Photography at home: Simple tips for small businesses
On the blog today, Hannah from Hello Hann Photography guides us through how to get the best photos at home, on a phone, perfect if you’re building an online presence, or just looking to perfect your Instagram feed! >>
As we clock over the six week mark in lockdown, we are – I hope – starting to come to grips with the ‘new-normal.’ As a photographer, the recent weeks have definitely been a great deal quieter, but heeding the great advice of Indie Oxford founders, Rosie & Anna, I have spent a lot of time working on, rather than in, my business.
With this in mind, it is as good a time as any to brush up your own home-photography skills; immortalize this (extensive, enlightening, occasionally challenging) time at home with your family; document your new products, jazz up your social media feed or just create some great fresh content for your website.
You don’t need a fancy camera or lighting equipment, just a smartphone and a little patience! Whether its products, portraits or food; when shooting at home you want to focus on these three simple things; Light, Colour and Composition.
Having the right lighting when taking pictures is paramount. Dimly-lit snaps on Iphones – or even snazzy cameras for that matter – can come out grainy or blurred. There are plenty of artificial lighting solutions out there, but if time and money are of the essence then natural light is as good as any!
As we all get used to spending more time indoors, you may have noticed – and gravitated towards – the places in your home that light touches the most. Observe and use these spaces to your advantage.
If you’re shooting in daylight hours, pitch up next to a window. Direct sunlight will cause big shadows, so (unless this is your desired effect) you can pop some white paper, tracing or grease-proof paper over the window to defuse the light.
Dawn and dusk, the ‘Golden Hours,’ are when the sun is at its lowest, producing a redder and softer glow. This is a great time to shoot in the garden if you have one, or by a window for a softer light.
If you’re really stuck for natural light (perhaps shooting late at night after the kids have gone to bed) a quick google will reveal a plethora of great DIY lighting solutions; anything from torches in balloons to scrap-paper-turned-light-box!
Something that often goes overlooked in photography is colour. Ever wondered why those Wes Anderson movies look so damn good? Colour palettes are integral to Andersons cinematic ‘world-building;’ this same rule applies for your business content.
For inspiration, seek out Instagram accounts or websites that appeal to you. You’ll soon notice that those with consistent colour schemes often look more aesthetically appealing.
“When you decorate a house, you choose the colour of the walls to go with the furniture, wall hangings, curtains, and so on. You’re essentially creating a colour scheme. We do the same thing when we set up a shot”
Chelsea London, Pixel Magazine
When planning your imagery, use colours that create ‘colour harmony,’ such complimentary colours; these are the colours which sit completely opposite one another on the color wheel. Artists and designers use these to create a particular look or feel, so understanding and using Colour Theory is a great way to make your photographs stand out.
If all this colour-talk has tickled your fancy and you feel like nerding out; Pixel Magazine have written a great article on Colour Theory.
The last but by no means least. When composing your image there are a lot of things to consider; patterns, texture, symmetry, leading lines, frames, negative space, foreground and background – to name a few.
For the purpose of keeping this short, I’m going to focus on just a handful –
‘Negative space,’ otherwise known as ‘White space’ is the simplest and most effective way of drawing attention to the subject of the photo. it is a vital element in all types of design and photography is no different. Whether you’re photographing a product or a person, dictating where and how to create space around the subject can completely alter the image.
This leads us nicely into exploring the Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds; a type of composition in which an image is divided evenly into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. The subject of the image is placed at the intersection of those dividing lines, or along one of the lines itself.
A little tip for iphone users, you can apply the grid to your camera by going to Settings > Camera > Grid (toggle on)
Remember, if you’re shooting on a trusty old iphone or a point-and-shoot camera, the background may still be in focus, so de-clutter that table, straighten those picture frames and cultivate that bookshelf to match your desired style!
Most importantly of all, your photography is a tool to represent you as an individual and a business. Make sure that your personality shines through. Stock photos can be a great way to fill your social media feed quickly, but having genuine, relatable and representable content is even more valuable, especially when attracting your desired customers.
If you would like more tips & tricks for photos at home, please do get in touch!
My home-studio is now up-and-running and I am offering socially-distant product or food photography shoots from £100. Contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.