Why Adobe Libraries is a Key Feature for Designers

Why Adobe Libraries is a Key Feature for Designers

Why Adobe Libraries is a Key Feature for Designers Designers often need to maintain consistency across different projects and brands, using the same graphics, colors, fonts and vector graphics. But, before Adobe Libraries came along, there was no easy way to store all of these elements in one convenient place. The library feature allows designers to easily create templates that can be accessed from anywhere within the Adobe Creative Cloud and used in any of the applications it supports. In this article, we’ll examine the benefits of using Adobe Libraries and why it’s so important for graphic designers of all levels who use the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of tools.



What are Libraries


How Do They Work


What Can I Put Into a Library


How Do I Use a Library?

What Are libraries?

Adobe Libraries is a panel within your Creative Cloud account where you can store your design elements. These may be graphics, colors, fonts or vector graphics and images. When you add content to a library, it becomes available across all of your Adobe products that support Libraries and to anyone who has access. So when I create an element in Adobe InDesign, you can then access that object in Illustrator or Photoshop because they share my Creative Cloud libraries.

How Do They Work?

Adobe libraries are a great way to organize all of your assets, whether they are in Adobe products or not. The library links the element and allows you to access it from the Cloud quickly. This gives you access to them faster and easier with less effort, while helping you and your team stay organized. You can organize by any folder structure or by automatic groups that typically group by colors, vector graphics, images, character styles.

What Can I Put Into an Adobe library?

The good news is that you can put almost anything into an Adobe library. The bad news is, well, there isn’t any bad news!

How Do I Use a Library?

You can simply drag an asset into the library panel from whatever program you are working in. Once you save an element into your library, it will automatically sync with Creative Cloud, allowing access anywhere there is internet connection. Using Adobe Libraries simplifies brand consistency by keeping artwork items consistent from one project to another.

Adobe Libraries is an awesome tool for our team. We are still learning our favorite perks from this Adobe tool.

Below are the top 5 reasons I love to use Adobe Libraries.

1. Togetherness—Keeping all our brand assets together has always been a challenge. Having one library that our whole team can access is key. Having one place to store and use universal graphics is super handy. Whether we’re working on an email, project brief or website, it’s all right there in one place. No more hunting through emails and files to find that brand asset you need. With Adobe Libraries, you can search by type of file or artwork (vector graphics, colors and fonts) across your library. That means everyone always has access to all assets they may need while designing and creating projects. In addition to giving us a place to store and use our brand assets, it gives us guidance when we’re designing new pieces of work. We use Adobe Libraries as inspiration during concepting phases of projects.

2. Web, Print, and More—The constant growth of channels and tools keeps our head spinning. Adobe Libraries can access any of the Adobe programs, so we can easily utilize any output needed. Combining all of these platforms gives us a library that is limitless with opportunities and options to create beautiful art pieces! Also, it organizes our projects, making them easier to find—a designer’s dream! Efficiency at its finest.

3. Logo changes—You can make universal changes, and if linked correctly, the change will apply anywhere you use the library element. If you use the library element by dragging it into the document you are working on, an icon appears in the top left letting you know it is linked.  If you have a change to make on the linked graphic or image, you can double click on the library element, make your change in its native environment, then save.  That change is then made anywhere that graphic was linked.

4. Color consistency—Sometimes a color will change in the branding, and we never know where the new color originated.  Having a library of colors across all Adobe apps allows all users to apply color with confidence.

To save a color in your library, follow these steps: 

          • Click on + at top left of window. 
          • Click on New Color Swatch. 
          • Fill in name (optional) and hex value. 
          • You can also add RGB or CMYK values. 
          • Confirm & click Add.

5. Organization—Adobe Libraries makes it easy to rename artwork and organize it in a visual way. I love how it will create groups for you, including Colors, Typography, Vector Graphics, and Images, so you can quickly identify what you need.

You can create an Abode library and organize your most used elements in a way that makes sense to you. You can customize colors, fonts, images and graphics using your library icons, so they’re easy to locate when working on projects. Since everything is linked, changes to one element will be updated across all documents where it appears, ensuring consistency of style throughout your work. Organizing elements visually in libraries also helps reduce errors by helping you find what you need faster and allowing more room for creativity. If everything looks good visually, then it will look good design-wise too. Adobe Libraries also helps manage large amounts of content—especially color swatches.

    Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Libraries are robust tools. We at Root & Roam are constantly using Adobe to improve our collaboration and teamwork. We find these tools help us become more efficient and consistent. Below are a couple of links that we find interesting from Adobe. 





    Pederson’s Natural Farms: Holiday Food Styling Guide

    Pederson’s Natural Farms: Holiday Food Styling Guide

    Holiday Food Styling – How to achieve the picture-perfect tablescape

    Holiday food styling guide. The holidays are the most festive time of the year, but they can also be the most stressful. Here are some useful food styling tips for getting that picture-perfect Thanksgiving and Christmas tablescape we all dream of creating.



    Main course – tips for the perfect Thanksgiving and Christmas ham or turkey


    Side dishes – complement your ham or turkey with color, angles, distance, and texture


    Desserts life of the table, where the fun begins


    Table lighting tips – setting the atmosphere

    food styling

    Main Course – Tips for the Perfect Thanksgiving and Christmas Ham or Turkey

    Let’s first talk about your main dish, the focal point of your meal. You will want this dish to be the most eye-catching part of your setup. Let’s say your main dish is a big delicious Pederson’s Natural Farms Christmas ham. There are many ways to style a holiday ham. The first is with traditional stylings of cloves placed on the outside of the ham – a great way to keep that traditional look. Another way is to baste your ham, whether you choose orange, cranberry, or just a brown sugar glaze. This gives a delicious spin on the ham. When presenting, you can place citrus halves or slices on a bed of parsley, kale, or green leaf lettuce. Also, fig halves, pomegranates, or cranberries all add beauty and color.
    Garnishing your dishes adds color and character.
    Using fruit halves, slices, and zest adds color and aroma to your Christmas Ham.
    Baste your ham or turkey with glazes for added flavor and visual appeal.

    Side Dishes – Complement your Ham or Turkey with color, angles, distance, and texture.

    Next, let’s complement your main dish with some beautiful and creative side dishes. Sides are a great way to elevate your tablescape to the next level. It’s always best to have some fresh, vibrant vegetables in the mix for an added bit of color. Using white plates and dishes is visually striking and will achieve better photos because of the contrast. Use different shapes of dishes for each side to bring more dimension to the scape and give more depth and height, adding better visual appeal. An example to create contrast would be to use white serving pieces for dishes that are vibrant in color and darker serving pieces with lighter, more neutral foods. Don’t be afraid to change the distance of your shots. Zooming way out or getting extremely close up to your dishes can create some great eye-catching content. Changing angles is very important as well. Assess different angles of the dish and think about what would look best. Overhead shots (or flat lays) can be eye catching but not for everything. If you have something relatively flat like a crostini or flatbread, add visual interest by stacking a few, and prop one on the side of the stack. Take the photo very close and from the side or at a 45 degree angle. This adds height and texture and is more visually appealing. ​​There are times when extremely close photos of food work well, and, at other times, a wider shot conveys a better sense of place and atmosphere.
    ham food styling

    Desserts – Life of the table, where the fun begins

    Last but certainly not least, the final touch to your perfect holiday tablescape…dessert! This is where you can start being super fun and creative. There are so many different ways you can spruce up your desserts. Use elements you may not normally think of using (like fresh cranberries, leaves, or pinecones) by scattering them on the table. Don’t be afraid to try a variation of presentations to achieve that perfect image! Some clever things to try include:
    Serving bite-sized portions
    Using smaller glasses, bowls, or plates for individual servings
    Garnishing with fruit, candies, nuts, edible flowers, etc.
    Decorating with skewers, straws, and toothpicks
    Using multicolored foods such as dark, white, and milk chocolate shavings, chips, or wafers for garnishing the tops and sides around your dishes
    Sprinkle powdered sugar or cocoa powder on top
    Shave some lemon, orange, or lime zest for aroma and color
    Use seeds like chia, sunflower or fruit chunks like pomegranate arils and pineapple

    Table Lighting Tips – Setting the atmosphere

    One of the most important parts of getting the best photos possible is the lighting. Whether you are capturing a bright and cheerful mood or just a warm-night-by-the-fireplace atmosphere, these tips will help you achieve the perfect mood. Natural lighting is always the best as far as getting that perfect mouth-watering photo of your meal. Setting your table close to a large window or glass door typically provides enough natural light to take a dynamic photo. If you prefer a warmer look, take the shot at night with string lights in glass jars, taper candles strewn throughout the middle of the dishes, or tea lights placed around the scape by themselves or in decorative votive holders. If you are reluctant to use open flames, there are many LED flameless candle styles to choose from that will still help achieve a gorgeous glow.
    The possibilities are endless for creating the ideal holiday meal. I hope this brings some inspiration and creativity to you this special season!
    How To Plan For Holiday Marketing

