29 Jul Use Your Smartphone To Take fabulous Website Photos
Often times, you may feel as a newer entrepreneur/blogger that your only option for great website photos is to use photos from stock photo websites. Why would you think this? Usually you feel limited due to a lack of money, but it can also be because you don’t feel you have the right equipment for great photos. I want you to know that I can disprove both of these concerns and I’ll tell you why.
Why You Don’t Need Stock Photos
As a new entrepreneur/blogger, your time to work on your business is usually very limited! You’re usually still working in your career, or going to school, and often times you have a lot of commitments to maintain with family and friends. Regardless of your specific situation, your time is valuable! If you’re like most newer entrepreneur/bloggers, you’re probably using stock photo sites for your website’s photos. However, have you ever tallied up how much time you actually spend scanning page after page of those stock photo sites? I’ll bet you spend more time than you’d imagine.
Not only are you wasting time surfing the web for stock photos, but thousands of other bloggers are too! How many times have you seen your photos on several different websites? I’ve found this happens a lot with the images from Canva.com. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Canva, but I’d much rather upload my own photos and then use their tools to create the final product. No one wants to look just like someone else’s website! You want to stand out and be unique, right?
Beyond the time wasted looking for photos (that could be on 100’s of other websites), have you considered how much money you’ve spent on them? A dollar here or there doesn’t seem so too bad, but when you put a couple photos on every blog post AND you post several times a month, it will quickly add up! That’s a lot of time and money spent on photos that others are using to promote their brand, as well! Plus, by using a variety of stock photos, you may be missing out on a developing a consistent brand image, but that’s a WHOLE nother topic in and of itself.
Take Your Own Images with Little to No Equipment
You may think you don’t have the tools to create great website photos. Honestly, your thoughts may go something light this…I don’t have a DSLR, I don’t have expensive lighting equipment, or I don’t have photo editing software….well guess what?! You don’t need a fancy camera or expensive equipment to take great photos.
I am the founder of www.LearnBlogPhotography.com and the owner of www.AmyParisPhotography.com. I know what it takes to create great photos with a fancy camera, but I can also show you how to do it with your smartphone. Seriously!! My goal is to help 1000 bloggers and entrepreneurs learn how to use their smartphone to create awesome website photos.
What you need to know to take GREAT photos with your smartphone
The most important thing you need to understand is that, DSLR’s and smartphones are just tools to capture photos. Just because you spend a lot of money on a DLSR, it doesn’t mean your photos will automatically be great. What you do need to know is what it takes to create great photos.
There are far too many aspects of photography to discuss inside of this one post, but what I will tell you is that in order to take great photos there are several things you need to know.
Firstly, Lighting is KEY. Without light all you have is a black screen or a black piece of paper…if you printed it. LOL! If you don’t have great lighting, you will never have more than just a snapshot. You’ll need to understand the difference between hard and soft light, and know that soft light is what you really want! You can find more information on the difference between the two and how to find or create soft light in this post. Hint, you don’t need expensive equipment in order to have soft light, all you need is a window. You will also need to understand that light has color and how this impacts your photos. You can learn about the color of light in this post.
Also, light has direction. Adding directional light to your photos will help create depth and texture, as well as increase it’s overall appeal! If you want to learn more about directional lighting, you can check out this post. Additionally, having the proper light will create a well exposed photo. By this I mean, you’ll want your photo have a balance between being too bright and too dark. Some of this can be managed in the editing process, which we’ll discuss later, but it will help greatly if you have good lighting in the beginning when you take the photo.
Secondly, you’ll want to have an appealing composition! There are many different types of compositions. One compositional rule you’ll see quite often in photography, video and advertising is the Rule of Thirds. This is probably the most popular rule in composition. Imagine a hashtag symbol. The 4 points where the lines intersect are the points where your main subject should be positioned. You may be thinking… But I’ve seen stunning photos with the main subject centered directly in the middle! Why can’t I do that? Don’t get me wrong, rules are meant to be broken, and there are specific circumstances when centering your subject is needed. However, this is not typically as visually appealing as using the rule of thirds.
Another very common composition rule you’ll see is leading lines. This is where something in your photo his guiding your eye towards the main subject. Another important aspect to consider regarding your photo’s composition, is perspective. Everyone is familiar with seeing the world from a similar angle. Now granted, some people are taller or shorter than others, but it’s generally very similar. Because of this, you’ll want to make it different!! Different=appealing and unique! Get down low to the ground or shoot straight down from overhead! By changing up your perspective, it will greatly increase the WOW factor of your photo! Seriously, composition can be a full blog post all by itself, so if you want more details on creating photos with stunning compositions check out this post.
Thirdly, you don’t need expensive editing programs either! As I mentioned earlier, Canva.com is a free tool you can use to upload your photos and create stunning images for your blog or favorite social media platform. If you want to stick to editing on your smartphone, there are a TON of editing apps that are FREE or only a couple bucks.
Since there are SO many options for editing apps, I’ll mention a few that can be found in both the App Store and the Google Play store. These apps are: Google’s Snapseed for basic editing and filters, Rookie Cam for increasing the functionality of your inherent camera app and for applying fonts and graphics, TouchRetouch for removing unwanted objects, After Focus for making those backgrounds blurry, and most importantly an Exif data remover for hiding the location of your photo shoot. Exif data is your photo’s hidden details that include the GPS location where your photo was taken. My favorite app for iOS is NoLocation and for Android it’s EZ UnEXIF and both are FREE. These will remove the GPS location from your photo, which can be really important if you want to keep your home’s or office’s location private. No one wants to inadvertently invite stalkers over. I’ve gone into much more detail about each of these apps, and more, in a post you can find here.
If you’re thinking this is a lot to learn, don’t worry! I’ve broken down a step by step photography checklist including the do’s and don’ts needed to create great photos. If you want this free download to help streamline your work and create great photos, click here for your copy.
There are so many more topics regarding photography I could go into, but I’m impressed you’re still reading this!! What I want to make sure you realize, is that blog photography is no different than regular photography. The rules are the same. The principles are the same. When you start understanding what it take to create great photos, you’ll have great website photos with the tool you always have with you…your smartphone! Plus, what could be better than being able to shoot, edit and upload your photos all from your handheld device?! Talk about a time saver!!
I hope this helped, I’d love to connect with you!
If you have any further questions or want additional assistance, feel free to email me at Amy@LearnBlogPhotography.com or ask to join my FREE Facebook Group where you can join an ever growing group of like minded individuals, as well as gain support and feedback on your work!
Thank you Mariana for allowing me to guest post this week!
About Amy Jackson:
Amy Jackson lives near Chicago and is the mother to an amazing young man! In addition to her day job and family duties, she runs Amy Paris Photography and Learn Blog Photography. Her passions include photography and skiing.
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