Empowering Website Managers and Editors Around the World
Inside the second edition of Daily Website Tips, you'll find:
Enhancing and Customizing Stock Photography
Above I've provided examples of two different photos of soap that I took together in a photo box with a white background, removed the background and inserted into two stock photos to show the products in real life settings.
Many stock photos provide plenty of background or blank space, such as a tabletop, counter, shelf, and are a great place you can photoshop in your product, and in some cases, even people.
Throughout my website and daily website tips, you'll see mockups where I put my digital work into stock photos, so you can see what websites, presentations, branded collateral or social media posts look like on someone's phone or computer in real life.
If you are using stock photography, there are ways to make it suck a little less. For starters, you can make galleries, collages or design grids for your website that feature a balance of your real photos and stock photos. Using a photo filter can create consistency between photos that are in different places, settings, colors and taken from different cameras and photographers.
If you are using stock photography, one of the best ways to use it is to make the stock photo a background, not the forefront of your design. You can add your brand colors, use fun borders, corner tabs, shapes, text boxes, callouts and more.
You can put filters over stock images, with white or black text on top, and bring in your logo with a transparent background onto the photo. If the photo does not represent your brand, people, mission and real life look and feel, don't use it. Gradients, color schemes, even icons are all preferred over plain ole' stock photography.
"I love those obvious stock photos you use instead of pictures of your company, employees, products and services."
- Said no one ever
Taking Photos for Your Website from Your Smartphone
Newer smartphones within the past few years have amazing cameras that are enabling people to take and share better photos. However, not any photo in any size will do.
The most obvious thing you'll need to know, is that you need to take pictures with the phone turned horizontally, in landscape mode. Team photos are the exception where portrait, up and down photos from your phone will work. Auto-enhance the photo after you take it, unless it makes the shot blurry or pixelated, then leave it as the natural shot.
For taking photos that will fit hero sections and full width header areas of your website, take half (but not all the way) panoramic photos on your phone. It's important to keep these shots of something simple, without too many objects and details, or even slightly offset and off-center, if you will be putting text on top of them.
When in doubt, a wide display photo that will display nicely in a variety of place on your website is 1920x1080 pixels. For a photo that can easily complement a blog on your website, and serves a double purpose to provide a visual on social media posts, 800x800 pixels works well.
DIY Tips and Affordable Solutions for Taking Your Own Product Photography
Today, investing in a small footprint and basic commercial photography setup is within reach for any company. You can take great photos with your smartphone or any digital camera and some extra photography accessories that will fit in a small corner, behind shelving or a door.
For larger products, invest in a backdrop and stand for the backdrop to clip onto. Newer pop-up backdrops are made of durable muslin material, making them much easier to keep clean, wrinkle free, work with and transport than traditional fabrics. Another plus is they take up less room and are easy to store and keep clean.
Buy a multi-way 5'x6'5" or 6'5" x 5' white and black combo backdrop for photography on Amazon for $55.95: Fovitec StudioPRO - 5' x 6.5' Black/White Double-Sided Pop-Out Muslin Backdrop
Buy a nice stand with a clip for holding the backdrop on Amazon for $45.95: Fovitec StudioPRO Heavy Duty 8'6" Stand for Backdrops, Lights, Reflectors or Diffusers
A satisfactory stand with a clip on Amazon for $25.95: Fovitec StudioPRO - 1x 7'6" Pop Out Muslin Backdrop & Reflector Clip Stand
You can only get so far in quality by setting your backdrop up against a wall. You'll need a stand. The backdrop is slightly taller on a stand and becomes just over 7 feet in height, due to the stand base and height adjustment.
For smaller products, invest in a white photo box that will fit your product, folds up, has a protective layer and is easy to store.
Buy a white photo box on Amazon for $22.99: Neewer 20"x20"/50x50cm Table Top Photo Photography Light Tent Studio Square Light Box with 4 Backgrounds
The better photo boxes will come with a protective outer layer, velcro inside and different fabric colors. Instead of buying a box with cheap lighting attached, consider the next product.
Buy a powerful, portable light that won't take up much space on Amazon for $24.99: Neewer 160 LED CN-160 Dimmable Ultra High Power Panel Photo and Video Light
These small, lightweight LED lights are amazing and make a huge difference in your photos. If you don't want to burn through batteries, there are rechargeable battery packs available (buy the charger and extra batteries for the above light here). The light can go on top of a tripod or stand, or it can mount directly on top of DSLR cameras.
If you want to soften the light, buy a softbox to go over the light that comes with filter inserts for different lighting styles (cool tone/daylight and warm/dawn/dusk tone). You can maximize your lighting in both directions having only one light, by picking up a collapsible reflector with one side silver, and the other gold to match your lighting, and an extra stand like those mentioned above.
This is my favorite heavy duty tripod and carry bag ever, a photography staple.
Focus and stabilize your photo for best smartphone and product photography results.
One of the worst things about taking photos on our smartphones is they are not always level or straight, and our hands may be moving or shaking while taking the photo. A DSLR will have much more powerful stabilization than a smartphone for taking free-hand photos.
While you can straighten and slightly rotate the photo after, there are many attachments out there that can hold your phone on a tripod. The more stable your shot, the clearer it will be. In addition, there are bluetooth shutter switches for phones and for DSLR cameras if you put on a camera timer and need time to run into say, a group or product in action photo.
If your photo has any reflection issues, you can always use a healing brush in any photo manipulation tool (like Photoshop, GIMP or Affinity Photo) to blend from another area of the photo to take out the light and reflection. This has come in handy many times when photographing products in bottles, etc.
The 9 Types of Photographs You'll Want to Have on Hand for Your Website Design
Above all else, people recognize and will engage with the people they know, the products they use, the employers they, their friends and family members work for, the neighborhood they live in and the products and solutions that are relative to their situation.
If you're taking photos of food, gourmet or luxury items, don't skip out on staging and adding additional items and textiles to the photo. Use these photographs consistently on your website, on your Google Business listing, on your Facebook page, Instagram posts, Twitter cover and posts, YouTube Channel cover, LinkedIn cover, Yelp or TripAdvisor profiles, and anywhere else your business is listed that supports the use of photography.
Making Sure you Have the Photo Rights or Proper License
With any photography, whether professionally taken or found online, make sure you have the rights to distribute it. To avoid the risk of being fined or committing piracy, do not use images from Google Search or logos of other companies without permission.
Many times, if you go the extra mile to ask for permission to use a photo, you will not get a response or the customer service you were looking for, but still, don't use it, especially on your website. Although many people will be courteous, understanding and first send what is called a cease and desist, asking you to remove the photo or media, that's not always the case.
Find free photos to enhance your website, presentations, messages from places like Unsplash or Pexels, or on paid stock photo sites, make sure you have a running record of the purchases and licenses to protect you.
I hope you enjoyed and have learned something new from this this post and our #dailywebsitetips program. Feel free to book a free consultation or message me on your favorite social media channel when you're stuck or experiencing a branding or website challenge.
Some of our future #dailywebsitetips will focus on more website and brand photography tricks, knowledge and ways to further optimize your photos before putting them on your website.
@anxiouscreations513 and #dailywebsitetips are on Instagram
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We are a paperless company and 100% owned and operated by women in Cincinnati, Ohio.
We are a paperless company and 100% owned and operated by women in Cincinnati, Ohio.