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Hey Sendler, Ep 4:  Making products pop with great photography

For our fourth episode of Hey Sendler, Jenn talked with Shidume Lozada all about product photography. Nothing sells a product online as well as incredible photography and in this episode Shidume reveals the secrets of the craft.

When customers can’t poke and prod at physical products like they can in real-life stores, they use descriptions and photos to get the full sense of what they are buying online. If they don’t get what they are looking for, they can go to another site.

It doesn’t take an expert to take great photos (though that helps). With a few tips from a pro and some of the right equipment, you can show your products in the right light every time. 

Watch the whole episode or read the transcript below.

Hey Sendler: A Webinar Series (Making products pop with great photography) from Sendle on Vimeo.

 

A few Shidume-recommended purchases to up your photo game

 

Other important links

 

Making products pop with great photography, a chat with professional photographer, Shidume Lozada (full transcript)

Jenn: Hi everyone, thanks for joining us for Hey Sendler. 

We're gonna get started in just a moment. I'd like to introduce Shidume. She's gonna be chatting with us about making photography pop for small businesses. 

We're in quarantine, we're in COVID, I think lots of people are getting ready to launch products for holiday or trying to figure out, what holiday is gonna look like for them. 

And they might have had photoshoots scheduled to ramp up kind of holiday and things like that, and that's not necessarily happening anymore. 

And so she's really here to give us some tips and tricks, tell us, kind of, things that we need to know for being able to take amazing photos on our own. So I'm really excited to have her here. 

Thanks for joining, feel free to keep your camera off and your microphone muted if you have internet issues or if the streaming is funky or anything like that, I'm sorry. It's just kind of the nature of the beast right now with Zoom.

But we will send out the playbook that, Shidume created for us along with the video in a transcription. And then the link to her work, which is beautiful. A lucky participant today will win a print of hers, that is super cute. 

Before we begin, I'd like to acknowledge that we are on the traditional land of the First People, here in Seattle, we recognize the Duwamish people and their continuing connection to land, waters, and culture. We pay our respects to elders, past, present, and emerging. With that, I'd like to turn it over to Shidume so that she can get started and we'll have some time at the end for questions.

Shidume Lozada: Hi everyone. I'm really excited to be here and share all of this with you. 

As Jenn mentioned, my name is Shidume Lozada. I am a photographer by trade, but I am a Photo Art Director and Producer by career now. 

So I work with different companies in helping them create a brand identity, things like color palette, what kind of images they are gonna be including to represent their brand, and what is the best way to represent their brand and their voice, so yeah, let's get started.

 

See Shidume's full slideshow

 

So what's the purpose of this little workshop? 

We want to make sure we... Or I want to just share some of the tips and tools that you guys can use immediately to be able to tell your story. As Jenn mentioned, right now with COVID, there's a lot of limitations, and limitations for everyone, right? 

This goes for big businesses, small businesses, and middle of the road. Where, for example, if you're a big business you can't just get a group or a crew together to go and do a big production. 

There still needs to be a lot of precautions in terms of COVID and how many people are there in the crew and things like that. 

And for small businesses, maybe you don't have as much access to their place of work or even, how much of your product you're able to create because of suppliers and things like that. 

So it's everyone, it's not just you, it's really everyone who is having a challenge right now with production. So that's why it's so important to be really scrappy and use the tools that we have available and there's a ton of tools that are available, that are free. 

And just like things that we can share with you, so you guys can just keep pushing your brand and your business.

And one of the things that is a topic of conversation for every company is branding. 

It's like, what is your brand? Because this is the narrative that you're gonna be telling about your product. Who you are? Why you make your product and it's just a perspective of you and how your client is gonna see you. 

A lot of marketing is always about, not what you're selling, it's really about why you're selling it, right? It is how people are viewing you. 

You know you can sell dirty clothes, it's really how you spin it, that is really gonna sell it. 

So things again, things like the "Whys". Why do you make what you make? How do you make it? What is the product? 

And usually, it's just like hierarchy, because a lot of people right now are very much invested in, products that they align their values with, or they really find multiple uses for and then just really bringing joy to their life. 

And especially right now, a lot of people are thinking about their finances and, "Does this product really make sense for me right now?" Things like that. So, those are the things that, you could be thinking of or you should know, who is your audience and why you're selling this product. That's a copy of that slide.

