Creating Your Own Great Photos for Your Business

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Small businesses use photos in all sorts of different ways, whether it is on your website, in your brochures, book covers or marketing leaflets. It is perfectly possible to use royalty free stock photos and there are hundreds to choose from for a very low price, but you can create much more relevant and unique photographs if you take them yourself. Your own photographs can better represent your products and you can take pictures of your products and services in action to really give your prospects a feel for what your business is all about. So how can you get creative and produce professional standard photographs?

Look at images with a new eye

All around us every day are images -- on the Internet, in magazines, newspapers, online galleries, billboards, shop windows -- everywhere you look you will see a wealth of photographs. Start to look at every photograph you see from the perspective of the photographer.

Try to imagine how they captured image and the story they are trying to convey. How does a photograph make you feel -- what emotions does it stir in you? We all have an instant response to any picture we see, so learn to identify how pictures make you feel and try to understand why as this emotional reaction can be used to give the right impression of your business. For example, do you want to give the impression of something solid, trustworthy and reliable for your accountancy firm, or are you looking for a fun, carefree image that will appeal to youngsters looking for great new fashion?

Think like a photographer

Learn the visual language that photography conveys and start to think like a photographer. Look at things around you through the eyes of creativity and begin to see the wonderful shapes and textures of everyday objects and the way a beautiful landscape changes with the light throughout the day.

Try going to art galleries, exhibitions and museums and go to photography shows to see how the most creative people express themselves through photography.

You can always read photography books to learn techniques but if you can learn to think like a photographer and be creative and innovative with your photographs, you will produce exceptional work that can only enhance the impression you want to convey for your business.

Learn to compose your pictures

One of the key elements of any good photograph is composition. Frame your photographs in your mind and look for interesting angles and light. Try photographing an object from various heights and from the side and below to get a different perspective and try shooting under different lighting to make your photographs more interesting and give them depth. In this day of digital photography, photos are cheap and you can simply delete the ones you don't want.

If you are taking pictures of products, try different backgrounds, different colors and textures and see which ones make your products stand out the best. Try lighting your product from different angles and try different lenses on your camera or different formats to see how various effects work.

You can also get pictures of your products in action, for example if you sell skateboarding equipment, it's far more exciting to have pictures of your skateboards and safety helmets in action, so get yourself down to the local skate park!

Look for inspiration

Inspiration and ideas for photography are all around us and if you are stuck for ideas of how to take photographs of your business, just go out with your camera and make a start. Photograph anything remotely relevant to the sort of pictures you're looking for -- for instance if you need pictures of animals, plan a trip to the local zoo or wildlife park and just start snapping away. Before long you will start to focus on the sort of pictures you really want to get.

Another way to get inspiration is to look at postcards of your local area to see some of the best ways to shoot a particular scene and maybe you could join a local photography group to get support and ideas -- there are also online forums if you don't want to join a local group in person.

Tell a story

A series of photos can tell a story. You can show how to do something, such as how to put together the DIY wardrobes you are selling, or how to set up a complicated electronic gadget -- far more user-friendly than a great big thick user manual.

You can also put together a collection of still photographs to produce a short marketing video. You can make it come alive by annotating it and adding music or a voice-over.

Generally, your own photographs can be much more effective than using stock photos because they will be unique to you and can present your products just as you want them to be seen, rather than improvising from other people's photographs. It all adds to your USP.