When you’re constantly scrambling for new client leads, Instagram posts, website copy, and everything else an entrepreneur has on their to-do list, photography can often fall to the wayside. BUT it’s one of the most important marketing tools at your disposal! Today we’re sharing over 25 actionable tips from pro photographers you can use to get high-quality photos for your website in no time.
Scroll down to find tips on the following topics:
Learning the basics
What mindset do I need going into my photoshoot?
What should I wear?
How to edit photos to look like a pro
Buying your own equipment
Working with a professional photographer
Tips and tricks for how to use photography
Learning Photography (and Posing!) Basics
Natural light is your best friend. No matter what you’re photographing, finding the best light is the secret key to getting the perfect images! Personally, I prefer using window light when photographing products, flay lays, or headshots. The light is even, flattering, and did I mention…free?!
It's simple: place the subject close to a large window, turn off all other light sources in the room, and snap away! I use a simple reflector to bounce light back onto the subject, but you can also use a white foam board as well. // Sarah Chacos
Sometimes it’s very obvious where the light is coming from (a window, the sun), but sometimes it isn't clear. Here’s a trick you can do with your hand, hold your hand in front of you and start to turn on the spot so you can see your hand being lit by the light from all directions as you turn. When you feel like your hand is blocking the light source, you’ve found it! // Laura Alpizar
What’s your visual strategy? If you don’t have one already, I highly suggest you create one brand board that outlines your fonts, colors, logo, etc. so you have a clear and cohesive visual brand. You’ll be able to use this board as an inspiration for your images and what colors/style you want to include. // Sarah Chacos
Improve your photo eye. Practice taking photos of the same thing over and over with slight variations and note what you like. Google or Pinterest subjects similar to what you are trying to photograph and note the composition, lines and general things that you can like and try to reproduce on your own. // Laura Alpizar
Don't stand straight on with the camera. Place one foot back about 6 inches, then rotate your upper body and chin to align your "nose over navel!" It sounds goofy, but this helps with posture and to elongate your torso, which in turn makes you look more slender. // Heather Hanson
What mindset do I need going into my photoshoot?
Before getting your photo taken, use power poses to help increase your confidence. Take a wide stance with your feet, and stretch out your arms (into jumping-jack stance) for ten seconds. Put your arms down, roll your shoulders back, arch your lower back to stand up straighter, then wiggle your upper body and arms to loosen up. This will help you feel more natural and confident when getting your photos taken. // Heather Hanson
Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal client. Where do they shop? What do they connect with? What brands do they love? If you don’t know already, then I highly suggest you find out! Let’s say your ideal client loves to shop at Free People. They are likely to be attracted to an entirely different and unique photo style than someone who shops at let’s say Kohl’s or Walmart. Once you identify what your customer wants, then your vision will become more clear. // Sarah Chacos
Stay current with the style (but not too trendy!). Unless you are required to get a consistent studio headshot with a standard fabric backdrop, opt for something different! Great options are "out and about" street headshots or using something that incorporates your individual story, like your own home office or usual workspace. // Heather Hanson
Make it personal. There’s a time and a place for perfectly styled flat lays and flawless product images, but the reality is people also want to see YOU! We connect with personal brands, so don’t be afraid to show your face and put yourself out there! Trust me, I hate being in front of the camera just as much as the next person, but when you step out into the light you will attract the right people. // Sarah Chacos
What should I wear?
Your wardrobe should reflect the image you’d like to portray. Try to find something that is professional, yet brings out your personality and individuality. I suggest bringing two options -- professional and casual -- to add variety and make sure all your bases are covered. (Your photographer can help you look through them if you’re not sure what will look best.) Solids work better than patterns, avoid text and images unless they pertain directly to your profession, and opt for clean, flattering necklines instead of busy ones, such as ruffles or lace. // Meghan Doll
Ditch the black on black fashion and pick vibrant colors and patterns. There's nothing wrong with black (especially if that's what you normally wear) but choosing something that *pops* is a great way to make you stand out in the sea of business professionals on your website, Instagram, or on LinkedIn. // Heather Hanson
Be sure to prepare for your shoot properly. You’ll want to get plenty of rest the night before your session so you look the best day of. Schedule haircuts, colors, and manicures as needed before your appointment. Get all your clothing and accessories ready the night before to reduce stress on session day (including ironing!). And be sure to come with your hair and makeup done. You can do touch ups at the studio. // Meghan Doll
Editing photos like a pro
Ditch the free editing apps and invest in professional software. This one is plain and simple. By purchasing Lightroom and/or Photoshop for $9.99/month, your photos will look significantly better once you learn how to use these applications. Not to mention it’ll teach you some of the basics about editing -- which will help when you’re out in the real world shooting with your camera. // Sean Donohue
To get started, just stick with a little contrast adjustment, making sure details in the image are not lost in the process. Look around for strange skin texture or overblown white/black areas. A good rule is to edit before filter.
