4 Tips for Taking Incredible Original Photos

When stock photos and blurry group pictures just don’t cut it

You can’t fake authenticity. The best way to ensure that every image you post contributes to your brand’s story is to take as many original photos as possible. While there’s a time and place for stock photos, posts about your company’s culture and identity are best when taken by your employees. Many of our clients send us photos taken by their employees to caption and post, and much of Yakkety Yak’s content is curated and created by our team.

Not all photos, however, are created equal. Follow these four tips for taking a great photo so that your feed pops, your employees stay engaged and your content reflects your brand.

1. Follow the Rule of Thirds

Subjects that are a little off-center are most visually interesting than subjects that are smack-dab in the middle. To achieve this, segment your frame into thirds using horizontal and vertical lines, and place your point of interest in the cross sections of the grid. The grid lines on your smartphone will be your best friend here. If you have an iPhone, just tap “Settings,” then “Camera,” and swipe right on “Grid.”

Pro tip: Grid lines are especially helpful when you’re on the other side of the lens. If your colleague is taking the shot, you can explain where you want to be placed in the frame and even point to the squares that your body should be taking up.

2. Chase Natural Light

Move over, Valencia and Rise. The best filter for any photo is natural light. When shooting outdoors, take note of the times of day and how the light at those times affects your subjects. The golden hour just after sunset and the morning’s soft light make for artsy landscapes and portrait photography, but there’s also a time for the sharper midday light to shine. The afternoon sun can help accentuate details and is great for action shots.

When shooting indoors, make sure to use the light streaming through the windows to highlight your subject. Don’t place your subject directly in front of a light source because it might result in backlighting. On the other hand, you don’t want your subject to face the light source head-on; if you do, the photo will look washed out. Make sure the light is hitting your subject at an angle, before snapping away.

3. Experiment with Perspectives

Back when rolls of film dictated how many photos we could take, you would take one or two carefully crafted photos and hope for the best. Now, it never hurts to have too many photos from the same event. Compile them into an album on Facebook, make a slideshow on Instagram, bank them for future #throwbacks or embed them in a blog. The options are endless.

Let’s walk through an example. You’re at your department’s morning meeting at the neighborhood café. Take a wide shot of the venue, but also zoom in on your team’s breakfast. Take candid or posed photos of the people present, but also focus on your colleague’s notebook and pen. Have someone take a photo of your meeting in action, but also take a selfie in case there’s a relevant social media holiday coming up.

4. Zoom with Your Feet

If you’re relying on original imagery to tell your brand’s story, quality is vital. Our best tip for preserving photo quality while you’re experimenting with perspectives and working all the angles is to zoom with your feet, not your fingers. You best believe that we’ll move in to get a tight shot of someone holding a coffee or stand on a chair if it’s what will capture the best photo.

Original photos speak volumes to fans and followers, and getting your employees to help create content makes them feel more connected to your company’s culture. Once you have a selection of great photos, contact our team for help creating a visual style guide that can help you tell an effective brand story.

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