Phone photography 101: how to take great photos of your business

Phone with picture on it and DSLR behind it for Phone Photography 101

Welcome to Phone Photography 101 where you’ll learn simple tricks to taking great photos! Great photos are an important thing nowadays. 

Did you know that uploading photos to your Yelp page is one of the best things you can do for your business? In fact, businesses who have between 1–5 reviews and 10 photos get 200% more user views than businesses with the same number of reviews and no photos.

People like to see photos of your business. Their interest is sparked because you’ve provided a glimpse into your offerings. Though professional photo shoots and DSLR cameras can be expensive, don’t despair. You only need two things to take eye-catching photos of your business: your smartphone and a free photo editing app or website.

3 Hacks for taking a great photo on your phone 

Take your best shot

Let’s start with a few photo hacks. Think of this as a quick ‘n’ dirty guide to taking vibrant photos.

  • Remember that it’s always best to hold your phone with both hands. If your hands are a little shaky, prop your phone against a glass or something sturdy. Voila!
  • Closer shots reveal the finer details of your fare — but don’t use digital zoom. This will make your shots look grainy. Instead, try using the crop function in a photo editor. 
  • A quick note on composition: A square aspect ratio makes for a tight and interesting layout. Think of it like a spotlight that lights up the key element of your photo right in the center.
  • Turn on the grid feature and use it! The grid feature on your smartphone camera will help you take these shots like an expert.

Find your light


Illustration of three phones with different brightness for Phone Photography 101

One problem that a lot of people run into with photography is lighting, especially in dark or dimly lit places. Instead of using your flash or “flashlight” function to light close-ups, try using someone else’s phone screen turned to bright.

The light will be softer and you might surprise yourself with the results. Also, try focusing on the darkest part of the shot — a simple tap on your screen will usually change the focus and exposure. It’ll lighten up the rest of the picture. In a photo editor, you can also play around with contrast and brightness.

Make it look pretty

Illustration of a photo editing tool for Phone Photography 101

Speaking of photo editors, let’s discuss how to clean up your photos to make them look their best. PicMonkey, a free website, rocks. It’s quick, easy to use, and really makes an impact. It’s got everything you need for basic photo editing.

There’s also Pixlr, which has a few more bells and whistles if you want the creative freedom to be a little more experimental.

Snapseed is great for photo editing on the go. You can download the app to your phone so you don’t have to wait until you get to a computer to make your pictures really shine.

And while you could always spring for Photoshop, you don’t have to spend a small fortune to get this type of software. Try Gimpshop instead; it’s the free online alternative to Photoshop.

Now that you know all of the basics, it’s time to put this knowledge into action. You can upload unlimited photos directly through Yelp for Business Owners or the Yelp For Business Owners mobile app for free. Make sure you put the perfect caption too. Captions aren’t just what you say, it’s also how you say it. Make sure your captions have the right tone for your business.

Happy snapping!