The times they are a changin’
Way back in 2000, when film photography was, you know, still a thing, Kodak reported 80 billion photographs had been taken; a record-shattering number at the time. Thanks to digital photography and smartphones, that number has sky-rocketed to nearly 1.2 trillion in less than 20 years. You read that right: TRILLION. With professional-grade cameras in our pockets, it seems that every moment from breakfast to bedtime is photo worthy. In such an image-saturated world, how can your brand stand out, especially when you don’t have the budget for a professional photographer? Luckily, the answer is at your fingertips. Literally.
Course objective 1: Understand your medium
Before you become the Annie Leibovitz of smartphones, you oughta know that photographers have always had a rough time of it. When photography first emerged, many believed that it wasn’t truly art. That’s because the work was produced from a mechanical device and with chemical procedures, and not entirely of the human hand or mind. Truthfully, it was both an art and a science. One had to be diligent in understanding their device, light exposure, f-stop, aperture, shutter speed and the chemistry and technique used to print a negative. A bit different than our method today. The mechanism is either Apple or Android. We point, shoot and hope for the best. But there is a better way.
Course objective 2: Take a closer look at camera settings
There’s nothing wrong with shooting in auto mode, especially when you’re tasked with capturing fast-paced events and split-second moments. You don’t always have the opportunity to frame the perfect shot. We get it. However, when you have the time, tinker with your phone’s camera. Look harder. We have this astounding technology with us all day, and many of us don’t know how to fully utilize its capabilities. Here are a few things to consider:
- Clean your lens: As in, every single time you take a photo. This is a vital first step in your image-improving process.
- Flip that phone on its side: Landscape (horizontal) makes for the best picture framing.
- Tap the screen to focus on one object: Notice how the light adjusts accordingly, and play with different focal points.
- Manually modify the light: Some phones give you the option to alter brightness (look to the right).
- Do not zoom-in: Like never, ever. You lose a great deal of image quality, so just move closer.
- Experiment with your settings: From portrait and macro modes, to motion and panorama, the opportunities to make stunning photos are endless.
Course objective 3: Leverage imagery to reinforce your brand
We all buy with our eyes. No matter what you’re selling, marketing, or sharing, you’re going to need great visuals. Instagram, everyone’s favorite photo sharing site, has exploded in the last several years. You probably use it personally, but it is also an incredible marketing tool, and the best outlet for your recently perfected phone photos! Here are some best practices for uploading photos to your brand’s Instagram:
- Skip the filter: Use the edit tab to play with overall exposure, highlights, shadows, temperature, etc.
- Stay as natural looking as possible: Don’t go overboard on contrast!
- Keep it real: Try to match the way the environment looked when you made the photo.
Follow these tips and your brand’s Instagram will have a cohesive, consistent and memorable look and feel – a subtle way for your audience to recognize you!
Course objective 4: Have fun, fellow photogs!
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of snapping that perfect photo, but it will take some practice. Although the science of photography is different today, it is still important to understand your tools. Try different angles – overhead, from either side – but move your body, too. What happens when you take a photo from a chair, or on your knees? Perspective, depth-of-field, the possibilities are endless. Now get out there and capture the beauty all around you.
Ugh, the first day of class is always a drag, and frankly, we know making great photographs isn’t easy. We’d be happy to discuss this crash course in more detail, so please reach out!
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