I have lost count of the amount of times I am asked by a client to design a high-end publication or a book cover – only to be supplied with sub-standard pictures. Often, the type of images you need are not readily available in photo libraries so a different approach has to be taken. Here are some guidelines for you to ensure your marketing materials are up to scratch and your products and services are shown to the best possible advantage.
If you can stretch to it, use a professional photographer. You will pay more but it will be well worth it. Still-life photography becomes much more cost effective if you have a batch of items to shoot, so plan carefully and make sure you don’t miss anything out. While you’re at it, you might want to get a professional headshot done too!
If a photographer is beyond your budget and you are taking the shots yourself, make sure that they are of a high resolution (large file size). Low-resolution photos (72 dpi) will do for the Internet or e-documents but files for print need to be 4 times the size (300 dpi) to reproduce well. My compact Nikon has controls to allow me to change the resolution of the photos I am taking. It is set on High by default – I can always reduce the size in Photoshop later if required.
Good lighting is essential to show off your products and capture the colours accurately.
If your hands are as shaky as mine, this is a must!
Asking me to make a cutout from an image which has a very busy background is difficult and time-consuming. If you think you might need a cutout of your product, shoot against a white background. A large sheet of white paper under and behind the item will suffice, as will a white sheet (but try to make sure there are few or no creases). It may sound obvious, but make sure that none of your image is cropped off (see photo below).
It’s a wonderful tool, but you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear!