No matter what kind of business you have, a good photo of your product or service speaks a thousand words. When it comes to digital signage, seeing the right visual at the right time could be the turning point for many customers to buy. In order to make effective promotions that highlight the best of your business, check out these 10 simple ways to take better photos.
1. Find a plain background.
The star of the photo should be the food or product you're photographing. If the background is too busy, it takes the attention away.
2. Don't use flash.
Flash acts as an additional light source, often creating harsh highlights and strange shadows. If it's not used correctly, it can easily ruin a photo by making it look artificial or greasy. Most professional photographers will tell you not to use it if it can be helped.
3. Good lighting is key.
Instead of using flash, take advantage of the sun's rays whenever you can. Shoot next to a window and use natural light, just make sure it's not straight-on to avoid glares and shadows. Also remember to turn off all other lights in a room, otherwise it could throw off the light balance.
As for timing, it's generally agreed upon that 3pm is the best time to shoot. The reason why you don't want to do early morning or noon is that direct sunlight can give the same effect as flash. It can cause unwanted highlights and shadows that compromise the clarity of the image.
If all else fails or your shooting location doesn't get much sun, there are affordable lighting kits on Amazon that go for $25 for a basic setup.
4. Use garnish as a focal point.
Food styling doesn't have to get crazy, a sprig of cilantro for instance can work wonders to make a bowl of chili look more appetizing.
The trick is the place the garnish on an area you want to draw attention to. Then, take a close up shot with the focal point being on the garnish. It draws the customer's eye to the spot that's green or interesting-looking.
5. Play with layers to add depth.
How do you prevent photos from looking too flat? Create dimensions in a shot by focusing on elements in a foreground. This adds depth to an image by forcing the camera to concentrate on your subject, slightly blurring out the background.
The iPhone has a built-in Portrait mode to help with this effect.
6. Make your own filter.
Avoid using Instagram-style filters for food photos, it can muddle or yellow things out too dramatically. Your goal is to get clean white light and avoid shadows that are too dark.
For a good point of reference, see that white areas of your image have a pure tone (not tinted with orange or grey.) If the white runs brassy, it could be an indicator that the temperature is too warm. If the white runs grey, it could be too dark.
7. Start with a bird's eye shot.
When you don't know what to do, you can't go wrong with a simple bird's eye shot. Just stand directly overhead and take a few photos that way.
8. Try different angles.
Even though we recommend bird's eye shots if you're short on time or out of ideas, keep in mind there's no universal angle that works with everything. Try taking a few photos from different perspectives. It never hurts to experiment and see what works!
9. Hold still and take several photos in the row.
Sometimes quantity leads to quality. It's better to have too many photos to pick from than not enough. Take several and use the one that looks the sharpest and is most in focus.
10. For generic images, consider using Unsplash.
Although it's better to use real photos of your product or subject, on occasion you might be short on time or just looking for a generic image. In these cases, there's photo-sharing sites like Unsplash that list high-quality stock images for free. All content is created by professional photographers, whose credits are listed below each photo.
An image is worth a thousand words — we hope this article helps you take photos that you're happy with and portray your business in the best light possible!