Do-It-Yourself Photography for Websites

  • jason turcotte
  • June 2, 2012

From guest-blogger, Tani Dugger...

When Turcotte Data & Design asked me to help them out by writing an article about how to "do-it-yourself" when taking photos for his client's websites I was happy to, knowing that not everyone can afford professional photography services. Even if you can't afford to hire a photographer for a day or two of shooting your products or staff, there are some things you can do to get the best pictures possible when doing it yourself.

The one most people struggle with is focus. I'm not talking about focusing the camera, although that's very important as well. What I'm talking about is you being focused and paying attention to what you're doing. It doesn't matter how fancy your camera is if you're not concentrating on capturing the best photo you can. Don't rush and the photo will look better. Even more so, follow a checklist of things to make sure you're "doing it right". Here are some examples:

  • Pay attention to the frame (what you see in the viewfinder or screen on the back of the camera) - Check the background, is there anything sticking out of a person's head or an object that should be moved out of (or into) the frame for this photo?
  • When talking photos of people, turn one shoulder away from the camera just a bit so they are not facing the camera straight on. If they're squared up to the camera they will look too broad and that's not a flattering look!
  • Direct sun is not your friend! Find a shady spot so there aren't harsh shadows on your photography subject.
  • Ensure your shot is level, unless you're going for a dramatic angle.
  • Horizontal objects should not split your frame in half. Try to use the rule of thirds when composing your shots.
  • If you're taking a photo of a room turn the lights on, take a test shot and then see if you need to add more light to fill any shadows. or dark areas.
  • When using a flash, pay attention to any reflections on shiny objects. If you can't remove the shiny object(s) or that shiny object is what you are photographing, take a small piece of wax paper and cover the front of your flash to diffuse the light and reduce the hot spot on the image.
  • Did we mention to stay focused and not rush?

Don't forget that the images you use for your website are the basis people will form their opinion of your entire business around. If your images are poor quality, it's very likely they will assume your products, services or entire business is also poor quality.

After you've taken the photos you want, look at them with an open and honest view. Are they the best they could be? Have some trusted advisors look at them as well and remember, their opinions are likely to be different from yours. And while I might be a bit biased, contact a local photographer for a quote. We might be more affordable than you think!

Good luck and happy shooting!

Tani Dugger is the Owner and Principal Photographer for Insight Photography, a children photography business located in Springfield, Massachusetts and founded in 2006.