So in creating content, you need to make sure that it's content that is relevant

All of the content needs to be consistent and considering the quality of images, right? 

Relevant content, when we speak about relevant content, we're really talking about... What are the images or even written content, it could be like a blog post, it could be images, it could be videos about your product or your brand. 

But they really speak to the voice of your brand, how are you selling this again, and are really directed to your clients. Things like, who is your demographic? Are you selling to people... To millennials? Or are you selling to the older crowd? Or are you selling a kid’s product? Because if you're selling to kids, you're really talking to their parents, right? And a little bit to the kid.

And things like that that you should be considering and how everything needs to be consistent. And there are a few ways to do this. 

It could be something like, consistency in color palettes, it could be consistent in the subject matter, it could be consistent even in the tone of voice that you're using for your captions or your blog posts that accompanies some of this content. 

Those are things that people... Really start getting people, remembering your product. And just really start finding that alignment with your product and finding that space for your product in their home.

The quality of imagery. This one is where we're actually gonna be going into it. 

It could be an array of things, and again, how I mentioned earlier, you could really be selling dirty clothes, and you can take beautiful photos of them, lifestyle imagery or even just straight-up product photography, and if you spin it the right way you'll probably be able to make a business out of that. 

And you can go, considering things like light and color composition, because in reality, professional photography, it could get you very, very far. 

It could be a big production with a photographer, with an art director, with a line producer, with casting and stylists and a groomer and whatnot, but if you don't have a voice for any of those images, then you're really wasting your time, you need to have all of these things down before you really go into making a big investment like that. 

And in the meantime, you can start playing around with that voice that you're trying to look for with some of these tools and things that we're gonna share with you right now. 

So what makes a beautiful image? 

Like I said, it's light, composition, color, and the story. Right now, light is... You can either go with something that is more natural, you can go with something that is more produced, a lot of strobes, lots of artificial lighting. 

It really depends on what kind of voice and what kind of product you're selling. 

In terms of composition, there's a ton of rules and you know what, sometimes rules are also meant to be broken, it really depends on your product and what really fits your product. 

Another thing to even consider in terms of composition is, what does your site look like? Are the images mostly vertical? Are the images mostly horizontal? Do you have a variety? Is it a gallery or is it a grid of images? 

Things like that you need to consider because for example, if you have a lot of images that are integrated and they all look exactly the same, that could potentially work if it's just like a variety of colors for the same product, but then no one image is a hero image. 

So you need to consider what an image is next to what other image or how are you showcasing this one product... Does it need to be in the middle?

If it's a product shot, most likely, yeah, having something that's really straight on will definitely work, and people do need to see that logistical part of your product, but it also needs to be a little bit more aspirational. 

So playing around with light and the composition, maybe the shot is from a little bit from above or a little below or from the side. 

In terms of color, beautiful puppy colors are always catchy, and for example, content that is gonna go on social media, you wanna make sure that they're colors that... Well, one they're authentic and two that really stand out. 

And for some industries, it varies. The food industry, for example, is very known for using a lot of reds and yellows and colors like that. 

And industries like medicine, they use a lot of blues, a lot of very cold colors. So it really depends on what you're selling, but just trying to find that little thing that makes you a little bit different than your other competitors. 

And in terms of story, again, it's just a compilation of what we've mentioned before, why are you selling this product? How are you making it? Who are you? Who are the people that work with you? 

Sometimes, and probably a lot of, sometimes you stay at a job because of the people, not necessarily because of what you do. 

So that's the kind of story that sometimes people wanna hear, that they wanna hear that they're buying a product or a service from people that they would wanna be friends with. And that resonates with so many people right now. 

I cannot tell you how many times, I'm like, "Oh no can't buy that. I don't like this company. They're doing shady stuff. So I'll find something else." So let's go to something a bit more specific. 

In terms of light, the subject needs to have... Like they will highlight its best features and with intention

Some of the things that you can do that doesn't have to be a professional light it's just finding a spot, whether that's in your home or in your studio where you make your product, or just finding some location where there's nice even lighting. 

That way you can just do a little set up by a nice window, and it doesn't have to be a really nice camera, you can take really nice photos with your iPhone or actually with a Pixel phone, takes much better photos.

