Photography Tips with Samee Lapham

Written by Samee Lapham
on 16 May, 2019

We’re feeling very lucky today to share some photography gold with you from our event photographer Samee Lapham. Sharing years of advice from her Melbourne studio, there’s so many simple ideas here that can make a HUGE difference to your marketing game! Photography is well worth the investment – trust us and trust Samee!

What tips do you have for finding the ‘right’ photographer?

Finding the right photographer for you and your brand or business is a matter of relating to their style of imagery — do you like the way they capture products, people, places? Knowing if you’re after candid lifestyle shots or you want someone who knows how to use studio lighting, does their work reflect this? Does their editing style suit your visual branding, i.e. if they were to photograph your products would their imagery seamlessly fit into your current aesthetic, would they enhance your overall brand, would they help to pull your brand in the direction you’d like to go? I would suggest taking a look through their portfolio of work, what they share on their social media, and if their values align with yours. Connect with them over email or social media, and open up the conversation to find out about their approach and their rates, and go from there! The best thing about photography is that you can SEE the results first hand, and if you vibe over a phone call you’re sure to make magic together.

What are your top tips when shooting products for catalogues and online stores?

Consistency in your shoot setup, detailed shots of products, and showing real scale are all key in my opinion. Ask yourself: when you go to an online store that you admire, what are the things you love about it most? The hero elements of any good website are good photography and good typography. As a freelance web designer myself (as well as a photographer!)

I can’t stress enough the value of good imagery for your website—and when selling products online or within a wholesale catalogue, the way you photograph your products will boost their value

Samee Lapham

How do you use story-telling in your photography?

Story-telling is my favourite part of photography! It’s fun to create and capture moments that can form connection, and lead a viewer’s mind to think about what is happening in and around a particular scene—it’s a way to inspire and let a viewer fill in the blanks on their own. In the context of Finders Keepers, I like to let things unfold naturally, as they happen, whether this is how a person is interacting with something or someone, or how a scene has been set without any further styling—I like to capture what I see naturally, and often it’s the in-between moments that achieve the most candid shots. It’s really about observation and being inquisitive and open as interactions unfold.

What in your opinion, makes a good photo?

This is totally subjective! For me, I’d have to say perspective, focus and scenery. I love that you can ask 10 people to take a photo of the same scene and they will all capture it differently depending on their perspective. I also love how depth of field can be used to enhance the subject or translate what the natural eye sees. And I say scenery because I personally love seeing glimpses of the surrounding context in an image and letting that tell part of the story.

What are some common mistakes you see in amateur photos?

Not straightening horizon lines and other hard lines in photos—for example, shelves! When you’re taking a photo, look around your frame to see where the hard lines are in the shot and let those be your anchor points for how you can best frame, crop and edit your image. Also think about your light source and make sure you move around so that the best light is on your subject

Any other advice for our design community?

When it comes to taking photos, practice practice practice! If you love someone else’s work so much to repost it on social media or the interwebs, please go to the effort of crediting the original photographer or the original artist, not just the person/account you found it from—this means a lot to us!

What is your advice on getting good photos at events on your smartphone?

Always make sure you’ve wiped the phone lens before taking a photo—often phones have been thrown in bags or in pockets or passed around for payments and purchases during the day, etc, so making sure you give that lens a good wipe is a good starting point (on your sleeve is fine!). Once you have the camera app open, tap on the area of the scene you want to focus on and have a play with the built-in exposure features that most smartphones have—this will alter how the natural light is let into the lens and will help you better control the outcome of your photo. I also recommend moving around! You have the benefit of seeing the photo on your screen before you even take it, so keep moving your phone around, back and forth or up and down, until you discover the best shot!

Do you use any phone apps to edit photos for social media?

Sometimes I use VSCO or the built-in iPhone editing tools, but most of the time I will use the editing tools available straight in Instagram (and 99% of my Instagram posts are iPhone shots!). The Instagram editing tools have come a long way!

Big thanks to Samee for taking the time to share. Samee joins us for the remainder of our Autumn Winter season, look out for her and say G’day and don’t forget to give her a follow here and check out her website 

Catch up on more marketing advice from us here.


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