Website Photography Tips

Part2 – How To Take Better Photos For Your Website

Matt Addington shares tips and tricks for taking your own photos for your website, with your smartphone, in part 2 of this interview. We’ll also cover how to edit photos, great tools for editing built into your phone, and how to use photos on your website in the best way for maximum engagement and conversion. Matt shares some great tips that will make anyone better at taking photos, telling stories, and ultimately developing better content for your website!

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  • How to take great photos for your business with your smartphone
  • What are the best angles to take photos with your iPhone
  • How to zoom in on ordinary things to take dramatic photos
  • Getting your camera to a place that you or others normally take for granted
  • Don’t let the background be a distraction (“when in doubt, leave it out”)
  • What is the HDR camera setting on your phone all about
  • How using the touch focus feature on your phone can help take better photos
  • Using built in editing features right on your phone
  • Using apps and mobile versions of programs like Photoshop for professional editing
  • Powerful features with Adobe Lightroom for phone and desktop photo editing
  • When it makes sense to hire a photographer instead of taking your own photos
  • Using a “less is more” strategy when putting photos on your website

Thanks for Listening!

Here is a preview of the transcription from Episode 21 How To Take Better Photos For An Engaging Website With Matt Addington (Part 2);

Jesse: This is Local SEO Tactics, where each week we bring you tips and tricks to help you with your website and get you ranked in Google. This week we’re gonna be doing part two of a two part episode with Matt Addington, my friend and photographer extraordinaire.

Jesse: We’re gonna be getting into some questions and answers with him, and he’s gonna share a lot of great tips on how to take better photographs for your website, how to do it yourself, and really how to use your iPhone to do a lot of this. Or your Android phone too, if you’re in that camp.

Jesse: We’re also gonna get into where to draw the line and maybe bring in a pro to do some of the photographs for you, where you might need that on your website. How to lay your photos out and really tell an engaging story with your photos, on your website, that’s really gonna make customers stay on the page and hopefully convert once they land on your website, because of course, you have awesome SEO rankings.

Jesse: So stay tuned. If you guys want to get in touch with Matt after listening here, you can find all of his contact information on our show page, go to, or if you want to check out part one of this, it’s Episode 20.

Jesse: Matt’s great. He does great work, if you are looking to hire somebody to take some great photographs, or maybe follow you on your next excursion and document it for your business, or for your personal life. If you want to reach out to him just for some questions, he’s great. He does a lot of videos, and a lot of self-help, and how-to, to do these kinds of things as well. Check him out if you got any questions, and hope you enjoy this episode.

Jesse: Let’s get into some … I want to ask you some questions, just about your best practices and advice you can give to people. Thought it was interesting what you said earlier about drone photography, videography and things like that. Just elevation.

Jesse: We walk around five, six foot type range, that’s our perspective on the world. Do you have any advice for people if they are gonna take their own photos, whether it be with an iPhone or their camera, and if there’s difference for both, feel free to extrapolate. But playing with angles, what’s dramatic, what’s not for different scenarios. You have any advice with that?

Matt: Like I said, I use just the rule of thumb that I try not take everything at the place that people are looking, zoomed out at eye level. That just frankly is pretty boring. If you can get to the place where you’re looking straight down on top of something, or straight up at something, or really close, or looking at the texture of something that you maybe sometimes don’t go and look at.

Matt: I did a whole series of photos for some different farmers where I went and took super tight macro photos of barn door handles, and cracked windows, and things that those farmers walk by their entire life, but until they looked at images they never really thought, “I’ve put that hook on that door morning and night for the last 45 years, and now I’ve got an image of it that you could see the crusty rusty stuff on it.” Getting your camera to a place that you’ve taken for granted, or the people you’re working with have taken for granted, looking at things from different perspectives.

Matt: Now if people are in it, you obviously want to keep that in mind, that you’re not gonna shoot low angle stuff especially with them and get self conscious of the way you look at from below. There’s certain flattering ways to shoot people that make things look better. Look at things in a creative way. That’s just me as an artist saying, looking at your coffee cup. You probably look at it every day, but what are the unique ways that you can put your camera in a spot that takes a cool shot.

Jesse: We’ve got it to take it all for granted, but that’s part of our business, just our every day. You come in, you’re working eight to five, or eight to eight, or six to ten, or whatever it’s gonna be as a business owner, local business. Take for granted all those little nuances that tell your customers and prospects that actual story. That stuff’s important.

Jesse: Would it be fair to say, as us rookies and novices out there, we’re gonna gravitate towards not doing what you said. As a rule, we’re just gonna take the camera up, take a photo. If you catch yourself doing that, maybe take a few steps closer, or crouch down, whatever spot intrigued you, take multiples from that and look at them later, and maybe try and pick an interesting one.

