What if you could engage your audience more and sell more of your product or service by taking better brand photos? When it comes to marketing your brand online, good photography is key. First impressions can make or break a campaign and change someone’s decision to buy from you. A good photo can make anything interesting.
Photography evolves your brand by telling a story. Great photos not only build credibility, but also allow your consumer to see your product or service in context. Your goal is to capture your brand’s mood while showing your product in a clear, yet interesting way. What message do you get when you see Daily Harvest’s Instagram feed?
When I see their feed, I instantly see something fresh, vibrant, and delicious. The hands holding the cups suggest something fast and convenient and immediately makes me think of their tagline, “superfoods super fast.”
So, how can I create better photos for my brand? Mastering these following simple tips will help you in taking better brand photos.
1. Make sure your lighting is on point
Lighting is the most important aspect of your photo. You don’t need any fancy lighting equipment, but make sure your photos aren’t dull or too harsh. The larger your light source, the softer your light will be. Try making use of natural light through a window or cloudy day outside. Use a white foam board to bounce the light and fill in dark shadows. Weird reflections on your product? Try propping it up or rotating it slightly. Even the slightest movement can get rid of distracting reflections.
2. Play with the arrangement of objects
Ever have a great vision of how you want your photo to come out, but it kinda falls apart once you’re looking at it afterwards? Don’t be afraid to rearrange your products for the perfect shot. Compositions often look different in the camera than they do in real life, so keep looking through the camera’s viewfinder to arrange things. Take multiple shots now in different compositions so you can pick the best later.
3. Try a new angle.
Maybe you mainly focus on flat lay shots. Try switching it up by shooting straight on from the front to show it in a different light, or try a 3/4 elevated view (shown below) to add more dimension.
4. Add some props
Adding elements can place your product in a context and further entice your audience. Shooting a plate of food? Add some napkins or silverware nearby. Be careful not to add too many objects that could distract from the true focus of the photo.
5. Humanize your photos
This is one of my favorite tricks for taking better brand photos. Adding hands in a photo helps to create a familiar scene we can connect to. Imagine a flat lay of laptop on a desk. Now, imagine that laptop with hands typing on it, and maybe there’s even a hand reaching for a cup of coffee. Maybe the hand is a female with pink nails. The photo is much more intriguing to me now because it’s expressing a story of a busy businesswoman, rather than a plain ol’ laptop.
6. Sweat the details!
Similar to #5, think of all the little details. What if the woman in our last example had yellow nails in an otherwise all-pink scene? Her nails would have stood out and had more focus, which could be beneficial or detrimental depending on what you wanted to actually be the focus. Maybe you’re showing a plate of cookies. If there’s a bite missing and some crumbs, I can’t help but guess those are some pretty tasty cookies. Don’t disregard the importance of these little details, no matter how small they seem. (Psst… stay tuned for in-depth future posts about color schemes and styling tips!)
7. Not enough light? Get steady
Sometimes when the lighting is too dim, you need a longer exposure in order to allow more light to enter your camera and create sharper photos. You don’t need a fancy tripod—in fact, I found stacks of books to be quite helpful in the past. It’s also good to have your camera steady when you’re getting close up shots. Even the smallest movements can be captured and ruin a photo.
8. Try a different background
Bright colors and solid backgrounds create a bold presence. Shooting on marble can add sense of calmness and tranquility. Try shooting on wood slats to mimic a picnic table scene if you don’t have one conveniently available (or if it’s the dead of winter). You can literally *create* your own scene. Different backgrounds create different moods, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
9. Don’t capture everything in the middle
Even with the square format of Instagram, you can offset your focal object to bring interest to your photo. Visually divide your photo into thirds, vertically and horizontally, creating 9 equal sections. Try capturing your objects on the intersecting section lines (this is also known as the Rule of Thirds). Our eyes gravitate towards these natural points of interest rather than the dead-center of a photo. Imagining that grid while you’re shooting can help you decide where to best lay props and where to place your product.
10. Get close and personal
Try getting in close on your product to show more detail and new perspective. Mixing in some close-up shots can also add interest to your photo series as a whole (such as your Instagram feed). Even if you have a particular style, that doesn’t mean you can’t switch it up every now and then. This prevents everything from looking the same and getting boring.
Remember, you want to capture the mood of your brand while showing your product in the most clear way possible. I’m constantly using all this tips and tricks to add character into both my personal photos and client work and I hope they help you out as well!