When consumers hire a painting contractor they want a professional they can trust within their home who will do the job right, of course. But ultimately the goal is to leave the client with an attractive, quality finish. Painters are selling a highly visual product, and promoting your product with high-quality photos on your website, emails and social media can help customers make the final decision to work with your company over a competitor.
So how can you get the best project photography of your projects?
The good news is that great photos don’t have to come from an expensive high-end camera. A recent poll of APC’s Facebook followers found that the majority of painting contractors rely on their smartphones for photography. And because you—and your painters—are likely to have your smartphones handy at any time, there’s no reason not to photograph all of your most striking projects.
Consider these tips to get the best photograph for your marketing materials:
Consider your composition. While your instinct might be to center your subject in your photograph, the result actually will lack balance. Try instead to follow the Rule of Thirds: Imagine your viewfinder in a 3x3 grid. Place the subject either a third from the top, from the bottom, from the left, or from the right of the photo. This will create a more balanced and interesting photo. Having contrasting elements in the foreground and background can also make the shot more interesting. For interior shots, consider using a connecting room as part of your background, to give the viewer a sense of the space.
Natural lighting beats a flash. If it’s cloudy or you’re taking a shot inside, try using strong artificial lights or consider ways to reflect any natural light available. Simple things like white poster board or a sunshade for a car dashboard can be used to help illuminate the subject.
Think about what your lines are saying. There are plenty of lines on paint projects, but in photography you can use lines to inspire a specific response from the viewer. Horizontal and vertical lines tend to feel static, while diagonal lines may feel dynamic. Curved and wavy can also feel dynamic, but gentler. Keep in mind, lines that should be straight (think a slightly crooked horizon) can be distracting.
Prepare your space. On the job photos can be good marketing pieces as well, as they help the viewer visualize how work will progress on their project. But it’s important to send the right message. Before snapping a photo, make sure there are no spills or scattered tools.
Don’t zoom. Smartphones use a digital, not optical, zoom, which means that the zoom essentially crops the image you’re photographing, leading to a lower quality shot. Instead, walk closer to your far away shot or crop the image yourself after you shoot as this will give you greater control over the final result.
While there are plenty of apps today to transform your photos, the best photos depend upon a solid foundation. The good news is that while these tips will help set you up for photography success, plenty of apps are available today to help you crop and edit your picture for the best end result. Consider these apps to help you finetune and promote your work:
Unlike your built-in photo editor, Snapseed gives users editing control over aspects like highlights/shadows, ambiance, etc.
The feature-heavy Camera Zoom allows users to preset filters and comes with multiple shot modes. Set up grid lines, display a stabilization indicator and adjust your hardware controls before applying pro-level photo editing tools.
The Snap Camera HDR camera app with built-in editor allows users to to quickly enable HDR, and switch between a variety of shot modes such as panorama mode and burst shooting. The camera portion of the app gives control over white balance, while the built-in editor lets photographers enhance details and contrast, reduce noise, and otherwise tweak the resulting image.
Open Camera is an Android camera app offers helpful tools ranging from auto-stabilization to ISO and exposure controls, exposure lock, shutter controls, to countdown timers and voice triggers for taking a photo.
DSLR Camera Pro is all about the fine tuning and camera controls, as it aims to replicate the feel of a professional DSLR camera. Users can adjust ISO settings, light metering and white balance, and the app displays a live histogram. The app also provides a two-stage shutter, a moveable viewfinder, configurable autofocus and scene presets. Because it relies on manual camera hardware controls, DSLR Camera Pro may have compatibility issues on some phones.