    How To Plan For Holiday Marketing



    Holiday Offer


    Holiday Marketing Goals


    Campaign Key Performance Indicators


    Holiday Marketing Campaign Target Audience and Personas


    Holiday Campaign Budget


    Holiday Marketing Action Items


    Get to Work On Your Marketing Plan


    Holiday Marketing Summary


    Final Thoughts

    How to plan for holiday marketing. – The hustle and bustle of the holidays do not come without intense preparation months in advance. Consumers save their money year-round to purchase the best decorations, food, and gifts available for their loved ones and themselves. In 2019, $729 Billion was spent during the holiday season. Whether you are advertising for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or December global holidays like Hanukkah and Christmas, or any other holiday, it all boils down to your campaign strategy. A complete campaign strategy will help your marketing team stay organized throughout the process. Your trusted Root & Roam team has put together this checklist to help you get started on your holiday campaign.


    The first thing you need to know when preparing for the holiday season is what you want to offer to your customers. Typically, holiday campaigns include discounts and/or limited, seasonal products. When determining what to offer, you will need to consider what will make the most sense for both the consumer and for your business. For reference, you might want to look to the leaders in your niche. The leaders in your industry have likely tried many tactics to reach their audience. They know what works best. Never copy other brands’ offers or campaigns. This is simply an exercise to help you brainstorm your own ideas. Choose an offer that will bring value to your customer and your brand.


    Your goals are the things you want to achieve with your holiday campaign. A few examples of common goals are to generate sales, revenue, contact information (emails, phone numbers, mailing addresses), website visits, and door swings. 

    Your goals will vary depending on your brand and what you wish to achieve. Keep in mind that consumers purchasing products or services during the holiday season are likely expecting to receive their goods or services before their respective holiday. When setting goals, you will need to consider the time it takes to fulfill and ship the item or provide the service.


    Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are specific measurements of success related to your goals. While key performance indicators are similar to goals, it is important to brainstorm each separately. Because there are many ways to measure performance, your team will need to know what they are looking for specifically. When creating your KPIs, keep them reasonable and attainable while challenging your brand’s capabilities. What we mean by that is to set KPIs that are not beyond your reach like selling more orders than your team is capable of getting out in a reasonable amount of time or obtaining a level of revenue that is extreme. Aiming for a 20% increase from the previous year’s Black Friday sale, for example, is a reasonable KPI. Some examples of KPIs are a specific percentage increase in sales or obtaining a specific number of email subscribers.


    Your target audience is the group or groups of consumers you wish to reach with your marketing efforts. The persona is a visualization of your ideal customer. Having the persona is helpful in determining messaging and platforms. Each persona is determined by research. Gather the following information for each persona:

    • age
    • gender identification
    • social status
    • job status
    • source of media consumption (search platform, social media platform, television, radio, magazine, etc.)
    • parental status
    • professional status
    • relationship status

    You need to have at least one defined persona. However, multiple personas are recommended if your target consists of a range of any of the factors listed above. A few tools that you can use when creating personas are surveys, interviews with current or previous customers, and research. Feedback from your clients is valuable when trying to figure out status and media preferences. Give the persona a name and a face to aid in visualizing the persona.

    Keep in mind that consumers are typically not shopping for themselves during the holidays. Typically, your persona and target audience are the same. During the holidays, your persona represents the person that would find value in your product or service. Your target audience is the person who might purchase your product or service. Due to this, your team will need to conduct a little extra research to find where they might reach the actual buyer. Depending on what you are selling, your target audience might be grandparents, adult children, parents, friends, or spouses.


    The next thing you will have to determine is the budget for the entire campaign and how the projected cost meets your budget. The research will need to be conducted to determine the cost of graphics, photography, videography, models, ad spend, landing pages, social media posting and maintenance, radio ads, and/or actors depending on your chosen platforms. 

