Whether you’re looking to upgrade your business content strategy with photography or improve the quality of your images, there are a few rules you should follow when creating your own content. Following these tips can save you money on costly equipment and make you a better photographer in the long run.
Focus on the End Goal
When photographing your project, product, or yourself, it is easy to get caught up in the flashy equipment that goes into creating imagery. Whether you have purchased a camera or are using your smartphone, it is best to make sure you understand all the available functions before you take the picture.
Once you are comfortable with those functions, stop for a second. Think about what you want the end goal to look like. What factors will go into play to create the image? If you are photographing homes, offices, or other real estate, consider the time of day and the weather. Lighting is very important when it comes to photographing real estate and homes.
Light is a tool that can be used in many ways. Without a light source, there is no way to create a photo, so use that to your advantage. How bright or dark you want the images to be will determine much of your outcome. Brighter images are often more inviting, and darker images often provide more contrast and a moodier aesthetic.
When photographing properties, sunlight is key. Ask yourself these questions:
- When does the light come into the property (from sun-up to sun-down)?
- Which rooms does the sunlight hit, and at what times?
- Is the light distracting – or is a key feature in the room?
If the sunlight is not flattering to the room, you may choose to wait until the sun has moved before photographing it.
Focus on Composition Before Taking Photographs
Photo composition refers to all the tiny details and elements within the frame that add to the final product. Mastering composition is key to creating content that matches your requirements.
Think of a perfect portrait. You wouldn’t want the viewer’s attention to be broken by a forgotten shoe in the background or a crooked picture on the wall. You need to think about how you’re framing your images so that the viewer is focused on what matters most. There are plenty of techniques you can follow — here are some elements you should consider for optimal compositions:
- The rule of thirds: The rule of thirds refers to understanding how to position the main subject in the frame. When taking any photograph, understand the main subject the viewer should be focusing on. Once you’ve identified the subject, you want to intentionally position it. The image below intentionally has the main focus in the middle of the frame. The left and right sides are there to support the main focus.
- Space around the subject: Subjects could include a kitchen island, grand staircase, fireplace, or main entry. Don’t let these areas get too cluttered. In the image below, your main focus is in the center of the frame. While the hall guides your eye through the frame, the right side of the image is doing nothing more than guiding the viewer.
- Balance and proportions: Avoid having anything distracting in the photo. Ask yourself — is “x” important to the photo? If not, you may want to remove it. Imagine the photo below having household accessories in the right hand corner. The area would be more cluttered, thus distracting the viewer from the rest of the image. If there are items on the property that are not going to enhance the image, remove them for the area and put them back afterwards.
- Leading lines: Look at lines created throughout the property. How can they be useful? In the photo below, the hallway to the right leads your eye down the hallway, and the stairwell ceiling finishes guiding your eye down the hall. This is telling you exactly where to focus your view.
Sticking to the basics of focusing on your subject and the surrounding area and avoiding distracting backgrounds is a great place to start. All these elements help the viewer know where to look and what the focus is. If the viewer is distracted, the image won’t resonate in the way you need and want it to.
Focus on Consistency
A key factor to all photography is consistency. When it comes to photographing properties, camera leveling and height consistency should be exact.
Keeping the camera at a straight level for real estate photography is crucial for avoiding image distortion. Your camera should have the option to show an on screen level. This will help you make sure your camera or phone is level at 0 degrees.
The second key to consistency is camera height. When most people use a phone to take a photo, it helps to hold it around face height. Now if you are six feet tall, you will have a drastically different photo than someone who is five feet tall. You want to make sure your camera height is consistent from image to image. This also provides the viewer a consistent feel when scrolling through — you don’t want them feeling like they are on a roller coaster.
A good rule to follow for inside homes is to keep your camera level and at four to five feet off the ground. You can invest in a simple inexpensive tripod to help with this as well. When photographing the outside of the property, you can have a little more freedom, between three to five feet.
When taking photographs indoors, you want to pay attention to surface level heights. The image below shows two different heights for the same kitchen. The one on the left has the button of the island as the main focus, while the one on the right is about 1.5 feet higher and gives more detail to the kitchen as a whole.
Take Time to Learn
Finally, it is essential to keep trying and learning. Take the photos at a few different heights and angles to help yourself start seeing the difference. The more you do it, the better you will get.
Check out AJ’s blog on the importance of great visual content if you want more information on the topic. And if you need help taking the next step toward achieving great photos for your business content, contact The Coutts Agency today to take the next step!
Carrington Crothers runs a brand photography agency in Massachusetts called Prospect Street Studio. Carrington is helping ambitious business owners gain clarity on how to take their business and turn it into a clear, concise and recognizable brand that their customers love. Carrington has helped countless brands across the United States, both locally and virtually, grow their businesses through content creation and photography.