Photos are great tools for online marketing and printed materials alike. The way that we prepare images for these mediums is very different, although the way we take them should be the same. Printed materials require much higher resolution, for example. If you are planning to take photos to use on your website and your brochure, for example, you should understand the following basics.
By following these simple steps, you will be able to produce high-quality images for both print and the Internet. Even if you are just developing your Facebook and other social media marketing, good-quality images will go a long way to improving your image.
- High quality camera. Today’s cameras are very good at what they do. Modern digital SLR cameras are very good at taking the perfect shot even if you are not skilled at taking photos. If you do not know much about cameras, it is easy enough to select the automatic function, or select the scene type to match the type of photo you are taking. If you are using a small camera on a phone for example, there is no way you can get as good a photo. There are still some rare exceptions to this rule.
- Lighting. Lighting is the key to getting a good image to use for professional purposes. If you are taking photos in natural light, take photos in the morning or in the evening. This will immediately give your photos a more sophisticated tone. At any time, it is important to remember to have light landing on the subject of your photo. Another way to think of this is to make sure the light source, or the sun, is landing on your back when you are taking that shot.
- Keep your camera still. The best shots are the crispest shots. The best way to take the sharpest photo possible is to keep your camera still. You can use a camera stand, or simply rest your camera on a table to make sure it does not move. Always be very careful when you are pressing the shutter button. Even the slightest movement will cause a large amount of blur. This is actually why most people cannot get the photo they want. Remember, in lower light conditions, your camera will take the photo slower, and this will allow more opportunity for blur. Keep it simple by keeping your camera very still.
- Software. Both Microsoft and Apple are doing their best to provide us with simple editing software applications to help us improve our best attempts. Aside from these two big players, we are seeing a huge range of third party applications that can help us modify even the worst of photos. Camera+ (plus), for example, is a small and relatively cheap application for the iPhone that does wonders to even the worst photos. It can even take a very dark and poorly taken photo and make it look great without any editing skills! Using these applications is a must for an amateur looking to get the most out of even the simplest of cameras. The results are very surprising.
- Always take big photos. All cameras will have somewhere you can select the size or resolution of your images. Always take the biggest possible photos you can. While we don’t need very large images for use on the web, talk with your printing supplier on their requirements. Normally, you will need 300dpi (dots or pixels per inch) for use when printing high quality materials. Reducing the size of an image for use on the web is always possible (150dpi), but increasing size just does not work.
- Understand colour and file type. Colour is more than we see, and colour and file type are very important when using digital images for web design or printing purposes. Digital displays use the RGB (Red Green Blue) format. You can save RGB as a JPG for the web, but when you are saving for printing, you must select the CMYK format. Printed images must be saved in the TIFF format.
Working solely for the web is much easier than dealing with both mediums. Talk to your printer or read the specifications supplied by your online printing services provider for more information.