If there was one tip that I could give anyone wanting to take good photos it would be MAKE SURE YOU HAVE GOOD LIGHT!

Light is incredibly important in photography. So make sure your person/animal/object is well lit.

This is Hannah from Verbose Design Jewellery. The light is coming from French doors to her right. It’s a lovely even natural light.

Indoors, make sure there is good natural light in the room. Avoid using overhead or artificial light wherever possible as they can cause the image to have a colour cast, and the camera can’t deal with low light nearly as well. Face the light or place your object as close to the light as you can. You can use different angles to play around with the shadows to get the effect that you like. Avoid direct sunlight coming through the windows as this creates very harsh shadows.

Outside, the best time to take photos is close to sunrise or sunset. If the sun is out, this time is called golden hour as you get a beautiful golden light. By putting the sun behind your subject you will avoid them squinting or having any harsh shadows on their face. If you have to take photos during the middle of the day when the sun is bright, it’s best to find shade as this creates a nice even light. It is the same with an overcast day. Clouds are wonderful for photographers as they act as a huge diffuser over the sun and the light is lovely and soft. You can pretty much take photos anywhere when the light is like that.

Try to get the little dots of white in your subject’s eyes. These are called catch lights and bring a lot more life into a photo!

2. Portrait Mode

Delicious cake from Little Village Cakes taken using portrait mode. Notice the blurry background.

On the newer smart phones (like iPhone X, XR, XS; Samsung Galaxy S9, Note 9, 8; LG V40 ThinQ, HTC U12 Plus – just to name a few) when you go to your camera, you can change to different modes. The portrait mode lets you take a clear picture of yourself, an animal or an object and make the background blurry. Basically what you are photographing will be the focus in this setting.

This setting is fab for taking close up portraits, photos of food/products and selfies. Facebook also lets you make these photos 3D sometimes which can be quite attention grabbing! 

Play around with the different camera modes and see what you can do. You may surprise yourself!!

3. Background

Be aware of the background in your photo. Make sure it’s not an ugly building or paint missing from the wall or a messy room. Even when it is blurry in portrait mode it should be nice as part of the composition of your photo.

 If your brand focuses more on a clean fresh look, think about using a white background or light coloured wall. If you have a more dramatic look then use shadows a bit more and look for some darker colours and themes for your backgrounds.

4. Focus and exposure

When you are about to take a picture just tap the screen where you want your image to be in focus. Easy as that!

If you want more or less exposure then tap and hold on the screen of your iPhone and a little sun will come up. If you hold the sun icon and move it up or down then you will see the light changing. When you are happy with it then let the sun icon go and take the photo. With Android there is a bar along the bottom of the screen which does the same thing. You can always edit photos after you’ve taken them, but it’s best to get it right when taking the photo if possible. Be careful not to go overboard with the editing as well. Too many filters can make you look plastic. 

5. Pose

I get asked a lot about how to take a good selfie. First of all.. I would HIGHLY recommend getting some professional photographs for your business. If you’re not ready to invest in a full brand shoot then just get some headshots taken! People want to see who you are, and professional photographers should be able to produce images of you looking your absolute best to represent your business.

However, selfies can come in handy, and I also use them occasionally so here are my tips:

Light!!! Make sure you have good light. If you look down through my previous posts you will see some examples of lighting in different conditions. For indoors, put yourself either directly in front of or about 45 degrees from the light. Use window light if possible, but if not then invest in a ring light or similar as these are great for adjusting brightness and temperature. DON’T rely on downlights or spotlights.. they create horrible shadows on your face and are really unflattering! 

If taking a photo in bright sunlight then put the sun behind you to stop yourself from squinting then adjust the exposure so your face is exposed correctly.

Eye contact! Make sure you’re looking at the camera and not at yourself on the screen. Very easy mistake to make!

Camera angle. Commonly people raise the camera up to take a selfie looking down at themselves as this is considered a more flattering angle. However.. don’t go overboard! Having the camera slightly above eye level is all you need, and make sure you don’t raise your chin too high. I wouldn’t recommend taking a selfie looking down at the camera. It doesn’t do anyone any favours! 

Your head angle etc is really personal preference, but I quite like it when people have their head turned slightly to the side and sometimes a slight tilt to the head. Most people know which side of their face they prefer so make sure you capture your good side.

Play around and see what works for you!

With regards to full body poses, generally the best pose is standing slightly sideways on to the camera then turning your face towards the camera. Keep your weight on your back leg and bend your front leg slightly. Remember that whatever is closest to the camera will look bigger. For men, hands in pockets or arms crossed is great. Just have them looking comfortable.

Looking comfortable is really important. Slightly sideways on is a more flattering angle.

6. Show personality

Be yourself! If you are always smiling then smile, if you generally don’t smile then don’t. If you don’t wear make up then don’t over do it just for a photo. People would want to know you, so always try to take a truthful picture of you. Same with editing! By all means remove skin blemishes and even add a bit of makeup.. but don’t change your face too much! Too much editing, especially done on a phone can make you look a bit like a Barbie doll with plastic skin. Make sure you look like you, as this is what people want to see! 

I love to have fun!

7. Show your brand

The picture that you are taking will capture and should reflect your brand. So make sure this picture is truly what you believe in and what you represent. It will stay on your Social media forever.

Welcoming, cozy and delicious! Beautiful branding of Macarons Versailles

 I wouldn’t recommend these images to be used on your website. Why? Because even though they look great on your phone, once you upload them, they won’t be high quality. People are attracted to eye catching images. So if you show professional creative images on your website you’re not only going to get the attention of your ideal customers but you will also position your brand as a professional and credible business.