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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Momtography 101

I am so excited to have a guest today!! Shy from She's SewShy is going to give is a quick lesson in Momtography 101!!  

I asked Shy to do this because she is one of my go to testers and always turns in amazing shots!  Every tester shot doesn't need to be a cover shot but if you are always getting passed up for Tester Calls or your items aren't selling on Etsy, your pictures could be an issue.  I use my tester photos for marketing. When I do a tester call and I receive pictures with trash, cut-up fabric or all of this week's laundry in the floor, it doesn't matter how good the actual construction of the garment is, all I see is the stuff around it.  

You don't have to be a professional photographer or have a DSLR camera to get great shots; 80% of my shots come straight from my iphone.  Often, because when I get where I am going my camera has dead batteries or no SD card.  So, although I am saving for a  DSLR (so it can have dead batteries and no sd card) it's totally not necessary!  Most of my testers use their phones or point and shoot cameras! Also, that dirty laundry pile? I have 7 kids, I totally get it!!!  You don't have to have Molly Maids come in; just take the kiddos outside or find a neutral clean corner.   So, that was my designer/tester service announcement...I'm going to turn it over to Shy!!! 

Hi Everyone! I'm Shy, from She's SewShy. I live on the beautiful island of Okinawa, Japan with my husband and two crazy kiddos.   

Today I am going to talk to you about how to take a great, eye catching photo. Let me start by saying that I am not a professional photographer and you don't have to be either! You just need to know what you like and how to get it. So let's get started!   

First things first, let's talk lighting! Natural light is the best light! So take your little one outside if weather permits. Find a nice shady spot with indirect sunlight. Bright sun can wash out bright colors and make your model squint. For photographing a garment, I find that it's best to shoot with the sun at your back, to light the garment.   

Next, you'll want to put a little thought into your background. You'll want to choose a background that will compliment your garment, but not distract from it! It may not seem important, but choosing the right spot to pose makes a huge  difference. So messy workspaces, laundry and leftover lunches are out! A wooden fence, a pretty bush or garden or even a fun wall are all good examples. We live on an island so I often take photos at the beach! If you don't have a model or can't get outside, a Command  hook on a white wall works wonders. Especially when you have concrete walls like I do!   

Moving on, I want to talk about angles. Most of the time, our models are less that 4ft tall. That means that in order to get a good angle, you are going to have to take a knee or a butt, whatever works for you! You want your lens to be at your models eye level. Experiment with different body shapes. Every garment and fabric moves differently, so try to find a pose that will really showcase the fit and flow of your work. Pointed toes are always nice! Can't get your little ones to look at the camera? I am not above bribery. I keep a pocket full of M & M's or skittles for both my daughter and my behind the scenes assistant, my 4 year old son! He is my official camera bag holder. Having a job to do means less tantrums!   

Once you are happy with your location and lighting, your models and assistants are all properly bribed and your hamstrings are feeling the burn, take as many photos as possible. Seriously take a hundred pictures. Two hundred pictures even! Seriously! I take hundreds of photos. Have your model move in small increments in a wide array of poses. You never know how certain poses are going to translate in a photo. So just keep snapping! Don't be afraid to take the camera off auto. Learn your camera. It is your new best friend.   

You may or may not choose to edit your photos. But I think this is an important step. Subtle tweaks can make a world of difference. I use Lightroom to gently enhance my photos. Again, I am not a professional photographer and I am not trained. Lightroom is a wonderful program that allows you to adjust particular levels individually to really make your photo pop! I highly reccomend downloading a trial. There are tons of preset filters and it's really beginner friendly! Try it, you won't regret it!   

My last bit of advice is small but very important to our photoshoot routine! ICE CREAM! I buy both kiddos an ice cream cone to show them that I appreciate all of their hard work.   Better photos will make you memorable and more likely to be selected as a pattern tester, and we all love testing new patterns! I hope that these tips help you take better boutique quality photos!   
Good luck! Shy    

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