How to DIY your brand photography
Photography can often be a huge investment, especially for smaller brands or if you’re just starting out. It’s not always possible to find the money for professional services, I know I’ve struggled to find the money to invest in my business. But, as we all know you need to have something to attract your clients with in order to make money so you can invest and upgrade in the future. My aim with this blog post is to give you a few practical tips that can help you elevate your brand photography all by yourself.
planning your shoot
Setting an intention for your shoot can be one of the most important parts of your process. I’ve come to learn that in order to get the perfect images for your brand, you need to be either lucky or prepared. Use your current branding as a guide line, what colours do you use? Are the tones warm or cold? Minimalistic and sleek or earthy and bohemian? What backdrops/props can you find that matches this? I also always recommend Pinterest at this stage. Seeing what others have done that you love, or dislike, can be a great guideline and it’s always good to have a mood board to look back at if you get stuck.
If you work in natural light, like I do 90% of the time, a huge aspect of how your photos will turn out is what time you’re shooting and in what weather conditions. Changing angles until you find the most flattering light will be so worth it, as it’ll save you loads of time in post production if you get it right in camera. Here are a few points that I’ve learnt over the years:
1) Shooting on an overcast day will work for many types of photos. The clouds are a natural diffuser to the sun, and you can be flexible with what time of the day you’re shooting.
2) When shooting on a sunny day, try to shoot in the early morning or late afternoon. This gives you a beautiful golden tone to your photos, that will make it feel warmer. If you shoot in the middle of the day in the sunshine, that can cause harsh shadows that are unflattering for your subject.
These two images are taken on the same day, less than one hour apart. Notice how the mood of the image changes from left to right, sunny and overcast.
3) If you can’t avoid shooting in the middle of the day, and it’s sunny: try shooting in the shade! Many people are surprised by this, but you can warm it up in post production. This is a flattering light for most subjects, and make details show up a lot more clear.
4) For the most natural results, try to avoid using flashes and other unnatural light sources. If you don’t know exactly how to work with the artificial light, it’s hard to make it look as good as if you were using natural light.
LESS IS MORE
My style is quite minimal, and the reason for that is that I want to make sure the hero of the shot (aka the product you’re selling) is clearly the focus of the shot. We’re so bombarded with photos today, that people scroll on their social medias without really looking at everything thoroughly. Keeping this in mind also makes more harmonic images, in my opinion.
Less is more also goes for the post production. With free phone apps such as Lightroom Mobile and Snapseed, it’s easy to touch up your photos even if you’re just using your phone. Coming from a fashion photography background, I’ve learnt that a little goes a long way when it comes to colour grading. People are buying a product, and no matter how nice the image looks with a filter, your clients will appreciate the colour online being as accurate as possible. Instead, I’d start off with making sure the white balance (the temperature of the photo) is perfect, and add subtle contrast using something like Curves adjustments to make the photo pop. Then, if you want to edit colours, change each colour using a HSL slider. If this all sounds like gibberish to you, I have a guide for Lightroom Mobile that is available for free here.
Turn IT INTO A HABIT and LOOK FOR COMPOSITIONS
One thing that will make your photos feel elevated is when you’ve nailed an interesting composition. This can be things like shooting from unexpected angles, cropping in/out or using leading lines. Seeing compositions comes with practice. I kept my camera in my bag every single day for a few years when I was learning to shoot, and if it wasn’t for the fact that my camera is quite heavy I’d still do that. Once you’re in a “shoot mindset”, it’ll be easier to look for certain things that work. It will also feel like less of a hassle to take photos if you’ve made it into a habit.
So, these were some basic tips from me. Of course, there’s a lot more that goes into it, such as shooting with manual settings and other technical things for example. But, hopefully this has given you a brief insight to some things you can implement if you want to DIY your brand photos.
If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. In case you missed it, you can download my free guide to Lightroom Mobile here. Thank you so much for reading!
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