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Best Practices for General Contracting Photography

Taking pictures or videos of your work is one of the best ways to convince people to hire you. Not only is it virtually free to do, but it helps dip your toe into the world of photography! It’s not as hard as it seems, but there are some tips and tricks to help you compete with your competitors.

Do I Need a Camera, or Can I Use my Smartphone?

A few years ago, we would have told you that “the power and quality a DSLR camera has can’t be matched by that of a smartphone, so if you want the highest quality of pictures/videos, choose a camera”. 

In 2020, smartphones have amazing cameras and can capture phenomenal photos and videos. If you have a smartphone already, you don’t need to spend hundreds (or thousands) on a brand new camera. Use what you already have!

If you have professional photography skills, and also have a camera already, then use that. We feel that the differences in quality between modern smartphones and DSLR cameras isn’t worth the price difference for most people. 

Our advice: Only consider an expensive camera when you’re a pro photographer, or already have one. Modern smartphones are capable of taking amazing photos and videos.

Know the right orientation

The biggest thing that I see general contractors doing wrong, is that they’re not taking into consideration the orientation of the camera.

If you plan on posting an image specifically to Instagram for instance (which most people view on their phones), maybe you should consider filming/photographing vertically.

If you want the most versatility, we highly highly recommend holding your phone sideways. When you capture image and video horizontally, it allows you to use it in more places without having to crop it awkwardly. 

Our advice: Take most of your pictures and videos holding your smartphone horizontally.

What is 4k? 30fps? 60fps?

These are all terms for the quality of the videos/images you’re taking. 

Fps is a term exclusively for videos and stands for “frames per second” and essentially details how many images are being captured each second. Have you ever noticed how movies have that weird “movie” aesthetic to them? It’s usually due to low fps filming. Most screens can support 60 fps, so recording higher than that wouldn’t benefit most people. If you’re going to record slow motion, you should record in the highest fps available so that you can slow it down to get that cool “slow-mo” effect.

4k refers to the quality of the image/video. Similar to fps restrictions on monitors, lots of older displays still can’t support resolutions about 1080, so 4k is useless for them. However, it’s always advisable to take the highest quality pictures when you can.

Rule of Thirds Example

What is the "Rule of Thirds"?

The rule of thirds is a photography technique that utilizes the fact that if you divide an image into 1/3rds horizontally and vertically, that our eyes are drawn to where those lines exist particularly where those line intersections occur. See the image above as a reference.

When taking pictures, try to encompass the entire project in your shots, unless you’re focusing on specific aspects (such as new countertops, new flooring, etc.). In that case, try to utilize the rule of thirds, to take advantage of the way our brains work and to get some really stunning photography!

Our advice: Try to utilize the rule of thirds when you can.

What kind of lighting should I use?

You don’t really have to go out and buy special lighting, you just have to use what you have available. Smartphone flash isn’t the best, especially with glossy surfaces, but it’s always worth a shot if your pictures are coming out dark. 

Make sure the window blinds are open to maximize natural light.

Make sure the lights are on.

If you have a couple of extra work lights, why not turn them on and throw them behind you. 

One of the biggest concepts is indirect light. Sometimes pointing a light directly at your target makes it difficult to photograph. 

Try pointing the lights off to the side (if you have any), to help brighten the room, and not a specific object.

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