How to Take Professional Photos of Your Business (Without Hiring a Professional)
They say a picture’s worth a thousand words.
Well, that’s not entirely true. Sure, you could come up with a thousand words to describe a picture, but when it comes to marketing your business, a picture serves a very different purpose than written content.
A crisp picture paired with concise copy is pure business marketing magic.
Imagery and words work together to build your brand identity, which is made up of several strategic elements that relate back to what you do, why you do it, and how you do it differently from others.
In other words, your brand is more than just a pretty logo. Every piece of content you create—both visual and written—serves its own unique purpose.
So how, exactly, do you get your pictures to tell that wordy story?
Before you go out and spend your life’s savings on photography equipment or a professional photographer, read this. You’ll be snapping professional business photos that enhance your brand and attract customers in no time.
1. What you need
You can easily create a stunning gallery of images with what you already have. If you’re just starting out and don’t yet have a huge budget, you can still capture great shots with your phone and edit them with apps like Snapseed or Enlight.
If you want slightly more refined photos, consider investing in a digital camera. The Canon EOS Rebel DSLR and Sony A6000 are great options for under $1,000.
2. What to capture
Imagine you’re painting a picture. What’s the focal point? What colors do you use? How do you express emotion? What details set the scene?
Consider these same questions when establishing your shots.
Here are a few tips for framing engaging business photos:
- Include people's natural emotions: faces, smiles, laughter, focus, bliss
- Capture all the details: beads of sweat, shimmering hair, natural light filtering through the lobby
- Catch candid moments: true teamwork, new friendships being made, that feeling of accomplishment after a great workout
- Movement and expression: let the scene jump out from your photos, capture that true feeling of accomplishment, show the grit behind a great workout
3. When to capture it
Find your business’s “golden hour” and plan your photoshoot during it.
Maybe it’s at 9 AM, when the morning light pours through the arched windows, rebounding off the polished hardwood floors. Or maybe it’s in the late afternoon, when the autumn sunset illuminates your studio mirrors with a warm glow.
Opt for diffused light or shade without backlighting whenever possible. For example, shoot against a solid background inside or below an overhang outside. If you’re shooting outside, look for an even light source in front of your subject to avoid uneven shadows. Overcast days, being naturally shadow-less, tend to create the best outdoor photo ops.
4. Shoot for the story
Channel your inner third-person narrator and capture the story from an outsider’s vantage point.
Take a step back and allow people’s movements and interactions to unfold without noticing the camera, capturing the natural vibe of your business—sans cheesy, fake smiles. And while you’re taking a step back, get a wide-angle, birds-eye view of your space so people can feel what it’s like to step inside your business.
Fill the frame of your photos with what’s most important to you and your customers: your team, your front desk, places where people spend the most time and emotions that your services evoke.
5. Before you publish
If your photos include customers, make sure you have their written permission to publish and distribute for marketing purposes. The best way to accomplish this is with a photo waiver, which you can typically find and print online.
So there you go, it’s about having the right equipment, comfort with the subject matter, planning ahead and shooting what’s real.
When all these elements come together, a little bit of magic will pop out at you—and, if you’ve really done your job well, no words will be able to describe it. (But they can complement it.)