Tips and Tricks for Shooting in a Pinch

Photography is one of Velvet Cartel's most popular services. In our studio, on location, portraits, creative projects and products--we shoot it all! We have all of the equipment, software, camera and lenses to give life to your photo shoot ideas. However, we know that in the world of content marketing, sometimes a photo needs to be produced quickly and efficiently. In the event that you're just unable to book a session with us, try these super simple tricks to boost the quality of your photos!

Human and Large Subjects

When shooting people, make sure you're using a camera or you could be looking at some prison time.

Rule of thirds


For photos of people, pick a minimal background so that your subject isn't competing with clutter behind them. Using the grid function, anchor your subject in one third of the viewfinder. This type of framing creates dimensions in your 2d photo.



If you're taking photos of a child, anchor something cute and lightweight to the top of your camera to keep their focus. A Pez dispenser works remarkably well and might even slide right onto your camera's hot shoe. Promise them a treat for behaving and sitting still!

Erase unwanted people


If you need a photo of a location but there are people walking around in your shot, simply put your camera on a tripod, take at least a dozen photos in your ideal spot, then head to Photoshop. Go to File > Scripts > Statistics. Select "Median" for the stack mode and check "Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images." Finally, click the "Browse..." button to select your set of photos and hit OK. Photoshop will process the images to preserve the static background and remove everything that changes between the shots (the moving people). There might be some cleanup to do in Photoshop (lingering limbs, for example), but this might be the quickest and easiest way to get postcard-quality photos of your last trip.

Beauty dish

blogA beauty dish is basically a circular (more or less) reflector that directs light onto your subject. They are a very beneficial luxury for portrait photography. Light up your subjects entire face with a home-made beauty dish from a turkey pan! Your subject might look at you like you're crazy, but the proof of ingenuity will be in your professional quality portrait.


Products and Small Subjects

Macro hack


Sometimes you need to shoot something very small. If you're using the image to sell a product, you had better make sure that image is clear, sharp and IN FOCUS. Don't have a macro lens? Turn yours around and MAKE it a macro lens!


Home-made light tent

Available at Golden Bones Boutique.

Another great template for shooting products is the knockout shot. Use a light tent to take a picture of your product in ultimate lighting without any visual distractions surrounding it. Light tents aren't necessarily expensive, but are often sold in kits, which can be. Make your own using this tutorial from Digital Photography School.

DIY backdrops


This one is just fun. Have you ever started a photo shoot and thought, this background is too boring? Make your own! The options are seriously endless.Consider the color palette of your subject and whether the lighting will be natural or artificial. Try using textured backgrounds of fabric, wrapping paper, coffee filters, wood or anything else! Just remember to use materials that won't send back a glare if you're using flash.

Share your favorite tips, tricks and photos in the comments below!

Don't want to DIY? Book your photography session with Velvet Cartel by email to Visit our website and get to know us!