Previously, I’ve covered comparison living, branding yourself with a minority label, and even my I am not a sweatshop post could be added to the mix. Continuing with this standing in your own way series, I want to take a cue from The Dramatics and apply this song title to how we inadvertently shape our image based on very obvious things.
The most obvious of all, especially as an online seller, is photos. I feel it’s safe to say unless you have a budget set aside for quality photos or know someone who will do a smashing job in some sort of barter agreement, chances are your photos have looked like crap at some point. I know mine have. They have gotten better over time, but really went from ehh to BRAVO! yesterday. See, I spent a few hours shooting some new jewelry and re-shooting a bit of my old stock and I’ll finish the rest this week. I finally FINALLY have proper photos.
It’s been a long time coming and you know what the number one change was?
An amazing camera. D showed me how to use his Cannon 550D a few days ago and I was blessed with some good natural light and then I went in and color corrected my photos.
Here’s a before and after of some bracelets I currently have in the shop:
Although my new home has more natural light than my house in Brooklyn, I still seem to suffer from a lack of decent enough lighting to take great photos off the bat. I’ve also been prisoner to having too much texture in photos. It’s an addiction. If it’s one thing I’ve noticed over the years in other brands that I admire is a simple background is key. Same with a blog. I won’t read a blog if I go to their page and they have ridiculous fonts and hard-on-the-eyes backgrounds. If I’m not completely turned off, I’ll RSS them. So if I’m like that with others, what made me think it was okay to do that myself? K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Sweetie)
No more crazy backgrounds for me. Just solid light colors, or at least solid colors that work well against what I’m photographing. I still have work to do, but the difference is night and day so far. I’m pleased as punch!
Another interesting note I want to touch on is the added perceived value of inventory based on photography alone. Here’s an example:
Person A and Person B make exactly the same product. Let’s say it’s knitted scarves. Let’s also assume they are on an equal playing field: they know no one and are both just starting out. They don’t happen to be BFF with a magazine editor or sitting on piles of cash or e-friends with all the right people (whatever that means).
Person A has access to a photographer friend and sets up a little studio somewhere with a model (you could be the model or it could just be a friend that’s photogenic and willing to help out for a free scarf) or takes on location photos and models the scarves in scenes.
Person B has a camera and takes photos in their house (which is TOTALLY FINE) in bad lighting and settings (which is NOT totally fine).
They both want to charge $75 for their scarf. Who do you think will sell first? Who do you think will sell more? Just by looking at the photos and not knowing either person, we tend to automatically assume that Person A has better quality product, when in reality it could be the other way around. We just can’t see it. We could be robbing ourselves of customers and promotional opportunities based on our photos. What a tragedy.
So awesome photos actually change the title to: what is see, is much more than what you get.
What are your thoughts? Do you suffer from the same illness as me? Have you improved your photography? Do you have links to share that can help others?