10 expert photography tips for graphic designers

If you've ever had to provide photography for a client project, it can be tricky to get things just right. Follow these tips to set you on your way.

01. Listen to your client

First of all, always remember the client is king – their happiness is essential to any project. Find out exactly what look and feel they want, and the message that they wish to convey.

You're in a great position to keep the photography complementary and in-line with the brand's image, so use all your creative direction to its full advantage.

02. Keep re-touching invisible

Re-touching can be a fantastic way to iron out imperfections. However any re-touching work should be completely invisible: less is more.

If a heavy amount of retouching is required, make sure you get a good second opinion on the finished outcome. The most powerful images are created with good photography and minimal re-touching.

03. Think creatively

Find your inspiration online or out and about, and decide what you want to achieve. Some projects might require a simple approach, but originality is always a plus for creative work.

Take your ideas and let them grow: if the project allows, think of twists that you can make to a concept to make it your own.

Think creatively. Like combining photography with vector graphics.

04. Use the right equipment

Choosing the right camera is key: it needs to work for you. Make sure it has settings and accessories to compliment the uses you might have for it. Things to think about are: image quality (megapixels and built-in noise reduction), adaptability (lenses and accessories), shutter speed, ISO and tethering.

05. Create a mood board

Mood boards are a fantastic way to pull your ideas together, solidify and simplify them. Find examples of the kind of photography, lighting and tone that you want.

A mood board will help give structure and direction to a shoot, and will illustrate your ideas and overall concept clearly to a client. Try creating a digital mood board with one of these 16 tools.

06. Play with lenses

Experiment and find out which lenses work best for different situations; 28-135mm will cover you for most jobs. As a rule, use 21-35mm for a wide-angle landscape photo; 35-70mm for normal street and documentary shots; and 70-135mm for medium telephoto and portraiture.

07. Plan your shoot

Think about how many shots are needed, the time you have for a project, and if your ideas are feasible and in budget. Create a shoot schedule that all the team is aware of, and stick to it as closely as possible.

Factor in expenses and whether any licences are required for public shoots.

Approach your photography in a professional way for professional results.

08. Remember accessories

Always be prepared and have spare batteries, a charger and memory cards. Think about investing in a tripod and external flash gun, and remember that you can always hire bigger equipment.

If you're not confident with large-scale main shoot equipment, get an assistant. They can be cheap and incredibly handy.

09. Shooting your own work

Try to give context to your work, shoot on location where possible, keeping it interesting to the eye and always bearing the brand in mind. When shooting still life, shoot somewhere that can be used again at a later date to keep consistency to your portfolio.

10. Familiarise yourself with settings

When shooting, consider how much time you have to turn the photographs over to the client, and what you want to achieve. Ensure you're familiar with new settings and post-production software: things like HDR photography are great time-savers and can produce some stunning effects.