Written by Allison Cooper and Leah Behling, Interns

At Harris & Ward, we strongly believe that telling your story through photographs is one of the most important assets for marketing  your business. Photos help showcase your business in its true light as opposed to using stock photos, giving your business a more human, personal touch. Photos also help your business have a more visible online presence and make your website more engaging. While hiring a professional photographer will certainly be a worthwhile investment, you can also take photos on your own to create great marketing content for your business. Try these 5 tips for taking photos that will ultimately showcase your business to your clients in the best light!

iPhone V.S. DSLR, Get the Most Out of iPhone Photos

It’s important to know that you don’t have to have the newest, top of the line camera gear to be able to take a good photo. If you have just an iPhone, there are a lot of different camera tools built in that you can take advantage of. Most iPhones have software called High Dynamic Range, or HDR. You can turn this feature on and off at the top of your camera screen. This feature allows you to capture photos with high contrast light sources, for example, a bright light in a dark room, without distorting the photo. To manipulate the light in a photo, simply hold down on the camera screen to get the yellow exposure bar. You can slide this up and down to make the photo brighter or darker. This helps you get the best lighting to capture your office space in. If you want to prevent your camera from grabbing different subjects in the frame, hold down on your screen until you see “AE/AF lock” on your screen. This locks the automatic exposure and the automatic focus so your camera will stay locked on your chosen focal point.

All of these features are available on iPhones that are 5th generation or later. If you are wanting to take photos or your staff, clients, or even patients’ before and after pictures, the iPhone 7 plus, 8 plus, and X have a feature called portrait mode. This mode has 5 different lighting effects that will beautifully frame your subject. The ‘daylight’ effect may be most commonly used, as it gives the effect that you would get from shooting with a small aperture on a DSLR camera, i.e., a blurry background.

Stage your Office Space

Staging is the first step to get your office photo ready. Get rid of any clutter and move wires out of sight. You want your office to appear clean and organized. Next you should make sure everything looks symmetrical. If you have multiple chairs, push them in. Tools and appliances should be in their rightful places. Do leave some things out as you still want your office to look like it is being used and not be seen as a bland, uninviting environment. If you are unsure if you like the set up, take some practice shots and play around with different aesthetics.

Find the Best Lighting

Lighting is critical in a photograph. If you don’t have any artificial lighting equipment, use natural sunlight in your photos! Ideally, make sure that natural light is coming from the side or the front of your subject. If you need to manipulate the light, invest in a collapsible light reflector. These are relatively inexpensive items that can really help you refocus the light where you need it. Another tip for lighting indoors is to never use your camera’s flash. Flash can make a photo look harsh and unnatural. When it’s dark, increase your camera’s ISO. ISO stands for International Standards Organization and is a scale for measuring your camera’s sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO on your camera, the more light you are allowing to reach your camera’s sensor. This is true for both a manual camera and your iPhone.

Use the Rule of Thirds

To help with the composition of your photo, practice the rule of thirds. Envision 4 lines across your potential photograph, 2 running horizontally and 2 vertically across, creating 9 even squares like a grid. With this in mind, you can place the focal point in the center of this grid, or off to the side. Sometimes placing the subject off center at one of the intersections of the imaginary lines will create an even more interesting composition. A photo taken with the rule of thirds in mind is typically more visually pleasing.

Navigate Portrait Shots

Having portrait photos of your staff is a great way to introduce your team and build a connection with clients before the initial in-person meeting. If you work in a medical, artistic, or construction field, this is also a great opportunity to get before and after photos of your clients, patients, or subjects that you can showcase on your website. Capturing a good portrait photo may seem difficult, but with a few tricks you’ll be able to take professional looking photos on your own. To start off, look for a simple background. The main focus should be your subject. Often times a cluttered background may cause the eye to wonder. When looking for a background keep lighting in mind. Integrate the lighting tips mentioned earlier and remember not to use flash. After finding a background, frame your subject. Keep them centered and close. A lot of people make the mistake of having their subject too far away. Be sure to capture the upper half of the person you are photographing. Some may be interested in a group portrait to showcase their entire team. Group portraits are really hard to navigate, but are achievable. Try to find a way to incorporate the group with their environment to express their personality. A group photo should show how everyone functions as a team.