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Make Better Small Business Videos and Photos (5 quick tips)

August 28, 2020 | Entrepreneurship
Make Better Small Business Videos and Photos (5 quick tips), CDC Small Business

The necessity of small business videos and photos continues to grow. It is now more important than ever for small businesses to create content that captures people’s attention. 

Creating content doesn’t have to be hard. Even if your only tool is a phone, there are some quick and easy ways to ensure your small business videos and photos are representing your brand well.

 

Lighting, Lighting, Lighting 

Whether you are on a Zoom call, filming yourself talking or taking a selfie with friends, the lighting on your small business videos and photos matters. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:


Indoor

  • Always have the subjects face the light source (ideally a window) so that the back of the camera/phone is facing the window. 
  • To avoid any shadows or dark spots try to face it directly, positioning yourself a few feet from the light source. 
  • If you are inside a lot and needing to film/photograph but don’t have access to natural light, consider a cheap external light source such as this one

 

Outdoor

  • Avoid shooting in direct sunlight. Look for open shade as this will create a more balanced and flattering look for your subject – this can be under a tree or next to a building. 
  • If you have the option to shoot during golden hour, don’t hesitate. Golden hour is the hour leading up to sunset (and technically sunrise, but we’re going to assume you’re still sleeping then) and the afterglow that occurs immediately after sunset. 

 

Bonus tip for iPhone users: if you want to manually adjust the camera, tap and hold the screen until a yellow box comes up. 

You will see a sun icon to the right of the box, and if you drag the sun up it will brighten the scene, and if you drag it down it will manually darken the shot. 

Make Better Small Business Videos and Photos (5 quick tips), CDC Small Business

Indoor lighting

Make Better Small Business Videos and Photos (5 quick tips), CDC Small Business

Outdoor lighting

 

Get Closer 

There is an old adage from photojournalist Robert Capa that if your photos aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.  Capa’s work got up close and personal – to where you could see the emotions clear in his subject’s eyes. 

From group selfies to taking employee headshots, knowing when to fill the frame with as much of the subject’s face as possible can have a huge impact on your imagery. 

Whether that means cropping out the negative space from a photo or just taking a few steps forward before taking the photo – you will be glad you made the adjustment. 

Make Better Small Business Videos and Photos (5 quick tips), CDC Small Business

Get close and get closer

 

Composition

Most people don’t need a creative background to have an innate sense of whether something is designed well. From an architectural piece to an article of clothing – humans are very good at appreciating good design.

The same is true with small business videos and photos. One of the best tricks to remember is called the rule of thirds (see the photo below). 

The idea is that if you place your point of interest on one of the four intersecting lines, people’s eyes are naturally drawn to those points of the image.

Additionally, don’t be afraid to utilize negative space. Photos with a lot of negative space lend themselves nicely to graphic design repurposing and social media announcements. 

Bonus tip for iPhone users: Go to Settings > Photos & Camera > Turn Grid on

Make Better Small Business Videos and Photos (5 quick tips), CDC Small Business

Composition – using negative space

 

Small Business Videos: Listen Closely

Audio is one of the immediate factors that people judge the quality of a video by… Is it crisp and audible? Or do you have to strain to hear what is being said? 

Whether you are shooting small business videos with a phone or a camera, the answer is the same: external microphones. 

Regardless of your device, you’ll want something portable and high quality (and affordable) like this one.* 

After you have the sound recording down, ask yourself if the music you’re using in your videos is fitting and doesn’t sound stock. If not, look into a music subscription website like Artlist.io.* 

Having quality music in your small business videos will help give them a creative edge over your competitors. 

Check out an example video of our small business borrower, Georgias restaurant, created by our very own videographer: click here

 

Be Stable

Followed closely by audio quality is stabilization. If your work is too shaky or your photos are blurry, people won’t give you the time of day. 

Blurry photos most commonly happen in low-light settings. Here’s how to avoid them:

You can widen your stance and pull your camera away from your body with your camera strap tight around your neck so that it absorbs the vibrations. 

If you still aren’t getting stable photos, put your device on a tripod. While handheld video is definitely possible, it’s difficult to get much usable footage without some sort of stabilization. 

For mobile devices, check out a simple handheld grip like this one* from fantaseal, or this camera stabilizer.* 

Your small business videos and photos will get better with practice.  You can always do internet searches for more inspiration. Above all, always approach your storytelling from a point of authenticity and honesty and your audience will resonate with what you have to say. 

 

*These items are just suggestions.  CDC Small Business Finance has no connection to the brands.  These links give you an idea of a product or service and you are encouraged to do your own research on what will best match your needs and budget.


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