Is it ok to use smartphone images in my business?
It sure is and I’ll say that even as a commercial photographer. Smartphones have become a mainstay in people’s lives and everyone has one on them. It’s not uncommon now for most businesses to use phone images as it’s a fast and convenient way to post to all of their social media channels. What you should care about is the quality and composition of that image. Some other considerations to take into account would be when to use the phone or hire a professional.
So why would I hire a commercial photographer if I can use my smartphone?
That’s a great question that has several answers to it.
First impressions count in advertising and having well-composed, high-quality images that represent your business in the best possible light is essential. Commercial photographers will have the skillset to produce commercial quality images that you would use on your website, this is not the place for smartphone photos. Another reason would be if you didn’t understand what good image composition is and you were posting to social media regularly. My advice in this situation would be to use your phone for stories, but pepper your social media with professional shots to keep engagement high. There’s nothing worse than seeing an image representing a business that’s blurry, poorly composed, and under-exposed. To me it just says, I don’t care.
I would not do staff headshots with a smartphone for several reasons. There is just no substitute for a professional headshot when it comes to staff representing your business. This is skillset and technology combined to give you a professional quality image. First impressions count and customers see parallels in your professionalism and the service you’re offering. Do not use the photo uncle bob took of you at the family bbq with your mouth full of hotdog. Another consideration is if you need to print those photos for a company brochure or advertising? Do understand colour management, pixel sizes, and the difference between 300 and 72 dpi for printing? A commercial photographer will shoot their images in a raw format giving the flexibility in editing. Smartphone technology at this point will still only capture images in a jpeg format. This provides limits in editing capability as a jpeg is already in a compressed format.
This has everything to do with sensor size and the ability to process the raw files. The sensor size on a higher grade camera is four to five times larger than that of a smartphone. This allows more light to hit the camera sensor creating a high-quality image with less image noise. They also have the processing power and storage capacity for the uncompressed raw files. Smartphone sensors are tiny by comparison and do not have the same capability yet. Although smartphones now offer large megapixel images, it is a bit of an illusion as it’s not a guarantee of image quality.
However, using your phone as a tool can be extremely advantageous to upload and post content. My advice would be to use your phone for your Instagram stories, Facebook, and other social media platforms if the image quality is good, but hire a commercial photographer for the important stuff.