Detroit-based brand photographer Melissa Douglas shares tips for taking better photos for your business at home
By Melissa Douglas
As any modern-day business owner knows, social media is key — and with that comes the need for great photos. With so many people starting small business out of their homes in the past year (thanks, Covid!) and using their phones to snap pictures that will capture potential clients’ attention, here are five tips to improve the images you shoot at home.
1. Windows are your friends
Taking your photos near a window and without overhead light will help the color of your photo be as natural as possible. Try to avoid shooting when it’s dark outside, and always shoot the photo away from the light source — in other words, you want your back facing the window.
Find props that compliment your product but don’t steal its shine. Try adding height to your photo (unless you are doing a flatlay) by sprinkling in a plant, a scrunchie, or other items that will add pops of color. Extra points if they match your brand colors!
3. Pay attention to scale
If you do add taller items to your photos when shooting anything flat (a journal, a card, etc.), make sure to place the taller components are farther from your light source. Otherwise they’ll cast a shadow on everything else in the image.
4. Give your phone’s camera app a workout
For the highest-quality photos, use your phone’s camera app. Anytime you use an Instagram or Snapchat filter and then save the image, the quality is much lower. Bonus tip: Shoot photos in “square” mode, which will help you frame them better to share on Instagram and Facebook.
5. Let your editing skills shine with “presets”
Taking a good photo is only half the battle — the other challenge is editing it to bring out the colors and match your brand’s aesthetic. There are plenty of places to purchase “presets” or pre-made edits, like the free Lightroom mobile app. The main things that will help bring out the colors are adjusting the exposure (how bright your photo is) and contrast. You can also ask the people behind your favorite Instagram accounts if they’ve bought presets and where they recommend getting them from.
Melissa Douglas owns Melissa Douglas Co., a creative marketing agency, with a focus on brand photography. The agency’s goal is to help business owners show up better on social media and online through curated photography experiences. Melissa’s work in this field began when she started Douglas & Co. Detroit (a leather goods company) in 2013 with her husband. Since then she has been passionate about helping business owners create virtual content that converts into clients. Visit melissadouglasco.com for more information or follow Melissa on Instagram at @melissadouglasco and Facebook @melissadouglasco.