Your brand photos don’t always need to be you – DIY phone photography

Shoot Advice

Hello, well, we’ve almost reached the end of the first “working week” where everyone else is having to work from home along with us.  It’s been lovely having Hutch around, but due to the nature of his work, I’ve been turfed out of my office a few times for him to do video calls, rude?!


How are you doing?


With shoots on hold for the next few weeks/months, the amazing businesses that I would normally be working with are without new photos of them for their business.  And that got me thinking…  Your brand photography doesn’t have to be all about your face (great news for those who have been hiding)!    There are actually things you can take photos of yourself to keep that on brand imagery coming out, and to illustrate those marketing messages you’re hopefully still putting out there.


For instance:

  • Work in progress photos of what you’re working on or creating
  • Tools of the trade
  • Your work space
  • Things that inspire you


DIY phone photography - AKP Branding Stories


Phone cameras have definitely improved over the years, so you can get a fairly decent image for social media these days!  So here are some of my top tips for phone photography to help you along:


Natural light

Wherever possible use natural light, it’s the queen of light sources!  However, avoid harsh midday sunlight that’s streaming through the window as this can create harsh shadows meaning some of your image is in the dark and the rest is over exposed.  Instead, the start and end of the day has softer light which is much easier to work with.  Or, put a thin fabric sheet, like muslin up at the window to act as a diffuser.


Backgrounds and angles

There are a few “rules of composition” that photographers either adhere to or break, depending on their style.  But to keep things simple…

  • Try and keep your backgrounds uncluttered, you can use fabric, rolls of wallpaper, and at the time of writing, the roll-up backdrops by Capture by Lucy is still shipping her incredible products using DHL and their remote collection service.  Once we are out the other side of this, there is also Photo Boards (another product I love) who have hard-back background boards.
  • Keep your horizons straight – if taking a photo of a table for instance, make sure it doesn’t look like it’s sloping down!
  • Overhead angles – this is usually what you see for flat lay images, it’s straight over the top of the image.  Use the grid lines on your phone camera to ensure that your lines are straight
  • Straight on – this is where you’re eye level with the subject you’re taking photos of
  • 45 degrees – you’re basically taking a photo at the angle between overhead and straight on, as if you’ve sat down at a table to eat what you’re photographing!


Angles in DIY phone photography - coffee cups - AKP Branding Stories


Styling and props

Have a look around your house to see what you have that reflects your brand and your personality, a few carefully chosen props tells a much more compelling story than lots of random ones crowding the scene.  It’s wise when shooting to take both a landscape and portrait image, so you it can be used across different platforms, but you may need to tweak the positioning of your props when you change the orientation.

Have a think what message you’re wanting to say and who you’re saying it to.  Always have your ideal client in mind.



Taking the photo is only part of the work…. the editing is bringing that photo to life.  The areas you want to be able to control with editing are:

  • Exposure – making your images lighter or darker
  • Temperature – this is particularly useful if there is an orange glow to the lighting or if you’re in a barn wedding and you can “cool” an image down
  • Blacks and whites – sometimes to give an image a bit more definition you can tweak with the blacks or whites of an image
  • Crop and straighten – just in case you weren’t quite as level with your phone before!


And now a phone photography challenge!

Over the next few weeks, each Monday I’m going to go live in my Facebook Group – The AKP Photography Lounge (and then hopefully reshare it on IGTV / Instagram) and introduce a topic to photograph for the week.  The aim being that you will be able to still create content for your marketing whilst shoots are off the table, but it also gives us something creative to do together.  Simply tag AKP Branding Stories on FB and IG so I can see how you’re getting on and share it.


Will you be joining me?

Amanda x





If you’re looking for lifestyle imagery for your business, then I will be opening my lifestyle stock photography shortly with all sorts of scenes set up for you, such as nature, food /drinks, “at work”, travel and some seasonal ones too.

Visit the Stock Photography Shop


March 26, 2020