    The visual piece and labor are usually charged at a flat rate or hourly rate depending on the specifics of what you are looking for. Ad spend is a bit different. Your ad spend should reflect your goals. Ad spend is based on the cost per click or cost per conversion, depending on your goal. Obtaining a sale or a click requires your ad to be shown to anyone who relates to your set audience. Each time your ad shows, a portion of your ad budget is spent. The total amount of your budget that is spent to obtain one click or conversion is the cost per click or conversion. The higher your ad budget, the more people your ad will reach. The more your ad is shown, the higher your chance of achieving your goals. 

    Factors that might affect ad cost include but are not limited to: keyword search volume, keyword difficulty, and keyword cost. The appearance and messaging of your ad may also affect your ad spend. The Root & Roam digital marketing team is here to help you navigate ad placement and budget.


    The action items are the key piece of your holiday marketing strategy. This is where you plan out each step to achieve your goals based on your KPIs, personas, and budget. Action items might include creating an ads account, researching keywords, contacting publishers or networks, and creating a social media post or graphic. If you are not sure what is involved in a specific action item, collaborate with your team. Use their input to set each deliverable and their deadlines.


    Once you have written out your campaign strategy, it is time to delegate the tasks and get to work putting your plan into action. Begin with essential pieces like script or copywriting, filming or photography, and graphic design. If you’re doing print ads, purchase your ad space. Lastly, launch your campaign and wait for the engagements, subscribers, and shoppers to roll in. Post-launch you will need to allow your marketing team time to monitor and make adjustments to your campaign as needed. Monitoring and adjusting is the most crucial piece to making your campaign successful. You want your team to correct weak points in your campaign while there is still time to recover.


    Holiday marketing is much like everyday marketing intensified. During the holidays, you are not only competing within your niche but with every other brand advertising their product or service. The overarching goal of holiday marketing is to convince consumers that your product or service will make the best gift for their loved ones and their pocketbooks.


    As you can tell, holiday marketing can take quite a bit of time to execute. Root & Roam recommends beginning your holiday marketing plan months in advance, allowing wiggle room for unexpected events. We know that planning and executing holiday marketing can be challenging. Your Root & Roam team is here to help you through the process. Are you ready to jump-start your holiday marketing plan? Click the button below.

    What are hashtags? Why should you use them?

    What are hashtags? Why should you use them?

    When putting together your social media strategy, you should always consider the tools available to help you meet your goals. A popular tool for over a decade has been the famous hashtag. Hashtags are powerful tools that can help your target audience find you organically across all social media platforms. Hashtags are valuable for every brand in every niche when used correctly. 

    The pound symbol (originally intended to represent numbers) is now a piece of your social media marketing strategy. In 2007, Chris Messina, Product Designer, Product Therapist, and Public Speaker, came up with the idea to group tweets using the symbol. That is when the hashtag was born. Now, more than fourteen years later, social media marketers, influencers, and business owners obsess over choosing the perfect set of hashtags for every social media post. Our team at Root & Roam has created this hashtag guide to help you decipher through the thousands of hashtags in existence and choose the right ones for your brand.



    What are hashtags and why you should use them


    How to choose hashtags


    How to use hashtags


    Key Takeaways


    We now know the history of hashtags, but what is a hashtag exactly? A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the pound symbol. They don’t contain spaces or special characters such as the asterisk or dollar symbol. Hashtags may contain numbers and or emojis. 

    (Example: #howtousehashtags, #hastagguide2021laughing)

    Hashtags are a piece of the pie that help make your social media account(s) successful. Hashtags can help you use the algorithm to your advantage by getting your content to more news feeds of current and potential followers, ultimately increasing your reach.

    How To Choose Hashtags

    Choosing the correct hashtag for your post is the key to a successful hashtag strategy. The hashtags you use should be relevant to your brand and the content of each post.

    Your social media budget also plays a part in selecting hashtags. Hashtags that already have thousands of posts are going to have a higher competition level. You will need to post multiple times per week or even per day to stay at the top of the hashtags news feed. Just like any other newsfeed, a hashtags newsfeed features the latest post first. If you are working with a small social media budget, it is best to use hashtags with lower posting rates to be competitive. However, be cautious of hashtags with low posting rates. Hashtags with less than a few hundred posts total are likely new or dead hashtags with very few followers. Using such small hashtags would not be effective for reaching your goals. 

    The process of choosing hashtags should commence when you begin creating the content for your post. Use this list as a guide of things to consider, before settling on a hashtag:

    Branding in hashtags

    You want the hashtags you choose to reflect your specific niche. For example, it does not make sense to use #shoetrends when you are trying to market massage services. Spamming hashtags is a sure way to get your account flagged. A flagged account could result in your page getting banned temporarily or permanently.