But yeah, either one, will actually be taking really great photos and even just taking them... If you have Photoshop, that's great, if you have Lightroom, there's Lightroom Express that you can have on your phone or there's plenty of other apps that we're gonna be talking about in a minute. 

And that could be super useful and that are free for everyone to use, where you can just adjust the colors and the light of your images, the contrast. 

You don't want necessarily things that are super flat, you wanna make sure that there's a little pop there. So for example, things like the blacks being actually black and the whites being white and not somewhere in between, that's something that you could consider. 

And for example, I took all of these three photos for this company called, Bloom Ritual. And she sells candles and yeah, we found our location, like a really nice pier space actually and we brought all of these props to create the kind of tone that she wants for her brand. 

Of course, it's like she was speaking to women and just this, kind of pampering ritual that, you know, she does and she wanted to share with everyone with candles and bath salts and things like that.

But even, you can see already, the tones, the little tones of light that we have here, they're all very bright, but they're still, that pink softness to it because she was very much speaking to females. 

So things like that to consider and again, having light that is very consistent throughout all of them. All of these were taken in different spaces, within that location, it was an apartment. But they all were very consistent. 

You don't wanna have images that, for example, some are really dark and some are really bright or some are really contrasting and some are not, they all need to be consistent. And that could be achieved even with a filter, there are ways to create filters with tools like Lightroom. 

Or if you have presets, you can also buy presets on Etsy, or there's even presets that you can probably find through Instagram as well, that you can use and apply and maybe just adjust them to the look and the type of light that you want.

In terms of composition, just create images that show your product in context, in detail, and can be aspirational. As I've mentioned before, you need to make sure that the content that you are shooting really showcases the product in the way that you want to showcase it. 

Some of the things that I come across sometimes when I'm looking online for something is that I see the product, but I don't know how sometimes measurements can be included, it means nothing to me. We need to actually see it. 

There's a lot of people like myself that are very, very visual. And let's face it, sometimes people don't even read descriptions. So we wanna make sure that things that give you context, about size, color, or even the actual shape and mass of the product can be seen. 

And details, I actually, for example, I hate shopping online for clothes because I want to touch things, I wanna have an idea of how that's gonna feel on my skin, "Is it gonna be itchy? Is it a knit? Is it a super tight-knit? Or is it a wider knit?

So things like that, so that I can really tell, what are those little details or things that make the piece special, like double-stitching, the nice lining or the nice buttons that you can have, or even gold details that some pottery has, things like that, that really make it special.

And compositions that really make it super aspirational. 

And again, these are more like the setups that you can create with other props. Not just have it in a white background because that starts blending in with everything. 

And right now, there's just this overflow of stuff that you find and so many competitors that you'll have, either, whether you're selling on Etsy or you just have your website, or you sell on places like Shopify and things like that. 

You wanna make sure that it stands out a little bit more than just a white background and usually having little set-ups where you have things that you see together, like in the vision of how you... Again, how you're envisioning having this living in someone's home or how someone is gonna use it, can be very useful for them and really have that little push for people to imagine how they're gonna be using this.

So these are images of a production I just did actually. 

And yeah, again, in terms of the composition, variety is priority. And you have to choose the best angles that show your product in the best authentic view. That's another big one for a lot of product photography, it's just the authenticity. 

You want to make sure that you're not... You want to make sure it looks amazing, but be always, always authentic and really speak truth. 'Cause that always just has a way to speak very highly of brands. 

In terms of content or context, it's like, things like having someone wear the piece and having the people that you think would most likely be wearing that piece, having very detailed shots, again, so you can actually get an idea of how this is gonna... This is gonna... What kind of material it is, what is it made out of, is it gonna be loose, is it gonna be tight, things like that, and how you envision, someone wearing the piece or having it in their home.

You can also go this route where you have a mix of images where one is a little bit more stylized and the other ones are a little bit more logistical. 

If you... Maybe you don't have access to someone that can model them for you, but you can still have images like this where even though they're in a white background, at least you're giving people those different angles, or again, if we go back to this, have little setups for them where you don't necessarily need a ton of production. 

You can do this in your home, just find a nice window, and even if you have light that is coming in straight in, that you can do things to make that light a little bit softer because that's always gonna be a little bit easier to work with.

