I have to admit, I often get a little thrill when I receive positive feedback on my blog pics. And yes, that could just be from the fact that they’re compliments and kind words are always nice to hear. But I think it’s also largely because it’s been a STEEP learning curve to get my photos looking the way they do now, so I’m quietly chuffed whenever they end up making someone else smile.
But I promise I’m not here to just show off about my camera skills! In fact, it’s the exact opposite… I wanted to share with you how different my photos used to be compared to the way they look now, since I know most of you don’t see this part of my journey when you visit the blog. What with Make and Tell being fairly new and all, there aren’t any examples in the archives of when my camera skills (and my designs and heck, just about everything) used to reeeeallly suck.
Well no longer! For your general amusement and viewing
pain pleasure, I’ve rounded up some of the pics I shot in the very early days of owning my first business. Scroll down for all the gory details!
PHASE 1: THE EARLY DAYS
Let’s set the scene shall we? The year is 2009, I’d just started my stationery business and I’d bought myself a stack of supplies to hand make some cards (which consisted of me sticking bits of paper and a few embellishments together). Clearly I already had a lot to learn about scrapbooking and design, but if you think that’s bad, just wait ’til you see the product photography!
For reasons that I can’t even begin to fathom, I decided that the best time to take photos to showcase my work was at night, in artificial light, using flash and with a point-and-shoot camera. In case it’s not already glaringly obvious, much to my detriment I’d done absolutely no prior research into photography, styling or photo editing.
I wish I could say that I’m joking about this next part, but embarrassingly these are the actual shots I sent out to store owners to see if they would sell my wares. I still have those emails somewhere in my inbox as a constant reminder of the importance of honing one’s skills and doing one’s research. Pretty much the only thing that can be said about this period in time was ‘what on earth was I thinking’?!
PHASE 2: MY INTRO TO INSTAGRAM
Fast forward a year or so later and lo and behold, I’d discovered Instagram in all its filtering glory. Oh dear. It’s probably clear from these pics that I still hadn’t gotten a handle on how to take shots in a properly lit room with the auto-focus working (how does one fail at auto-focus? HOW?). Despite these shortcomings, the wannabe photographer in me thought I’d hit the jackpot and I started enthusiastically adding orange filters to all my photos.
Blurry, oompa-loompa-coloured, dimly lit shots results in tons of product sales for sure right?
PHASE 3: ALL DOILIES, ALL THE TIME
Okay, so after awhile even I managed to figure out that natural light was the best light in which to take my photos and we can all breath a sigh of relief that my pictures started to marginally improve. With that vital lesson under my belt, I embarked on the next step of honing my styling skills.
Let’s start by saying that plenty of artists go through artistic phases. Picasso had his Blue Period, Klimt had his Golden Phase. And me? I had my Doily Period.
No joke, I thought doilies were the best thing since sliced bread. And not just one doily, LOTS of doilies. Plus props. It got to the point where I evidently couldn’t handle even an inch of white space; I had a compulsion to fill the void with all the things. Preferably a doily or five if they were on hand.
And that, my friends, is where the craziness comes to an end. Which is probably a good thing because surely that’s enough of an assault on your eyeballs for one blog post, don’t you think? I can’t quite remember what triggered my sudden shift in aesthetic, but after the doily phase something clicked (let’s call it sanity) and I started taking photos on clean white backgrounds with just one prop or two rather than ten. I haven’t looked back since. 🙂
I hope you’ve found this ridiculous photo journey of mine mildly entertaining. But more importantly, I hope you’ve also realised that you’re not alone if you’re struggling with your photos or any other essential blogging/artistic/business owning skill. It took me YEARS to get to a point where I was even remotely happy with the shots I took and to this day I’m still learning how to tweak the styling, camera settings and editing to make them better. And that’s just one drop in the big bucket that is running a creative business!
If you’ve gone through a similar learning curve of your own, whether it’s photography related or otherwise, don’t be shy… I’d love to know how it panned out!