Saturday, July 4, 2015

Shake It Up With Photos Skillz, Part One

Some of you want to sell your soap but are having a hard time doing that because getting a good picture of them isn't easy.  Photographs of your product are more important than you think.  Images are what speaks to people more and more these days, because isn't the internet all imagery?

We all have a comfort zone: Things we do that make us feel secure in our abilities.  But in my opinion, that comfort zone needs a little shaking up.  That's what I'm here to do.  We all need to open ourselves to see new perspectives.  Some of us make soap for fun, or for the sake of art, and some make soap for a living, but the one thing you have to do, no matter why you soap, is document your soap journey.  Even if it's just for yourself.  If you are sharing your documentation, you want the viewer to really see your work.  Not just photos lined up with a back drop taken 3 feet away, one - after - another.... It's boring to see "catalog-type" photos one after the other.

If you take pictures of your soap just to get the image on paper (or screen), you need to stop that right this second... just  S T O P !

One of my personality traits that I can't help, is trying to see things from other people's perspective.  I put myself in the shoes of others in order to understand what they see and feel.  And then examine WHY.

This trait carries through into everything in my life.  Relationships, art, political discussions, and crime stories (random, I know, but my whole life I've been fascinated by stories of deranged people doing what they do and then trying to understand why).  Putting myself in other people's shoes helps me with photography.  Whhhhaaaaat??  When I look at a photograph in a magazine or on a website, it evokes a response in me.  This is true for product imagery and that's why advertisers use everything in their power to create emotions in consumers.  Why?  Because consumers purchase things mostly by how they feel when using, wearing or having a product.  If I put myself right into the shoes of a person, for instance, looking for soap, I try to photograph the soap in a way that is intimate or shows a different scene that is out of the ordinary.  Photography creates a silent image, sometimes so powerful that words are not even necessary.  THAT is what I try to do.  What do I want to see?  What do I want?  I use that, too, all the time.  

Evoking an emotion in someone will make them take a second look, which may turn into a soap sale for you.

Natural light and position/perspective are KEY.  I will go into why and where in the next post, but this post is going to focus on practicing the technique of light and position...

Find a new perspective ~~ Basics

So go grab your camera (or phone) during the day and make sure your flash is OFF.  Set your soap on a steady surface near natural light and take TEN photographs of your soap from all different positions.  YOU need to move in different positions, not the soap.  Take a photo from above looking straight down; This will give a dimensional view.  Take a shot from below the soap, looking UP at it;  This will enlarge its presence.  Take a super close shot....get intimate with your bar.

You have to try new perspectives to see what you like.  But you will never know if you like them until you try it.  It's a pretty low risk, taking photos, so just DO IT.

Here are some examples of the same soap photographed from different angles:

My soap:  close up

My soap:  straight on.  Taken at the same level

My soap: photographed from above (and close).

These are photographs of my soap from 4 or 5 years ago, so if you were a customer of mine at Absolute Soap or a reader of my blogs, you've probably seen these already, but they show you one soap, shot 3 ways.  Now, think about what each one makes you think, feel and like.  Which is your favorite position?  Try the all and MORE!

Out of the ten photos, choose one picture (don't forget!  Shoot in natural light and at a different angle than you usually take your photos). That photo will be your entry photo that you need to post in our group on Facebook: the Soap Challenge Gallery.

I want everyone to participate. All entries need to say "#photoskillzpartone" and need to be posted one week from today:  My birthday, JULY 11th and the deadline time is at 3:09 pm (EST), the exact minute I was born.  The top 3 photos will be posted on this blog (and for those of you who don't realize how many people come to this blog, let me shed some light:  between 17,000-25,000 page views per month.  And I only write on this blog, LATELY, once a month.  So participate and fight to get some exposure!

This is not only an assignment to make you better, but it's meant to be fun, so have a good time!

Peace out.
- Jo


O'Riley said...

I make Melt & Pour soap which I know CP/HP people don't consider the real thing, but my fear of having lye in my house has me here and still loving it. I'm now really enjoying the photography part as well and have been churning out my photos lately (I'm still setting up my website) so this is such a timely challenge. Am I allowed to participate even though I do MP?

Joanna Schmidt said...

Of course!!! Soap makers are soap makers and we are all artists. It is a different kind of art, but it is soap and there is nothing fake about it!! I look forward to your entries! Please DO share! <3