Photography Tips

I don't make objects, but offer services. How do I visually represent these on my website?

As discussed in our previous post, as an artist/creative entrepreneur, you are in charge of how you present yourself and your work to your ideal audience, therefore your design choices and image choices matter. A lot!

Today we are going to concentrate on how to show what you do when you don't have actual objects to sell. We often get this question from coaches, writers, consultants, and other creatives who don't make physical objects. So, what do you do when you offer a service and want to attract the right clients? 

Here are 3 things to think about when creating the right visuals for a service-based business:

1) It's important to articulate what you do and what kind of service you provide.  What is your process? Write it all out. This exercise should start with a) describing your client's problems, b) how you solve them, and c) clearly delineating what kind of results they get from you. 

2) Next, think about the emotional response you want to convey through your business (strength, confidence, soothing calm, etc.) Start to collect images and color swatches that appeal to you and have a feeling that is similar to the one you want to convey. Break down the types of colors that appear in these inspiration images. Each color has psychological connotations, so make sure that the colors that appeal to you match the feeling you want to convey through your business and visual materials. This post takes you on a journey of how to create a mood board that will help you find the right color palette that can represent your business.

3) Now, with your services in mind, think about the visuals that can best represent what you do. Starting off, there are usually two options:

  • You might actually have to show what you do, such as a video describing your work, or photographs of you at work, so people can get a sense of who you are.
  • But sometimes, the previous option won't work so you have to turn to aspirational imagery from stock photography or hire a photographer to create unique images that work for you.

Here are two effective examples:

Have you seen the following image before? If you've followed us at all, then you probably have. We created this image to represent our service, the DELVE Toolkit. We offer one-on-one and group coaching programs for artists and creatives to help you better communicate what you do – on-line, in person, and in writing – so you can achieve your professional goals. For us, this image works for several reasons:

  • it's fun to look at
  • we allude to creativity and artistry in a colorful, interesting way
  • we show a sense of organization and clarity that we bring to the DELVE Toolkit process
  • it can be used online and printed and in different design situations to repeat the brand image but offer variety
The image used for the DELVE Toolkit services by Kind Aesthetic

The image used for the DELVE Toolkit services by Kind Aesthetic

Next, Carolyn Cirillo is a marketing writer for the interiors industry. She needed to speak to clients in the design world while not being a designer herself. The best option for her was the use of stock photography that elicited the feeling she wanted to convey about her work to her ideal audience: clarity, intelligence, organization, and a sense of sophisticated design. We love the images on her website because they are pleasant to look at, inspire confidence and are unifying in color and theme without being boring or redundant. Plus, the color choices with her logo and navigation were intentional, and pop nicely, since they are complementary colors.

 

The homepage for Carolyn Cirillo

The homepage for Carolyn Cirillo

Choosing the right images to support your service-based business can be a challenge but our advice is to always go with your gut and be sure to examine what you love (and hate) because it will ultimately create the best end product! You are unique in what you do, and your tastes, background and process all support that!

Let us know if you need a hand and check out our services here.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Three photography tips: It's all about the light.

We love helping our clients develop sustainable skills for their businesses. Photographing work is a common project that many people have trouble with. Here are three tips that assure you will get consistently gorgeous images every time:

Always use daylight. The best way to get consistent and glowing images of your work is to use daylight. Find a window that offers a big swath of light. Look at the light; it should be a soft cover and not be harsh and contrasty. The easiest way to find this kind of light is to use a window that receives indirect sunshine, photograph on a cloudy day (nature's original light diffusers), or hang a sheer white curtain to make the light soft and allow your work to glow.

Hint: squint to see where the light is and where the shadows are. Be sure that your work is placed in the best light and your body/camera aren't blocking the light.

Use a simple, non-distracting background. Nothing says amateur like a bad photography set (think pet hair on pillows, distracting knickknacks and poor lighting.) Just like your website should be simple and feature your work, so should your photographs. Make sure that your props are just hints at an emotional and inspiring set for your product that you are featuring. Get in close and make sure that the work is featured first and foremost.

Practice with depth of field. You can control what is in focus in your images with depth of field. When using a DSLR use an aperture of F8 or wider, and here is a link to mimic the same effect if you're photographing with an iPhone.

