We are naturally drawn to images, as they help us to communicate. This is especially true for small business owners. The right image on your website has the power to invite readers to browse through and want to learn more about your business, while poor images may drive a potential customer away.
A visually attractive website and carefully curated social media can go a long way. If you can afford it, professional photography is always a great investment on your business, but even if your budget is limited there are always ways to add photography to boost your business.
You can buy royalty-free images from any stock photography site. Just make sure you get a license that allows you to use the image for commercial purposes. Most of stock photography sites offer this license at a very affordable price.
Do It Yourself (DIY) Photography
However, if what you need is something rather specific and you can’t find a stock image, or if you want to include your product or your own staff in the picture (which is always best as it makes your business look authentic), here are six simple tips for great DIY photography.
1. Find Good Lighting
A dark or poorly lit photograph is a turn-off, so find the best possible lighting – I personally prefer natural light – and avoid artificial light, which can cause your photographs to take on an unattractive tone. Move closer to a window to get the best light if you are shooting indoors, and make sure you are not facing the window.
Ideally, the light should come mostly from one side. Also, try looking at the way light catches your object, and then adjust it so there are no distracting shadows.
2. Play with Composition
Look for rhythm and balance, and try to avoid large empty areas or chunks of clutter. If you are showing an object only partially (which is very fashionable these days), make sure it can be easily identified and that it adds beauty to the image. Otherwise, this technique may look like it’s an oversight, instead of adding style and visual appeal.
Another tip is to place your subject slightly to the left or right so you play with the space. You want the image to look balanced, not boring.
3. Create an Uncluttered Background
You want your subject to stand out and grab attention, so make the most of your image. Busy backgrounds are distracting, making your product hard to appreciate. Find spaces that enhance your product, rather than the ones that might bring it down.
4. Dress Up Your Setting
Use what you have around you, or invest in a few simple props to “dress” your setting and establish a mood, such as decorating with fresh flowers. For example, if you are photographing food, add items to complement your product: a loaf of bread, an embroidered napkin or some vintage plates.
However, be careful to not display any brands other than your own or to use someone else’s artwork, as you risk infringing their copyright.
If your picture isn’t perfect, don’t worry. There are a few very affordable (or even free) editing programs that can help you adjust lighting or crop unwanted things. Just remember that if the picture had poor composition to begin with, no amount of editing can help you rescue the image.
6. Have Fun!
The most rewarding thing about this experience should be that you did it yourself. Enjoy playing with the light and the elements that compose your image. Try different things until you are satisfied with the result, and don’t forget to share a couple of behind-the scenes shots on your social media feed.
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