You do awesome work.
Your work impresses not only your clients – but also their friends, their family, even their neighbors are envious.
YET, there is one group of people who DON’T KNOW how good you are…
Before & After photos are the easiest way to impress your potential customers. That is, IF you can get some professional-looking pictures of your work.
Got 5 minutes?
Here are 8 simple tips for taking the most gorgeous Before & After Pics with nothing but a smartphone:
1. Fill the Frame with What You Like
If you read nothing else on this page, READ THIS. This is the most important rule of photography.
No matter how bad you are at taking pictures, if you fill the frame with your intended subject (those perfect stripes on the lawn, or a recently vacuumed bedroom), you will INSTANTLY make better pictures. Fill the frame with as much of your subject as possible.
2. Landscape vs. Portrait Mode
Look at your computer. See how wide the screen is? Landscape mode lends itself really well to big, beautiful pictures for your website.
Most of the time, you want to take pictures in Landscape mode. However, there will be times when you want tall, long shots (maybe you just installed a really nice pool, or you want to show off your tree-trimming work).
Once again, it all goes back to filling your frame. If your subject is TALL, you might want to try a few snaps in portrait mode. If your subject is a big, wide lawn, almost 100% of the time you’ll want to use landscape mode.
3. Blurry pictures?
It could be that your camera is moving too much.
Hold the phone with both hands. Keep your elbows tucked in against your body. This will help get rid of shaky-shot syndrome.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to snap a photo of your ride-along mowers zipping across the lawn, your phone’s camera most likely has a ‘sports mode’ or ‘action mode’ setting that will help smooth out the blur.
4. Lighting is Everything
Too little lighting, and your shots are going to be muddy, dark, and unfocused. Too much lighting, and your shots will look overly-dramatic. You’ll get all of these dark shadows, and frequently your subject will be bathed in darkness.
These are some ideal lighting conditions for outdoor photography:
- Morning or late afternoon, when the sun is not too high in the sky
- Partially cloudy or in the shade
- If the Sun is high overhead, face AWAY from the Sun
(Note: you only need ONE of these at a time.)
For indoor photography, you will be mostly working in the darkness, so your main job is to get as much light as possible. Throw those windows wide open (and make sure they’re sparkling clean) and turn on ALL the lights.
5. Use the Natural Lines
This one is a bit abstract, but I put it in this list because there is one part of lawn care that makes this very easy.
See those perfect stripes running up and down that lawn you just mowed? You want to compose your picture so that it follows along those lines. Our eyes are trained to naturally follow lines. You want to have interesting objects (a flower garden, a nice-looking house) on the edges of curves and at the ends of those lines.
For residential cleaners: long hallways are great for putting interesting lines into your pictures. Don’t be afraid to move objects so the picture looks more attractive (just don’t mess with something that might upset your clients).
6. Use the Rule of Thirds
You want features in your image to flow from section to section. Think of your camera’s screen as a 3 x 3 grid. (Easy mode: most smartphones have a setting that overlays your screen with a grid. Use it!)
Instead of placing the horizon directly in the middle of your shot, you want it in the bottom or top third. Instead of putting that perfect flower in the center of your shot, put it on the right or the left. When you’re facing a tree line, maybe you want to line it up so there’s a tree in each third.
Try to fit different elements into the “thirds” of your shot.
In a way, composing an image with the Rule of Thirds in mind is kind of like formatting text. Visually, it’s more interesting, and draws the lead’s eyes right where you want them.
7. Make your Images Pop with Contrast
No. I’m not talking about filters. I’m talking about artistic contrast.
If you want to take a picture of that lush, green lawn, try to get a burst of white flowers in your shot. If you want a picture of those huge, spotless windows, put a small vase in the foreground to give it perspective.
- Big vs. Small
- Bright vs. Dark
- Background vs Foreground
- Color vs. Color
Contrast elements make your images stand out.
8. Change Your Focus
Usually, you’ll want to focus on the main subject of your photo. However, if you play around with the focus tools you can get some really stunning shots.
Tap on your screen to focus on different parts of the image – focus on that tree over there, or the mower smack in the center of your screen. Focus on the grass, or the stripes on the lawn.
This change in focus can emphasize other aspects of your work, like that perfect trim on the sidewalk, or those immaculately squared bushes.
Whether you’re in Lawn Care, or Residential Cleaning, Before and After pictures are a necessary part of the job. Mostly, you can use them for Marketing (on door hangers, your website), but they are also handy in case of damage, or if a client has a problem with your work.
Even if you’re not the artistic type, this is a great project to give to someone in your company who has an ‘artistic streak’ in them – and it can really pay off.
The best part?
Using the Service Autopilot Mobile App, you can send these stunning pictures to the office from inside the App.
iPhone or Android, tablet or smartphone, these 8 simple tricks will land you better Before & After pictures of your work.
Patrick Hoffman is Marketing Director at Service Autopilot. He specializes in managing marketing campaigns and giving marketing strategies to the Lawn Care, Landscaping, and Cleaning Industries. When he's not writing, he's reading books on marketing, self-improvement, or science fiction.