How To Take a Photo And Shoot a Video
As a business who continues to grow each year, we know that keeping up with social media is important. Distributors and dealers want to see new products, ways that they can use those products (called “lifestyle” images/videos), and where those products fit into their life. The way that products are presented is also crucial to how well those products are going to sell above all.
So when images and videos are posted for social media, it is pertinent that these images are of higher quality. Amateur-looking pictures often get a poor response from clients and customers alike.
SO, to help out, we are going to show you the best way to take pictures and videos even if you are inexperienced. This can be applicable to any of our fellow business owners and employees. The goal is to improve your business’s social media and brand awareness as a whole, this is where you start.
Luckily, thanks to technology, a smartphone can take a high-definition/high-resolution photograph with ease, plus we almost always have our phone with us. There is no point in spending money on an expensive camera unless the situation requires a professional photograph/video.
Clean Up The Product
It is important to make sure before you take a picture after the installation, that the product is clean. Clear away any dirt, dust, and debris from the product and surrounding area. This makes the photo look more professional and as the business whose name is associated with the photo, you want it to look good.
It is key to focus on the product in the most realistic way but also in the best way. Unless you are trying to do a landscape or lifestyle shot, keep it simple and pristine by focusing on just the product(s). If the surrounding area is messy and unclean, the photo/product/companies will all lose credibility.
Do not use borders, props, or text placed directly on the image. Zoom in closely on the product(s) so to fill the entire frame and leave a small space around the edges (just in case you need to crop the image, plus it is more aesthetically pleasing).
The lighting of a photograph is very important. It is possible to clean up and edit it later but it makes a big difference if you are able to use natural sunlight. If the photo is taken outside (landscape shots) and natural lighting is possible to use, USE IT! Or if you are taking a picture that is inside a home or business, being able to use the light that is shining in from the window usually looks great too!
Remember that it is better to post realistic photos that are unedited. Shooting a realistic photo is easy, but sometimes you can’t really see the product due to the lighting. Another big item to focus on is trying to keep out the glare in the background of the picture or even on the product for that matter. Glares often can mess up a photo and rarely do they make it better. There are occasions where it makes the picture better (but rare). When you take a photo and the sun is in the background your image will come out better and often it is more appealing. If the sun is coming from behind the photographer, that is what causes a "glare". Also, try not to use digital zoom, filters, or even flash (it makes it seem like you are trying to hide a flaw).
One photo is helpful, but if you take the same photo and approach it from different angles (just in case the product looks better from one angle versus another) is extremely helpful for later. Don’t forget to clean the lens on your smartphone, to free it from smudges and dirt! If you have a dirty lens it can ruin the entire picture. If you use a lower angle shot, it will make the object appear larger and opposite if you shoot from up above the object.
If you are afraid that your camera on your phone is not good enough to take a decent photo, there are different apps that will assist you in taking a higher quality picture and there are a lot of free ones to consider. An app might also be useful if you are trying to record a short video of the “said” project that is being completed. Often regular video recordings on smartphones (if not an updated version) will have lower quality and then the video is pointless to post on social media.
Phone Camera Settings
This is sometimes overlooked and often times the photo is just taken without considering that there are different modes and settings to improve the capturing of photos. Turn your HDR on, turn the “portrait” mode off and change it to a regular photo, so that there is not a designated square, for iPhones turn the live photo feature off because this mode makes it very difficult to send to other people or upload to a computer and can be time-consuming to do so. Most people already have this turned off, but as a reminder: turn your flash off!
Aerial views of your product or photo "focus" has been a sought after thing recently. The problem is that drones are so extremely expensive (unless your employer will fund it). The images and videos turn out very well but we don't recommend spending an arm and a leg if you don't have to.
The intensity is also something else to consider when taking a photo. How bright an image is, really depends on the natural lighting that is present.
Posting videos usually helps you get more attention because they are not as commonly added to social media accounts. Your followers want to see your business and products in action! Videos are actually a key way to display different products, the installation setting, and the application. Videos give other users a good idea of what the product looks like in real-time instead of just a pre-formed setting.
Have you ever seen a video on social media that has those solid black bars on the top and the bottom of the screen? To get rid of those annoying black bars, be sure to change your video mode to “landscape”.
This mode makes your video more aesthetically pleasing and with that brings more attention to the products and branding to all of the businesses involved. This mode will also allow you to capture more (at the top and bottom of the screen) in the video and then it later can be edited if need be.
Videos normally should not be filmed with a frame around them unless they are being filmed through a Snapchat filter and its necessary. The frame eliminates some of the added surroundings and that can lower the quality instead of improving it.
Along with the frame, it is important to make sure that your footage is steady and not shaky. Viewers are able to see better. A gimbal (like the DJI™ Osmo) is the perfect video accessory to invest in (if you don’t have a steady hand). A gimbal actually lets you put your phone or recording device on it and allows you to rotate and pivot the device on a steady axis to capture more.
Stay away from digital zoom, it is actually just a fancy software trick that crops the screen and lowers the quality of the video or will even make the video slightly pixelated. However, if you have a smartphone with an extra lens on the back like some of the newer smartphone models (iPhone 11, Samsung Galaxy S10, and Google Pixel 4 XL to name a few) the extra lens is a “telephoto” lens that is designed to give you an optical zoom effect, that zooms in without losing any detail. So, if you do not have a smartphone with an extra lens, you’ll need to physically get closer to what you are shooting (it is simple and you can do it).
Keep in mind that flash and backlighting will affect the scene. The best advice that we can give is to avoid backlit settings. Occasionally, while recording, you will lose quality scenes due to the lighting.
The object you are shooting may even be darker and harder to see because of the light coming from behind it. Most of you are recording on the fly and the easiest way to fix this situation is to slightly shift to one side or another to avoid the backlit objects/products/scenes.
- Your Audio is Important
At times, people forget that the video records sound too. They often record a video and then later rewatch and realize there is horrible background noise or that they can’t hear anything that they wanted to hear and it sounds muffled. The audio is just as important as the video and be sure that you are displaying both audio and video as best you can.
Smartphones do have a built-in microphone but the microphone may be improperly placed or of poor quality. It is a possibility that while recording outside, that you mostly pick up the wind or other environmental noises that do not need to be included and some people end up silencing the video just so they do not have to deal with the audio being loud enough, too loud, muffled, clear, etc.. It sounds complicated but people have even started recording the audio with a completely different device (so another phone) just to improve the quality of the sound for the video.
Again, this article is to help out our dealers and installers who like to take photos of their installs/products. Your picture/video does not have to be perfect but it helps if it looks like it is high-quality and it makes you look better too. The photos that we really enjoy posting on social media are the ones that are sent by dealers and installers, showing us how the project and installation went!
This is also for those who would like to take more photos and videos but don’t really know how to. These images and videos are what helps with the branding for all parties involved. It helps get your business out there with social media and get in touch with fans/users/future customers. These are people who want to know what kind of business you are and what you can do as a company for them.
So, give it a try. See if you can take more images and showcase them on social media, your website, send them to us and see how people are reacting. Only positives come from following through and doing this. Who doesn’t like more followers/fans/customers?