    Hashtags to help you reach your social media goals

    You will need to consider what the post is intended to do before selecting the hashtags. Ask yourself these questions:

    • Am I trying to sell a product or service?
    • Am I trying to entertain viewers with fun content?
    • Am I trying to get viewers to sign up for something?
    • What would I like to gain from this post?

    Relevant content in hashtags

    A social media post includes the caption and the visual element (photo, video, or graphic). If the post is about your latest summer coffee flavor, you might want to use a hashtag like #summercoffeeflavor to maintain relevance to the content or to be found by people searching for new summer coffee flavors.

    Holidays or Special Events Hashtags

    If the social media post is about your upcoming holiday sale, include hashtags for the specific holiday. Pay attention, as some hashtags contain a date. i.e. #christmas2010

    A rule of thumb is to begin using holiday hashtags between 60 and 90 days prior to the holiday. For larger holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year, you will want to begin using the hashtags sooner. Major holiday hashtags will be heavily used by many platform users within the month of the holiday.

    Once you have answered all of the above statements, you will begin searching for the hashtags. There are many tools available to help you search for hashtags. One that we like to use at Root & Roam is the Key Words Everywhere plugin. This tool has free and paid features. It downloads directly to your browser and gives clean instructions for set up. Once you have completed the setup, you will find the hashtag symbol in the upper right corner of your screen when you log into Instagram on your desktop or laptop computer. Click the symbol and begin researching a term or phrase to find all of the available hashtags with their statistics.

    The most straightforward method is to log in to the desired platform that you will be using the hashtags on, go to the search bar, type “#” followed by a word or phrase relevant to your post or brand. The platform will direct you to a list of hashtags related to your search. From here, you will need to search through each hashtag until you find the right one(s). Continue this process until you are satisfied with the hashtags that you have chosen. Note: some social media platforms limit the number of hashtags used in a single post. Others have character limits per post as well. Always do your research on each social media platform you choose to work with before posting any content. 

    Hashtags best practices to start with are:

    • 1 – 2 hashtags on Facebook
    • 3 – 4 hashtags on Instagram posts
    • 0 – 2 hashtags on Linkedin
    • 3 – 4 hashtags on Pinterest
    • 2 – 3 hashtags on TikTok
    • 2 hashtags on Twitter

    There are many different recommendations regarding the use of hashtags on different platforms. Ultimately it all depends on your social media goals and budget. It is always okay to push the boundaries and find what works best for your brand.

    How To Use Hashtags

    Now that you have chosen your hashtags, there are a few ways you can include them in your post. The most common method of using hashtags is to drop them at the end of the caption. Another way is to add the #hashtag in the body of your caption, as we did here. Instagram allows you to include all of your hashtags in the first comment. We recommend using this method if you are using a lot of hashtags to keep the caption reader-friendly. 

    You will want to use hashtags heavily for some social media platforms and selectively for other platforms depending on your social media budget. Hashtags, when used correctly, will put your brand in front of new viewers by targeting a specific interest relevant to your brand. This leads to new followers on your social media account and potentially new customers for your business. All without the use of paid advertising.

    Remember to continuously engage with and nurture your newly obtained audience to prevent losing them in the future. Your social media goals and objectives will continue to change over time as your brand grows. Hashtag research along with many other audience obtaining factors are a continuous revolving door. Starting your hashtag journey and maintaining it properly will serve your brand well indefinitely.


    A few key takeaways to remember when using hashtags:


    Only use relevant hashtags


    Do your hashtag research


    When used correctly, hashtags are great tools to help you reach your target audience organically

    Are you ready to increase your organic reach on social media? Our team is here to help take your brand to the next level. Click to start using hashtags in your social media strategy.

    RGB vs CMYK : What is the difference?

    RGB vs CMYK : What is the difference?

    RGB vs CMYK – What is the difference between RGB and CMYK? Simply put, it’s just different ways of processing colors. Painters mix paint to make the perfect color palette. Digital designers also mix colors to create palettes, photography, and more. CMYK is the process of mixing 4 basic colors, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black, to make thousands of colors and realistic images in the printing process. RGB is the process of mixing three basic colors along with light, Red, Green, and Blue. The RGB color process was invented in the digital process when we started using televisions, computers, and retina displays.