We help talented people with their photography all the time! We can teach you via the DELVE Toolkit or we are for hire to photograph your work. Be in touch and let us know what you need!

 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Photography Tips: Still-life and Product Photography by Evi Abeler

Whether you’re an artist, an entrepreneur or a maker of great products, you know photography is key to communicating your brand and selling your goods. A beautiful, well-styled picture can elevate your work, build trust, capture media attention, attract customers and generate revenue. But how do you create those engaging images? We are excited to be sharing some tips from professional still-life, food and interior photographer
Evi Abeler today.

1. Image Strategy
The first thing is to think about your image strategy. What does your work stand for? Who is your audience? How will you use your images? Collect a few words that describe your brand. For example: If you are planning to sell handmade one of a kind ceramics for the kitchen your brand words might be: simple, rustic, everyday... . Let these words guide your set-ups, props and photography style for all your images, whether they are for your online shop, a postcard or social media.

products9.jpeg

2. Get Inspired
Look for images that inspire you and fit your brand words. Take pages from magazines and create a visual mood board. Pinterest is a fantastic place to collect inspirations found online. Also research other makers who create similar objects or have a style that fits your work and take notes on how they are using photography. After you collected a bunch of photos step back and see what you are drawn to. Is it the close up shot, soft focus, certain backgrounds or maybe the images that show the work in action or in an environment?

3. Define Your Style
Based on your brand words and your mood board define a style for your photos. If your brand is all about clean and simple, then go with a plain background and minimal props. More grungy? How about about using the streets to showcase your work?  Once you have picked a style, stick with it. Consistency will make it easier for you and makes you look professional.

4. Keep it Simple, Keep it Fresh
You have a strategy, done your research and developed a style. Now, block some time in your calendar for photography every month to photograph your goods. And since you are at it, photograph your workspace and your process as well. Your audience loves behind the scene photos of you and your work. You can use them in blog posts, share on social media or make booklets of your work as gifts for your dream clients! You can also show off some happy customers. And every once in a while hit the video button and record a clip. You can make a short movie in no time with Vine or if you are looking for a more advanced editing tool try directr.

5. Improve your Photography Skills
If you are working with your phone camera you can use VSCOcam to add effects, create text overlays with Over or collage images with Frametastic. If you need help with your digital camera check out these great online classesphotography schools and meet-ups that you can join. As with everything, you will only get better with time and practice.

Good Luck! ...and I would love to see your work. You can send it to studio@eviabeler.com !

--Evi

Evi Abeler takes a stylish yet unfussy approach to photographing food, products and interiors. Working in her New York City studio or on location, Evi uses natural light and simple staging to create gorgeous compositions that showcase wholesome food, beautiful objects and stunning spaces. With her lifelong passion for photography and design, Evi brings a creative eye and professional approach to every project. Her clients in advertising, publishing, hospitality and retail include Food & Wine (which named her 2013 Digital Food Award Winner), Lotta Jansdotter and Whole Foods Markets. She’s represented by Big Leo Productions. In addition to her photography, she collaborates with pastry chef Albane Sharrard on the recipe blog Whip + Click and offers photography training and workshops to makers, bloggers and designers.
 

This post was first published in February 2014.

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.

Great documentation of your art = future opportunities

To paraphrase what we heard at a panel at 3rd Ward in Bushwick recently, it's so important to get great documentation of your art work, since those images can lead to future opportunities. In this post we are going to tackle the fundamentals of documenting your 2D and 3D art work, since it is the most important tool in getting your work out there. Great work can be ruined by poor documentation, since the juror or collector won't know what your piece really looks like. Invest in yourself by having the right equipment and taking the time to learn.

We all can learn how to make and edit great images. If this is all too technically advanced for you, or you just don't have the time, hire a professional to help you. There is no shame in that, it will decrease your stress load and you will get great results. If you do choose to hire someone, you should know how you want your work photographed, so keep on reading! The key is to incorporate documentation into your practice: as you finish your work in the studio, when it is up during an exhibition and/or along the way to document the process. That way, you will always have access to professional images to submit to competitions or for your website.

Gather your work together and get organized! Here are some tips for making some incredible images.

Equipment

You should own a decent to excellent camera. Also please be sure to buy an extra battery and memory cards for your camera. If you just can't afford the camera you want right now,  borrow one from a friend or rent a DSLR from a camera store such as Calumet.

