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In Photography

Photography Series | Part 1, Learning from Successful Retailers

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It isn’t uncommon that you find me, at least once a day, doing a photoshoot in my house. Not the elaborate kind, with editors and stylists. But instead – me in the kitchen mid afternoon, my hair in top knot bun, coffee on the kitchen table, when the sun is at its best – standing on a chair, cranking my neck over a board, or holding a reflector with my chin as I try to get close to a product. Over the last ten years of business I’ve explored photography …. what makes a great shot, how to achieve that great shot and how to do it without a lot of money.

I’ve decided to write a series of posts sharing some photography tips, in what is simply going to be called my “Photography Series”. I’ve broken the tips into a series of posts that I’ll roll out over the upcoming weeks,. months or, perhaps year – as new ideas or, tricks come up. It’s a little series that I hope inspires you, either for your own blog, or, business.

Because my journey at perfecting my photography was (and is) rooted in product photography, it’s fitting and, perhaps necessary to start the series talking about photography for business owners – e-commerce ventures. That being said, I think as a blogger looking to improve your own art / styling, this post may still prove to be interesting.

Before I can dive into the tricks, I think it’s important to talk about the inspiration process. Because one must be inspired, and have a feeling of what one wants a photo to look like, before one can actually take a photo. This particular post has a main focus on the business / entrepreneurial reader because for me, the process of photography and, taking better photos, was as a result of taking product shots for my store, and my art. But I think should you have a blog, or, want to try “styling” photos for fun, this post will be perhaps of interest.

With it being easier than ever to actually open an online store, setting yourself apart from the rest is really, really important. Success lies in many factors, but how you present yourself to the world – just like how you would style a bricks and mortar store, is something you should focus on. And that’s where photography comes in.

But before I can even touch on how to style a great photo (that is in an upcoming post), it’s really important to familiarize yourself with

what makes

a great photo

.

 This process is really quite similar to interior decorating. Before you can decorate your home, you have to get a feeling for what YOUR style is, and, how you want to put your stamp on the process. The same is true for photography styling in my opinion.

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The first thing I tend to do, and, do often, is study other people’s photography. What do I like? What makes it a great photo? How did they achieve that look?  Some examples are found on sites like Etsy, where sellers have seen the value in finding a “look” for their store. Great examples are found at

LoveLane

(photo above)- you’ll see that red stool repeated throughout the photos.

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If you look at

Anthropologie’s 

website (fig. 1), everything is shot on the same coloured background, same lighting – it looks like it could have all been shot on the same day, but likely were shot over the the course of a few months as new products were added to the lineup.

Hop over to

Bhldn 

(fig. 2) and although their product photography look is TOTALLY different – they also have a consistent look. You know which site your on, without having to look at the logo.

Branding is in the photography

. Although these are owned by the same Mother company, they have different looks to their photos, reflective of the brand.For an e-commerce shop, consistency is the key.

Blogger Tip – we can also gain amazing insight from studying the photographs and taking inspiration on how to style things when say, we want to show a tutorial on a craft project, or, say, show a “reveal” of something we made. We can learn a lot from studying retailers, as much as we can gain insight from fellow bloggers.

So we’ve narrowed down why we want to take great photos for our shops (or, our blogs) and, given some references to the shops that are really the pros at how to style. But then you and I, what can we take away? I love studying how people take photos.

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What I love is the soft pale pink background of the shots. It adds warmth and, is definitely applicable to telling a story of a wedding. It looks like a pale pink linen. This shot inspires some photos, which I’ll go into later on in the series.

To kick off this series I wanted to really emphasize that it’s ok to learn by studying other people’s work. Head over to Pinterest and look at photos that are styled really nicely.

I have a board on Pinterest of photographs that are styled really well.

Although at first glance they may not look like product photography ideas, you can apply a look to your own brand.

Blogger tip: As a blogger, you’re less likely to stick with one look for your photos as you’re touching on a variety of topics (most likely) so, styling in different ways will be part of the fun. The same tricks apply – to browse Pinterest and emmerse yourself in admmiring other peoples great photos and see if you can deconstruct how they may have done it, and, how you can achieve the look. 

Next up: Part II, Creating interesting looks with inexpensive props

In Photography

Camera+ iPhone App

download (7) download (8)I hope you had a nice weekend! Saturday night we had a very impromptu bonfire in the garden.  With it getting darker earlier, the globe lights that I had put up for my party – and have yet to take down, sparkled in the night sky. It was a perfect night. Above are some shots of it – blurred with the Camera+ iPhone App – Great for blurring those kids photos that you don’t want to plaster all over the blog and yet, also a great function for globe lights in the night sky. 😉  This week is rather busy so it may be rather quiet on the blog as I tackle some business, some blog shoots for Leon’s and get into a groove of getting Oscar settled at school. Apologies in advance for dissapearing for the week, but my Mommy role is taking front seat and then business takes priority too. xo Linds

In Gift Guides/ Photography

Gift Guide / For The Photographer

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I did a gift guide for Him, Her, and little ones, but because I’m obsessed with photography & gadgets I’m adding a gift guide for the Photographer on your list. I own a few of the above myself (3 &4) and love them. In terms of cameras I love my DSLR and will never replace it – but because of the size (It’s BIG) I find that I’m using my iPhone a lot more for candid photos and I’m loving the amount of gadgets on the market to add to your phones. Anyhow, see more picks over on Etsy.Enjoy! xo Lindsay

In Photography

snapping photos underwater

underwater camera

Aubrey bought me an underwater digital camera for my birthday and I had an opportunity to snap some photos of Oscar swimming at my Mom’s yesterday. We ended up going for the FujiFilm FinePix XP60 Waterproof Camera after reading positive reviews online, the price (it happened to be on sale at the time we bought it) and that my brother & (soon to be) sister in law also have the same model and were happy with it.  Some of the shots above crack me up of Oscar. I’m not sure adults will love you snapping photos of their lower half (I’d be mortified if someone did that to me) but snapping babies is pretty fun. 🙂 The one awkward thing about underwater photography (next to having someone snap photos of your lower half) is that as the photographer you float. So it’s hard to snap the perfect shot. I took 345 pictures and maybe 10 are worth keeping and maybe 2 are worth blowing up into art for the house. I had taken scuba diving lessons as a teen to get certified and used to have a weight belt that would have come in handy to try to keep myself underwater for longer than I was able to without – but that’s getting a bit “serious” about getting the shot so not really necessary for all. 😉 Anyhow, just some cute baby legs swimming. 🙂Ps., I got Oscar this new “Puddle Jumper” from Canadian Tire after a friend of my Mom’s recommended it. It is ah-ma-zing. It allows him to swim and get comfortable without me having to hold onto him as I have been. He LOVES it. 

In Photography

turn off the auto focus

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Aubrey, Oscar and I headed to the beach yesterday to skip and collect cool shaped rocks. I brought my DSLR with me to snap some photos of Oscar. Partly through snapping I ended up switching off the auto focus. It’s something I’ve experimented with over the years. By turning it off, and manually adjusting the focus, you can keep things slightly blurry. (or really blurry depending on how much you adjust it) I did it at Christmas time in this post and really liked the effect. And the Summer of 2011 I experimented with turning off the auto focus while walking through the forest as you can see in the first shot. Looking at the photo of Aubrey and Oscar above reminds me a wee bit of a print in Thom Fillicia’s Lake House. (I especially love this one) It’s amazing how switching off the auto focus and blurring things just a wee bit, can make a photo more beautiful.  Just a little something creative that is super easy to do.