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Updated: Jun 22, 2020

Social media is such a visual platform even now more than ever! Social media is such a wonderful opportunity to really communicate with your customers, highlighting products, specials or sales! And if people are staying home more, making pickup orders or ordering online, it is so important for small businesses to get in front of customers visually.

Hiring a professional photographer is an absolutely wonderful thing and very beneficial for your brand! We highly encourage that and offer that service at INSPYR(wink!). But there will be times that getting your own pictures will be needed if you want to keep up with your presence on social media.

Things come up like special moments, staff interaction or maybe you just whipped up the most perfectly scrumptious dish you’ve made yet and you want to show it off! If you do not share these special moments, these are missed opportunities and authentic posts are what people love to see.

So since we can’t be there for every moment, we have compiled a list of tips for taking photos yourself with a smart phone.

1) Move over to natural lighting. Set your item that you are photographing near a window so the natural light shines on it. Natural light is your best friend. Feel free to move the party outside if you would prefer! And if there is a glare, instead of the product facing the window directly, move to the side and try again. Play around with angles and direction and see what looks best. And if your pictures look “yellow,” turn off your artificial lights.

2) Wipe down your camera lens. Cell phones get touched and moved around a lot. Chances are there are fingerprints on your camera lens. Try to remember to wipe that down with a cloth before shooting. And if your pictures look hazy, it probably needs a good cleaning.

3) Choose a focal point. Did you know that with most cameras, you can tap the screen while the camera is open and the part you tap with your finger will become the focus point? Even with plates of food, you can tap the front of the plate versus the back of the plate and the picture can improve drastically.

4) Shoot in portrait mode. If you notice that your camera has a portrait mode on your phone(most newer smart phones have this now), try shooting in that. People love those pictures with the blurry backgrounds but aren’t sure how to take them. Portrait mode will give you those without having to buy the fancy camera or figure out how to adjust settings. Tapping to choose your focus point(see tip 3) will be even more important when using portrait mode.

5) Stage your shot. You do not need to take a lot of time with this. Just be aware of what is in the picture. How does the background look? Do you have a table or counter or backsplash that would look good behind this? Do you have some dishes or boxes to put your product on or beside to give it some extra pizazz? Don’t overwhelm yourself. Simplicity can sometimes be the best shot.

6) Download lightroom and some presets. This is for people who want a little “extra.” If you are a fan of blogger type of photos with their “light and airy” type of color tints in all of their photos, chances are they are adding a Lightroom preset to their photos. Lightroom is an app you can download and you can easily add presets by purchasing them online.

A few of these pointers may seem overwhelming or complicated if you are just wanting to take some basic photos and if so, just ignore them! At the end of the day, new smart phones can take pretty high quality photos(and this is coming from a photographer!) with or without the extra bells and whistles.

The most important thing is to play around with your settings, lighting, location, etc. and have fun with it!

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