In terms of color, again, always, always, always, and for being authentic, color is one of the most important features for most products. 

I've had instances where I've returned things because they were not the color that I thought they were. 

And especially with friends that give... They make up the names for their own colors rather than just like, "Okay, yeah, you're selling me this, it looks like this, I'm not even sure what this color is, this is not what you're really selling me, right?

So you want to make sure that the colors are as authentic as possible and really color balance everything. 

There are different ways to achieve this. You can... If you're doing something with a little nicer camera, you can always get a gray card.

And for those of you who don't know what a gray card is, a gray card is actually... It's literally a card and it has swatches of color. It could just even be just black, white and gray, or swatches of the black, white and gray and different colors. 

So you can take a test shot and really that's gonna be your guide as to what kind of color balance it's gonna be. 

'Cause sometimes, depending on the type of lab that you're working with, it's a little tricky, and especially if, let's say that for some reason you have a nice window next to you, a nice soft light, but you're also having some fill light with a strobe on the side, or maybe even the walls where you're working, they may be... If they're not a neutral color, most likely they're gonna bounce some of that tone, whether that's... If the walls are blue, then the balance is gonna be a little bit colder.

If the walls are of a tone that's a little bit warmer, then most likely the bounce is gonna be warmer. And then hopefully you're not shooting in a place where the walls are red or something like that, because then there's definitely gonna be some issues with the balance and the colors are gonna be off. 

So for places like that, I would definitely recommend doing... Either getting a gray card or finding a piece of cardboard or something that has a nice even gray and doing a test shot with that so you can have that little guide of what the tone should actually look like on your piece. 

And this is an example, even with this, the way they photograph this, the colors are pretty consistent. You can tell that in the middle shot, there's probably a strobe that they're using, but the setup also is showing natural light on the back.

And the tone is slightly different, but you can see that it's still pretty consistent with what they're showing in the other photos. 

And even this is a great example for something else that you can do where you don't necessarily have props to use. You can find a space that gives you a little bit more of a voice with finding a cool floor or just a tone that will really making that piece pop. 

And the styling, this... I grab these images, for example, from All Modern, and a lot of the photos or the more lifestyle images have little setups like that, how they envision their furniture to be used, but always very, very consistent. And I've shopped from them and I was actually very happy with the colors from the sofa that I got from them.

So, that's again, something really, really important to just be consistent and most likely, yeah, they were using a gray card, or even if you don't have that, just make sure that where the image is actually gonna be shown the colors are true. 

And one thing that is not necessarily under one specific person's control is where people are gonna view things, right? 

You can have your monitor, your screen color corrected, but not necessarily everyone is gonna see it. So that is something to consider. 

So, in an ideal world, most people are actually looking... Statistically, most people are actually looking at most things on a laptop computer, depending on where you are. 

For example, in the West Coast, most people... And the East Coast, actually. Most people are actually looking on average on a MacBook, like a 13-inch MacBook. Statistically, that's where they're gonna be looking. 

Most people in the middle of the country, they're gonna be probably using a Dell computer to be looking at images.

So, the Eastern Coast people, they're gonna tend to be looking at things in a very similar way, so you can test how they're gonna be seen. 

But even when images come from your computer to your phone, depending on the settings, they might be slightly different. So that's something to consider and just to keep in mind and just check how different it really is. 

A lot of big companies actually take a look at how colors are compressed with different phones or different computers, but of course, that's a big scale. 

And for smaller businesses, just really look at where most of your audience is and just take a look like, "Is it East Coast, West Coast?" Yeah, most likely a MacBook, 13-inch.

If most of your audience is in the middle of the country, most likely, they're using Dells. 

So if you have access to one of those computers, just take a look at how most of those computers are handling color, and even the compression and the contrast of the images that you're gonna be showcasing. 

In terms of story, it's always great to give people a sneak peek at the BTS, the behind the stage, behind the scenes, sorry, and really show them why they should love and support your company. 

Like I said before, a lot of people are very interested in why they should be purchasing from one company as opposed to other companies. 

So really giving them a vision and visuals of what's your space like, how are you making these things? How long does it take? Who are you? Who are your employees? Is it a fun place to work? 

Things that really place the person there, and even if they don't have access to your physical shop, they feel like they could actually go and be there virtually at least, and really see what your environment looks like as well. 

