This ordinarily seemed like an over-flogged topic to me but a leisurely stroll into social media photo campaigns of many dear Crafters persuaded me to adjust my views. Moreover, our recent efforts to populate the online mart, Handmade Nigeria, has thrown up a major concern about the matter of good photography for independent artisans.
Oh, I hope that you got the memo about where your customers hang out these days? Yes, they are online and they spend a great deal of time on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a host of others. The thing about this again is that they most probably already have a plan for the time that they’ll spend there and really don’t want to be distracted by your photos. Which is why, you need attention-grabbing photos and not average ones!
Listen Up. If you want to have a truly successful craft business, you cannot sell your skill alone, you MUST sell an image. Photos that show you as a skilled designer will earn you the Oohs, Ahhs, and Hearts on social media, but high quality photos will show you as an excellent, detailed designer and that is what brings the real dough in. Note that great photos increase the perceived value of your pieces online.
You see, the kind of phone or camera that you use does not matter as much as how/where you take the photo. I’ll just mention a few DIY practices that you can implement immediately to grow your handmade business online:
- Find that light! Lighting is like the most important factor to quality of your amateur photos and you must find the right spot in your home or shop with a lot of natural light and no shadows. Natural light always works for clearer and sharper images. If it is nowhereto be found, you may improvise with LED lights, but watch out for shadows. If your photos are neither clear nor sharp, then what are we talking about mbok?
- Background matters – after finding the natural light and placing your craftwork in it, please remove every irrelevancy in the background area; those little details go far. While selecting craft photos for feature on our Instagram page for instance, we look out for neat and organized backgrounds. If it is not clean and bare, it should bear a deliberate design/arrangement that compliments the piece that the photo shoot is about. Plus, if you plan to sell on an ecommerce site like Handmade Nigeria, your product must be shot against a plain white background (with few exceptions).
- Incorporate a message – yeah, watermarks are not only for branding and anti-plagiarism moves. LOL. People connect with emotions easily, include one in your photo via a message inscription. Keep it short and simple, and of course, it should not obstruct the product.
- Tell a story – I was amused to observe Facebook changing the posting call-to-action from ‘what is on your mind?’ to ‘Tell a story’ 😀 . Now, if you should listen to anybody as per success online, FB is like top cadre. Stories always provoke a response and people will almost always stop to read. Don’t just drop your photo and leave; tell a story about the materials you used, the design inspiration, the styling of the piece, etc. Be creative, hold the interest of viewers and let your caption leave them with positive vibes.
- Experiment with edit tools – check out the photo editing tools that come with your smartphone. Try out the filters until you find one that enhances your image without outrightly altering it. You don’t want to get bad reviews of product misrepresentation when people order for your pieces.
- Give us some behind-the-scenes. A snapshot of a moment during the creating process is always intriguing to the viewer. Or it could be a photo of the different components before you blended them into your creation. This is going an extra mile, buy Hey! In a loud marketplace like the one online, you need to be more than average to grab attention.
- Use a model – some pieces come alive when they are worn. If your jewelry looks too ordinary sitting there on its own, put it on a model. This is an attention-grabber of all time!
These actionable tips are for the ones that may not be able to afford a professional photographer or simply like to do things by themselves (some of us are that way).
If you can afford to hire a pro, then do your business a favour and hire away, baby! Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Feature image: @femihandbags