A few years into my marketing & branding career, I decided to venture out on my own and start a business. My resume included marketing coordinator, product photographer, blog editor, and social strategist for creative e-commerce companies. But I always knew my heart belonged to entrepreneurs, so I created a business geared towards helping them stand out online. One of my first business tasks involved taking brand photos for my website, new Instagram page, and blog. But after a few weeks of trying to post consistently, I realized my iPhone photos were way more important than I gave them credit for. In order to stand out and look professional, all of my images, including my phone snaps, needed to look legit and cohesive. Does this sound sound like you? You hired a professional photographer, but constantly feel like your photos never stretch far enough on Instagram. Or maybe you are new to the entrepreneurial game, and you need your phone images to get you by, but they never look the way you want them to. Either way, you know your iPhone photos matter! And the good news is that improving your iPhone images can be easy with these simple tweaks. Print these tips out and keep them in your purse via my handy Cohesive iPhoneography Worksheet.
Natural light can be a new (or experienced) photographer's best friend. To get the most out of your images, you should understand the three elements that affect your light.
- Artificial Lights: If you're indoors, turn off those artificial lights! They create wonky color casts and unflattering shadows.
- Clouds: Overcast days result in even, flat lighting. These days are ideal for inexperienced photographers who are looking to get some great images outdoors.
- Time of Day: Whether you're shooting indoors or out, the time of day makes a huge difference in the mood of your image. If you're shooting mid-day, you might be getting tons of bright sun pouring in your windows or on your subjects outdoors. Morning and evening light usually create warm, soft light that is typically very flattering, especially outdoors.
Watch your sun, and think about the mood you want to create in a specific image. It's hard to photograph a room that has bright sun spots streaming in, but overcast light and light from a north facing window typically can create a serene image.
Left Image: Taken on an Overcast Day Right Image: Taken on a Sunny Day
Did you know you can adjust your exposure before taking an image on an iPhone? Exposure is the amount of light that comes into the camera, so it affects your image's brightness. Start by trying to get a photo with light shadows and moderate highlights. Do this by tapping different areas on your phone screen. Try to avoid blown/bright highlights and dark shadows. The example above shows different exposures by tapping different elements in the room. Next, hold your finger down until a sun appears. You can swipe up or down to brighten or darken the image. Then take the shot!
It's important to watch your angles, lines, and horizons. If an image makes a viewer want to tilt their head, that typically means the lines are off. Keep your horizons straight, and watch your perspective. iPhones have wide camera lenses, which creates distortion. Taking a photo from a low, close perspective can make an object appear way larger than it actually is in real life.
Keeping your colors consistent between photos is one of the easiest ways to create a cohesive look and feel to your images and Instagram feed. Include at least 2-3 similar colors in each image, and try to avoid colors that aren't your brand. For example, if you are tons of pastel and feminine colors, including a photo with neon green in it will instantly stand out and break your feed. When I say "break your feed", I basically mean that a viewer's eye will be pulled directly to that image. Not sure if a color fits? I love using the PLANOLY app to make sure an image "flows" with the rest of my feed BEFORE posting the image.
The most important tip I have for editing is BE CONSISTENT. If you use a filter or preset, use the same one consistently, and try not to edit with an overpowering filter. Bring the opacity of a filter down, or edit by hand with an app like VSCOCam or ColorStory. I typically edit by hand in VSCOCam, and tweak things like exposure, contrast, and white balance. Then I use the "copy edit" and "paste edit" settings so I can edit a bunch of images quickly and cohesively.
"I love using the PLANOLY app to make sure an image "flows" with the rest of my feed BEFORE posting the image."
If you want more help with your iPhone photography skills, download my free printable Cohesive iPhoneography Worksheet here. And once you start utilizing these tips on your feed, tag me @brandstrategyco so I can see!