Tips for taking photos for use on websites

High quality photos don't just come from using expensive SLR cameras, a professional photographer knows how lighting, balance, exposure, angle, background, focal points and much more come into play. So if you fancy saving some money and taking your own photos for use on your website, here are some tips to ensure you get the best possible result.

Light, light and more light


Professional photographers usually have bright studios with large lamps and expensive flashes.

You should ensure there is as much light on your object(s) and surroundings as possible - watch out for spotlights though, you generally want an even amount of light across the whole scene, not just in one place.

If you're taking photos indoors, ensure all your lights are turned on, doors are open to allow more light to flow through and it's a nice bright day outside so more natural light is pouring in. Outside, obviously photos look much better on days with blue skies.

Isolate your object(s)

Shooting in a lightbox

Often, as part of designs, web designers need to cut-out your object and display it on the page, in this case you'll need to ensure the whole object is in view on a single photograph. You should also ensure that the background is as plain as possible to make the cut-out process much quicker.

If you're shooting a small item, for example a gadget for an online shop, you should look to borrow/hire a light box. These are white boxes with a set of lights inside, designed for shooting items with a pure white background and little to no shadows.

Watch out for reflections

Reflection of a cat

Anywhere with glass, mirrors or water could show your reflection, or reflections of something you don't wish to be in the photo. If you suspect something might reflect, before shooting your proper photos, take a test one and check it.

Shoot away from the light-source

What not to do: shooting into the light

This may seem obvious, but it's often forgotten - ensure your light source is behind you, otherwise it'll glare the camera and you'll get a darker scene, like in this photo.

Take plenty of photos

SD Cards

Digital cameras can hold hundreds of photos with the high density memory cards available today - so don't just take one or two photos and hope they'll be okay, feel free to go trigger crazy.

Use a tripod

Using a tripod

With a much more steady camera, you can shoot and lower exposure rates, allowing the camera to take in more light without getting camera shake on the photo.

Use a decent camera

SLR camera and accessories

Okay, so as mentioned, using an expensive camera won't automatically allow you to take incredible photos, but using a terrible camera, such as those on mobile phones, will definitely limit you.

When looking for a camera, note that the number of megapixels does not indicate the quality of a camera - it's more about the size of the light sensor and the quality of the lenses.

Think about the scene

Cheap hotel sign

With digital cameras it's easy to snap away without really thinking about the image your photo is going to portray.

On a website, photography is not just used to convey relevance, it needs to illustrate a lifestyle that the visitor wants to have for themselves or their company. For example, a country hotel should look friendly and comforting, a designer kitchen should look crisp, sleek and clean.

Photo Credits