Getting the Best Shot: Small Biz Photography Tips


Photography is key to marketing your business effectively. While filling your Instagram feed with professionally shot photos would be ideal, it’s not always possible to swing on a small business budget. Luckily, all you need is a little planning and your cellphone to get moving in the right direction. Check out these basic pointers to help elevate your brand’s image without breaking the bank.

Get Inspired

Check out your competition: Which of their posts speak to you? Which photos get the most engagement from their followers?

You should also browse the pages of your favorite brands, and brands you aspire to be like. What are they posting that you like and want to emulate? Mood boards are always a great place to start planning your photoshoot. 

Mood Board Example

Know Your Angles

When shooting a subject, whether it’s a cappuccino or a pair of sneakers, it’s important to have a sense of the product and how you want it shown. When planning out your shots, consider which angles will photograph best, and determine whether it’s something you can display in-use (ie: showing your barista making the cappuccino, an action shot of the sneakers in motion).

To get a great range of imagery to choose from, you’ll want photos of:

  • the product by itself
  • close-ups of the product
  • the product in action.


Now that you know what you’re shooting and what you want it to look like, it’s time to talk logistics. When considering a background it’s important to think about your light sources. When shooting something against a dark background, you typically want a brighter, harsher light source to create contrast between your product and the backdrop. On the flip side, when shooting against a light backdrop, a softer, diffused light is preferred to keep your product from becoming too washed out and blending into the background.

You can create great lighting with inexpensive umbrella lights, or spring for more heavy-duty ring lights or light boxes. If you plan to use natural light, it’s extremely helpful to have a bright surface like a piece of white poster board to use as a diffuser or reflective surface to bounce light onto your subject. (Bonus: a piece of white poster board is also an excellent background to create a fresh, clean setting!)

The Rule of Thirds

Before you dive in, there’s just one other tip we have: the rule of thirds. On your smartphone, you may have noticed a setting in your camera that’ll toggle a 3×3 grid on and off on your screen when photographing. This grid is about to be your new best friend.

A basic rule of composition in photography is the rule of thirds. When photographing, place your subject in one of the fields of thirds in your grid to create a clear focal point. Be sure to play around with angles, and try your subject in different parts of the grid so you’ll have a wide variety of imagery to choose from.

Now that you have some of the basics, it’s time to get out there and photograph!

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