    RGB is an additive color model that uses Red, Green, Blue, and light for screens and monitors. CMYK is a subtractive color model used for printing made of four colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. Black is the key color that provides the detail. That is where we get the K in CMYK.

    Check out this graphic from our friends at Visual Pro:

    rgb vs cmyk

    The RGB process has made a huge splash in the design world now that we have retina displays at our fingertips that can interpret millions of colors. The technology is changing so quickly, but it is important to know the basic concept and why.

    The timeline of RGB actually dates back before the electronic age and has roots in photography. But it made its debut with desktop computers in the 70’s displaying an amazing palette of 16 colors. RGB made its next splash with 24-bit monitors and then again with HTML with its 24bit color palette. Now our monitors and phones can interpret millions of colors with RGB.

    What is RGB?

    RGB is an acronym for Red Green Blue. Based on these three colors plus light, you can create a spectrum of colors. This color combination plus millions of tiny lights allows us to see images on digital items, such as televisions, projection systems, computers, and cell phones. RGB has advanced so rapidly with displays that we can now see millions of colors, just by applying a combination of Red, Green, and Blue.

    Why should you care? Using the wrong color settings can cause your print projects to come out too dark or your website images to appear muddy and non-vibrant. RGB and CMYK are settings in most design programs that interpret the colors for us. Designers build graphics based on the end product and adjust settings to make your project perfect. If your end goal is digital, keep it RGB, but if you are looking to get something printed, you may want to change your mode to CMYK.

    What is CMYK?

    CMYK is a combination of 4 transparent colors; (c)yan, (m)agenta, (y)ellow, and blac(k). The K stands for “Key” – This is always black ink and helps finalize the details. This process is actually pretty awesome, and if you ever get to go to a printing press that uses CMYK plates, it’s an interesting process to watch. The printing press makes 4 plates (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black). Ink is then applied to each plate and paper runs through the press perfectly lining up to make a final image.

    Check out this graphic from Printing Solutions:

    cmyk or rgb for print

    It doesn’t feel possible that combining those four colors would produce such a vivid image of color, but it does. Magic… science… same thing.

    We use CMYK for the printing process. This is how the ink is distributed on our inkjet home printers and our large 4 color press printers. Same theory.

    If the final destination of your graphic is not printed, this setting can make your color look a little muddy or not as vibrant. If it is really important that the color is exact for you, you will want to have a designer with a calibrated monitor help or do some test prints from the printer.

    Hex Codes and Web Safe Color

    Since not all monitors are the same, designing for the web can be tricky. Even if I use my RGB settings, things can differ based on the display type. Monitors and displays are constantly advancing also, but Hex codes are a way to keep your colors as consistent as possible. A hex code is a code of 6 letters and numbers that basically tell the monitor how to interpret the RGB color. Choosing web safe colors is still best practice to have consistency across displays, but this rule seems to have less value lately as most of the population have modern displays.

    This is a good reference for web safe hex values.

    One thing to note – make sure the numbers or letters are the same in each segment. This formula ensures that the color is going to be web safe. Like #CCFF00 is web safe because the numbers match up, while #CF01RR will not be as consistent across all displays.

    Hex Codes still interpret color in an additive RGB format; it is simply the code telling the website how much color to display.

    Color Blindness on the Web

    Because not every person sees things the same, we have to make sure content is still visible for our color blind friends and coworkers. Making sure your background and type have enough contrast is a good rule of thumb. Also, making sure that you don’t use certain colors on top of each other like red and green. Color combos and fancy backgrounds can be fun, but don’t forget websites are still a tool to deliver information. Check out this really cool tool that will help you make sure your site is color friendly.

    The difference between RGB and CMYK

    Here are the main things to keep in mind as you prepare graphics for output. CMYK setting is for print and is made of four colors in a subtractive color model like paint. RGB is a setting that uses light and an additive color model to make vibrant colors on our digital displays.

    Thanks for stopping by. The team at Root & Roam know some things about color, so if you are having trouble on a project, let Root & Roam help!

    iPhone Professional Photography 101

    iPhone Professional Photography 101

    iPhone Professional Photography 101 – Instagram is a wildly popular social media platform. Based on its active monthly users, we’re willing to bet you are familiar with it and most likely an active user yourself. With over 1 billion active users monthly (130 million of those in the United States alone), Instagram has a worldwide reach. As a business owner, there is a high probability that your target market is already on Instagram.

