How To Photograph Business Cards
August 8 2019
Apps such a LinkedIn have changed the way people connect in the business world – but when it comes to face-to-face networking, the business card will always have its place. Wigston’s paper is used to produce countless business cards every year for companies looking to create the right impression using fine papers and deluxe finishing techniques – and we’ve become quite the experts at photographing them too!
Taking great photos of business cards is essential for design agencies wanting to show them off in their portfolio, or for businesses wanting to shout about their smart new look on social. With this in mind, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you create professional-looking photos that really showcase the design and printing expertise that goes into making a business card outstanding – and the good news is, you don’t need to be a pro photographer to do it!
Shadows are your friend
Create beautifully tactile images that really appeal to the eye by using light and shade to accentuate textures in your business cards, whether it’s the delicate undulations of a textured cardstock or the sharp relief of an embossed design. You don’t have to be a pro photographer to capture some beautiful texture in your shot but if you’re using some proper kit and you know your way around a camera, you should use a tripod which will eliminate shake, allowing you to use a low ISO for the cleanest possible image. Aperture and shutter speed may vary depending on the depth of field you want to create. For creating razor sharp images of the whole product, you want a higher F-stop and fast shutter speed, but if you want to home in on the fine details, you might reduce the depth of field to draw the eye to a beautiful piece of typography etc.
To create some shadow, you’ll need to set up your shot with some bright, off camera lighting – a large window is ideal but if you’re not lucky enough to have natural light, you should set up a lamp so it shines at an angle across your business cards, imitating sunlight. White light is best for accurate colour reproduction, and you should choose a bright bulb – anything too soft will blur the texture you’re trying to pick out. Last but not least, don’t be afraid to enhance your image in post processing to further sharpen and enhance its tactile appeal!
Business cards are two-dimensional but that doesn’t mean you should settle for a flat image. Play with dimension by layering cards up – fan them, stack them, drop them from height to see where they land or as we often do, use small props to create a layered shot with cards overlapping at different heights. Small boxes, pen tops – basically anything that you can sit a business card on can be used to create fascinating shots that play with focus and shadow for real visual appeal – shoot overhead with a camera or smartphone for instant artistic effects!
Demonstrate the unexpected with product photography that defies gravity. Imagine your business cards poised on one corner, standing up on their edge, or floating in mid-air! All you need to create these imaginative shots is a bit of creative thinking and some skills in photoshop. Levitation photography as it’s known can be achieved entirely in post production but you can save yourself a lot of time with the use of some fishing line and a length of wooden dowelling. Suspend your cards from the dowelling, using a little double sided tape to hold the point in place and prevent rotation if necessary, then set up your tripod and snap away. If the light catches the fishing line, you can simply remove it in Photoshop afterwards.
Make your cards stand out with a high-contrast background – we’ve had great success with black business cards against brightly coloured backgrounds and vice versa. Be warned though – stay away from patterned or busy backgrounds, as these tend to draw the eye away from the detail in the cards. If you’ve got a card with a pop of colour in the logo, or even a card with a coloured edge, consider choosing a background to match this shade and make it really zing.
We all love those soft-focus backgrounds you get with macro photography and they can work beautifully as a foil for the crisp details of a business card – but to create ultimate wow factor, focus stacking might just be your secret weapon. This post-production technique enables you to retain pin-perfect detail in your foreground subject without losing any sharpness in the background, for ultra-defined images that really draw you in. Using this technique allows you to play with interesting, textured backgrounds, or simply to photograph business cards at interesting angles without losing any of the detail in the back of the field. It’s done by taking multiple images of the same setup, all with different focal points, and then blending these images in photoshop or similar to create a single, super-sharp image with incredible depth of field. There’s quite a bit of editing work involved, but done well, focus stacking yields captivating images to rival even the most high-end ad campaigns.
So there you have it – some of our tricks of the trade for taking excellent pictures of your business cards.