A quick search for the all time, most popular business stock photos in iStock’s Essentials collection reveals the images people think are important. The Diverse Business Team, Disembodied Typing Hands and Fat Stacks of Cash are all there. It also reveals that popular doesn’t mean pretty. You can get better, more authentic results with just your phone and your own employees.

Four Stock Photos You Can Take

Pictures brighten up webpages and enrich calls to action. And a carefully chosen, well-crafted stock photo works perfectly in many cases. But if you’ve got the budget, hire a professional photographer to take pictures unique to your business. If you don’t have the budget, here are four images you can make around the office with just your phone and a simple photo editing app.

For these pictures, I used an iPhone 5 and my favorite camera app, VSCOcam. Thanks to the Roundpeg crew for modeling.


The Business Meeting


The Productive Worker


The Diagram (with Helpful Pointer Finger)


The Customer Service Representative

Taking Good Pictures With Your Phone

Normally, we hold up the phone and use a camera app to capture an image. You might also tap an area on the screen to adjust the focus and exposure. The technique is the same whether you’re an experienced shutterbug or a novice. But if there’s nothing to it, why do pictures turn out so differently?

The trick to phone photography is just one word: stabilize. Crisp photos are made with plentiful natural light and stillness. Stabilize your phone by holding it against a ledge or wall. Even better, get a tripod made to hold your phone.

If you use an iPhone, there’s one more thing you can do. Don’t tap the shutter button. Tapping the screen creates camera shake. Set the timer and let the camera work automatically. Or use a camera app like VSCOcam that lets you hold down the button to snap the shutter on release, which cuts down on shakiness.

Editing Pictures With Your Phone

I use VSCOcam to take my pictures beyond snapshots. In addition to improved camera software, the photo editing tools are simple and designed to encourage natural, subtle adjustments.

With VSCOcam, adjust exposure first. If your original image is too dark, bump up the exposure until it looks brighter, but not so bright it becomes over-exposed. Then feel free to apply a pre-made filter to give your picture a subtle boost. I typically lower the level of the filter so the image doesn’t feel too stylized. Adjust contrast, tint and other settings until the image is just right.

As you’re editing, remember that these pictures are intended to be a set. They should have a uniform look and feel. If you decide to make one image warm and cozy, don’t make another one feel cold. Use your judgment to produce a set of images that fit your brand.

Getting Pictures From Your Phone to Your Computer

Depending on your phone and operating system, transferring files from your phone to another computer can be tricky. You may have a direct file transfer option, or a convenient feature built-in to your phone. But the tried-and-true method is to open your email app and send yourself a message with the pictures attached. Back on your desktop you can open the message and save the image files to a folder.

Ready to schedule a photo shoot? Find time with your team and get to picture taking.

Great stock photos of your employees are just one small part of building your overall business website. Not sure how your site stacks up against your competitors? Take our interactive website self-audit to find out:

Web Audit - How does your website stack up