1. Avoid unwanted shadows and over-exposition.
To capture the essence of your business in a photograph, you need to have the right light, no matter if you are taking a scene inside your business, a portrait of your employees or details of your tools.
As rules of thumb:
● Avoid high contrasts of light, as these may result in over-exposition and shadows everywhere.
● Always use the lower ISO (100 for most cameras) and play with the aperture and the shutter speed instead.
● Prefer natural light than artificial light, as most artificial light will spoil the colors of the scene.
● Avoid using the flash, or use flash with care, as it can cause unwanted reflections and oddly illuminated scenes.
● If the camera you are using is the one on your smartphone, use the HDR (High Dynamic Range) functionality.
When recording video in poor light settings, you may still use artificial light, but be sure it is white and, rather than pointing it directly to the subjects in the scene, reflect it first from a white surface.
2. Project a joyful experience.
Regardless of your subject, be sure that your photographs project a sense of joy.
● Play with the depth of field. If your subject is a dish, be sure to set a short depth of field and focus precisely on the food. This way the foreground and the background will appear blurred, just as they appear when we look food we are enjoying. To achieve this effect, set a large aperture of your lens (e.g. f/2.8 rather than f/16) or use the option “macro” in your smartphone camera.
● Play with movement. You may choose to photograph a subject enjoying a coffee in the outside while people walk along the sidewalk. Setting a low shutter speed will convey a relaxing sensation, by contrasting the movement of people walking in the street with the stillness of the subject enjoying the coffee. You may need a tripod for this, and you may need several attempts to calibrate the shutter speed.
● Play with symmetry. Our brains are designed to detect patterns and this costs effort. Symmetry gives our brains simple patterns to detect, resulting in a visually pleasant experience. Arrange a symmetrical scene so there are almost no details in which to focus and use your subject to break the symmetry you have created. This will make our eyes focus on it with pleasure. Achieve this by using the grid lines in your smartphone camera or imagining a grid dividing the scene into three horizontal and three vertical regions, each equally spaced (9 equal sectors in total). Place your subject in any of the four intersections of the grid lines and you will obtain excellent results.
Use the same rules when recording a video: Symmetry, focus, and contrast of movement. A photo studio may be of great help to boost the quality of your results and give you extra advice.
3. Let your business speak for itself.
Posing and smiling for a photograph is the way to do it when a memorable experience is to be captured, but people looking at pictures of your business should feel as if it were already part of their everyday lives. In order to achieve this effect,
● Be candid. Take pictures of an everyday scene of your business, with your employees and your clients doing what they usually do (be careful, as for this kind of photo you may need to ask for the consent of the subjects in a written form). You may need to take many pictures until one of them comes really great.
● Gain familiarity using a video interview. If you want to speak to your clients and keep things candid, you may need a microphone, as background noise sometimes may totally spoil the results. However, no background noise and the interview will feel fake, so make sure that you have some background noise, but be sure it keeps in the background and your foreground is clear.
Following these steps will not only make your business feel familiar but also will give it a personality, so your clients know your spirit before getting in touch
Last but not least, keep in mind that to all rules there are exceptions. Be daring but careful to break the rules when you consider it appropriate. Experiment, take lots of pictures and always do post-editing. Good luck!
Guest Post by: Izaias Almeida