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Photography Series | Part 3, Using Wrapping Paper for backdrops

So far I’ve written two other posts on some of my photography tricks – Part 1 | Learning from Successful Retailers  and Part 2 | Custom backdrops for under $10. Seriously folks, this is what I go bananas for. On to this posts topic – it’s a little shorter, but still pretty fun. Wrapping paper. Wheeee! Wrapping paper is a  great backdrop for photos. It’s inexpensive and doesn’t take up a lot of room or storage.I picked up this roll from Party City  for a few dollars but you can find great patterns on Etsy. If you see a colour or, pattern on sale in your travels, grab a roll. It’s great to have a bunch on hand. You never know when you may come to need a certain colour. 

In terms of creativity, consider colour pallets that work well together. Getting nerdy for a moment. Remember your intro to art in school and where they talked about the colour wheel and, complimentary colours? Where the opposite colours on the wheel is naturally the complimentary colour? It actually goes further than that –

 there are Analogous colour patterns, Triad patterns and more?

There is some science to why colours work well together. Which is why pink and yellow, as I’ve shown above – really look pretty spectacular. Not that you need to pull out your colour wheel every time you want to create a photoshoot, but it’s just interesting that certain colours just work really well together.

This is a great page over on Adobe. 

If you want patterns, I would think that the smaller the pattern the better if you’re shooting something straight on, so not to distract from the product you’re shooting.  I shoot primarily small things, but if you were

shooting kids – wrapping paper does make an inexpensive backdrop!

Take this gorgeous pink striped paper that I picked up – and I put my favourite pink teacup with it. I’m showing this because I don’t think it’s actually working. The stripes are competing with the cup.

But

if I layered more in the photo – a napkin, a cookie, and maybe some tea in the cup then it could work. But overall it’s truthfully not my favourite look. I much prefer the solid colour paper. You also have to be a little weary of the sheen of paper, because really you don’t want it to l

ook like you’re using wrapping paper.

The key is to create a nice backdrop for what you want to showcase. Which again is why the solid colours likely are better. 

Hopefully some of these posts will give even the most newbie photographer some confidence in trying out some new things. And grab that roll of wrapping paper when it’s on sale, because it may be the ticket to a great shot down the road. 

Past posts

Part 1 |

Learning from Successful Retailers

Part 2 |

Custom backdrops for under $10

In Photography

Photography Series | Part 2, DIY Custom backdrops for under $10

 

better-photography

This is my go-to trick for 99% of my styling – I buy wood boards from Home Depot and buy sample pots of paint. Easy, inexpensive, and the results are crazy good.

The sample pots at Home Depot are $5.00 and a board is also $5.00 – so for $10, I’m looking at a great backdrop for whatever I’m shooting. While waiting for the paint, I also tend to stock up on great colour chips, for you never know when you need that perfect shade for a project. And I hate picking colours in a store, so if you have a great collection of paint chips at home, you’re saving yourself a step.

 

paint-chips

When you have your paint colour picked, just paint a board and, you’re good to go.

Results in…

 Here are some more examples of boards that I’ve painted in custom colours….

The photo below is shot in the kitchen, and that is indeed my wall colour, however instead of my wood kitchen table, I placed a white board on the bottom.

Although all of the above look different they were all shot in the same spot.  Crazy right? Work space is small, but man oh man, you can get great shots with the right light and, the right backdrop.

The other thing you can do is paint things like kraft paper. It gives you a little more texture…. like one of my favourite shots below

from this post

 and

 this post. 

 A little paint goes a long way.

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