Cut Out the Middle Man and Be Your Own Marketing Photographer

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Marketing photography isn't impossible with only a phone.

Few industries have been as democratized as photography. The art of taking quality photos was once an arcane and expensive process limited to professionals who invested in their own equipment. Fast-improving technology has changed all that.

High-quality cameras are now not only inexpensive but a default feature on many cell phones, opening up new ground for playing around. There’s no need to develop film anymore, so trial and error cost nothing; post-processing to make images pop, either with an app or a more thorough solution like Photoshop, has never been simpler. Take a look at how the camera industry has changed over the years and you’ll see some stark trends.

The biggest winners in the democratization of photography definitely aren’t the professionals — it’s you and me. While professional photographers still serve a valuable purpose, we’re now able to become our own marketing photographers. Camera phones aren’t just for photos of brunch of seaside selfies. While our phones and ourselves might not be total replacements for a professional, we can often get the job done. That’s especially true if our photos are intended for social media rather than glossy magazines.

Considering the cost savings, doing your own marketing photography is worth the effort. With just a little experience and the right tools, anyone can become a guerilla marketer. This is great news for those of us short on time and money. The alternative DIY approach can work wonders — assuming you go about it with a bit of smarts.

DIY Marketing Done Right

You don’t have to be a scrappy startup to utilize the power of your cell phone’s camera to sell. Even Apple, the most valuable brand in the world, is getting in on the action. A billboard ad campaign for the iPhone 6 consisted only of photos that their customers had taken with their iPhones.

It’s a clever ad campaign that serves to highlight Apple’s flagship product, but it also shows how useful your phone’s camera can be. Companies big and small are getting creative in how they use cell phones to further their marketing. However, creating effective photos is more than just aiming and shooting. Here are some things to consider if you’re opting to do marketing photography with your cell phone.

Powerful Apps like Obscura

While phone cameras are improving with each new model, they still lack the functionality of a quality DSLR camera. Fortunately, there are useful apps out there to close the gap and offer more options when it comes to shooting photos. One of the better apps for this is Obscura ($4.99 on iOS).

Obscura features a bunch of attractive filters to help bring your photos to live, but the functionality it adds to the iPhone’s camera is what’s most interesting. With the App, you can quickly tinker with the shutter speed and exposure to get that perfect shot. Those setting let you be way more creative and flexible with your shots.

There are other apps out there that might be more to your liking. Try them out and see which one works best for you.

Shoot in Raw

To make the most out of photos, you need to shoot in RAW. This file format retains way more data than JPEG and other formats. This gives you way more options when it comes to editing the photos and bringing out the best elements. For the casual person, RAW isn’t necessary as it takes up plenty of file space. For marketers, it’s an invaluable file format.

For the iPhone, you can only shoot in RAW with certain third-party apps. For Android, you can only shoot in RAW depending on your phone’s manufacturer. Most high-end phones enable shooting in RAW, while budget phones might lack the feature.

Beef Up Your Phone

Even with the latest, most expensive phone, your camera might not be as strong as you’d like. If that’s the case, you have your choice of various dongles that improve functionality. There is a bunch of third-party dongles out there of varying quality.

One that stands out is Olloclip’s clip-on camera lens for iPhones. This $80 accessory is worth the price if you really want to improve your phone’s photo capabilities. While the price seems a little steep for a mere accessory, such a price is a bargain in the world of photography.

Practice Makes a Perfect Photographer

Even with a powerful phone, the best Apps and a trove of accessories, good photography isn’t an automatic process. There are still plenty of techniques to learn. Creativity is also a necessity, as is an eye for light and color. Professional photographers are at an advantage when it comes to all these things. Furthermore, a pro’s equipment will also be superior to a phone.

Still, a little practice can make for some very effective marketing photography.

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