Photography fun. (Learning the hard way)
Being a one woman show means I've had to learn some new skills pretty quickly. Learning in general how business works, how Etsy works and how to make the ideas in my head come alive on the sewing machine. The creative side is always easy, it's translating what your vision is to the online shop place that was a struggle. Writing about your work is a struggle but you can look to answer questions your potential customer has about your work and a general description and you are kind of there but it's true what they say, a picture is worth 1000 words....
I'd never thought myself as particularly bad at photography when I first started. Point and shoot. make sure its not blurry..... seemed like that was all I needed. Boy was I wrong! The struggle was real at first. Product photography was a whole other ballgame. When I first started Curious Alice Studio I only had the silk scarves and I had no idea how to take photos of them. I'm also kinda of ashamed to say, I didn't think to look it up. I didn't look at other shops and how they presented their work at all. As a result the firsts photos I used on my etsy site involved a seriously creased backdrop scarves placed down flat and some seriously questionable lighting choices. Natural light is a good choice only if it is consistent and actually lights up the area you are using for your photography area properly.
As you can see from my first photo attempts I really didn't have an understanding of what I was doing. I wasn't thinking about showing the product to its best advantage. I just wanted an image to put on the site. This can be seen in a lot of my early photos of my work. I like to think that as my business knowledge improved so did my understanding of what I needed from photography improved and as a result I tried harder and as a result the product photos I took improved.
I have since learned that keeping the back ground plain and unassuming is a much better way to show case the scarves. I also have since invested in box lights to diffuse and improve the lighting giving a more accurate colour in the final image. I've also played with the idea of how the scarves flow. The way they drape and fall really makes them come alive. Having them freshly ironed so the show off themselves off as their best. Things that seem really obvious when you state them but were not things I was thinking about when I first started.
One of the best decisions I made when re hauling my photos was starting to use a model. I'm supremely lucky to have a talented friend who is an actress. She has been happy to help me through the years. We've learned together how to put a photo-shoot together. To be honest it has been a laugh and we do enjoy ourselves. We've also gotten quicker and the photos are just getting better with time. Having access to a good camera has helped as well! When we first started we were more focused on getting an interesting photo. We forgot the most important reason why we were there. That we were there for a product shot. If I have any advise, for myself or for anyone else, it's all about the product. Showing it off to its best advantage and in a way that shows it in use. It's something I forget regularly and need to keep reminding myself during a photo shoot.
One of the things I love about our photo-shoots is that we have fun and it is a truly collaborative event. I don't give Heather enough credit as she comes up with lots of ideas of how she would style the garments I give to her to wear. She brings a ton of jewelry, skirts, dresses and tops and we come up with the outfits. We also make sure we have snacks, good music and a little drink to relax us. We work better once we both feel comfortable and relaxed. Its important to me that when someone is doing me such a big favour that they are having a good time and that they are getting the most out of the day. Anyone who models for me get to pick what they want to keep from the photo-shoot or ask for something special that is just for them.
I have had other people take photos for me. Notably, a lovely friend Ariane (find her on instagram here: @_ariane__
and my lovely sister and her husband. They all did a lovely lovely job but they weren't always here to help me when I had new products. I learnt a lot from them and watching them work. Their knowledge, I believe, slowly sieved into my mind so that I could start doing my own photography. I also think that it is important to have knowledge of how a shoot works. I feel now that if I was to start having someone else take the photos I would be much more able to direct a photo-shoot and work out the particulars of what I am looking for and communicate it better. It's something I want to do more of. I'm currently committed to getting more photo-shoots out there showing the versatility of my garments. Showing how they can be worn and enjoyed and for different occasions. I often talk about how I want to bring the luxury into the everyday with the silk and lace garments I make but I need to start giving examples and bring my vision to life.
If you are ever interested in doing a collaboration, modeling or photography get in touch here: firstname.lastname@example.org I love to work with other people so give me a bell.
Lots of xxx
See more at:
Shop link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CuriousAliceStudio
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/curious_alice_studio/ or @curious_alice_studio