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  • Amanda Cooper

Create your own Quality Pictures for Your Website When You Don't Have Budget for a Professional

I recently realised that I have a really limited amount of good unique images for my website and social media posts. Free stock images are brilliant for helping to add the wow factor to your website and social, but you need a personal touch as well.

Being self-employed, I don’t have a budget right now to hire a professional photographer, so I started to research the best ways to take your own images for website and social media, that will still look effective and good quality on a website.

Many of you are likely to be in a similar boat, so I thought I would share what I’ve learnt, in the hope that it may help some of you to create some nicer imagery for your digital marketing now or in the future. I’ll also share links of articles I found useful along the way.

Use Natural Bright Light

Carefully consider the location that you will be taking your pictures in. The best light source is natural daylight, indoor lighting can sometimes give your images a strange hue, so if you do need to shoot pictures indoors try to use a bright room with as much natural light as possible.

If you can shoot outside, then the best lighting is outdoors, surprisingly on a cloudy day. Avoid direct sunlight as this can cast unwanted shadows. The best times for lighting when taking pictures outside is just before dusk or just after dawn, this is known as the “Golden Hour”.

If you are using a smartphone for your images (and let’s be honest, most people will be!) then try to avoid using your flash and remember to keep the light source in front of you.

If shooting a product, it’s worth investing in some cheap white foam boards (or cardboard) to help bounce the light from the opposite direction to help evenly illuminate your product.

Invest in a Tripod

Even the smallest movement can make a picture blurry and when you want your images to be absolutely on point that will just not do! So, get yourself a little tripod to make your life easier, they don’t have to cost the earth you can find tripods alone or in a package deal on Amazon for under £20.

Try to keep the background simple

Really think about what is visible in your shots. The last thing you want is to get that perfect shot and then realise that there is an overflowing rubbish bin way off in the background. Also keep in mind that simple is better.

If you’re taking shots of a person consider going outside with open sky behind them or against a solid wall.

For product photographs decide on whether you want a branded/coloured background or plain white and then you can either pick up some large card or use some fabric for this.

Fabric can be a nice touch if you want to add some texture to your images. Try to avoid backgrounds with patterns or lots going on, when trying to do these things yourself with limited knowledge simple nearly always provides a better-quality effect.

Consider what you’re using the images for

Always think about what images you need and where you want to put them on your website. This will then help you when planning out your image and its composition (which I’ll touch on next). Does it need to fit in an unusual shape on the website or maybe you need the point of interest to be over to the left as you’ll have text overlapping on the right.

Try to shoot in landscape on most things unless you are shooting a headshot of somebody or tall objects/buildings that won’t fit within a landscape frame. Generally, landscape works best for website images. Also try to ensure you leave plenty of space around the focal point of your image in case you need to crop some of the image out to fit it in the appropriate place on the website, if in doubt take a number of images from different distances to help combat this.

Always consider composition when taking photos

Composition of a photo can be the key difference between an image that is ok and one that is stunning and catches the eye.

The most well-known rule for composition is the rule of thirds. This basic rule consists of splitting the screen into nine squares (think of a noughts and crosses board) and ensuring that points of interest are on the intersections. I found this article really useful for understanding the different compositions and how to use them.

Editing your photos

Avoid cropping or resizing your images too much on your phone as this can affect the resolution and image quality.

Smartphones quite often come with a variety of photo editing tools, which is great, but try to stick to the basics, like simply adjusting the light slightly, also avoid adding filters. Overedited and filtered images can often compromise the quality.

If you have access to tools like Adobe Photoshop, and know how to use it, then it’s definitely worth editing your photo’s in there instead. Or utilise free tools such as Canva to help you tweak your images without compromising on the image quality.

So there you go! These were the main tips that I found most useful for helping me to create some eye-catching imagery that will be effective on my digital marketing. I’m working on them as this is published and will be updating some of the imagery on my website very soon.

Here are a few links to articles that I found useful and helped me to put this content together –

Share some of your DIY website images and let us know how you achieved them, lets all share our tips and experiences to help each other.

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