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Don't Let These Common Photo Mistakes Sabotage Your Marketing Efforts

A woman making cookies
Good imagery matters

In today's digital world, high-quality visuals are crucial for any small business. Great photos grab attention, showcase your products or services, and ultimately help you connect with potential customers. But let's face it, fuzzy phone pics and cluttered compositions don't exactly inspire trust or professionalism.

Fear not! This article will unveil common photo mistakes that might be sabotaging your marketing efforts and equip you with simple solutions to elevate your photos and leave a lasting impression.

Mistake 1: Harsh Lighting or Darkness

Ever noticed how some photos have dark shadows or appear washed out? This is all about lighting. Harsh overhead lights or direct sunlight can create unflattering shadows. On the other hand, low-light situations often lead to blurry photos.

Solution: Embrace Natural Light

Whenever possible, take advantage of natural light. Find a well-lit spot with diffused light, such as a window with curtains filtering the direct sunlight. This will bathe your subject in a soft, flattering glow.

Mistake 2: Messy Backgrounds

Imagine a bakery trying to showcase their delicious cupcakes. But instead of a clean backdrop, the photo shows a cluttered kitchen counter. The cupcakes get lost in the visual chaos. I see this somewhat often on Facebook and for most, it destroys the first impression of the Brand. Visuals are everything yet at the same time, something is better than nothing.

Solution: Keep it Simple

A clean and uncluttered background allows your product or service to take center stage. Use a solid color backdrop (think seamless paper or a painted wall) or find a tidy location that complements your brand. Even (POV) Point of View - shots work, giving the customer a partial experience for how they will see your products.

Mistake 3: Low-Quality Photos

Tiny, grainy photos don't exactly scream professionalism and I see this very often with small businesses. This typically comes from low quality downloads of images online which are then compressed again when uploaded to Facebook or other platforms making the somewhat fuzzy/medium quality passable image even worse than expected.

Solution: Up Your Camera Game (Even on a Budget) and avoid downloading low quality imagery

Most smartphones have excellent cameras these days. Consider having others take some for you if you know you cant get good images. Fancy equipment is not needed, you can achieve a lot with a smartphone camera or by paying attention to image size, orientation and how each platform treats them. Here is what Facebook recommends for image sizing on their platform.

Mistake 4: Unbalanced Composition

Ever feel like something is "off" in a photo? It might be the composition. Our brains naturally gravitate towards balanced visuals. There are many ways to balance an image. Here is in my opinion the most helpful below.

Solution: Rule of Thirds

A woman making cookies with rule of thirds overlay

Imagine dividing your photo frame into a 3x3 grid. The most visually interesting elements should be placed where the lines intersect. Avoid placing your subject directly in the center and use leading lines (like a path or a table edge) to draw the viewer's eye towards it. Looking for more in depth explanation?

Mistake 5: Misusing Stock Photos

Stock photos can be a great resource, but generic images can make your business look impersonal. As mentioned above here, Stock photos often lack quality due to image tagging or other reasons such as orientation not matching the use case, resulting in stretched images and lower quality. These images are often low quality to begin with because they are downloaded from platforms which compress the image.

Solution: Be Specific or Get Creative

Use stock photos that are very specific to your industry or service. Even better, take your own original photos whenever possible. This adds a touch of authenticity and allows you to showcase your brand personality. Ensure that sizing is good for the platform you use, if you are unsure you can default to a 1:1 aspect ratio.

Bonus Tip: Invest in a Smartphone Tripod

A small, inexpensive tripod can make a world of difference. It stabilizes your phone, preventing blurry photos from camera shake along with creating consistent imagery.

Sharpen Your Photos, Sharpen Your Brand

By taking these simple steps and experimenting with different techniques, you'll be well on your way to taking captivating photos that elevate your brand and resonate with your audience. Remember, even small improvements in photo quality can have a big impact on your marketing success. So grab your camera (or phone) and get creative!

- Nick and AI

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