A Beginner’s Guide to Staff Photography for Marketing

A Beginner’s Guide to Staff Photography for Marketing

Photography is truly an art, but you don’t have to be a professional to capture great photos of your team. We know that photos are often taken on the fly with your smartphone, but some of them will end up on your company newsletters, annual reports, social media and more. So, we wanted to offer some tips and tricks to help you capture your co-workers in their best light.

Take Your Time
No one likes having their photo taken, and usually people want to get in and out of there as fast as they can. However, rushing the photo process usually yields the unflattering results your co-workers are trying desperately to avoid. Take a couple extra minutes to find good lighting and a nice backdrop and to make sure everyone looks good after snapping a few options.

Get on Their Level
Have you ever seen a photo of yourself that doesn’t look quite right? Maybe you look oddly short and stout? Or you suddenly have a pronounced double chin? It might be because the photographer was taller or shorter than you and took the photo from their eye level. It’s a minor detail that ultimately makes a big difference in photography. The photographer should match the height level of their subject. If they’re shorter than you, squat down a little. If they’re taller than you, stand on something sturdy so the camera is level with their eyes.

Watch Out for Antennas
After taking a picture, zoom in and look closely at everyone to ensure there aren’t any unwanted objects protruding from the background. Tree branches are the most common culprit, so if you want that big, beautiful tree in the background, use the portrait mode on your camera to blur the background a little. When you’re done snapping pictures, take a second look at the tops of people’s heads and shoulders to be sure you aren’t giving anyone antennas.

Look for Natural, Even Lighting
Great lighting is probably the biggest game changer for any photo. You want the light to be “soft” and even. Lighting that is too bright can cast unflattering shadows on your subject’s face or make them look washed out. Cloudy days are perfect for outdoor photography. However, you won’t always have the right conditions, so here’s what to do in each scenario.

  • Too much sun (overexposed): Find some shade! The side of a building will usually provide enough shade, and sometimes trees will as well (just watch out for antennas). If you’re not having any luck though, it might be best to take the photo inside.
  • Too dark (underexposed): Find the light – literally. Determine which direction the sun is facing and put your subject in the path of its light. If the light is coming from behind your subject, it can make the background too bright, and the person you’re photographing will look too dark. Don’t try to fix it by using the flash on your phone; trust us. Find some nice, even lighting.
  • Fighting fluorescents: Let’s face it, fluorescent lighting isn’t the most flattering. It usually gives off a yellow hue, which is not ideal. If you’re taking photos inside, find a room with a big window and turn the lights off. Take a couple test shots to see how the lighting is and adjust the blinds as necessary to get the even lighting you’re looking for.

Be Careful With Your Crop
Floating heads and missing limbs (when they shouldn’t be missing) look funky in photos. A good rule of thumb is to frame the photo so that it cuts off at a subject’s waist, mid-thigh or below their feet. You also don’t want the photo to cut off at any of their joints – think shoulders, hips, elbows, wrists, knees and ankles.

Other Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Don’t be afraid to take a horizontal photo. Or take horizontal and vertical photos so that you have options.
  • Take a full body shot but also come in closer to your subject and get an upper body shot. When photos are used in marketing materials, designers sometimes need to crop a big photo, and that can result in losing some of the picture quality.
  • Glasses can cast a reflective glare. Even lighting can help prevent this, but you may want to ask your subject to take their glasses off.
  • Sometimes an outfit matches the background a little too much. If the person you’re photographing looks like they’re blending in with the wall, try taking the photo somewhere else.
  • No filters! Yes, they’re great for social media, but filters often look out of place in marketing materials.
  • If your photo needs a little editing to adjust the colors, do so minimally. A lot of times, a quick “Edit > Auto” does a great job brightening and adjusting overly “warm” or “cool” photos. If not, a quick scroll to the “Warmth” slider and adjustment up or down a few notches will make a huge difference.
  • When sending photos to your team, make sure to use the “Share > Mail” option to ensure we’re receiving the highest-quality photo. Sending through text messages can lower the quality. Also, sending iPhone® to Android™ or the other way around lowers the quality. They don’t play nicely together.

Need a little extra help?
Reach out to us! Your team can walk you through more photography tips with suggestions that are specific to your needs. We also have access to high-quality stock photography.

Posted by Shelby Moyer - November 08, 2022