People wanna feel this connection.

And especially right now, a lot of people are very isolated and they want to still have the connection and things like having... 

Making posts, stories on your Instagram account of like, "Hey, we're making this today," or "Hey, we're... San Francisco, we're sending you all of these packages, all of these orders," or Seattle or Portland or whatever, Or, "Hey, we just got this new product and it's coming up soon, this is a sneak peek.

Things like that that could get people excited. 

A lot of the posts don't have to be just very informational things, that could be just little fun things that can really give them an insight as to what is the story, why you're doing this, how you started doing what you do, and definitely when... 

This story could be about how they're supporting someone's dream or someone who has been working towards having their business be a success. People really like hearing those stories. 

And that's not to say that that's all that is gonna make them excited about your product. Sometimes the product... Yeah, it does sell itself, but still, people want to see what is the craft behind it.

So what are some of the trends right now? 

Natural light is really big right now. I work full-time at Everlane in the production team, and for example, most of our shoes, we do natural light, we find spaces where there are big windows, there's nice big soft light, or we find even streets where the sun is not coming in directly, and even when we do, it's definitely that kind of warm tone like coming in. 

Moodiness is also like a big trend right now, and depending on your product, that's gonna be a positive or a negative. 

If you're selling, I don't know, toys, maybe moodiness is not necessarily what you want. And... Sorry guys, I'm having a big glare right now from the window. Okay. 

And lifestyle photography is also really big and has been pretty big for the last, I don't know, decades or so, where you either shoot outside, you have a setup in your home or your studio, or you find a space and you play around with props and models or just people showcasing the product that you're gonna be selling. 

Again, do you need heavy equipment? Not really. 

Professional photography will take you very far, but there's a lot of things you can do with your phone, a lot of applications, and it's really... And they're not super complicated, that's the thing.

Once you start playing around with them and really find what are the things that you like maybe from this one application versus another one, you'll be able to see what are the differences and which one really aligns more with your vision. 

And there's plenty for iPhone, Android, or if you wanna work from your desktop and really just do blog posts about your product, or just really work on the content on your site, there's a ton of applications that you can use. 

So one that most people know is VSCO

VSCO is super easy to use, they do a lot of editing for stills and videos, which is really great, and all you do really is just like give them access to your reel and... That's my dog. [chuckle] And they have a ton of presets that you can get and adjust. 

And you can pay an annual membership to get access to all of their presets, or you can just get the free version, which is a little more limited, but it's not bad at all.

And within that tool, again, you can really play around with your contrast, with your lights, with the tones, even if the images are not perfectly aligned, you can change the tilt of the photos. 

One of the things that sometimes is really annoying when you see photos is that they're crooked. And when they're not necessarily meant to be crooked. It's one of those things where once you see it, it's like, "Oh my God, could they just fix that?" 

And you can do that here, you can fix the tilt, you can... Whether it was too far back or too forward, things like that. And that goes, again, in terms of composition, making sure that things are... Have space to breathe. 

Another really cool app, not as well-known, but a good number of people do use it, is A Color Story, and it's similar to VSCO, but this one tends to have more poppy colors and more contrast in their presets. 

It's a little more playful too. 

So for example, this one also has filters where you can mimic light leaks from your camera or little glare and things like that, more like little colorful touches, which you may not necessarily do for your product photography, but it could be potentially something just playful to use for your stories.

I don't believe they do video yet, but just for photography, that could be a pretty good one to start with. 

And again, you just give them access to your images and you can start from there. You can see at the bottom of this second frame, that you can have filters and effects, and you adjust the light, the contrast, and the framing also, just how you're gonna be cropping things. 

Another really great tool is Over, and this one is great if you are creating content that is not necessarily just photography. It could be things where you can use photography and type. 

This one's also a free one. You can pay an annual fee. I believe it's about $39-$40 a year, and it has a ton of templates that you can use and adjust to your needs. They don't have... They do have some templates that come with photography as well. 

Most likely, they're not gonna fit perfectly to what you want, but they will have little templates where you can insert your photos and really play around with quotes or information about your product, or maybe upcoming sales and things like that.

Another really, really cool one that I love actually is Mojo. Mojo is specifically for videos. So they focus more for Instagram stories, which you probably are all familiar with this. 

