Photo Tips for Wearable Art by Ariane Mariane
In today’s world photos are one of the most important elements if you are an artist or a designer. Photos decide whether your work will be featured on a blog or a magazine and even if your work is chosen for an exhibit. And photos are especially important if you want to sell online.
The most beautiful work won’t get any attention if the photo is bad. And, also for your own records it’s hard to remember the beauty of an art work if you only have something like this:
Taking good photos was one the biggest challenges in my work and became really important to me when I decided to sell online in 2008. (Ariane Mariane on Etsy) At that time, I already had quite a good bridge camera (those in between a simple one and a reflex). As a former graphic designer, I knew how to use Photoshop but retouching photos was new and I had to improve my photos through trial and error. Here some examples of photos taken in 2008:
The two first photos were taken inside in natural light, while the third (already a bit better one), outside. Not only are the photos bad quality, but so were the backgrounds I chose. To make them better I tried to retouch them with Photoshop but at that time my camera resolution was bad and I took photos in jpeg. Retouching low resolution jpegs reduces the quality even more.
Last, but not least, I didn’t make myself up for photos. I would often just run out of my atelier to hastily take some photos or if a friend came by for a chat, I would seize the opportunity to quickly take some photos in my back yard…
I even involved my (not always enthusiastic) family :
Frustrated by these photos, I read a lot about photo shooting, took a weekend course and decided to invest in better equipment. It started with a digital single-lens reflex camera and a really good lens (more expensive than the camera itself) allowing an opening at 1.4 on its smallest aperture. The higher camera resolution and the possibility to take photos in RAW were the major advantages. RAW is a kind of neutral format – the picture is taken without any modifications and it’s perfect for retouches without losing any quality. This finally allowed me to take close-ups, too!
One day my hubby (probably to be less involved 😉 ) offered me a tripod, very cool to take photo of myself with a remote controller!
I also started to invite friends for real photo shooting sessions and worked on photos for hours in order to get something appealing.
The best light for a photo shooting is definitely outside. But, asking your friends to come over for a photo shoot is one thing – asking them to do it outside with all neighbors staring, is another… To take photos inside I had to pray for a bright day. To become independent from natural light, I finally invested into flashes. Today I work with two professional flash lights and a huge white background fabric (6 m x 3 m). I take my time organizing a photo shoot on a special day and my living room gets transformed into a nearly professional studio.
Now retouching is easy going – just a bit of balancing brightness and contrast:
I pay more attention to makeup, too. It seems to me there is a “ more is more rule” for photos. One should add much more makeup than one would in normal life or even for a very special event.
Finally, taking good photos is like making good art work, you have to tell a story and it takes time to improve your skills. I still have to learn a lot, but today I accept taking photos as a part of my job and even as a creative process. It helps me to see my work with new eyes. And I also love that these photos allow me to show my work to the world. I really appreciate the feedback- it’s been great input for improving my art.
One of the most important thing is that I’m surrounded by some very talented young ladies! Without them my photos wouldn’t be the same.
Many thanks to Zoé, Eva, Mirka, Lola and Nathalie!!!
Note from Rachel:
Ariane and I talked about other photography changes that she has made over the years, like having a consistent size (all of her images are now square) and water marking. We will do another post with more tips. Feel free to ask her questions in the comments.
We cannot stress enough how important photography is for those of us who have a web presence! Most people will not go that extra mile to learn how to develop these skills, but as technology continues to evolve, it has become easier to take better photos with minimal skills. You still need to learn basics like cropping and how to lighten, darken or give a photo more contrast, but even the basic point and shoot cameras these days give decent results. I have heard good things about the Sony cameras in the $100 range.
There are many tutorials and resources online, millions of videos on YouTube. Just search for beginning digital photography tutorials or use key words like “how to crop an image” to find out how to do these things. If tech skills are not your strength, reach out to people in your community who can help you and pay them to photograph for you. A couple of fun sites that have photo editing tools and where you can also make collages: PicMonkey and Fotor.
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Now, visit Ariane Mariane on Etsy and enjoy more of her wonderful work. Click on any of the thumbnails below to see that item in her shop and then when you are there, be sure to explore the rest of it. Who knows? Maybe you will see something that is a Must Have! And, you will be supporting Ariane in the process. 🙂