Up-Level Your Nonprofit Photography with these 5 Easy Tips
Create a Shot List
There are few things in life that can’t benefit from some planning. Having a shot list in mind - or better yet in a shareable document for your team, will ensure that you have a solid direction for your brand photography and that your team can easily identify which moments they should be capturing.
Question to ask yourself: What’s unique and interesting to my organization that I’d like to highlight?
If you really want to get into it - you can even create a mood board like mine that shares the tone and aesthetic you’re going for!
Sometimes it takes a visual to get everyone on the same page.
3. Shoot FOR Platform
When you’re shooting on the go, make sure you are thinking ahead and you have an idea of where these photos are going be used. Is it for your website’s blog? Is it for the Instagram stories or your twitter feed?
Instagram Feed PHOTOGRAPHY
When shooting for your Instagram feed you’ll want to shoot 4:5 (vertical). Do not crop these images into a 1:1 square. While Instagram is famous for those iconic square images, in 2019 the platform now allows you to post vertical 4:5 portrait images.
This is important because it’s best practice to take up as much of the user’s mobile screen as possible in order to command attention.
Instagram Stories photography
Similar to the Instagram feed, images should be shot vertical, but the ratio for an Instagram story is 16:9 (more narrow than your feed posts).
Whether you are taking pictures of people or detail shots like merchandise, it is important to make sure you are taking the image zoomed out enough so when the image is cropped into Instagram story dimensions - you aren’t leaving out any details or it’s not uncomfortably close.
Bonus note: be mindful of leaving negative space so you are able to add any necessary copy (text).
4. find Good Lighting
Good lighting is a cellphone photographer’s best friend. If possible, make sure the room you’re in is well lit. Never shoot against the light.
Tap to focus on your subject and manually set your exposure. When you tap the screen with your camera app open, you can swipe vertically down to darken your image and swipe vertically up to brighten the light levels. This will make a huge difference in the quality of your photo before you even begin to edit your images.
5. Edit Your Photos
Today there are so many FREE mobile apps to edit your images - you don’t need to intimidate yourself with fancy photo editing software. You can find round ups of the best and easy to use mobile apps all over the internet like here, here, or here. Whichever app you choose (my favorites are Adobe Lightroom and VSCO), here are the some basic editing tips to keep in mind.
The key is consistency and intention.
Straighten your photo and use your apps grid lines to make sure the image follows the rule of thirds. By cropping your image so it falls onto an intersection of the lines, you’re able to naturally guide your audiences eye to the area you want to draw attention to.
contrast + Saturation
Contrast and saturation are one of those things where less is more. Subtly increase your contrast and saturation to make your images stand out.
Lift shadows slightly so it’s not distracting your audience from the image's point of focus. Keep it looking natural.
Adjusting the sharpness of your image is easily the best way to make people wonder if it was professionally shot on a DSLR. Again, less is more - keep it looking natural!