Overall, consistency in your imagery is very important and it will be hard to stay consistent if your images are all treated with different Insta filters. // Laura Alpizar
Buy the right equipment
At the end of the day only you know exactly what you want out of a photo, which is why I suggest you give photography a try yourself! They may not be “professional photos” that you use on your website, but they are useful for social media accounts like Instagram and Facebook. There are plenty of photography tutorials on YouTube that’ll teach you the basics to taking a solid photo! // Sean Donohue
If you can't produce good photos with your smartphone (either because it’s not the best camera or you can't really figure out), get a simple point and shoot camera. After a while you’ll notice the difference it makes over a traditional iPhone picture. // Laura Alpizar
Don’t focus on having the best gear right away. There is no need for you to own a $2,600 lens and a $6,000 camera body. Used gear is great and it’s cheap, meaning you can put that money into your marketing tactics instead. // Sean Donohue
If you have a camera, I highly suggest purchasing a tripod and remote, so you can grab some solid images of yourself if you don’t have the cash to shell out for pro headshots. For less than $50 you can purchase both of these on Amazon to get yourself started. If you don’t have a camera, then use window light and your phone (I highly suggest asking someone to take these images for you, don’t rely on selfies all the time!) You can also find tripods for your phone as well. // Sarah Chacos
Using your photography
When you’re getting started, stock photos can be your best friend. Hiring a photographer can often be expensive, and sometimes you don’t get exactly what you’re looking for. With stock images you can search through hundreds of categorizes and even filter out photos that don’t fit your branding design. There’s nothing wrong with using stock photography in the beginning, and there are a lot of free websites out there that provide royalty free images. // Sean Donohue
When in doubt (or lack of time), start with buying stock photos for your website and social platforms, as well as getting professional pictures of yourself in different outfits. This is great because it allows for a better impact and you can skip the learning curve! // Laura Alpizar
Do you know what you’re posting two, three, or ten days from now? Do you have a schedule on when you are going to post your images? I use an app called Later to plan out all of my social media posts, but other options like Planoly work just as well. This way I can post away knowing that my feed will look cohesive and that my images are on brand. There’s several apps out there that do this and the best part is they are all usually free!
Pro tip: Sit down and schedule your posts in bulk. I do this bi-monthly and it usually takes me a total of one hour. // Sarah Chacos
Remember to always update your headshots in a timely manner. We'd all like to live out the days of our youth forever in photographs, but having outdated photos can be incredibly jarring to clients who are meeting you in person for the first time. Getting a new headshot annually, or biannually is recommended. // Heather Hanson
Working with a pro
Listen, I know you have a forever growing to-do list. You’re busy running a booming business and living the life of your dreams. We only have so many hours in the day and the reality is that we can’t always do “all the things” (or at least be really good at all of them!) If photography is not your thing, or you simply just don’t have the time, then hire a pro! You’ll likely be happy you did. When you outsource you free up time to focus on the other areas of your business that you’re crazy good at, thus bring in more bacon! // Sarah Chacos
Connect with friends and family who are professional photographers. They can be your greatest resource when it comes to high-end photography (some may even offer a discount or more flexible rights to the images. Plus, when you work with someone who you’re familiar with, it’s easier to express exactly what you’re looking for -- just be sure to compensate them for their time. // Sean Donohue
Don’t forget, it’s completely okay to ask your photographer for tips and advice! We’re used to answering questions about everything from attire to posing and more and will always try our best to make you look (and feel) confident and comfortable in front of the camera. // Heather Hanson