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A picture can tell a thousand words – and if you’re a small business owner you’ll know all too well how crucial professional looking, high quality photography is when it comes to selling your product or service.

Perhaps events over the past couple of months have meant that you’ve needed to move your business model online – relying even more on digital channels to market your product or service. Or perhaps the lockdown has made you have to re-think your content strategy and how your source and capture images for your business.

Wherever you are on your small business journey, it goes without saying that investing in professional photography for every new product launch or service update is not the most cost-effective approach. But by taking the time to learn and understand a few professional photography techniques you can create and capture your own high-quality images – developing a distinct look and feel for your business that will help your content stand out.

Here are my top tips to get you started:

Do your research:

Before you begin, spend some time researching other businesses and brands that you admire or that always stand out to you on social or online – they could be competitors or completely unrelated to your business. Look at the images that they use on their website and social channels – what composition do they use? Do they have a set colour palette? How do they communicate the story behind the product 
or service that they’re trying to sell? What makes them stand out? Collate some of these ideas on an app like Pinterest so you can pinpoint common styles that you like and could work for your own business. You can then start to pull through some of these reference points in your own photography as you begin to create your own unique style. 

Sell the dream:

It’s far too easy to fall into the trap of only photographing stock on lifeless white backgrounds. Whilst this is fine for a more detailed view of products, it is equally, if not more important to photograph the product in the places it’s intended for. Always try to create a story with your images – this is far more memorable than a white background. Don’t fall into the trap of overcomplicating this either – sometimes all you need is a few carefully placed props or a different coloured backdrop to achieve this look. This idea can be useful for service-based business too – showcasing what improvement your services or products do to improve your customer’s lives, will help you stand out amongst the crowds. 

Here is an example of selling the dream, This image is for a wine company, however it could be used as example for a restaurant, wine glass company, events company or more.

Composition is key:

Just like finding that perfect angle for the perfect selfie, don’t forget to plan the composition of your shots. Mastering the composition will go a long way in selling your product or service – drawing the viewer into the image and telling that story that you want to communicate. There are a lot of different techniques that you can try. For example – placing your product front and centre will make a bold statement; whilst experimenting with angles – such as a 45 degrees downward glance (the angle when looking down at a desk or table) can make a product look obtainable and add depth to your imagery.  Using a wall to guide the eye to the subject or shooting up or across to something or someone will make your photographs stand out. Do some research into different composition rules and spend some time experimenting with what works best for you.

Lighting is everything:

Really think about lighting your photographs properly. Badly lit images look lazy and can give the wrong impression about your business. Getting your light right will really make your images stand out and give you a consistent, professional finish every time. Consider investing in a ring light – this kit is really cost effective can seriously up the quality of your content creation. If you are planning on filming video content for your business, then it will come in useful here too. 

Become a post-production pro:

All professional photographers will spend a considerable amount of time on the post-production stage of a shoot. Whilst this can seem like another daunting task if you are just starting out, it is worth learning some basics so you can edit your images and create a consistent look and feel across the content that you are creating. Using an app such as Lightroom will allow you to edit, sharpen and enhance your images – these small tweaks in post-production can really make a difference the final result.

For more expert helping in taking photos for your business – my four-week online course will provide you with everything you need to start shooting like a pro. Click here to find out more and sign up for the next session.

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