So you want to start a brand, found Teemill’s free print-on-demand store and maybe have built a shop. But how do you take it to the next level? The answer is great photography, and anyone can do it. Here are some simple tips to help you make your photography look amazing, bring your designs to life and supercharge your sales.
Great photography is the single biggest factor that makes the top Teemill accounts so profitable. The easiest and fastest way to make your store look amazing is with our brand new Magic Photoshoot tool – It allows you to create amazing homepage banners, pods and product images at the click of a button. Alternatively, you can order samples of your products and take your own photos. While this is a little harder, it can be potentially more rewarding. If you decide to go down this route, continue to read and follow the steps in this blog.
First of all, you don’t need money or equipment. Sometimes even, all that gear gets in the way. Don’t be afraid to believe that you could do all your fashion shoots on a smartphone. The real skill is how you use it: Like developing T-shirt design ideas, the trick is in putting down the camera for a second, looking, and thinking before you take your first snap.
Let’s say you’ve got a model, a one-off custom printed sample from Teemill, and a camera of some kind, from DSLR to smartphone.
The most common mistake is to go out and do a great shoot, framed close and in portrait then come back and realise that the web works mostly in landscape
E-commerce stores, like Teemill, work with wide aspect ratio banners. Squeezing all your great shots into those spaces can be a nightmare. You could try stretching, copying and hacking away at your beautiful shots but there’s an easier way: Just before you take that photo, zoom out or take a step back. You can then crop out what you don’t want, make it portrait or landscape or square or anything you like when you edit. You’ll thank us for it.
Great photos get used time and time again. Chances are that you’re going to be using these shots for banners, adverts, posters and all sorts. So as well as framing wide take a look at what’s behind the model, to one side. We recommend framing with the rule of 2/3rds, where your model or subject is to one side, leaving a space to put your amazing text or call to actions in.
When you do your shoot, try to choose a clean, clutter-free backdrop. The sky or the beach, for example. Avoid busy areas and other people. You could go nuts and get some lastolite rolls off the net to really add some colour. But the main thing is to avoid clutter. A simple, clean background will really make your product and pitch pop. Less is more when it comes to location.
If you’re not working with a professional model then you may need to help them out to get the results you want. They may be feeling slightly nervous and awkward, no biggy, you’ll probably need to just keep talking to them. Don’t tell them what to do or waste time posing them, try to keep it natural. Amateur models tend to look at the floor, away from the camera and look serious – exactly the opposite of what you want! Tricks to solve this are to pop a few jokes at your expense, talk a bit about Zoolander and when the vibe is right, ask your model to shut their eyes, and on the count of 3 look at you – press that shutter just as they open their eyes, and you’ll capture the moment just before they get self-conscious again.
Working with the same models time and again helps to build trust. Remember to hook them up with a tee or something for helping you out.
P.s. A model release is a permission slip from the model that gives you the right to use their personal image for your project. Search for more.
See the light
Most photographers would really be better described as light painters. They see the light, watch how it changes the colours, mood and feel of the subject and using this and a few other tricks, they can capture moments forever. Try this exercise, look through the lens and don’t take a photo. Just look at the light, where it’s coming from and what it’s doing. Is it cold and blue? Or warm and yellowy orange? Is it sharp and harsh like a clear day in Winter? Or is it soft and white like an overcast Summer day? Try shooting your model facing away from the Sun, or into the Sun. The trick is to observe. Learn, and then use these lessons to design the lighting in your shoots. We like soft, warm light so do a lot of shoots in the evening in Summer, in the golden hours.
Continuity of style
It’s fair to say that Instagram has revolutionised the way we think about photography and given lots of people the confidence to create, edit and publish their photographs. So use it – don’t be afraid to use a filter or edit your photos with software. All we’d say is work out one style, and stick to it – great brands understand that consistency itself is part of the brand experience.
People should be able to look at your photo and immediately catch on that it’s your brand, even if there’s no logo. Continuity means developing a style and being consistent with it.
This includes choosing your models. Make sure you pick models to match your target audience, and if you can, work with the same model to get the same look each time.
There’s only one way to make a great brand, and that’s with great photography. And there’s only one way to do amazing photography, and that gets out there and start practicing! Go out now and shoot some stuff, then come back and review your shots. With every photo you take, you’ll learn something.