Insights / Creative

PUBLISHED: Feb 19, 2019 4 min read

Musts, Shoulds, and Nice-To-Dos When Taking Photos for Your Brand

Chalice Jones

Chalice Jones

Director, Social + Influencer

Brand positioning is an integral part of today’s world, woven into every aspect of how we make purchasing decisions and communicate personal identity. Meaning that companies that choose to forego a brand strategy and rush straight into product or service descriptions are missing out on a vital component in attracting and maintaining their audience.

Gone are the days when an expensive media buy was needed to convey brand voice or values. With the rise of digital media helping democratize reach, all companies can now speak directly to their fans through relatively inexpensive means such as email marketing, social media marketing, and paid media strategies. However, though these mediums have made it easier and cheaper than ever for companies to reach out to their target audiences, they’ve also made people increasingly savvy about how they process and consume promotional content, with many instantly scrolling past things they aren’t intrigued or amused by.

So, how do make your audience stop and pay attention? With great visuals, of course. Whether you’re updating your brand’s Instagram with a teaser of the latest R&D developments or sending a newsletter announcing your e-commerce sale, dynamic imagery can help get your message across in seconds, while conveying your brand aesthetic and making sure audiences keep you top-of-mind.

Best of all, with today’s amazing phone technology, professional photo shoots aren’t an imperative. In fact, many consumers prefer when brands communicate with them through realistic, relatable imagery. Some brands  even make it a rule to stay away from glossy, retouched shots.

However, if you’re ready to make your smartphone a hub of creative branding activity, there are a few important tips to keep in mind. Think of this as a checklist for helping you step up your game and share your brand in a memorable way:

Absolute Musts

  • Please take 5 seconds to clean your camera lens with your shirt or some cloth to clear off dirt and oils. That phone has been in your hands, rear pocket, and purse bottom all day. That shouldn’t be reflected in your shots.
  • If you have trouble keeping your hands steady, consider carrying a mini tripod. These can help prevent blurriness even when you’re dealing with a moving subject or a low-light situation.
  • Always take a few shots to ensure you have options. Pros often aim for taking 10x the photos they plan to deliver, but we think 4x as many is fine for most purposes.
  • Mastering phone flash can be a tricky thing, as it’s likely to cause red eyes, washed out skin, and generally inconsistent lighting. Try to take advantage of great natural light as much as possible to avoid flash disasters. This also means making sure that you’re photographing your subject from the direction of the light shining on it, and not against the light.

Probably Shoulds:

  • Try to avoid taking an image that you are zooming in on.  Instead, do your best to get physically closer to whatever subject you are trying to capture.
  • Don’t be afraid to do what it takes to get the right angle. Squatting down on the floor? Sure, why not. Anything for art.
  • If you’re taking photos for Instagram, you may want to set your camera to the “Square” setting automatically. This will help you avoid making difficult decisions about what to crop later.
  • If you’re thinking of repurposing content on Instagram Stories, make sure your phone is held vertically.

Good to Consider:

  • The rule of thirds is often cited as the basis of any good photo. Imagine there is a 3×3 grid on your screen. Avoid placing your subject in that middle square. Instead, opt for slightly off center placement to make your image more visually arresting. See this link for more details.
  • Get artsy! Consider photographing your subject’s reflection, catching it through a glass surface, or angling it in a unique way.
  • Keep your brand colors in mind when deciding on settings, props, and filters. You want to make sure your images are cohesive, recognizable, and represent you.
  • Consider shooting outside during golden hour, the time right after sunrise or right before sunset when shadows are less dark, and highlights are less likely to be overexposed.