically while maintaining the original high resolution and sharpness of the picture.

Optical Zoom Sample

“Digital Zoom” is BAD

Digital Zoom crops a portion of the image and then stretches the pixels, leaving your image quality fuzzy or pixelated.

Digital Zoom Sample

5. Start with the Highest Resolution

It is important to use high quality photographs (High Resolution for PRINT, and Optimized for WEB). Be aware that file transfer or cloud storage files may not be your original image file – they may be sized down and/or compressed. File compression and image down sizing can greatly interfere with your photos’ image quality. To avoid this, I usually connect my phone directly to my computer to offload photo and video files.

It is time to tackle your next DIY Photo Shoot with a few new techniques. Apply these tips whether you are shooting the latest SmartPhone, a Point-and-Shoot, or a SLR Camera.

And when you are ready to throw some professional shots in the mix, please give me a call or shoot me an email! I would love to be part of your brand and marketing strategy.

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