Category photos are used to represent nearly 1,000 services on Thumbtack. Here’s how to get the shot.

Composition and subjects

Generally, category photos focus on projects over people. When framing the shot, keep compositions simple — put the focal point square in the frame and crop around it to fill the image. Use negative space and depth of field to direct the eye.

Lighting and location

Category photos are snapshots of a real project, captured in action. When picking locations, focus on signs of life or the messy, in-between stages of a project. Shoot scenes with plenty of natural light to add warmth, tonal contrast and depth.

Wardrobe and props

Use authentic props and clothing that clearly represent the photo’s category. Pick the right tools that are accurate for the featured project. Avoid dressing up subjects in cartoonish or “stock” costumes.

Category don’ts

Compositions shouldn’t feel overly staged and locations shouldn’t feel too polished.

Avoid shooting a setting so wide that it overwhelms the subject, project or category.

Don’t overuse a shallow depth of field to create focus. It’s too dreamy for our realistic brand.

Make sure that images hold an edge if placed on white.

Putting it all together

The photo’s category needs to be obvious at first glance.

Photos shouldn’t look overly edited — save those filters for your own selfies.

If the photo features people, capture natural expressions and body language.