At 1sixty8 media, we know your time is valuable, so we appreciate you taking the time to look over these photography tips and watch these videos. We can promise that the time you spend on this one subject will reap financial benefits for years to come.
Whether you want to use photos for your shop’s website or to submit elsewhere, you want them to work for you, not against you. Poor-quality photos can do more harm than good. We have seen first-hand the impact that great pictures can make, compared to ones that are just OK. Great pictures engage and captivate people, and create a positive image of your business. Have you read about the studies of babies and their responses to people with symmetrical faces? We are programmed to like things that look good!
The following three videos provide some great basic tips on photography. After each video is a summary of the key points and, when applicable, comments on how those points apply directly to your business.
5 Tips for Better Car Photography – 5:43 minutes
5 tips and how they relate to your website:
- Know what you want to highlight in the picture and compose the shot around that. Before you start clicking away, take a second or two to think about what you are taking a picture of. This is especially important if you plan to submit the vehicle for a mini-build or build post. If you are going to talk about a specific part of the build, make sure you provide a few pictures of exactly that part.
- Don’t be afraid to take pictures from angles other than standard height (I could see this one applying to trunk shots and door panel shots).
- If given two angles, take the picture on the side with more light.
- If you’re using a DSLR camera, make note of your F-stop – if you open the aperture (lower F number) for a close-up shot, don’t forget to readjust it for a shot from farther away.
- Be aware of the background behind what you are shooting. Many times, you can make a picture better just by changing the angle from which you take the picture to remove distractions from the background.
How to Photograph a Car – 12:01 minutes
This video is the longest of this group. While not all of it pertains to our work in vehicle audio, it is good to see and hear photography discussion from a professional’s view. If you are using a point-and-shoot camera, you can skip the parts about the F-stop/aperture.
- Try to keep as still as possible when taking pictures, especially if the lighting is bad. In low light, the camera lens has to stay open longer to let in enough light for a good result. During that time, any motion will result in blur.
- Keep in mind that your eyes have a much more dynamic range than a camera lens – that is, you may see more than the camera can record.
- Clean off the parts of the car and the area you plan on photographing. We all know that some cars are beyond hope, but even just wiping down the dash, pulling that wad of paper out of the dash pocket or sweeping the floor around the vehicle before you take the picture will make a difference!
9 Photo Composition Tips – 3:09 minutes
This video is also good for you fabricators, because a lot of these tips also apply to design in general. Many of these directly tie into how you should lay out designs for trim pieces.
9 tips and how they relate to your work:
- Follow the Rule of Thirds: Break the image into a 3 by 3 grid and put your subject in the intersecting spots. This is one of the most basic composition ideas.
- Use leading lines: Use lines existing in the picture to lead your eye to the subject, such as the lines of a dash leading to the head unit.
- Use diagonals: Diagonal lines suggest movement and can help move a picture from seeming static to having a sense of action.
- Frame it: Use existing elements to frame and help focus attention on the subject.
- Go from figure to ground: Look for ways to photograph the subject so there is some contrast between it and the background. For car audio shops, this will most likely be lighting – for instance, if you’re taking a shot of a double din radio, having it display something very bright, so the radio has a lot of contrast to the darker dash. The eye is always drawn to lighter areas first.
- Fill the frame: Really think about what you are photographing (the subject) and fill the frame with that item. If the subject is a set of pillar pods you built, don’t waste the valuable picture on a whole bunch of windshield. Move in on the subject and make that the focus.
- Center the dominant eye: Use this tip for taking portraits.
- Patterns and repetition: When I started thinking about what we will be photographing, the first thing that came to mind was the texture of interior upholstery. I don’t think this is something we need to focus on very much, though, because our goal is to highlight product, unless the install is a wall of woofers!
- Symmetry is pleasing to the eye: Again, this is good to know and is a great design key, but it isn’t always going to be relevant to the shots we will be taking.
We trust you made it through all three videos, and that you will let the ideas sink in and revisit this every so often. Nailing some of these pointers will put money in your pockets!
If you have any questions on photography or photographic equipment, contact Joey Knapp.