Friday, November 4, 2016

Professional photos with a cell phone? You bet!

Have you ever wondered why photos taken from your cell phone just don't work sometimes for print or website use? Are the photos often grainy? Does your subject look like he's got turkey feathers growing from his head? These challenges and some easy fixes were the topic of a session at this week's training for Main Street South Carolina managers.

"When you're a one-man shop, like many Main Street programs are, you might also be the photographer for your newsletters, websites or social media," said Beppie LeGrand, Main Street SC's manager. 

Meredith Houck, the Association's website and creative services manager, outlined several tricks of the trade for better photographs using only a cell phone and a little technical know-how of the phone and photography basics.

"You want your photos to tell a story. Even the dreaded "grip and grin" photos can be made interesting with just a few tweaks to your composition or lighting," Meredith said.

 *    Avoid placing the subject of your photo in the direct center of the photo.

 *    Most smartphones cameras have a grid view. Once you enable this, you'll see that the screen has four lines that divide the frame into nine equal parts. By using the rule of thirds, your subject should be on one of the lines, preferably where these lines intersect.

 *    Be aware of the background of the photo. If the photo includes people, make sure nothing appears to be sticking out of their head from the background.

 *    Make sure your resolution is set to the highest setting. A high-resolution image allows you to take quality photos that can be used in printed pieces and websites. A high-resolution image can always be compressed if the original is too large. Low-resolution image are usually grainy and pixelated. Pixels cannot be created to increase the size of a low-resolution image.

 *    When emailing or uploading an image, make sure to send the original size of the image. Do not compress the image.

Get Meredith's handout with the full list of tips from the session and take a look at her Power Point presentation.

The group ventured out in downtown Columbia to practice what they had learned.

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