It’s easier than ever to record what happens in our lives. From camera-equipped smartphones to wearable GoPro cameras, the technology available to non-professionals makes it seem like professional videographers and photographers should be on their way out. While we all know that amateur access to high-quality equipment sure hasn’t reduced the need for talented creatives, many companies and event planners still buy photos from stock photography sites — apparently hoping we won’t notice that their advertisements look nothing like their product.
Or, as David Merman Scott once asked: “who the hell ARE these people?”
No one knows, except for the talented photographer looking to make a living. Heck, they may not know. So why are so many of us still using stock photography when a well-lit photograph of your actual customers or employees would fair far better? Hubspot has 13 hilarious examples of stock photography, but we think we can do better with tips on how to take better pictures all on your own.
Go Toward The Light
Smartphones are great for always being around when you need to take a picture, but terrible at long distances or in low light. If you’re going to use your iPhone/Windows Phone/Android to record an event, just make sure the light is on the subject and that you don’t use a flash unless absolutely necessary. We’ve been able to take quite a few usable pics this way.
Get A Little Bit Closer
Crowd shots seem great when taken, but during post processing they’re tough to use, improve or highlight anything worthwhile. The quality of lens, camera and photographer need to be pretty high to take high-quality shots from more than a few feet away, so get as close to your subjects as possible. Don’t worry about them being uncomfortable, we bet they’ll be more than happy to pose.
Editing photos is easy. Most photo programs offer automatic improvements, and more than that allow us amateurs to move sliders back and forth while we watch the photographer change colors. The seconds this takes per pic is worth it.
Cropping is good. Cropping makes your image’s subject look better. Cropping helps fool the world that you took the picture using the same smartphone everyone else has. Cropping, and editing, make it look like your images were carefully selected, not just thrown together.
If all else fails, there’s always CompFight. Be sure to read up on Creative Commons!