March 12, 2017

Types of Photography Every Artist Needs

Agree or disagree: Every Artist needs photography of their work? If you say "Yes," keep reading to learn more about the most important types of images you should have to promote yourself. If you're not sure, please feel free to check out my previous post on the value of photography and how to get great shots of your pieces. No matter where you are in your artistic career or what Medium you've chosen, you can all benefit from the following list of photographs to showcase your Art.

#1. Jury Photos
If you're a market artist or looking to get into the craft show circuit, you need images of your best, most representative work. Pretty much all art events will ask for a handful of photos when evaluating you as a possible vendor. Without strong images, no matter how beautiful your work may be, you may be passed over. Most of the strictly juried shows only look at photos in making their choices, and you have just 3-5 pictures to convince them. They flip through hundreds in one sitting. Do yours stand out? These event organizers are looking for well lit, cleanly composed shots focused on your Art. Having this type of photography in your back pocket opens you up to lots of opportunities. Here are some examples of jury photos for inspiration. Some events also ask for booth photos to see your setup.

#2. Product Photos
For those of you selling your artwork online, you need images of each available piece to let people shop. This is as important for jewelry makers as fine art painters, whether your offer multiples of the same item or only sell originals. "Product" imagery, as it's called in the industry - your art being the product, should help potential buyers see themselves owning, wearing or otherwise using and enjoying your work. Ideally, you would include several shots: 1) At least one that is simple and focused on the piece, 2) Closeups or different perspectives to see detail / shape, and lastly, 3) Staged shots to show people the piece in use or on display. Since your shoppers can't always see your art in person, high quality photography can help entice and convey value.

#3. Headshots / Portraits
Some artists only want to be know for their work, but its fair to say that having a professional shot of yourself will come in handy. Help your buyers and supporters get to know the person behind the art. People who feel a connection are far more likely to invest in you. This doesn't mean you need to plaster your face everywhere, but you may have art shows or galleries asking for a headshot to include alongside your bio. Or perhaps you've lucked into some press coverage and the publication wants to feature you. The good news as an artist is that you can have more fun with this type of image than other professionals might. Include color, your work, your studio as a backdrop. Show your personality! Check out these portraits of artists with their work.

#4. In the Making / Progress Shots
Personally, this is my favorite type of Arts & Crafts Photography! I love seeing the individual steps and careful craftsmanship that go into each handmade piece. While you may not want to share the exact recipe for your unique style, your buyers will likely enjoy seeing how you work. You create value when you share details about the effort you invest in your art. This can pique people's interest and help them understand why you may charge more than a mass manufacturer. Instead of using stock photography or nothing on your website and social media, use shots of your process and give greater depth to your marketing. This can be as simple as images of the tools and materials you use or periodic photos of a piece in the making. Invite interaction by asking people to guess what you're making or what step comes next. Trust me, people are curious beings.

#5. Event Photography
From local shows to gallery openings, don't miss out on the chance to document your activity in the art community. These types of events offer an ideal chance for capturing some of your greatest fans enjoying your work. Snapping even just a few shots will give you content to share on social media, in email updates and blog posts, on your website and more. Photos speak much louder than a CV when trying to catch the attention of potential buyers. 

This list includes the most important types of photography recommended for artists like you to further your exposure. Certainly your needs will vary by how you promote your work, but don't overlook the value of having visuals. When people can't shop in person or meet your first hand, your images can be the greatest asset in reeling them in!

Photography by Crafting Exposure

Artists featured above from left to right and top to bottom: 1) Pearl Kissed, 2) Flip Solomon, 3) Morningstar Curio, 4) Four Blessings Shop, 5) ChetArt, 6) Bolsa Bonita, 7) Adaptive Reuse, 8) Rick Van Dyke, 8) Blue Genie Art Bazaar - Booths of Becca Borrelli, The Coggler's Shoppe & Nothing but a Pigeon