MBS Standoff job photo

Job pics are the best way to promote your work and business.  Nothing says more than a quality photo of a just-finished job. But how many times have you used your cell phone to take a job pic? It looks OK on the phone, but when you get back to your home or office and open it up full screen, it is a blurred mess that you are embarrassed to send out. Sound familiar? Let me help you fix this simple problem.

The reason you have the smeared or blurred image is usually because you are shooting inside, which means low light conditions.  For a cell phone camera, this is a challenge. Camera's do not see light the same way the human eye does. So just because you can see comfortably in what are low light conditions, the camera needs to make major adjustments to get enough light to make a good photo. This means, in low light, that it has to leave the shutter open longer. When the shutter is open and the camera moves even a tiny bit, it makes a huge difference in the image.  

cell phone tripod

Solution: You need to have some kind of camera support or tripod, seriously. If you want good images, you have to stabilize the camera unless you're going to carry around a quality DSLR with a low Fstop lens, specifically for shooting this work. The low fstop lens has a wider aperture so it can open bigger to let more light in. So rather than open the shutter longer, it opens bigger letting more light in. If you don't want to spend about $1,500 on a decent DSLR and lens, then spend $12 on a monopod and learn to use it properly. You'll have great looking images from your cell phone. Or you can get a really inexpensive tripod for $18 and it makes it even easier. You can even find tripods with cell phone brackets made on them for less than $20.

If you go with the monopod, remember that it only keeps you from the vertical movement of the camera or the up and down shaking.  It does not stop you from twisting it or moving it back and forth, so if you opt for the monopod, it is a little trickier to master.  It is best used if you can find some kind of brace with a wall or something stationary to steady the camera.  In fact, just using a wall or corner or some other stationary surface can be enough to steady the camera to get a good shot.  But in most cases on a job site, you never know what is going to be available.  That is why it is important for your job supervisors to have something in their vehicle to use.

The next thing to consider is the shot itself.  Take plenty of photos.  If you are not a master photographer, take a couple dozen to start until you get the feel.  Look at them before you leave.  Know what you shot.  Step back and take a look to make sure you're not missing something important.

Beautiful Rod Display System

Turn on lights that don't reflect on the work or position yourself so the reflections are limited. Light is your friend when shooting.  This can be very difficult, because if your work is glass or highly reflective it can present a bunch of issues.  One way for a photographer to solve it is to have a large black sheet.  This has to be held up perpendicular to the photographer so the black cloth is the reflection and you won't see anything.  That isn't always practical but that is one way the pros do it. 

And last but not least, make sure your lens is clean!  We put our phones in all kinds of dirty environments we'd never put a camera, then we want to pull it from our pocket and shoot away.  Any one of a hundred times, we could have touched the lens and gotten it smudged.  Keep a lens cloth in the glove box.  Wipe the lens before you start - always.  Even if it looks clean.

And the final thing is to zoom in on the pic before you leave and look at some fine detail in the image.  If it is all blurry the whole image is going to be blurry.  Check your work before you go.

This may sound like a lot but once you get a system down it just takes a few minutes to get quality images.  Once you start taking them, share them on your website, social media and with us.  We will post them and you can "Like" the post and it helps us help you.