Updated: Jul 30, 2019
Whether you're an aspiring photographer or just like to snap selfies with your iPhone/Android camera, it's super important to capture quality images.
Let me ask you this — what do you do with the images after you take them? Do you post them on Instagram or Facebook? On your blog? In your online store? Or maybe you just share them in the family group text.
If you're scrolling through Instagram and you see an image that happens to be dark or blurry, what are you going to do? That's right — keep on scrolling! Chances are, your brain didn't even register that you saw the image in the first place. In this age of digital information, our brains do a lot of filtering to protect us from massive overload.
These days, images are everything. They do a multitude of things — like grab attention on social media. They can showcase your product. They produce feelings within potential buyers. Feelings that ultimately make or break buying decisions before you ever have a chance to describe the product, let alone discuss features and benefits. Images speak for your services better than you can, and better than your best (or worst) testimonials can. They can also give your Mom the feeling that she's right there with her grand babies, even when she's 500+ miles away.
With all of this in mind, here are 5 reasons to improve your photography skills (even if you're not a photographer!)
1. You'll get more show-stopping attention.
We all share photos for various reasons, and usually with an end goal in mind. You can use them to stay connected with friends, grow a blog following, gain more customers, sell a product (or service), promote an event, grow social media accounts, and the list goes on. The last thing you want to do is get lost in the shuffle. Bright & clear images that are photographed and shared with intention will always help you achieve the purpose you've put behind the photo. You'll increase traffic to your website (assuming you've entered all of your alt text and keyword savvy image captions). You'll see more engagement on your social media posts, which leads to more followers, and more organic exposure for your business or brand. Your achievement ability becomes endless!
2. You'll increase sales.
Think about this. Have you ever searched for a happy hour or dinner spot on Yelp? What were some actions you took when you looked through the app? You likely looked at a few variables like distance to you, number of stars, reviews, the menu, specials, and last but not least — you looked at photos to see the interior, the food, and to gauge the ambiance. Note: the photos just played a critical role in your decision making.
Great photos = more potential buyers, which leads to faster selling products & services. Chances are you've poured a lot of energy into the creation of your product or service. Why discount it with photos that don't do it justice? Your offering deserves to be noticed. Record your last month of web traffic or sales surrounding your products & services that have images accompanying them. Now that you have this information in hand, I challenge you to replace your existing photos with high quality images. Record the next month featuring your new photos, and compare the two. (Come back and let me know what happened!)
3. You'll build deeper, more meaningful connections.
Dark and blurry images are not your friends when it comes to keeping up relationships. Like I said before, chances are — people will scroll on by…even if it is in the group text! I may be a photographer, but I can assure you this has happened to me (don't let it happen to you, too!). An eye catching photo usually provokes thought or feeling in the viewer. If you're sharing with friends, chances are your image will result in striking up a conversation! If you're building an audience on social media, people are going to be more likely to jump in and talk about your image. For example, if I post a beautiful Folly Beach scene, locals and vacationers who love Folly are likely to message me or leave comments like, "I made my first visit there today…really cool place!", "Folly has my 💙.", or "Love that part of the beach!! Lighthouse views are amazing!!!"
4. Your communication will improve.
Have you ever been in a situation where you just don't have the right words? Or don't know what to say at all? Start with a great photo. Great photos really give you an easy way out of words. Describe the photo itself — what do you see? What does it look like? Why did you take the photo? What were you doing when you took the photo? Answering any or all of these questions will help you create a caption that will captivate and engage your audience. Combining images with meaningful words will give a full, well rounded experience and help others fully understand your message.
5. Your memories will look better.
Do you ever start conversations with, 'remember that one time…'? Memories last a lifetime. You owe it to yourself to capture them well. To be honest, I would challenge you here to be more present and take less photos. Say what?! Yep. I said it. Think about it, if you're constantly taking photos, how many of them are going to be quality? You don't need 10 photos of dinner last night, or 145 photos of that day you spent roaming downtown Charleston. If you have an overload of photos, you're also less likely to come back to them. You're so busy taking new photos on a daily basis that you get desensitized to the purpose of your own captures. If you're not taking images with purpose, why would anyone else care about them after the fact? Let alone that you'll have a hard time organizing them (but that's a topic for a whole new blog post 😉).
Ready to take better photos?
Resources to get you started:
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While I'm a firm believer that you can use what you already have to accomplish a great photo, here are links to some great products that are guaranteed to help you achieve the images of your dreams.
For phone camera users:
I personally have an iPhone XS Max, and LOVE it. I was holding on to my iPhone 6S Plus for dear life, until the low storage amount that I had (16 GB) started to run critical errors with each software update. I now have 256 GB of storage, and I haven't had to clear out the photos on my phone or delete apps to make space (thank goodness those days are behind me now!). The reason why I recommend this phone over any of the more cost effective models, is that it has a 7-megapixel camera with a 2.2 aperture capability. That aperture is better than most standard DSLR kit lenses (where you'll usually find lenses with f5.6 or f4 capability, at best). While it is NOT a replacement for a DSLR, you can confidently leave your big camera at home when you go out exploring with the kiddos. You will get great shots on this device.
For those who want to elevate their phone photography to a sophisticated level, a lens attachment for your phone is a great choice. The Moment wide lens (18mm) is compatible with all iPhone models and some Android phones. It extends the wide angle capability to give you a fresh perspective on your phone's camera. Now you can capture that full landscape, or squeeze everyone in the frame — even Aunt Sue. This lens requires a special phone case for mounting (see below).
This Moment case is compatible with all Moment lenses, and is required to properly mount them to your phone.
Want to take superior quality product shots or food photos? This Moment macro lens is for you! It comes with a removable light diffuser to help you minimize harsh shadows around your subject. The lens is capable of capturing clear images in as close as a one-inch working distance. This lens requires a special phone case for mounting (see above).
Taking a lot of selfies, talking to your audience in stories, or posting on YouTube? You'll 100% want this phone tripod that comes with ring lights, so that you can stay steady while looking your best. This is also great for food or product photography if you happen to be a blogger or a store owner, and you need quality (and consistent) images on a DIY budget.
For DSLR (Nikon) users:
The NIKKOR 50mm 1.8 lens is one of my favorite lenses. It's perfect for grab and go situations when you don't have the capacity to carry around a large lens. I use mine most often when I leave the house to do my own personal 'stock' photography session around town (usually focusing on landscapes or street photography). It's also good for product photography if you don't have a macro lens, and it's great in lower light situations. This is the ultimate all-around, versatile lens. If I could only pick ONE affordable lens to have for the rest of my photography career, this would be it.
This is the camera I personally use, the Nikon D750. I love, love, love it. It has a full frame 24.3 megapixel sensor, perfect if you need high quality professional images or are looking to get into professional photography. It also has pro video features! There are less expensive crop sensor lenses. If you plan to do photography for any length of time, it's better to make the investment upfront — you'll spend less in the long run. I know because I started out with a crop sensor myself and eventually had to upgrade!
You can pick up tips on exactly how to create great content (and improve your photography skills) by downloading my content tip sheet here.
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Do you have tips on taking photos that I left out? Leave them below in the comments!