You know what they say, right? “The weight of words versus the impact of photos”. Well, as an excellent PR, communication and marketing professional, you are undoubtedly aware of the importance of images. You may not be a professional photographer, but you do take photos practically every day. And let’s face it, smartphones have made it a piece of cake, because they double as sophisticated cameras. Your creations go beyond simple holiday snaps or videos of your youngest child learning to walk. You are taking more and more photos for work, for example during trade-fair visits and conferences… Photos that you include in a blog post or share on Twitter.
That being said, there is still a major difference between photographs taken by a professional with a camera, and those taken with a smartphone. Nevertheless, the quality offered by smartphones is such that in practice we often use them to take snaps, especially as we always have them to hand, and sharing smartphone photos on social media is super quick and easy.
You won’t turn into a photo pro overnight, but here are a few tips and tricks to take even better smartphone photos:
1. Back to basics
The great thing about your mobile’s camera is that it basically does everything for you, from framing to stabilising, so no need to worry about any of that. However, to take a good photo, you should hold your mobile with both hands, horizontally, especially if you want to take a video. That being said, many users check their accounts on their mobile by holding their phone vertically. Make sure you check how photos and videos appear for mobile use first, and edit them if necessary. When was the last time you cleaned the lens of your device? Don’t forget to do that regularly (as you used to do with your trusted old Kodak!).
2. Respect the rule of thirds
Carefully consider the composition of your image and apply the famous rule of thirds: divide your image into nine equal parts and try to place the key elements along or on the crossing of the dividing lines. The grid function on your camera will help you out. Get some inspiration from these online tips, totally free
3. More light please!
Did you know that sunrise and sunset (or up to one hour either side) are the best times to take photos? There are countless practical apps that tell you the perfect moment to take a snap, wherever you are (an example is BlueHourApp, but you’ll find many others in the App Store).
Back to the photo composition: don’t hesitate to test all the different lighting effects by changing positions. Also try to capture movement by using streets, rivers and walls to create a sense of perspective, as suggested here.
Last but not least, you can take a photo in bad light by simply enabling the flash feature on your camera.
4. Selfie stick?
Half of all smartphone photos are selfies. Wouldn’t want to be caught dead using a selfie stick? Well, they are quite handy, and you can even use them as a stabiliser or to take photos from a different angle, for example looking up from below, giving the photo a new perspective and an original touch.
5. Edit your photos
Yes to editing, but with moderation, as the result should remain natural. There are many tools and apps that can help you, but before downloading them, check out the features on your smartphone: from the magical wand to the colour and brightness adjustment – you’ve already got quite a few options to edit your photos and make them even more beautiful. Definitely have a look at:
Keen to take your editing one step further? An app like Snapseed can do miracles.
6. Send and print your photos
Use WhatsApp, e-mail or AirDrop to send your photos. If you’re keen to print them, remember good quality can only be guaranteed up to a certain degree. If you want your photos enlarged and printed, you’re better off choosing a shot taken with an actual camera. The Live and Burst modes are interesting options, because they allow you to decompose your image into various photos, so you can choose the best one to print.
Do you need to take instant shots to capture the atmosphere at a corporate event or stand? Follow the tips above and you should be able to take photos of sufficient quality to be shared on Twitter or Facebook. A short video is also guaranteed to get you more reactions.
However, if you’re after more sophisticated and artistic photos for your website or publications for clients, we recommend that you call upon a professional photographer. The same goes for videos: you should work with a team for the script writing and filming in optimal conditions to produce your next corporate presentation video.
Last but not least, consider your goals and the available resources, and check that they are not inadequate or disproportionate. The good news is that there’s already a lot you can do in-house to give your corporate communication a more dynamic touch using photos and videos.