Let's face it: the best camera is the one you have with you. More often than not, you're going to have your phone in your pocket. Hopefully you have a smartphone that takes decent pictures, because we're going to be talking a little bit about tips and tricks to taking pictures of your stickers with your phone once they arrive.
Stickers are an ideal way to market your brand, and visual storytelling is one approach that can increase engagement with your products or services. Whether you are labeling a product with a new roll that just arrived or if you're handing out stickers at a conference, you don't want to miss an opportunity to capture a moment that later can work as piece of creative in your advertising. Since we're always in our shop taking pictures, we wanted to share some things we've learned if you want to step up your photography game.
Kind of goes without saying, but the closer you are, the more detail you can convey. Here, our content creator, Andrew is getting right up on the die cut machine to get the sticker before it gets cut. We love to get in-process shots of the stickers and labels because people want to see behind the scenes of how the magic happens.
As you'll see in this photo below, the foreground is in focus, while the background is slightly and intentionally blurry. This helps you focus your viewer on what you--the photographer--are highlighting. It's a classic technique, and now the new iPhone portrait mode will do this for you automatically. It's a harder effect to achieve on a smartphone, but easily done with a DSLR camera in manual focus. Simply zoom all the way in and focus on the desired object and then zoom out. You might need to play with ISO and f-stops, but that's for an advanced post about photography.
And here's another example that just works so well with the foreground in focus and the background blurred out. This shot also illustrates the concept known as the "Rule of Thirds" very effectively. The sticker is not centered in the frame, and the eyes are looking into the negative space on the left of the frame. This gives the image room to breathe and for the view to interpret the image however they like.
This is a key point that's often overlooked because a photographer is always concerned about what's right in front of them. On this point, however, we want to make sure that it's understood that the background can sometimes be distracting, so how you stage your shot is crucial. Check this gallery of some shots from our factory that uses this principle.
Below is an example of a background that reinforces our branding, while also serving as a foundation for this really cool custom shaped die cut sticker for Front Row Ventures, a venture capital company in Canada. The shadows and lighting are just about perfect, and the background doesn't overpower the sticker.
Fluorescent lights are rough. With the caveat aside, we take a ton of pictures in our factory under these hard-edged lights, and we are always aware the of the glare on our glossy stickers and labels. We do plenty of editing to account for that, but you do want a nice direct light, and sunshine always makes a big difference. Check out these three photos of our clear labels, and you decide which one you like. The second two are outside shots, while the first one is indoors. Again, mix it up because variety is the spice of life. Lastly, watch the use of your flash because it might cause glare or mess with that perfectly lit frame.
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So here's a super staged photo with some swag that Google sent us. We wanted to post a picture of our partnership, so we threw some of our die cut logo stickers with the gear. It made for a colorful and engaging post because it was that key variable: variety. It helped mix up our feed, plus we tagged Google.
Instagram user Muddy Mint makes soap, and they staged this scene with their bar and their labels. The entire motif here is perfect, with the colors and the lighting working in perfect harmony.
Instagram user Pantone811 tagged us in this beautifully staged photo where they displayed the pint glass we sent them with their stickers all around. And that looks like a margarita with a salted rim, so bonus for them.
We host our favorite photos on Flickr, and we manage them using Google Drive and Google Photos on our Android devices and the Photos app on iOS. That way we can always have photos with us since we use all of those apps to post when we're on the go or running around the factory.
Everyone's on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, right? Well, each medium has its own format and audience, and you have to be aware of that. We tag each customer in our Instagram photos, and it's partially why they tag us back. We're all about growing that community. Plus, use appropriate hashtags to help spread your products or your business. We love seeing our Instagram community at work, and it's been a joy to follow their stories.
One quick note: People are great for engagement when you post on social media--we're humans after all, and it's called "social media" for a reason. This post from the Stonybrook Society of Women Engineers showcases stickers and excited audience.
In closing, you don't have to be professional photographer to take great photos of your stickers and labels. We are definitely not perfect with all our photos. However, with a little thought and creativity put into staging, just take a few photos and get one out in the world. Finally, if you aren't using your stickers in photos on social media, start doing it! It's an easy way to sprinkle your brand into a lot of places. Here's a quick gallery of photos where our awesome customers tagged us on Instagram.
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In closing, we wanted to have one last photo that showcases the diversity of colors, shapes and sizes that run through our shop.