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Sunday, February 12, 2012

What Makes a Good Boutique Picture?

So often I am asked what is the difference between taking a picture for a family and taking a picture for a boutique.   No matter what you are shooting, the goal is to get a great picture but what is a great picture?  A great picture for one person is not always a great picture for another.  The first thing a photographer or person taking a picture needs to ask is what am I taking a picture of and what is the person expecting from the finished output?
Boutique owners often think that if they have this great unique picture that their product will sell. This is not always the case. Everyone likes a creative/beautiful picture of kids frolicking around in a field, and how great is the new vintage trends in photos?  Although these pictures are beautiful the thing that we must remember is that you are not selling a photo or the photographer.  You are selling a product.  No matter how cute the picture is, if you can't tell exactly what is being sold then it doesn't matter what the pictures looks like.  This isn't to say that you can't have that one beautiful picture to show your product being used in everyday life.
When you work with a professional photographer it is important for a boutique to be very specific in what they are looking for.  After all, you are working hard to put out a great product and your pictures should portray that.  A photographer is not a mind reader and does not always know what you are looking for, so it is important for you to be specific and let them know your style.  Many photographers can adjust their style and shoot in a manor that will suit your needs.
As a photographer that works for many different boutiques I find it useful to ask multiple questions and set the expectations from the beginning.  When doing a boutique shoot there are few key shots and looks that I like to get for the boutiques that I work with.

  • The first thing that I look at is the product that I am shooting.  Once I am able to see the product I pick the environment in which I want to shoot that product.  It doesn't matter if the location is outside, inside, or on a backdrop.  It just matters if the product can be displayed properly.
  • The next item of concern is who is modeling the product.  More then likely it is a child that is going to be modeling for a boutique.  Keeping this in mind cuteness sells but kids are unpredictable.  So either you have to pick a model that is comfortable in front of the camera or be able to adjust to the child that you are shooting to make sure that you get the pictures that are needed.
  • When shooting for a boutique it is important to give variety.  You want to make sure that you are showing the product off in many different ways.  I like to make sure that I am getting some full body poses, 3/4 length poses, some head shots if there is a hair accessory, detailed pictures of the hem lines, stitching, ruffles and any extras and I like to also show what the outfit looks like when sitting down.  It is important to show the details as much as possible.
  • Once I have gotten the essential product shots I can become a little more creative but always keep in mind that I am selling a product not my photography services.  It is great to show how versatile a product can be.  For example, if you are selling a knot dress of some sort, it would be nice to have a picture of that dress being worn as a summer look and also fall look.  So throwing a long sleeve shirt under it or a jean jacket over it gives it a little extra flare as to how the dress can be worn.  Although these are cute pictures, they shouldn't be used as the main pictures of the product.
  • The last item is the editing process.  Photographers have a wide variety of options in the ways that they can edit a picture.  The one thing to keep in mind if you are selling a product and that product has a specific fabric, it is important to keep the true colors so that consumers are seeing exactly what they will be receiving.  The new trend is the vintage look.  Although this look is beautiful it doesn't always fit every product shoot.  This is a look that really needs to be applied by a professional that knows how to do it the right way.  There are ways to applying the effect without losing the true colors of the fabric but not everyone knows how to do it.  It is important to apply effects and sharpen a picture that is going to show the product true to life.  If you are not selling a specific fabric/color choice then the key is to make your picture/product pop.  Brighten those colors, lighten your image and sharpen the details.
 Examples of the key shots for a boutique

    A boutique wants their product to be shown clearly.  Although its cute to have that jean jacket thrown over the dress or to have the best props, it is important to remember that you don't want the other items in the picture to take away from the product being sold.  You want the consumer to notice that dress first not that it is a great picture with awesome props.  Those pictures should be used as extras so that a consumer can see how the product can be used in everyday life.

    So on that note.  It is important to remember that a good boutique picture is one that shows off a product not shows off a model or a picture.  Capture the details and enhance your product.

    Until next time when I will give little tips and trips on taking your own boutique picture.
    PS. Dont forget to ask questions or ask to discuss specific topics.

    Much Love,

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