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In a world today that is drowning in images and visuals, it’s no secret a website relies heavily on images. Without photos on your website, a page viewer is much more likely to cruise from your page if it’s overloaded with text. Large, good quality photos that pertain to your business will inspire people to not only stay on your page, but also read your content. Good photography is more that opening your camera app and firing away, there’s settings that can be adjusted for greater success and things you can train your own eyes to do to capture that great photo. Here are five tips for taking excellent photos with your smartphone.

1. Lighting is Everything

No matter where are when you are taking a photo, think to yourself “where can I find the most amount of filtered, natural light possible?” If you’re shooting inside, get out of your bedroom with one small window and overhead can lights and move into a room that has a large window. Large windows allow natural light to pour inside. Soft window light almost always looks great and natural and creates beautiful contrast with the rest of the light in the room. If you’re shooting outside, avoid trying to photograph something in the middle of the day chances are the direct sunlight is going to create a harsh highlights and shadows on your subject. Try to find some shade under a tree or created by a building, that way you are still taking advantage of the natural light, but it’s nice and even. If you really want to shoot outside, wait until golden hour! That’s typically the hour sunset happens in. The sun is in a position where everything is evenly lit and even adds a really pretty “golden” glow.

2. Understand White Balance

White balance is the color balance on your camera and how you “balance” those colors to look more natural. I’m not sure about other smartphones, but I know iPhone does not allow you to adjust your white balance before taking a photo. Inside a room with warm lighting such as lamps, overhead can lights, etc. can cause a photo to be overwhelmingly warm. There is so many times where I see photos that are saturated in yellows and oranges because they were taken inside in a warmly lit room. To contrast, if you do shoot in the shade, you have to be careful because often times shady lighting can produce cool photos saturated in blues.

LEFT: Photo white balanced incorrectly, colors are unnaturally warm. RIGHT: Correct white balance with natural coloring.

3. Composition is KEY

Seriously, I can’t stress it enough: understanding good composition will take a mediocre photo and make it fantastic. Pulling out your cellphone and firing away on your camera app isn’t enough, think about the¬†level your subject is at. For instance, if you’re photographing a product you sell, taking a photo of it sitting on a table only gives the buyer a limited view. Get down on the same level as your product and take photos from it from all angles. If you’re taking photos of food you make adopt the same principal and take photos from overhead. Think before you take a photo “what do I want people to see?” Another tip, think about when you are trying to buy something off Ebay. You want to know what you’re buying is in good, quality condition and seller wants to convince you of that too. So they take photos at a proper level from all angles. Be an Ebay photographer!

4. Keep the Photo’s Purpose in Mind

Think about your webpage before you take the photo. Where on your website is this photo going? How would it best fit on the page? Ask questions like this so you know how to best take the photo. Most of the time a photo has a purpose for why it’s being taken, make yours your website.

5. Alternatives to Your Smartphone Camera

Do you feel like you’re limited to how you can control certain settings on your smartphone camera? Most likely it’s because you are. While smartphones are making leaps in bounds in their photo taking abilities there’s no comparison between a 12 megapixels and 24. With limitations in image quality and lighting and white balance adjustments I would suggest purchasing a DSLR camera. Believe it or not, you can purchase many entry level DSLR cameras for CHEAPER than an iPhone 7. If you don’t feel like a DSLR is in the bag for you, there’s many helpful camera apps that can help! My favorite camera app to use is VSCO. It’s free and allows you to take photos right in the app. VSCO also offers full manual control on your photo settings, meaning yes, you can adjust lighting, white balance and much more!

About Jenna

Jenna Nicole PhotographyMy name is Jenna Adams and I have the pleasure of being a Sparks Citizen! I get to work with Grant and Marissa every week learning about website design and content support. Along with being part of the Sparks Team I’m also the owner and photographer at Jenna Nicole Photography a portrait and wedding photography business. Each and every tip I mentioned in this post I slowly but surly had to grasp on my own. I love being able to share what I’ve learned with others and truly believe you can take kick butt photos for your website using your cellphone. To learn more about me and my work visit my website at www.jennanicolephotography.org.