In an ideal world everyone would be able to afford the services of a professional photographer to take all the images they need for their website. Sadly, this isn’t an ideal world, and there often isn’t the budget to spend on hiring a photographer to create the images your website needs. All isn’t lost, however, as it’s often possible to create some pretty good images using your smartphone or digital camera, as long as you know the pitfalls to avoid.
Avoid using your flash
Unless you’re taking photographs where there is no light at all, most modern smart cameras can do a pretty good job of taking photos in low light – and in most cases, photos taken without flash can look much more professional than those using it. Rooms can often look great just photographed with the lights on or whatever natural light is available. If you’re not sure whether you use your flash, try taking a photo with it and then one without so you can compare them.
Take photos in landscape or wide mode
It’s always a good idea to take your shots in landscape, with the camera held sideways, when you’re taking photos for your site. Your first instinct when using your smartphone to take photos will be to hold your phone upright like you normally use it. However, in photographic terms, the internet works much better in widescreen, so it’s always better to turn your camera or phone round and take shots in glorious widescreen.
Don’t photograph from eye-level
It would seem obvious that when you want to take photos you just need to grab your phone or camera, hold it at head level and then start snapping away. However, if you’re taking shots of rooms or groups of people, you’ll get much better results if you take your photos from a lower level. Try holding your camera at chest height and you’ll see that things look more natural and more balanced.
Don’t stand so close
It doesn’t matter whether you’re photographing a house or a piece of jewellery, when it comes to taking photos for websites it’s always a good idea to leave plenty of space around the main object. The reason is simple. Leaving extra space all around gives your web designer options when it comes to making things look professional, meaning they can crop your images in different ways to suit your site.
Think about the background
The background is important no matter what kind of photos you’re taking. If you’re taking product shots, choose a background that shows how or where it could be used. In many cases, an ironed piece of fabric or some thick paper or card will usually do the trick. If you’re feeling creative there are loads of other things you can use as the backdrop to your products to help them stand out. Why not place them in natural settings such as on a lush green lawn or amongst a pile of colourful autumn leaves.
Spend a few moments tidying up
If you’re photographing larger subjects, such as your business premises, or taking before and after shots, spending a few moments removing items you don’t wish to be seen – forgotten tools, passing members of staff or discarded belongings – can make all the difference. It’s a lot easier for you to do this rather than asking your designer to erase something using Photoshop later. It’s also much cheaper.
Take more photos than you need
The days of only having 24 or 36 exposures on a roll of film is a distant memory. Digital cameras and smartphones give you the opportunity to take hundreds of shots, so it’s worth taking as many as you can so you and your designer can pick the very best. It’s also worth shooting from loads of different angles to give your designer plenty of options. Also, if you’re snapping something visually interesting, make sure you take a few close-ups of small details. Your designer will certainly thank you for them.
Not all ways to send photos are the same
There are loads of ways to send the photos you’ve taken to your designer – these range from sending via text and email through to sharing them on USB sticks and through services like Dropbox. Not all ways of sharing images give the same level of image quality, so if you are asked to choose what size to send the images, always choose the biggest file size option you can.
It’s always been said that a picture paints a thousand words, and this is just as true with websites as it is with traditional photography. Hopefully, spending some time to take your photos, and following the tips we’ve shared, you’ll end up with great results that will enhance your website.