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Taking your own photographs for your business

Laptop graphic with 4 images of the photographer lauren mcwilliams

Laptop graphic with 4 images of the photographer lauren mcwilliamsOne of the biggest challenges that many of my clients find as small business owners is knowing what type of images to share. I want to share with you a FREE way to capture your own images for your business, completely unique to your business and most of all completely on-brand.

This month I shared a five-day photography for your business challenge which proved to be quite the success, but I want to help even more businesses do the same!

What is the challenge?

As a small business owner, you wear so many hats in your day to day role. Whether you are at the start of your business journey or you have been in it for a while. You have a lot of tasks to do every day, from managing your website, updating your blog, doing the accounts, engaging with clients, and just managing everything in your personal life too. Sometimes the last thing on your mind is knowing what to share on your social media accounts.

In an ideal world you would have a bank of images that you could choose from. There are three ways most of my clients use to get those images; Stock Photography both paid and free and then of course professional photography. However, there are factors with all three of those options which you should consider. 

Stock photography

There are several sites now that offer stock photography, both free and paid. As I have said before there is nothing wrong with using stock photography but there are a few things you should consider if you do. No matter what your business is, if you’re sharing lots of stock images from sites that offer the images for free then it’s very likely many other businesses, including your competitors, are too. As we all know the main aim is to stand out from the competition, but we will come back to that in a moment.

The second thing to consider 

graphic of a laptop with a stock image inside showing a random woman working happy on her laptop.

with stock photography is the financial aspect. You could pay for images to try and lower the risk of businesses and competitors using the same images but paying for them still does not give you exclusive rights to that image.

The final option with stock photography is branded stock photography, this is the best way to have a collection of images that suit your marketing needs but more importantly are on brand and made just for you. You can read more about stock photography and my services in my pervious blog post here.

Brand photography

Picture of hands scraping wax out of a tub from a branding shootAnother option you could consider is Brand Photography. Brand Photography is the perfect way to capture you: who you are, what you do, how you do it, all in a series of on-brand images. I offer three different packages to suit every budget. You can view them here.

The issue with professional brand photography? Well unlike big businesses, small business owners do not have a huge marketing budget. So for some of you, although you would love professional photography, it may not be practical for you right at this moment in time. Alternatively, you may already have professional photography but need new images and struggle to think of ideas to keep your social media up to date.

Why take your own images?

Taking your own photographs for your business is something I believe anyone can do. I run a workshop and a private Facebook group which you can join here. In both I often talk about storytelling.

Storytelling is something that applies to every business no matter what you do. Whether you sell B2B or B2C, whether you sell products or services, we all have a story. The reason that this is important, is that everyday in your business has a story, every story can be captured by a picture.

Think about what you are doing today for example. You maybe going for a coffee on your own to do some work or you maybe having a meeting, co-working, creating something. The point is no matter what you’re doing I challenge you to capture an image that represents your activity. That image is then a piece of content that you have created free and it’s available to you every day.

Another way you could capture your own images is by looking around your home or office. There are always bits you could capture and share. The possibilities are endless.

Things to consider when capturing your own photographs?

You may now have lots of ideas of things you can take a picture of everyday, but you might be thinking but how?! As a golden rule I always suggest these few tips should be considered in EVERY photo.

The subject

The subject could be you or it may be your pet or simply a ‘thing’. No matter what you’re trying to photograph, the subject is THE most important part of your image. When you’re capturing your photo make sure it is as clear as possible. Try and eliminate other conflicting subjects as much as you can. Here is an example where the subject is clear, you know exactly what the focus is.

The background

This brings us on nicely to the second most important factor to consider in all your images and that is your background. When taking a picture it’s important to really think about what can be seen. You don’t want any unexpected ‘extras’ turning up in your images which you only notice when you have shared it to your audience. So before taking a photo have a look around make sure its clean and tidy.

Something you may wish to have in your background is hints of your brand. Do you have your logo on the wall or a banner that could be used to discreetly help brand your image? Even a hint of your branding colours could really help.

The lighting

One thing which may be considered is having a professional set of lights or a ring light. However, do not worry too much about this. When it comes to lighting, one of the beautiful things is that when you’re taking your pictures you can simply add your own natural light. Open your blinds, sit near the window, or go outside. Another top tip is to consider the type of day you take the pictures.

You do not want to be taking photos at the hottest part of the day where the sun is close and making you squint, that is not pretty for any of us. Wait until late afternoon or late morning where the sun is bright but not too harsh.

The consistency

I think one of the main challenges for us when taking pictures is having a consistent look. Following the steps above can help you keep that look. Another way is adding a frame or always including a splash of your main branding colour. Don’t forget that apps such as Pinterest and Instagram can really help you to be inspired and look at how others are doing it.

The final point

Have fun! Photography is such an amazing hobby for millions of people but it’s also not exclusive; anyone can try it and it just takes practise. Do not overthink your images; let the professionals do that. You just pick up your phone or camera and get snapping to show off your beautiful brands.

I really hope you have enjoyed reading this post and go on to have a go. I would LOVE to see your creations. If you are not already, head over to my group; In Focus: Photography for your business where I share daily prompts, tips, challenges and more.

If you are looking for help with your photos, have a look at my previous blogs about branding and stock photography and packages.

Lauren

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