03/18/14
16 comments Behind the Scenes: It’s Good to Have Options by   |   16 comments

Behind the Scenes Styling Tips // Paper & Stitch

Good morning! Today, I’m sharing the second installment of Behind the Scenes (a styling tips and tricks series). And I have to say, I am so glad that you are along for the ride with this new column. You’re the best! Seriously.

When it comes to your product shots and DIYs, having options (and lots of them) is a very good thing. That might mean shooting objects from varying angles, using several different backgrounds until you find the right one, trying out different lighting, and taking tons of photos.

All of these things add up quickly, photo-wise, which means you have the opportunity to whittle down your selections to the best of the best before sharing it with readers or potential customers.

So let me give you a quick example…

When I photograph a DIY, and even when a professional photographer shoots my DIYs for me, there are at least 100 photos. And you know how many I end up using in a typical post? Usually 10-15. Or less! So it’s safe to say, I have way more photos than I actually need every time I shoot a DIY. But I do that because I want to choose the very best ones to share, not just the only 10-15 photos I ended up taking that particular day.

And I am willing to bet that that is true of the majority of bloggers, photographers, and stylists that you know and love too. There is a reason for it. Trust me. It’s because even if you have no idea what you are doing, eventually, you’ll stumble upon something that works for you. And as you get more comfortable with the process, you start trusting your instincts more and relying less on trying anything and everything at any given time. Until then, though, options are your friend! Your BEST friend. I mean, you guys should probably go ahead and get one of those broken heart necklaces and call it a day. 

So here are some options for you to keep in mind when styling and photographing products and DIYs…

1. Take LOTS of photos. So you’re probably thinking ‘how many photos do I REALLY need’. Honestly though, there is no set number, so just do what feels right to you. That said, I would error on the side of excess rather than not enough. I think Sarah took 50 or 60 finished project shots from this cake topper DIY and I ended up using 7 out of those 50 or 60.

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2. Try different angles. Photograph your project or product from all angles – overhead, side view, 3/4 view, etc.

I tried plenty of different angles and environments for this DIY sandal project, until I finally found something that worked. It’s tough when you’re actually wearing the shoes AND the one photographing the project. But whatever. A lot of the time, that’s just how it is, so you roll with it. Side Note: I didn’t even end up using these photos in the finished tutorial because they didn’t match up with the story I wanted to tell.

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3. Utilize various props and/or backgrounds. But don’t go crazy. Play around with different textures and sizes for props. Bonus points if you can toss in a couple of the supplies you used to complete the project or product for a couple of the final styled shots. As for backgrounds/backdrops, don’t be afraid to incorporate pattern and color every now and then. Neutral backdrops are great, but you don’t have to use them every time.

I liked the idea of flower confetti in the embossed geo favor bags better than cherries, but when I photographed them, it was a no brainer. The cherries photographed really well and were the perfect color compliment to the moss pattern background. The flower petals? Not so much.

So those are my behind the scenes tips for today. Have your own secrets to styling, setup, etc? Share ‘em in the comments below.

And if you’re looking for more ways to create beautifully styled, share-worthy tutorials, check out my Skillshare class, The How To on How Tos: Creating Compelling Tutorials for your Blog.

16 comments to Behind the Scenes: It’s Good to Have Options Click here to reply

wow. I had no idea you took that many photos for each of your diys. that just shows how much work goes into your work. no wonder your stuff always looks so great! thanks for these styling tips, britt :)

juni commented on March 18th, 2014 at 8:41 am

Aw, thanks Juni. Yep, I do take A LOT of photos. Makes it so much easier to find good shots for the post.

papernstitch commented on March 18th, 2014 at 10:00 am

Awesome! I so appreciate you sharing your styling tricks – I definitely have a lot of learning to do!

Allison Katelyn @ http://SimpleSilverLinings.blogspot.com
Allison Katelyn recently posted..What I’ve Been Listening to Lately… March 2014

Allison Katelyn commented on March 18th, 2014 at 10:44 am

Great tips! I also take over 100 photos for each project. It’s definitely important to have options! When I’m using small props to style with (like confetti, for example!), I usually start shooting the project with no props and gradually add it in, shooting along the way, so I have options at the end depending on what looked best!! (p.s. Those geo bags are still one of my favorite styled shots of yours!)
Kelly @ Studio DIY recently posted..#MeetTheMindells: Building Our Wedding Website

Kelly @ Studio DIY commented on March 18th, 2014 at 10:53 am

Great tip, Kel! And thanks about the geo bags. You’re so sweet.

papernstitch commented on March 18th, 2014 at 11:00 am

I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who takes an absurd number of photos of each thing! And I really liked your point about mixing up the backgrounds — definitely going to have to try branching out from my usual white!
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Diana commented on March 18th, 2014 at 11:07 am

Thanks so much for this series, as a new blogger this is very useful. I also read the previous one and the tip about having a ladder and using mat boards was really helpful.
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Astrid commented on March 18th, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Great insight! As someone new to blogging, it’s definitely a learning process, and following other blogs has helped me realize some easy things to change. And pictures are something I need to keep working on and experimenting with!
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Rebekah commented on March 18th, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Really helpful…If people saw what I did to get a shot they would think I was nuts haha.
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Nina commented on March 18th, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Great post!!

Kelly, Modern June commented on March 19th, 2014 at 8:40 am

Love it! One thing I’ve gotten in the habit of doing is leaving my backgrounds/props set up until I’ve uploaded the photos from the shoot to my computer and can see them bigger (rather than just on the LCD screen of the camera). That way, if I need to re-shoot something because my focus wasn’t right or an angle didn’t work out after all, I can easily pop my card back into the camera and keep shooting.
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Marlene commented on March 19th, 2014 at 10:03 am

That’s a good one, Marlene. I do that too. It’s so hard to tell from that tiny camera screen whether the photo turned out or not. Isn’t it?

papernstitch commented on March 19th, 2014 at 10:48 am

Oh thank you for this! I shared the link with my Etsy Belgium Team because I think some of these tips can be so helpful with photography for our Etsy shops!
a x
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aisling commented on March 19th, 2014 at 12:07 pm

best series ever!! your pointers are seriously so helpful…
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rox commented on March 19th, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Glad to hear that Rox. Thank you!

papernstitch commented on March 31st, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Informative but easy tips. Thanks! :] // Carmen ☼

Carmen ☼ commented on May 11th, 2014 at 11:31 pm

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