    So, how do you get your audience to stop the scroll on your content? The answer is simple in theory. You must stand out in the overload of visual stimulation. The execution is a little trickier. Today we’re going to focus on making your still photography stand out.

    Photography Tips 101

    We get it. You’re running a business. You’re likely pulled in a million different directions as it is. Who has time to become an expert in photography? And, not to mention, professional photography gear is expensive. Thankfully, these days, smartphone technology has come a long way. With a little practice, you have everything you need to create visually stunning images right in the palm of your hand. Let’s take a look at a handful of best photography practices and how to accomplish them using your iPhone.

    Lighting for Photography

    Depending on your brand’s aesthetic, it’s imperative to choose the proper lighting source. We can guarantee that source is almost never your iPhone’s built-in flash. There are a few reasons we hold steadfast to this belief. First, your iPhone’s flash is simply not strong enough to evenly light a scene. Second, the flash tends to cast harsh and distracting shadows. While shadows can be an artistic choice, you have almost no control over the built in flash of your iPhone. And, finally, the light from your iPhone’s flash is bounced back to you off of any reflective surface. Think: mirrors, windows, countertops, etc.

    If you do not already own (and know how to use) professional lighting equipment, you can experiment with natural light sources. Did you know that shooting in a garage with the door wide open is touted as one of the easiest, most even natural light sources to work with? So long as the sun is not shining directly into the garage, you have a beautifully diffused light source free of charge! This principle can be carried over to other physical areas of your home or business. How about placing your subject in front of an open door where just the right amount of light shines in? Or, perhaps you have space to stage your scene in front of a large window. In any of these cases, the subject faces the light source, and you place yourself between them to shoot. Just watch out for any shadows you may be casting on the subject.

    Photography Exposure

    Great lighting leads directly into the topic of proper exposure. Exposure is everything! When photographing a subject, an image that is either over exposed or under exposed causes a loss of detail in the highlights or shadows respectively. In the case of product photography, it’s of the utmost importance to depict your goods as accurately as possible to avoid disgruntled customers and decrease returns.

    So, how can you accomplish that with your smartphone? Fortunately, the iPhone has an exposure tool built into the camera. Typically, a camera reads the entire scene and automatically exposes the image based on that reading. Are you shooting outside on a sunny day? In that case, your iPhone may naturally want to underexpose the subject to keep the majority of the scene properly exposed. To remedy this, you simply tap and hold your finger down directly over your subject. Once you see the yellow box over your subject and the words AE/AF LOCK pop up, you are ready to manually adjust your exposure. Next to the yellow box, you should see what looks like a sun. Simply slide your finger up to brighten the subject or down to darken it. Voila!

    Composition of Photos

    There are tons of possibilities when it comes to composing a photograph. Composition, simply put, is the way elements are arranged in a photograph. A central principle in photography is called the rule of thirds. Perhaps you have heard the term before, but maybe you are unsure how to utilize it. Essentially, to use the rule of thirds, you would visualize your image cut into thirds both vertically and horizontally (much like a tic-tac-toe board), and you would place your subject where those lines intersect. The iPhone makes it simple to compose photographs following the rule of thirds. To enable a visual grid when you are taking pictures, simply go to Settings > Camera > Grid. Now, when you access your iPhone camera to take photos, you have the added assistance of knowing exactly where to place your subject. (This works on any of the built in aspect ratios – 1:1, 4:3, and 16:9.)

    While the rule of thirds is foundational to good photography, it’s most definitely not the only way to shoot a beautiful, compelling image. Subjects placed directly in the center of the frame can make a big impact if done properly! In this case, simpler is better. Place your subject against a background that allows it to take center stage (literally and figuratively). Avoid busy, overdone backgrounds, and utilize negative space to avoid distraction.

    Finally, when shooting multiple subjects in the same frame, employ the rule of odds. The rule of odds is defined by the belief that an odd number of subjects is more visually and compositionally appealing than an even number of subjects. Perhaps your company sells dinnerware, and you want to showcase a table setting on your Instagram account. According to the rule of odds, it would be more visually engaging to have three place settings as opposed to four.

