Ruminations of an everyday creative

January 20, 2021

Lobsters staying local.

It’s been a wet and miserable day and I chose not to venture out. But I did still get to dive into a few hours of photography. And in a way I was stepping back into my past.

Nicola runs an online shop where she sells a variety of items that she creates and so it falls on my shoulders to shoot the product shots for the site, and for Etsy. I used to be quite resentful of any time I had to give to converting our living room into a studio space, setting up the lights, shooting the staged and propped images and subsequently spending a couple of hours processing to ensure they were appealing, yet authentic and accurate.

I think this is because I spent a good part of my working life doing product shots around the edges of my more fulfilling editorial work. Sometimes the mortgage payments demanded it!

I would spend virtually all of every December entombed in a windowless room in a warehouse shooting thousands of pieces of Chinese Christmas tat on a white or blue background for an import company. I’d shoot cushions, fabrics and table decor for another, again having to create a realistic setup in a corner of a warehouse, or have to dance around expensive furniture when the business owner invited me to use his own dining room. Colour management from shot to brochure was vital.

Then again there’d be the thousands upon thousands of fishing flies and related ephemera for a fishing mag, ceramics to shoot for Staffordshire pottery companies, big diggers on building sites for JCB, hugely expensive diamond encrusted stuff for a jeweller which had to be shot in what was virtually a  room sized safe, random office products for another import company and... and...

Although each came with its own set of problems, the more difficult and tricksy of which I approached with relish, the monotony really got to me.

There wasn’t really much room for creativity to be truthful and I felt more like a technician than a creative.

So, with my shoots for Nicola I decided to double the amount of time I allowed myself to do the shoot and drop into it with mindfulness rather than an attitude of getting it out of the way. And you know what, it really works. It’s not my favourite photography topic but by allowing myself to be a bit more inventive the whole experience becomes more enjoyable. And it’s clearly obvious from the shop stats that good imagery translates into more views and ultimately more sales.

Good photography is central to a successful online store and it’s interesting to see the impact that a revised lighting setup or background has on the stats and graphs of website hits. If you ever sell anything online, even prints, do your best to present your product in as appealing a way as possible. It really matters.

So, today’s shot is of a piece of artwork done by Nicola for her upcoming second volume of Lockdown Lunacy - Lobsters staying Local!

I’m including this shot (which I shot with two balanced studio flash heads, placed equidistant and at 45 degrees to the artwork, with my tripod mounted camera perpendicular to the artwork, processed in Lightroom with colour accuracy as the goal and perspective manually corrected with the ‘guided’ facility in LR) because it really makes me smile.

I have it as the desktop image on my second monitor and it really does brighten my day. So I want to share it with you.

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