Purchasing a camera is fun and ultimately, you should get what you feel comfortable with. We recommend going to your local store and trying some out. Make sure to bring a list of what you need as far as megapixel size (the more the megapixels, the larger you can print), how big/small you’d like the camera to be, if you need video, the ISO range, and make sure the camera has a good battery life. There are many cameras out there and most of them are great. Amazon and B+H Photo usually have competitive prices on cameras and accessories. We love Canons here at Kind Aesthetic- Powershots are great point and shoot cameras, the Rebel is a great introductory DSLR and their professional DSLRs are amazing machines.

Use a tripod. The tripod doesn't need to be fancy, but if it has a level in it, all the better.

Borrow or invest in lights. If lights are too much of a hassle for you, be sure to photograph in daylight, when it is overcast and the light is nice and even. Too sunny is not good since you will get hotspots on the work, and it won't photograph well.
If you anticipate needing lights often and want the flexibility of shooting your work whenever you want, we recommend it. You can find inexpensive tungsten light kits at photo stores. Just tell your salesperson what you need them for.

Practice using your camera before you start your shoot. Learn what aperture, ISO and shutter speed are, where to adjust it, and how to change your depth of field. Can you shoot RAW files with your camera? That is great, but high resolution jpegs are fine. Your camera most likely has many settings and remember that your goal is a well lit, clear photograph with a high resolution. You can always make the image smaller for web purposes later. It's frustrating to start shooting and you realize your camera was on the wrong settings. Many local schools and photographers offer classes on how to use your camera–they are fun and empowering.

The Set-Up

2D work 

This is a great resource for 2D work.
Use a simple, non-distracting background, like a white wall. Also, if your work would resonate being photographed in a certain context, such as outside, then shoot both.
If it's framed and under glass, remove it to photograph it.

Hang it on a wall so that it is parallel to your camera lens:

 

courtesy of http://cuart.colorado.edu/resources/vrc/tips/photographing-2d/

courtesy of http://cuart.colorado.edu/resources/vrc/tips/photographing-2d/


3D Work

The same rules apply for the background as for 2D work.
Don't place your work too close to the background– give it some space.
Your lighting is also crucial for sculpture, since you may want to emphasize the depth or materiality of a piece through the shadows you can create with your lights. Play around with it until you get the lighting you are going for.

Make sure your backdrop is clean. If it's not, then "dust" it afterwards in Photoshop.

 

Dirty backdrop before and after, art work courtesy of  Andrew Hamill

Dirty backdrop before and after, art work courtesy of Andrew Hamill

The Shoot

Assure that your aperture is f8 or higher, so that the work is in focus. You can set your camera to Aperture Priority to assure your f-stop won't change while shooting.
Make several images. Change up the aperture a bit, change the lighting, move your work around. Try different angles and get detail shots.
Focus and fill the frame with the image.

After the shoot

Once you've uploaded your images to your computer, you can crop the images and do any color correction you need to in a photo application, such as Photoshop.
Often, especially with paintings and drawings, you will need to tweak your images so that they are as close as a representation to the real thing. Perhaps certain colors need to be toned down or the blacks aren't dark enough. It's important to work on your digital files in the same room as your art work so you can look at it to compare.
Save your work often and be sure to rename your files as you finish them. It will help you organize them later. Each file name should include the title, medium, date and size of your work.
Sometimes the post-processing of the images on your computer can take just as long as the actual shoot–please be sure to set enough time aside and back up your images.

Remember

Don't shoot with a flash! Use off camera professional lights or natural overcast daylight.

If you are accepted into an exhibition, make sure to document your work before you send it off. (It could get sold and you won't have easy access to it, etc.) Documenting your work for insurance purposes is also a good reminder.

Organize your files! Everyone has their own system. Make sure your files are easy to find and BACKED-UP.

If you have a flat piece that can be scanned, and the image looks good, go for it. Just remember to "dust" the image in Photoshop.

Gather up your work and get documenting. That way, you'll build up your arsenal of gorgeous images to put on your website, show to a curator, and apply to a residency or your next exhibition. Good luck!

 

© 2017 Kind Aesthetic, All Rights Reserved.