    Photo Backgrounds

    Backgrounds play a vital role in the impact a photograph makes. Even with the best of intentions, background details are often overlooked. An activewear company may have sourced a fitting outdoor location to showcase their products in a lifestyle setting. However, the details in the background must not go unnoticed. Is there a tree branch extending out of the model’s head? Is there a car in the distance catching and reflecting light that draws the eye away from the subject? Is your own shadow reflected into the frame? Best practices are to scan the scene surrounding your subject to determine if there is anything that would compete with your subject. Adjust the position of yourself or the subject to remove distractions and keep the focus where it belongs.

    Bonus iPhone Photography Tip: Portrait Mode

    Professional photographs are often recognized and set apart from amateur photographs based on background blur. Background blur is the result of a number of variables such as aperture, lens length, and the distance between the photographer and the subject… all contributing to the shallow depth of field. This is getting a little technical, we know!

    All of that to say, essentially, it is a bit more difficult to create a shallow depth of field or background blur using an iPhone. However, using Portrait Mode on your iPhone simulates background blur using edge detection. Unfortunately, Portrait Mode is not usable in every situation. To be able to use Portrait Mode, you have to be the perfect distance from your subject, and this is not always feasible. Additionally, we suggest paying extra attention to the output to make sure the result looks natural.

    The good news is that you can still utilize your manual exposure technique and your rule of thirds grid in Portrait Mode. Using Portrait Mode can elevate your images, but an extra level of attention to detail must be maintained.

    Post Processing Photographs

    While it’s preferable to get as much right straight out of the camera, sometimes you may need to do a little adjusting after the image is already snapped. In this case, there are an abundance of free apps to handle your post processing. One of our favorites is Snapseed. This free app is extremely robust and allows you to adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, ambiance, highlights, shadows, and warmth of your images after you’ve taken them.

    And, that’s only a small scratch of the surface. Is your composition throwing you off, and you wish you’d set up the frame differently? Perhaps your whites have a yellow tint from your natural light source. Snapseed offers a crop tool with both preset sizes and custom sizes, as well as a rotation tool if your horizon is slightly crooked. Use the white balance tool to pull those color casts out of your image. If you find that your images don’t quite meet your standards even after following our iPhone photography tips and tricks, we suggest you give Snapseed a try.

    Before and After Our Photography Tips

    iPhone photograph

    This is the area I was working in. Both images were shot with my iPhone XS.

    iPhone photograph before and after

    In this before picture, I literally just placed the product on the table and snapped a photo. This is the quintessential “point and shoot.” Here is a sampling of the things wrong with this image:

    Lighting – the only lighting I’m using here is natural light, however, there is not enough of it.
    Exposure – because there is not enough light, the image is underexposed.
    Composition – The product is placed in the center of the frame, which is not always a bad thing. However, in this instance, it does not make for a very dynamic photo.
    Background – The background in this image is particularly distracting. The framed print is reflecting the light coming through a window, as well as simply being too busy of a print to let the product shine. Additionally, the corner of the table draws the eye away from the focus.
    iPhone photograph before and after

    In the after picture, I implemented the following tips:

    Lighting – I opened the double doors to the right of my scene to let in the beautiful, diffused, natural light.
    Exposure – I used the iPhone’s built in exposure tool to brighten the overall exposure of the image prior to taking the photo.
    Composition – I utilized the rule of thirds by placing the main focus of the image on the left line of the “tic-tac-toe” board. Additionally, I brought in two other, smaller products as accents that still allow the main product to take center stage. This is an example of the rule of odds.
    Background – I removed the framed print from the image all together, and I repositioned the products in the center of the table so that the edge of the table would no longer draw the eye away from the product. Additionally, I pulled the table away from the wall in an effort to create a smoother, neutral background. (You’ll notice in the “before” picture that you can clearly see the texture of the wall. This is stylistic preference. I preferred less texture for this image.)
    Post Processing – I used Snapseed to adjust the white balance, highlights, shadows, and contrast.

    With a little bit of effort and attention to detail, you can use your phone, a free app, and the lighting you have available to you to create lovely, engaging images.

    Practice your Photography Basics

    Here at Root & Roam, we know that you’ve built your business based on your expertise in your field. We understand that becoming a professional photographer may not be in the cards for you or any of your team members. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful, engaging, and converting Instagram feed! With a little practice and by using the iPhone photography tips above, you can capture and share images that stop your audience in their tracks.

    If you’re ready to elevate your Instagram feed (or any medium where photography is used), but you just don’t want to do it on your own, contact us! We have a team of professional photographers on staff with a wide variety of specialties and extensive experience in taking businesses to the next level visually.