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In this issue: DIY photography on a budget



DIY photography on a budget



The average cost of a professional photo shoot varies depending on a number of things: geographic location, skill level and style of photography, just to name a few. However, it is estimated that the average shoot costs somewhere between $75 and $150 per hour. Additional expenses for travel, professional models, and photo processing and editing all add up, making the final bill more than some nonprofits can afford.This has caused some nonprofit organizations to take matters into their own hands—literally. And you can, too. For tips on taking professional-looking photos with your digital point-and-shoot or mobile device, keep reading.

Tips for picturesque DIY photography

Here are some simple tips your nonprofit can use to take great-looking photos on a shoestring budget.

  • First things first: Before you start aiming for your potential prize-winning shot, make sure your digital or mobile camera is set to shoot at the highest resolution possible. After all, you don’t want to end up with a great shot that can’t be blown up larger than a thumbnail.
  • Background is everything: Oftentimes, we see DIY photos showcasing products on chintzy surfaces such as textured linens or tapestries. The simple fix? Find a beautiful background on Google® Images to fill your computer monitor screen with, set the product you’re shooting in front of your backdrop on a reflective base, point and shoot. You’ll have a professional-looking product photo in no time. There’s a great tutorial available on Mashable® that shows how it’s done.
  • Use photo editing apps: Photo editing apps, such as, Snapseed®, Afterlight® or even Instagram®, can take your novice photos from amateur to pro with a couple swipes of a finger. These apps use professional-looking filters, textures, photo frames and lighting effects to transform the most basic photos into beautiful works of art. The best thing: many of these image-editing apps are free or nearly free.
  • Dress for success: There are a few rules of thumb to consider when dressing for a photo shoot. First and foremost, avoid big prints and busy patterns that are hard on the eyes. Second, make sure clothes are neatly pressed and fit well. The camera will make little wrinkles and puckers stand out like a sore thumb. And third, select something that looks good, feels good and is representative of your organization and its brand. For instance, if you have a business casual look, a logo’d solid-color polo, cardigan or denim shirt would be appropriate. For a business professional look, a poplin or oxford button-down shirt lends a more polished image.
  • Crop your picture perfect: You have the perfect photo. You just need to crop it. The “Rule of Thirds” says images should be aligned using a grid of nine equal parts rather than centering. In other words, don’t crop an image to align the main subject smack dab in the middle of the photo. Following this rule can create images that possess interest, energy and artistic quality.

Remember, professional-looking photography doesn’t have to cost your nonprofit an arm and a leg. Follow these tips for fantastic-looking DIY pics. After all, your picture should be worth a thousand words—not dollars.

McCarthy, Kerry. “How Much Should I Charge For A Photo Shoot?” 365 Project. N.p., 05 July 2012. Web. Retrieved 10 Sept. 2014.

ORoarty, Abi Cotler. “10 Pro Photography Tips.” MAKE. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 10 Sept. 2014.

Romano, Andrea. “Every Online Seller Should Know This Smartphone Photography Trick.” Mashable. N.p., 05 Aug. 2014. Web. Retrieved 10 Sept. 2014.

Noreyko, Steven. “Headshot tips for business photos.” Headshots and Professional Portraits by Steven Noreyko Photographer. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 10 Sept. 2014.

“Rule of Thirds.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Oct. 2014. Web. Retrieved 10 Sept. 2014.


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