Photography skills

Photography is an important part of your marketing and e-Commerce activity. What are the basic requirements you need to do to create great photography for your brand? Read our quick guide on basic photography skills like equipment, composition and lighting. And read about how to hire a photographer to make your brand images look more professional.

Photography

A picture tells a thousand words.

When you can create a strong picture through photography, it captures people’s attention. A picture can deepen the connection between your consumers and your brand and help to build your brand identity

If you are just starting out and are on a low budget, you may want to take your own photos. There are many photography classes, both online and in real life you can take to improve your photography skills. But here we share a few basic tips like finding the right equipment and setting up your shot. 

But if you want your images to look more professional, we also share some thoughts on how to hire a photographer and get the best out of working with them. 

Photography lens title

Find the right level of photography kit

If you decide to manage your own photography, rather than hire a photographer, we recommend starting with your photography equipment. 

There are many options to consider when it comes to cameras. Do you use your smartphone or do you invest in a more premium camera with lenses and extra pieces of kit? Our recommendation is to consider your business situation and marketing goals.

If you are a small business working on tight budgets, and looking to create photography that will mostly appear on social media, the camera on your smart phone may well be good enough for your needs. 

But if you are selling premium products or trying to capture a particular lifestyle image, you will be able to get better quality images by investing in a more upmarket camera. Entry-level DSLR cameras are often on offer and will often come with bundle of lens choices, and unless you are looking to go professional will be more than suitable for most peoples needs.

If you do go down the DSLR route, we’d recommend you learn the settings and practice using them. Then practice some more. It can be tempting to always use the ‘auto’ settings as you’ll generally always get a good result, but learning how to adjust the ‘manual’ settings like aperture, shutter speed and ISO can make for much more impactful images.

Other than the camera and practicing, we’d also recommend looking at photo editing software. The default photo app that comes with most Apple products can rescue many images, there are many free or cheap apps available which help with photo editing, and if you are serious about image manipulation, the very well-known Adobe Photoshop is an excellent, if expensive option.

Photography Kit
Woman holding camera showing photography skills

Three key photography skills

We’ve covered the use of composition in photography and design in another article. What is the object in the photo you are trying to emphasise and do all the elements in your photo look balanced? What if you tried taking photos from different angles and different heights, would you be able to improve the photo.

Think especially about lighting. This is where professionals and more expensive cameras tend to win out. Shooting in low light can be tricky and so if you are taking a photo in low light, what could you do to improve or use the lighting? Is it using a flash or do you have access to other light sources which could help with the lighting?

And lastly, don’t forget about looking after your camera, especially the lens. Keep a microfibre cloth handy to keep the lens clear of dust and finger print smudges.

Hire a photographer for professional shots

Firstly, bear in mind that professional photographers are earning a living doing something that almost anyone can pick up and do at a very basic level. So for them to be earning that living, that means they are bringing lots of experience and practice to creating great photos.

So we highly recommend you value their expertise AND be curious about how they do things. It’s your opportunity to learn photography skills from them. Most photographers will be happy to pass on their expertise if you show genuine interest.

If you’ve commisioned them to do a job for you, it’s worth writing a brief or at least outlining where the image will be used and what it needs to do. Is it a post for your social media feed? Is it a product shot to go in an e-commerce store? Or is it a lifestyle image for a magazine advert?

This will help the photographer understand your needs better and make it more likely you will get an image that you are both happy with,

And finally, make sure to have a conversation with the photographer about who ‘owns’ the final images. Do you as the client have ownership of the image to use in perpetuity for all purposes? Or does the photographer place limits on the usage of the photograph? This can be for a length of time or by format or location e.g. only for use online, or only for use in a certain country. The more well-known the photographer, the more likely it is they will place limitations on how you can use the photograph, so make sure this is clearly agreed up-front.

Photography Studio - Hire a photographer

Three-brains and creative skill development

We believe the best marketing and e-commerce activation pulls knowledge from many areas of the creative world. But most marketers or e-Commerce managers don’t get trained in creative skills. So there’s a huge opportunity to raise your game by having a good level knowledge of key creative skills you can either grow for yourself or know how to find and use professionals.  

If you want to raise your creative game through creative skills development, contact us or read more about our coaching and consulting services.

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