How to make your photos look more professional

After viewing my slideshow or presentation you're convinced: you're going to start taking your own pictures. Yay! Good for you! 

But how do you make your smartphone photos look professional? 

Keep the following tips in mind: 

Make sure your background is neutral. White always works, but other colours can be great too, depending on your subject. 

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Try to focus on one thing at a time. If you try to show too much in one image you'll only confuse the viewer. If you're just starting out taking your own pictures try and keep it as simple as possible (unless of course you're trying to illustrate chaos).

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Adjust the shape and orientation of your framing to your subject. A circle works really well inside a square; a factory building really needs at least a 2:3 landscape rectangle. 

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Keep an eye on the direction and movement in your image. If it's static: no worries. If it's dynamic, make sure its direction isn't oriented away from whatever it is you're trying to accentuate in your text or web page. For example, if you're using a portrait make sure the person is looking at whatever it is you're trying to accentuate. Not away from it. 

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Stick to subjects which suit you and your business. If you're an accountant with a very formal website you probably want to give pictures of your home baking a miss. And if you train doulas I'd steer clear of shiny metal objects. 

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Don't be afraid to use everyday objects - whether from your home of your business. If they align with who you are and what you have to offer they're a great way to illustrate concepts and translate metaphors. Take this image of a fork - it could work really well for someone who helps people lose weight.

If you keep these five tips in mind when taking pictures they'll look much more professional. And of course, as with anything you're trying to learn, practice makes perfect. So take loads of pictures, experiment and figure out what works for you.

One last thing. Perfectionism does not help you take better pictures - especially if you're just starting out. The only thing it does is make sure you don't even start taking pictures. So do ignore any voices in your head saying 'not good enough'. You're practicing, not taking a photography final. Just experiment and, above all, enjoy the process. Because taking pictures can be a lot of fun.