Designing a billboard is visual storytelling. An effective billboard grabs a person’s attention and creates a memorable impression, leaving the reader to think about the billboard after they have driven by.
A good test is to show the design to someone from a distance for only 7 seconds and then ask them about it. Did they understand it? Who was the advertiser? What do they think the advertiser wants them to do?
If possible, it is usually worth hiring a professional to take your photo! Knowledge of lighting techniques, including proper use of a flash and making sure skin-tones are warm and not washed out is very important. Professional photographers can provide a high-resolution file for us to work with. Professionals are aware of things such as a “flash glare” on someone wearing glasses. If you do use a professional, please share this web page as it will make them aware of other considerations that will help in the final design.
Make sure you use a quality digital camera set at the highest (or finest) resolution possible. Remember, we are enlarging the photo to be nearly 12’ tall in some cases. We need the best resolution possible so the photo doesn‘t get grainy or pixelated when enlarged. In recent years, smart-phone cameras are being made with amazing quality. Feel free to use your smart-phones camera, but keep in mind several other tips on this page.
The vast majority of billboard designs which include people, the subjects are “cut-out” from the background. To make this easier and more accurate, we recommend using a solid one color, contrasting background if possible. Have your subject stand 4 to 6 feet away from the background.
Most of the time, photos of people on billboards are from the chest up. Unless the design is going to include more of the subject - it is helpful to crop your photo from just below the chest and to include the top of the subjects head and both shoulders. We need those shoulders! A good rule is to include both sides of the subject down to their elbow.We try to angle shoulders toward the center of the board. If you are taking pics with one shoulder in front of the other, take photos angling both ways so our design team has flexibility to place the subject on either side of the design.
There is nothing that will make group photo subjects turn on you faster than you not being prepared. People don’t like to be kept waiting, so plan ahead.
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