A lot of them are vertical and very thin in their crop, but you can also choose your crop. 

For example, if you're making Facebook posts about it, most likely, you'll want something that is horizontal. 

Or if you're doing actual posts on your feed on Instagram, they also have the square or the... What's it like? Five by four crop that you can use to make a really quick video, whether that is, again, a new product or a sale that you're running or things like that. 

And on that note, there are some rules on how to post or what to post, because you can't... If your feed is just sale, sale, sale, product, product, product, most likely, people are just gonna not really go to your feed unless they're looking for something very specific. 

There is this rule of percentages where 60% of your content should be something a little bit more digestible, like tips on styling of this one sweater that you're selling, or tips on how to pot these plants, during a certain season if you're selling plants, things like that, or furniture and things like that.

30% should really be about what is happening with your brand

Things like, are there events, are there... Is there any information about the product that you can share, specific information in terms of like, "Hey, we're making this... We're running this thing and we're making this entire product out of recycled wool." Things like that. 

And then, really, 10% should only be the really hardcore selling. It's like, "Hey, we're running a special 10% off during, I don't know, Father's Day," or things like that. 

But really, you wanna make sure that the content, if you're focusing more so on social, that are things that are more digestible and things that can really be engaged with. 

Because if people start commenting on them and really liking your posts and sharing shareable content, that's what you wanna do for the 60%. 

That's where your account is gonna get more traction, more visibility, and you want that if you want to expand the circle of people that are really looking and considering your product. 

So, we can take some questions now, if you guys are ready.

Jenn: Yes we do. That was so awesome. 

Yeah. If anybody has questions, feel free to hop on video and camera, if you are not shy. If you are shy, you're welcome to use the chat function. And I'm happy to get us started. 

I have noticed, or I'm curious about papayas in photos right now. I feel like everyone's doing still life photos with papayas, and I'm just wondering, is it about the color, is it just about the texture? I'm just curious about where it came from? 

SL: The fruits in the mural, and those kinda tableaus, takes on imagery is becoming... It has been... It started to be a thing maybe six years ago, but more so now. 

You're starting to see a lot of publications with set-ups like that, or some very... Neon colors are also becoming a very big thing. It's a mix of 80s and almost like Florida chic-type vision with also pastels that are very, very vibrant. 

It's more so a thing, it seems, for brands that have very playful products. In things like shoes where they're really sharp and pointy and things like that. Those are the main ones that I've been seeing. 

Or then, publications are really playing with those types of tableaus, or even that look where they just put a sheet, a bedsheet, and you get to know it's a bedsheet and then they do portraits like that.

It's like a take-back on, like, "Hey, we don't need all of this. We can still make beautiful photos if we go low-key with just this," and just really playing around with the type of creativity that the subject... Or, not the subject, but the photographer has, and really just focusing on who the subject is, what the subject is. 

And just making a little more room for discussing the subject, and not necessarily the entire production of the image.

Jenn: Yeah, thank you. Alright, we have a question from Michael. 

"In your experience, are there any broad product types or attributes that cause non-professional photographers more difficulty in capturing accurately? Or any broad categories that you see that are generally not captured well."

SL: Broad attributes. Usually, in terms of broad attributes, people just not knowing how to play with light or manipulate light. 

And you don't necessarily need to know all of the tricks, but just focusing on one thing at a time. If all you have is a... Sorry, I have this glare on my face. 

If all you have is a small window, and that's your entire light source, really focus on how to make that light source work. Do you need to bring a reflector? Or you don't even need an actual reflector. 

You can actually just get a big whiteboard to bounce light from that. Or a warmer tone of board, if that's the look that you wanna do.

But really, focusing on one thing at a time, and don't try to solve every... An array of challenges right away. And just keep working towards it. 

Because if you're not familiar with just color theory or light theory, it's gonna be super overwhelming. 

And if you're playing around with a professional camera, or not even a professional camera, just something that is a little point and shoot, really just focusing on learning what are the things that are... 

What are the features in the camera that you can really use, and what is the space like that you're using? And solving problems for that space, and not... Don't bounce around too much, because then in that, you're not gonna really find what makes that space possible then. 

I would say, just tackle one problem at a time, or one challenge that you're having.