Matt: Not to say I’m obviously an advocate. I’ve got expensive equipment, expensive lenses. But for a huge majority of people out there that are gonna listen to this podcast, or watch, or want to know more about this, you can do so much with the phone that’s walking around with you in your pocket all the time. People are like, “Well, I need to buy a new lens that gets me …” No, use your feet. That’s the best zoom lens that you have available all the time. Walk yourself over to take a picture of whatever it is that you’re framing up. Watching people taking pictures of people or groups of people, and they’re standings so far away. The people are gonna be this big, and all of this stuff doesn’t really matter.

Matt: As you frame stuff up, and again, I’m just using the cellphone example, don’t let the backgrounds and the other stuff be a distraction. Think through what am I trying to tell with this. If it doesn’t tell the story, then skip it. When in doubt, leave it out. Just get yourself to the place where there’s not things that are distracting your viewer from the story you’re trying to tell.

Jesse: That true even if … Let’s say your example of people lined up like a landscape type photo if you know wide angle, or a wide view photo. Natural assumption might be, “I want to get them all in. Head to toe, the whole deal.” Maybe just top half their bodies is fine. Captures it more intimate. Don’t be afraid to cut parts off.

Matt: The head to toe thing, you got the whole group. Do we really need to see their shoes in all of them? Can you get them to squeeze together a little tighter? I know we’ll put people in awkward … Depends on the group you’re shooting, but in every situation I try to get them as close together as possible without feeling weird, and then realizing that if you can get by showing upper body, shoulders and heads, that’s the part … We don’t care about their shoes and the group they’re standing on, and the stuff on the sides, and honestly probably the sky. If this is just about the people, then let’s get as tight as we can focusing on the people.

Jesse: Let’s talk about, with your phone. On my phone, I got an iPhone. I got HDR, non-HDR, things like that. If I’m just shooting just for a local service, business, auto repair, whatever, is there certain things I want to try and do with my phone, or just pop it open, take photos.

Matt: Yeah. The HDR thing on the iPhone, it’s cool, it’s probably a little bit more of a sales thing for Apple. I don’t look at those photos and go, “Oh my gosh, that was clearly taken with HDR on Apple.”

Matt: Now if you want to get into HDR, I go well beyond that, and I teach stuff on that, and talk about things like that. But the best phone you have, the best equipment that you have is the one that’s with you. On that phone, if you’re able to …

Matt: The thing that I do love about new phones is that you can shoot with a relatively shallow depth of field, meaning you can have something in focus here, and have things blurred out a little bit, which goes back to that simplifying your subject. If you want a picture of this microphone, the stuff that’s behind the microphone is not as important. Get close, tapping the screen sets your focus point. Most phones you can see things blur out in the background.

Matt: I tell folks, just use that technique, especially, so that you’re touching the screen so that it will focus where you want it to be focused. Those images that have a shallow depth of field brings your viewer to one thing, instead of just saying well, “Here’s the whole Grand Canyon again.” That’s wonderful. Show something in the foreground that is interesting. Let people know that it’s the Grand Canyon in the background, but is there something right here that’s really important?

Matt: You can do the same with exposure on that, where you’ve probably taken a picture of the sunset. You touch the sky, and everything else goes black. You touch the black, and the sky goes white. That’s your camera’s sensor not knowing what it’s doing with exposure. That’s where taking multiple exposures, HDR does come in if you’re really going to the high end of high dynamic range.

Jesse: Is that what it stands for?

Matt: Yup. Yeah. What that is, is the range of what the camera’s sensor is processing. It takes the brightest brights and the darkest darks, and those shadows, and it brings all of that closer to what our eye would see. We look at the sunset and see, “Wow, beautiful colors. Great texture. Here’s the ground. Here’s these people.” Our eyes can quickly bounce around and process that. Your camera is gonna say, “I’m going to right there, and that’s what I am zeroed in on.”

Matt: HDR tries to take a quick sequence of photos to process lights a little lighter, or bring those down, bring those shadows up. But you can also do, we talked a little about editing. You can amazingly do some crazy editing on your phone, if you did have that spot that things were just … the shadows were super, super dark. You can go in through the little photos tab and hit Edit, and you can go brightness, and contrast, and shadows. You can tweak things around and bring those back a little bit. Not like you would with high end editing equipment, but for a lot of the applications that your audience would use, you can do a lot of it on your phone.

Jesse: We’ve got a question related to that. Let’s go back to the auto mechanic with the oiled, greasy hands, looked like they’re working for that photo, as an example. If you took one back a little bit, and you’re on your phone editing it and you crop it in, you zoom in. You feel like, “Oh, that looks really good.” What would you suggest for using your phone, you’re just the everyday person out there. Would you save that cropped version and use that? Or should that trigger you to say, “Let me walk closer and do an original that’s more cropped in.” Does it really matter?

Matt: It doesn’t.

Jesse: Quality wise or anything?

Matt: Yeah. Anytime you crop, you’re throwing pixels in the garbage basically. Your image is getting smaller and smaller. The nice thing about a high megapixel camera is that you can take something and you can go in later. But my suggestion for people on that front is, if you know that that’s what you want and you’re able to get closer, then shoot them both. Take one right here if you want, so you’ve got this stuff for later. But go in to those hands if you’re able to, and shoot it later.


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