The latest NY Post cover.
Your Instagram feed you just browsed for 20 minutes.
Those pretty holiday card designs you just purchased online.
What do these all have in common? Pretty photos. You were drawn in by big headlines, colorful imagery placement and clean, bright photos. When was the last time you read an article or blog that had no photos, or dark, tiny images? You didn’t. So why are you punishing yourself with them? If you don’t even like them – no one else does either! Here are 5 ways you might be jeopardizing your content with less-than-par images:
1. They’re too small.
Nothing is worse than going to a website or blog to read a really great article and see tiny little photos from your iPhone. Here’s a tip – even those iPhone images can be emailed as a high resolution size. Email it to yourself at FULL SIZE and then DOWNLOAD the image – repeat DO NOT right-click to save it. This won’t save it at its largest size. Just because you don’t have a DSLR doesn’t mean you can’t take beautiful images. This butternut squash soup image was shot on my tiny little iPhone 5 – yes, the outdated model. So yes, you can take professional images with your phone!
2. They’re too dark.
Dark is out. Light is in. Just peruse your Instagram account – look how many bright and light images there are – those are the ones people see. They make them happy. Happy sells. Learn to work with the light in your favor. Tips:
– Sunlight streaming behind you will illuminate your photo or subject, not wash it out.
– Make sure there are no shadows creeping in.
– The best light is always in the morning and early afternoon.
– And when all else fails, there is Photoshop for dummies! (see below for tips on what apps to use on both your smartphone and computer).
3. They’re too grainy.
Just stop using your zoom on your iPhone, just stop. It’s making your images grainy and pixelated. Tip – you can NEVER increase the size of an image, only shrink it, so you should always try to take the largest, highest resolution image that is possible. As I showed above, it is possible to save and take large-scale images on your smartphone. Another way to try and jazz it up is to (1) make sure your image is in focus when you take it, and (2) adjust the contrast. This will make your image a little crisper, making all the details pop.
Another tip – try turning off your flash. DSLR’s are made to take amazing shots inside in the dark without a flash. The image above has not been touched up at all, and was shot with no flash. Even with your smart phone, images can be brightened using an app instead, giving it a more natural feel.
4. They’re washed out.
Photos are meant to tell a story without words, so let them do the work for you! When you are taking images, think of them as mini visual chapters that you will embed into your over all “book” or blog. Once all the chapters are combined, you have a NY Times best selling novel! This image above was shot with a iPhone as well (as you can see, I have my DSLR in-hand). It was also shot on a gloomy, overcast day in the fall. Since this was on my phone, I used an app call Snapseed to brighten the image, as well as add more contrast and saturation (aka – add more color!). Don’t just throw up an image because you have it – you spend all this time trying to write a post – spend a little time on your images as well!
5. When all else fails, try vintage or black and white images.
Sometimes your images boldly tell a story, and color can distract from that. Try removing the color from a photo and see if it resonates with you more. You can also still sharpen the contrast and saturation to make the blacks blacker and the whites whiter. As you can see in the above photo, the couple needed nothing else to convey what was happening in the image. Color would have drowned them out. Don’t doubt that you can just snap random, amazing shots!
Great Apps to help doctor your images:
On a Computer:
On your smartphone:
Go out there and play around with some shots – take photos of the trees, the ground, a bum on the subway (don’t get caught!), or even your mug of coffee in the am. See how placement changes with lighting, and how the apps can brighten and make your images crisper. Then post them on Instagram or your blog and tag us (@intro_nyc) – we want to see!