And again, some products will be easier than others. When I first graduated from college, I started working at a studio where we did a lot of product photography for... What was it? HP, so we were doing a lot of printers. 

And it was one of the most annoying things ever because there was reflection. They were all nice and black and shiny, but there was so much reflection on the printer, so that's something that you would wanna watch for. 

You don't wanna have a reflection of your face or your camera on the product, things like that. How do you solve for that? 

Things like cutting a blackboard and just with a hole for that camera. That way, you get rid of all of the other distractions, but then, just have something where the... If you just have one light source, just creating a little nook where light can bounce. Things like that. 

But yeah, just honing in on the challenges for your specific product, and then really, once you have it to a point where you like it, then that's really where you can start playing around and breaking some of your own rules.

Jenn: Thank you. Alright, a question from Sean. 

"Do retro trends in photography go the same way as music and film? We're all listening and watching to these recreations and tributes to the 80s or 70s, then we move on to the 90s or 2000s."

SL: It's like everything. It's like fashion, too. There's all these trends that just come back, and people are shooting... Film, for example, is definitely making a comeback. 

A lot of photographers at the beginning of the 2000s were like, "Oh, film is dying, we're just learning all this digital stuff." 

When I graduated from college... I went to the California College of the Arts and I studied photography there, and I still got to learn everything dark-room-related. 

But I think it was two classes after me, they stopped teaching that, and they went all digital. But now, a lot of photographers are actually are going back and getting medium format cameras, and getting film, and bringing back some of those businesses.

Kodak had stopped making film, but I believe now they've sold the company to another company, they're making the film. But things like that, they do come back. 

It's like, a lot of people are also playing around right now, in terms of photography, with this idea of the self-portrait. Selfies have been a thing, but self-portraits have been around since the beginning of photography. 

And for a while, they went away, and now they're very much coming back in how photographers are even documenting how COVID is impacting people's lives and how it's impacting their own life. 

Definitely, trends and things that you start seeing, or elements that you start seeing in photography is... They do circle, they do circle back like fashion or like in music and film. There's a lot of people that have also done portraits, just recreating photography from the '40s. 

That is a thing and hey, it could potentially be something depending on the product that you're selling or the kind of brand that you have that could work for you and that could set it apart from what is happening now in terms of photography or product photography, particularly.

Jenn: Thank you. I just really quickly, since you brought up self-portraits, when we first talked about doing this session, we talked about headshots. 

And I'm wondering if you can give everybody just the quick rundown that you gave me about taking an updated, amazing LinkedIn photo because it's that difficult.

SL: So LinkedIn, for example, is... And even this is something that you should consider to include on the website for your site, like who is this person, who is selling this? 

People wanna see your face and taking photos that... A lot of people... Sometimes when I take portraits of people, they're like, "Well, what should I wear?" Is like, Well, be you. 

If you wear a hoodie all the time, wear a hoodie, because that is you, if... You also wanna be an authentic representation of yourself, and when you're thinking of the type of look that you wanna have... Just be yourself, you don't have to have a big, giant smile for people to think like, "Oh this person looks friendly." 

It could be just a really nice soft expression on your face, it really attracts the audience and have an authentic feel. There's... I can't remember the exact numbers, but there was this study that they did on LinkedIn faces and how giant smiles were a little bit kinda...

Jenn: Oh, let me see, I'm having funky internet issues, but not sure if that's everyone. So going to... Can anyone let me know in the chat if they can still hear or if it's just me? Same, okay. 

Looks like we lost Shidume. No. Oh, you can hear me? Well, hello. [chuckle] Alright, looks like we lost Shidume, no worries, we are almost out of time anyway. 

And so I wanna say thanks for coming, I'm gonna give her a second to hop back on just in case she tries, but thank you all for coming. I hope you learned something. I hope that it was informative. 

As I mentioned in the beginning, we'll have the video should you miss the playbook and the transcription available for folks in just a couple of days. So, thank you so much for your time. 

I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe, and we'll be back on October 1st with Jill and Joey. They're a sustainable brand that makes reusable sandwich bags or bags and it's three dads and they're based out of Seattle. 

And we're just gonna talk about their story and what sustainability means to them and how COVID has impacted their business. 

So, thank you so much for coming, and I hope everyone has a good day. Bye. Thank you.


Ship sustainably with Sendle

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