Thursday, 14 March 2013

Website Content: Photos

Photos are a vital part to any website; drawing a potential customers eye and keeping them looking at your site, showing your work in an attractive way, and showing what you do as a business.
They can be photos of staff working hard, before and after shots, products available and any number of other subjects.
With nearly everyone owning a mobile phone with a camera, taking up to date photos either for a website or social media can be a quick and extremely easy way to advertise your work. However, many people think that photos taken on a mobile phone can look grainy and unprofessional, and while this can be true, there are tricks that can be used to make mobile phone photos look better than you would expect….
How to take better photos with your phone

1) Get Close
A lot of mobile phone cameras, particularly the iPhone, really prove their worth when you bring them close to your object. When you get close up, you can normally have more control of lighting and stability. If there is a window in the background, to avoid darkening the rest of the image, cut the window out, your phone should adjust the lighting composition.

2) Crop, Don’t Zoom
Most smartphone cameras offer a digital zoom option, but you are nearly always better off avoiding it completely. Your image will noticeably degrade the moment you try to “zoom”, mainly because the camera is guessing what the image looks like and it’s not very good at it!
However, if you crop the picture, you’re simply sampling the information that has been recorded, meaning that there is a higher resolution and quality to the picture.

3) There’s an App for that…

It’s surprising how a photo can be changed just by playing with contrast, brightness or by using a “filter” and there are hundreds on Apps on the market to do this. However, when using a filter, less is more. Don’t be tempted to go overboard or go for the very popular “ retro” look, it isn't suitable for a website, although to some extent it can be used with social media, depending on the photo.
Whatever App you pick, it’s worth spending a little time getting used it and learning the functions… It can make all the difference.

4) To Flash or not to Flash
Generally, flashes on phones can’t handle the job. They are LED lights that are too close to the camera, too bright and the duration of the flash is too long. This causes many issues with a photo, usually making it blurry, giving people “red-eyes” and it can wash the colour “temperature” of the photo out, making it look grainy and yellow. But, what do you do if it’s dark? Unfortunately, even with the newer smartphones, there is only so far you can push the technology in low-light. Try looking for other light sources, or taking it at a certain time of day when the sun is in a good place to light a room. This is generally first thing in the morning or mid-afternoon.

5) Watch Out for Lens Flare
A “lens flare” is when light from a bright light source, be it the sun or a lamp, flashes across the picture. It causes loss in detail, contrast and colour accuracy. To prevent this, try moving to having the light source behind you, this then lights the shot but stops a flare across the picture. You can also cup your hand around the lens on your phone to create a DIY lens hood, cutting the amount of flare down if the source is at the side of the frame.

6) Frame Your Picture
When taking your picture, think about positioning and balancing the shot. Make sure the camera is straight and level with the subject. Most phones and digital cameras have a “grid” option and this can be very helpful to ensure that you’re balancing everything needed into the shot and “framing” it at the same time. Focusing on points of interest and they’re placement in the photo is key. Take several pictures of the same subject but at different angles – it’s easier to find the best photo with lots of choice.

7) Steady Does It
The most common cause of a blurry picture is a photographer with shaky hands. Try stabilising your arms against something, leaning against a wall or placing the phone or camera on a solid surface.

8) Remove Clutter
Particularly when it comes to website photos, clutter is a crime! If you’re taking a shot of the bathroom you just fitted – move the tools and mess out of the way! If you’re taking a picture of a beautiful kitchen – get rid of dirty cups and plates in the sink! It makes a huge difference and means that a website designer can use the whole picture rather than having to crop the mess out of it.

(Photos taken by myself and our clients)

Web Design in Bath, email us and mention the blog!

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