How to take a good photo

As Sharon (our CEO) loves to say, "we buy with our eyes". Your photos on Pepperlane are an opportunity to tell a story about who you are, what you have to offer, and what sets you apart.  

Start with what you've got
Step 1 is... relax. Take inventory of the photos you already have. Just a handful of well-taken shots of you and your work are a great place to start. You don't need to orchestrate a complicated photo shoot to get started on Pepperlane. If you're going to invest the time in refreshing your photos, here's what we recommend:     

Make a plan
Really put yourself in someone else’s shoes when thinking about how you want to show what you offer. Think, “Would I buy this service based on what I’m planning to show in these photos?”

For your primary photo, an action shot is preferable to a head shot. Whether you're working diligently in your home office, stitching a quilt or plunging your hands into the soil in the garden, make the connection between yourself and your service.   

For your service photos, if you offer a finished product (photo books, resume design, gardens, interior design, cooking, floral design, personal styling, etc.) photograph some examples of your  best finished  work. If your service involves working with your hands, a close-up shot of a work in progress could also be very inviting.

If your service involves working with someone else, recruit an existing client or a friend to play your client in the photo. And since you're going to be in the shot, don't forget to deputize a family member or friend as your photographer.  Several of our members offer photography services, so don't be afraid to hire a helper, either! 

Prepare yourself 
Choose clothing that matches your style and your service, and is cohesive with the story you want to tell. You may want to try a few different outfits to see which works best. If you need help, consider working with a personal stylist to choose just the right look!

If taking photos that focus on your hands, consider the cuff of the shirt you are wearing and also make sure your nails look nice! Nail polish (if any) should be nude, clear or neutral color to your skin color.

Hair and makeup should be as you would apply/style for an average day. If you don’t generally wear makeup, consider just a touch of bronzer and some mascara.

Set the scene
Make sure you've chosen a venue where there's lots of light. Remove clutter, anything that would distract from the focus of your photos, and any objects you wouldn't want to have photographed. Nothing has to look Martha-Stewart-level perfect, but you don't want to be kicking yourself because you forgot to remove the pad of bright orange post-it notes and now that's all you can see 

If your service involves desk or counter/table surface shots (bookkeeping, tutoring, planning of any kind, etc.) consider having nice clean notebooks, pens or pencils, and a consistent color pallet. You can also add little details like small plants, desk trinkets, or a fresh bouquet of flowers.  

Take photos in landscape mode
All of the photos on Pepperlane are displayed in landscape mode, so please turn that camera phone sideways! 

A few more things to think about when creating or choosing photos for your Pepperlane web presence:

  • Don't go nuts in Photoshop. (e.g. touching up, making collages, removing backgrounds, etc.) A simple, realistic-looking image is best.
  • Avoid adding text to your photo: it may get cropped. 
  • Please don't add callouts or graphics to your photo, or create a coupon or banner ad.
  • If you'd like to use an illustration instead of a photo, that's okay!