How much time have you spent trying to get the photo that will do justice to your artwork?
I’ve wasted days.
Once I decided I was going to batch-photograph everything against my bedspread, which was off-white. I shot one piece after the other quickly. I Congratulated myself for being so efficient, only to realize upon transferring my photos that they needed significant lighting and white balance correction. No matter how many filters, level tweaks, they looked bluish or far too yellow.
I tried editing in Lightroom. I found an excellent class on Skillshare for that; if I want to enhance a photo, say, for my website, I might go through the trouble of editing in Lightroom but not if it’s a photo for Instagram.
I looked for backdrops, but most were too expensive. I knew I would probably not use them if I had to pull them out and put them away whenever I wanted to take photos.
You can purchase them either printed or as a digital download, and you can print them yourself using Vistaprint or another vinyl printing service.
I printed it myself. Vistaprint usually has many coupons or discounts You can print a backdrop for about 25 dollars.
The interesting thing about the backdrop is that it also serves as protection for my table. Over time it has become splotchy, stained, scratched. It only adds character to it.
And so, my photos began to take a more cohesive look.
I consider my Instagram account like a mini-magazine. I post what I like and what interests me instead of posting what I think my imaginary audience might like. This has been the key to growing a following that is not astronomical but is more like a small community. I love to chat, comment and see their work.
The camera I use is my iPhone 8 Plus.
I like the camera, and I like the results. I don’t understand much about photography, so it makes no sense for me to invest in something else. My husband has a beautiful camera, but tech is like underwear; you don’t share it. So I never ask him to use it. He has the parameters set for his street photography, and I would hate to move them.
I edit all my photos with VSCO
I use A4 and A5 filters the most. With a bit of a tweak in exposure and contrast. Sometimes I lower the saturation a bit too. But that’s it.
I don’t do anything more.
The backdrop was a significant upgrade. I used to shoot everything against my white table, but there was no warmth, no atmosphere.
My home is a very minimalist, almost Nordic style, which is relatively peaceful, but I love the rustic, messy, shed-like feel of a studio, so I tried to bring a touch of that in my IG account.
I have two backdrops; one is a wooden door, the other is a concrete wall. The concrete wall is a bit pink. I should have corrected that before printing it, but occasionally this works, especially for the clay figurines. They tend to pop out more than on the wooden background.
My philosophy about IG is not to give it any more time than it is beneficial to me. I had spent hours perfecting the post, the hashtags, the caption and then, of course, obsessing about the numbers and the performance until I acknowledged that the life of an IG post is mere seconds or maybe minutes at the most. So now I shoot, edit quickly and save the photos for when I feel like posting.
Take photos for your website
The photos with a good backdrop should take up space in your website in all their glory. Give them a descriptive title, the Alt Text. That is food for Google and Pinterest.
Take photos for your website first and then adapt those to IG. Not the other way around. I have made that mistake, and then I can’t fit them correctly into my website.
I tend to prefer photos where a lot is going on and where people can appreciate the workspace. Occasionally I show my hands to show there is a human behind the work.
I also like photos with a bit of negative space. I use the lighter background for these.
Variation in photographs is also good: not all flatlays, not all close-ups of a work. Some are photos taken up front, Like my wall, for example.
Also, the use of diagonals makes it interesting, although it’s tricky because the eye prefers straight lines, so it must be subtle.
One thing I still want to incorporate more is a natural element, but I still haven’t figured it out.
So this is how I take photos of my art and improved my photography both for IG and for my website.
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