Tips for Improving Image Quality

There are many components involved when trying to create the best image possible for uploading. Here we will review some of those to give you a basic understanding.

Lighting Sources:
Lighting is the most important component to photography. Images are simply capturing the reflections of light off of the subjects. Colors are from the reflections of the wave lengths that have not been absorbed by the that item. Another important component of that is shadows. We’ll discuss that below.
*Natural Light – This means all the light comes from the sun. It can be directly outside, through a window, or in the shade. It is the cheapest to use but can be hard to control.
*Strobes/Flashes – Strobes and flashes help create or add light when needed. They are harder to learn but will make pictures look better. We recommend you don’t buy anything expensive until you have had practice so you know what you’re getting into.

Shadows:
One of the most important parts of photography is controlling shadows or using them to your advantage. The fewer the shadows on the face the younger the face.
*If you are outside place the model in full shade when possible. If you are unable to get in shade and there are harsh shadows then use a flash. It will fill in the shadows.
*Prime shooting time (golden hours) for coloring and shadows is just before sunrise and 1 hour after, and 1 hour before sunset and a few minutes after.

Creativity Aspects:
*Keep it Simple – Try to keep a single model in the image and uncluttered of non-essential background items. Don’t make other members play, “Where’s Waldo.”
*Golden Spiral – A well known aspect of all art is the Golden Spiral. Here is an example of the of the spiral itself and one with a photo showing it in use.

golden-spiralGolden-Spiral-Example

*Rule of Thirds – Another important concept that will help you a lot is the Rule of Thirds. Here is an example.

rule-of-thirds
*Props – Put similar colored or complimenting colored items around it. You can also add similar shapes.
*Angles – Take it from a little bit different angle then what you’re used to. Think about pictures of flowers. Which is prettier? A picture of a flower looking down from a regular perspective or a close up angle aimed up at the flower?

Editing:
It is very rare for a photo to not need any editing. There are a few simple techniques to make your image better. You don’t need Photoshop to make good edits to the photos and can do many directly on your phone. Just make sure that you don’t overdo it!
*Brightness – Cameras frequently take pictures a little too dark. Adding a little brightness can enhance the image and improve the skin. However, it generally takes out some of the coloring.
*Skin Tone – Depending on the color of your skin you can add a little color to make it look better. If you have pale skin then removing some red will make it look softer.
*Skin Blur – You rarely see a professional makeup or fashion picture that hasn’t had the skin blurred. It makes one look younger and makes the skin smoother. Though it is quick to do it has to be right to look realistic. This is the most frequently overdone portion of editing. Also remember to only blur the skin. Don’t do blur clothes, hair, lips, eye makeup or eyes, etc.
*Saturation/Coloring – Adding a little more color can make the image pop. Too much will make it look fake.

Saving/Resizing/File Types:
*File Size – When uploading images they are compressed to a smaller size. It can lose quality, sharpness, and coloring. One way to help keep the quality is to save the the image to 1200px on the longer side before uploading.

Equipment:
*Camera – To get the best pictures you will want to use a DSLR. These are the cameras with switchable lenses.
*Lens – If you have money then buy quality lenses. Many photographers still use old camera bodies but can get incredible pictures because of their lenses which allow better color and a sharper image. Knowledge and use of the camera helps too. Just remember that camera bodies upgrade frequently but you will still use the lens for longer.
*Ringlight – Ringlights are exactly what they sound like. They are a circular light built so you can put the lens in the middle of it. They reduce shadows on the face and add a nice reflection to the eyes. Since the light comes from all angles it doesn’t create the harsh light that a regular on camera flash does and makes the skin look smoother. Ringlights are generally used for closeup makeup shots.
*Beauty Dish – Beauty dishes can have a similar affect as the ringlights. They prevent shadows and give that glamorous magazine look. Beauty dishes can be used for all types of shoots from fashion to makeup.
*Strobes – Strobes can be expensive and require more knowledge of using the cameras on manual settings. Plus you need more accessories such as stands, umbrellas, diffusers, etc.
*Flash – On camera flashes and hot shoe can be helpful but harsh. You can put tissue paper over the flashes to diffuse the light and get a better image.