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Photography 101: How to Take Great Photos with Your Phone

Acknowledgment: Howcast is a free, decent and useful source for photography tips. Digital phtography using your phone is now virtually as good as a standalone DSLR camera and, what's even better, you can post directly to social media, your Shopify site and other platforms, right from your smartphone.   

Watch more Howcast Digital Photography 101 videos by clicking here.

Digital Photography 101 Quick Tips

You might not be composing award-winning photos, but if you cross paths with the right celebrity at the right moment, you'll want to know how to make your shot a tabloid-worthy one.

Step 1: Set your camera phone
Set your camera phone to take the highest quality (and largest file size) photo possible.

Step 2: Clean your camera lens
Make sure your camera lens is clean—and that you know exactly where it is!

Step 3: Arrange your subjects
Arrange your subjects or scene as you see fit.

Step 4: Make sure there’s plenty of light
Make sure there’s plenty of light. If you have a flash, turn it on, and stand with whatever other light source is around behind you, so it shines on your subject.

Don’t block the light with your own body, casting shadows on your subject. 

Step 5: Get in close
Get in close so that the subject is in full-frame.

Step 6: Use the rule of thirds
Use the rule of thirds, framing your subject in either the left or right third of the frame, not dead center—creating a more interesting picture.

If you’re shooting a celebrity at a club, use the rule of fourths—if the bodyguard is four times your size, don’t take the picture.

Step 7: Keep the camera steady
Keep the camera as steady as possible—the less movement the better, so stabilize yourself as best you can. 

Step 8: Snap your shot
Snap your shot and hope for the best—or the worst, as the case may be.

There are also plenty of reasons using a professional photographer is the right way to go. 

Collaboration Tips: Video

Everyday I get up and wonder "what can I do for my clients and community today?". But first, I start out with a coffee from one of our local shops and I greet the barista with "it's another day in paradise". Once the morning routine, emails and updates are done, I start searching for relevant content that's a fit for my clients.

One of my oldest and most active clients is Idaho River Sports. When I start looking for content I do a search by keyword looking for content. For this blog installment I will talk about how great video finds worked for them.

Videos Engagement

There are so many great videos available that can enhance how people see you. It isn't always about a direct relationship too. By posting a really good video about Boise and tagging it correctly, I attract the attention of a large pool of potential customers, the media and others. Here is a great example of a find that led to dozens of contacts, additional content like still photos (with permission), and Idaho River Sports got terrific feedback!

Art of Visuals was, to my surprise, a local visual arts resource company with an international reputation. I had never heard of them until we started casting about looking for people to document the new Esther Simplot Park. As we began to put information out to the public we stated seeing a few fun aerial videos hitting Vimeo and YouTube. We started posting a few of the better ones and started getting interest from professionals. They shared our altruistic motivation to do something beautiful. We offered to facilitate and as you would expect we also go permission to reuse all or part with attribution.  

Reminder! Always ask permission and offer to attribute the work to the creator. To see how the video worked on the Idaho River Sports website click here!

And when it came to finding the "community video gem", after a while it was really apparent that plenty of people love the Boise market as much as we do!  During the summer the staff at Idaho River Sports swells. Many of the summer staff are students and one of our favorite summer team members had been bitten by the aerial video production bug. With very little encouragement, Connor Bunderson put his talents to work and spent hours working on the video below for a store credit. The bonus for him was the addition to his resume working as a marketing intern at Idaho River Sports.

By being creative in how you connect with the community, opportunities to impress and engage will present themselves in many ways. Just allow people to do their thing and be supportive. 

For more about community-based marketing, feel free to contact me!

The Marketing Campaign

Definition: A specific, defined series of activities used in marketing a new or changed product or service, or in using new marketing channels and methods .

Effective marketing is often what separates rapidly growing companies from slow-growing or stalled companies that started at the same time, serve the same market and offer similar merchandise. Companies such as Gillette, Frito-Lay and Coca-Cola have succeeded in highly competitive mass markets for consumer goods because, while they certainly produce competitive products, they out-market their rivals. If you expect your business to grow to any size, you'll have to become an effective marketer, advertiser and promoter of your business. In fact, you're likely to grow to the extent that you master marketing, and no more

A marketing campaign isn't something that comes to you while you're taking a shower or reading a blog like this :-) Successful campaigns tend to be carefully researched, well thought-out and focused on details and execution, rather than resting on a single, grand idea. Planning a marketing campaign starts with understanding your position in the marketplace and ends with details such as the wording of advertisements for print, web and social media.

Keep in mind that your plan for a marketing campaign is not supposed to be a prison. You have to leave room to make changes as you go along because no plan can perfectly capture reality and your message may sharpen as time goes by. But you should be able to commit fully to implementing your plan, or some future version of it, f you want to take a strong step toward growing your business and solidifying your online and offline image.

Here are some ways to launch your campaign:

Speak at community events. Offering your expertise at public occasions is an easy way to get the word out about your business. You'll maximize your impact and lend credibility to your product or service. If you're unsure about public speaking, collaborate with an advisor or even an intern and let them take the lead using you and your business as their case study. 

Ask customers for referrals. Generating referrals from current customers is one of the best ways to market your business. Don't forget to query your vendors (they're likely to have many contacts) and explain to your customers exactly what kinds of referrals you're looking for and how they can help. One great way to communicate this to your customers is via email marketing and social media. 

Spend two days in your customers' shoes. To find out what your customers really want, visit a wide range of businesses they're likely to frequent. Observe how customers are treated, as well as the kinds of services that appear important to them; then adapt your business accordingly.

Offer free samples. If you can get someone to try your product or service, chances are they'll buy it later. Have employees pass out product samples in front of your business; if you provide a service, offer free services on a trial basis. 

Ask for help. Whether you talk to a professional or confidant, it is important to test your ideas and apply feedback to your campaign ideas. Listen to your employees and vendors for openings that can lead to collaboration. Build on your existing relationships to foster new opportunities and always, always give yourself enough time for the creative process to unfold. 

Acknowledgments - Entrepreneur Magazine and SBA for ideas and content.