Product photography

Product photography

Product photography is essential when you're trying to develop your business.  Even with improved technology and phone cameras it's not an easy skill to master and good photographs can mean the difference between getting into an event/exhibition/shop or not. Good photographs also help with online sales, especially if you can include images from lots of different angles. If you work in 3D you are trying to build a three dimensional image in the customer's brain by showing them front, side and back views. If you work in 2D then it's often helpful to include stylised images of your work in the setting it's intended for e.g. a children's bedroom or a living room.

Set of 4 black and white penguin illustration coasters

As with everything in my business this is a work in progress! Professional images are an investment but are worth every penny if you find the right photographer for you and your work.

A few years ago I started working with the fabulous who creates images for me that I use for event and exhibition applications and as many as my online products as possible. There are a few key reasons why I love working with Richard:

  1. He specialises in product photography which is really important! It's a totally different specialism to portraiture or wedding photography. I spent a lot of money working with photographers who didn't specialise in products and to be honest it was always a bit of a disaster.
  2. Because Richard specialises in product photography he knows how to style and light products to make them look their best and is fantastic at flat lays etc. Anyone who has tried to capture shiny jewellery or tableware will know why this is important.
  3. I like to style my images to match my product or character range and Richard totally gets that. If I give him a brief he will often go out and source props that work alongside my work e.g. pine cones and natural materials for my Wild range, miniature cacti for my hide and seek hedgehogs (see below) 
  4. I can post my work to him in Scarborough with a detailed note of what I would like him to do and he just gets on with it!
  5. Richard can produce white background images for use in press and media publications. It's always a really good idea to have a couple/few of these on hand and these are the hardest photographs to create no matter how good you are in photoshop!

greeting card with owl illustration

There are other things to consider when using a professional photographer. It's probably not cost effective to have every item you make photographed if you have lots of random pieces. The most cost effective way to work is to send a collection or collections of items. In Richard's case he would then set up the props or the flay lay and just change the item being photographed. By using the same set up he doesn't have to worry about changing the lighting, props, angle of the camera etc and this all saves time and money. The more items you can send to be photographed in this way, the more cost effective the shoot will be.

It's also really important to have a clear vision of how you want your images to look and to make sure that this is communicated to your photographer, they are not mind readers. Something I have to work hard at, I often forget that people can't see inside my head! Pay attention to how your proposed images will work with your existing branding or style, the photography needs to tell the story of your brand not just the item it features.

There are items I make that are one offs, experiments or limited editions. In my case they often aren't high end items so getting them professionally photographed isn't viable. In this instance what I try to do is think like Richard and apply the same principles he uses such as batching my work. Do I create masterpieces? Absolutely not (see below), which is why I need Richard, but it has helped bring my work together visually.

circular coaster with flamingoes and tropical florals

As with everything else Thrive I am trying to take my time a bit more with my photography and use it as a mindful exercise. More to come on that very soon when I introduce another talented creative who is providing an alternative view of photography!


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