I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “everyone’s a critic.” Well in 2017, everyone’s a photographer — or so they think. Many marketers believe that because their Instagram feed looks great, they’re photographers. Well, that is until they are asked to create visual content (aka pictures and videos) for their organization’s website or social media accounts. When people start talking about shot lists, camera angles, and editing software, it can be a confidence killer.

If you read that bit above and thought, “Oh, man I definitely know that feeling.”  Don’t let it get you down! Tackle that content creation project head-on. I asked our resident photographer and videographer, Rachel Cohen, for some tips and tricks to help get you started. Here is what she had to say…

What’s the first thing you do when you’re starting new photography or video projects?

“I do some research to get design inspiration. If a client already has an idea for what they want, I start by scanning their website to get a feel for the current style. Then I see what I create that will fit in with the existing content and style. Of course, it is important to make sure that what you or the client has in mind is both possible and within reason and scope. Nothing is worse than giving ideas and making promises and then finding out they are out-of-budget.

This same advice also applies when you are starting a project for your organization. When you are planning your shoot, make sure you have the time and resources to accomplish it and that the pictures you take fit with your brand’s style guide.”

Are there any websites or Instagram accounts that you commonly go to for inspiration?

“I would say the website’s that I go to most are, CreativeLivePhlearn, 500px, and Pinterest. Creative Live and Phlearn are amazing resources for tutorials and challenges that then spark some inspiration.
There is so much great stuff on Instagram, but my go-to accounts are:

There are millions of talented photographers on Instagram, so search by keywords to find images that align with your subject matter or theme.”

Are there any common (and easily avoidable) mistakes that you’ve seen people make when it comes to their website’s video or photography?

“I’d say just keep it simple, and to keep a consistent tone or style with the photos and video you choose to use. Using the same editing presets or settings can help to keep a cohesive look that will flow well through the site and provide a unified look across different subjects.”

Are there any good free or cheap photo and video editing apps that you recommend?

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“I primarily use Adobe’s software for editing. That includes Premiere Pro, Photoshop, and Lightroom. Those can be expensive, however, so when I was starting out, I used a service with free options and a low yearly price is PicMonkey. They just came out with a mobile version as well.

As for mobile apps, I tend to use VSCO, Afterlight, or ColorStory, those are all free but have in-app purchases available to get more filters/effects. And of course, iMovie comes free on all Mac computers and Youtube has an editor section. Frankly, the “software and tools” topic is probably worth a dozen blog posts on its own.”

Any other tips that you have for people who are starting a project for their website?

“Use your resources!!! YouTube is honestly a GREAT tool for learning anything you could imagine, as well as what’s listed above like Creative Live & Phlearn.”

Hopefully, these tips gave you a good starting point (and confidence boost) to get started with your photography or video project. But if the project grows and you DO want some extra help, MINDSCAPE is now offering photography and videography services. So, keep your eyes peeled for more blog posts about these topics.