Emails, emails, emails

Following on from last weeks email blog - I thought I'd post up another desgin I finished working on today. Featuring 3 different brands, something a little different to what I normally put together. What do you think? Hopefully the results are strong!

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Email design

Many of my images are used for communicating with customers directly in print and online. Contact with customers online is a much cheaper and more flexible way, when compared to the cost of print and mail. I produce two weekly emails for Walktall featuring new product imagery I have created. These emails are then sent out to a mailing list of around 40k and promoted across social media. Here you can see a croppped version of the full email which was used across social media.

 

I design the emails to complement the imagery I shoot for them. Customers like to see a little bit of creativity in these communications, this is one of my 'go to' styles which, both help the customer see much more of the footwear (including the sole) it also brings the shoes to life and adds a little fun to the email. This is also complemented with the slightly rounded font in the header, bright colours and wiggly worms to complete the look. Over time, I've refined this technique in the studio so that it takes very little time to get a shot like this and onto the artwork.

I like to get as creative as possible, but I must maintain a high level of attention to detail. If you get too lost in the creative process, you may lose sight of what your main goal is, which is to produce imagery that shows off the product in the best possible light, with an accurate representation of the product in real life.

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Image development

Over time, it's possible for you to re-imagine images you've already shot. This first image, I shot around 6 weeks ago and I still really like it,although while coming up with ideas for a cover image for the the spring/summer 18 Walktall flyer, I liked it as a cover image, but felt it needed something extra.

Asics Comutora - Black/White

So I decided to play with the image a little bit, I'm not totally convinced with how it turned out and in an ideal world I would have carried on developing the image further - but with the time constraints I have, I feel happy enough with the final outcome.

What do you think? In some ways I still prefer the original.

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IT'S BEEN BUSY

At the end of a busy couple of weeks, I''ve almost finished shooting the Walktall flyer which goes out to customers on the 30th - the bad weather has been holding me back to get out and shoot a couple of last minute lifestyle images I need to get done, fingers crossed the weather starts turning sharpish. I'll be adding the final tweaks to the design over the coming days. Once I'm done with the flyer, I have a rack full of new SS18 products to get shot for the web, this should keep me out of mischief for a little while! 

 

In other news I may have one or two exciting little announcements to make in the coming weeks, once it's all 100% confirmed...!

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THE IMPORTANCE OF CROPPING

Cropping is often an overlooked way of improving your images. It's a really quick and simple thing to do, and can really draw the viewers eye to your intended subject. I always provide shots with plenty of bleed (or extra background) for two main reasons:

- You have the flexibility to control your crop after your shoot. Have a play with different compositions within your frame, you may come across something that works better than you initially intended.

- When your imagery goes into artwork - this gives the artworker the flexibilty to move your subject around within the artwork and create space for copy or inset shots.

With the Beast from the east colliding with Storm Emma this week, we've been treated with lots of snow - so I took the opportunity to go and play in the snow with a pair of Moose - high-performance with Cosytex, from Cosyfeet. This shows a simple example of cropping and how it can help. Not only does it increase the size of my subject within the frame, I could have placed the shoes anywhere I liked while leaving it open to add copy for a homepage banner. 

 

 

 

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WALKTALL SPRING FLYER

Not that you'd know it this week, with the beast from the east bringing snow and freezing temperatures to the UK, but we're heading quickly towards spring. Spring/Summer 18 deliveries are turning up daily in the warehouse at the moment and the backlog of new product to get online is steadily growing as my current focus is on the quarterly Walktall Flyer. Although, I don't see sandals and flip-flops being too popular with temperatures like they currently are.

I've been flat out in the studio and have been working on this formal spread with a mix of styles from a range of brands. Each shoe was shot under the same lighting conditions, especially important when looking for consistency on a spread like this. One of the challenges I faced with this spread, is that I'm supplied with shoes of varying size, some were a UK size 13 and some an 8. I have to be careful when shooting, that the big sizes don't look out of place against the small ones - which was one of the main reasons I chose to go with a layout like this.

I like to shoot still life group shots, but for various reasons, sometimes the situation won't allow it. If you're shooting products, take time to plan ahead before you start shooting. As a college lecturer once told me - fail to prepare, prepare to fail - and that goes for all aspects of life. 

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CREATING VERSATILE IMAGERY

Creating imagery that will be flexible enough to cover all your needs is vital in retail. During a shoot, I always consider where the image will be used; is it a catalogue? A web banner? A header on an email campaign? An inset shot? There's a never ending list of places the same image could be used, that's why it's a very important point to consider. 

If an image is shot for specific dimensions, that's great - as it should work perfectly for it's intended use, but always make time to shoot some other angles, change your set slightly - so that you have some flexibily in your set of images from each shoot to fit a variety of uses. 

 

If you visit here regularly - you'll have seen a version of this shot used in an email last week. Although this is a bit of a cheat (as the background was just extended in photoshop) it's still a very versatile shot. The business has lots of stock of this particular Vans style - I can keep re-freshing this, by changing the position of the shoes and swapping backgrounds.

I'll be able to get a couple of seasons of use out of this shot, making it much more valuable than a shot I can use just once - it's a win, win situation!

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WOITS#5

'What's on in the studio' is back for the 5th time - I turned things up a little bit today with The Raconteurs!

Takes me back to Benicassim 2008, TEN years ago...wow!

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ASICS COMUTORA - BLACK/WHITE

With spring fast approaching, I'm super busy in the studio shooting multi angles for all the new footwear products as they come in from the warehouse. Alongside this, it's time to start the prep on the SS18 flyer - this week, I'll be looking through the brief and coming up with concepts for each page. This will be a mix of lifestyle, still life and side profile photography. This photography will be used throughout the season...or until stock runout. 

This shot of the Asics Comutora Black/White will be used in the flyer, this trainer is designed for low intensity activity and is super lightweight - which is why the floating effect used here is so effective, it re-enforces the USP of this product.

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IMAGE PREPARATION - COSYFEET

Seeing as it's almost Friday (woohoo!) I thought I would post a little GIF to give a little insight into the process of an image after it's shot in the studio. Taking the shot in the first place is just part of the process, but in the age of photoshop - anything is actually possible. Many photographers, especially in this industry won't want you to see an image straight out of camera as it definitely won't look anything like the final shot that will be used.

This is just my process, some will work slightly differently:

- Firstly, I take the original image and make sure the colour is accurate to the sample I have.

- Secondly, I will remove all blemishes, dust, loose threads and anything which degrades from the look of the product. Remember, your client will want to make the product look it's absolute best before they take it to market.

- Next, I start work on the background - In this shot, I've propped the heel with a block of blue tac and added a very small bounce card under the sole to add a little contrast to the sole. This all comes out now. Out of sight in this shot, the shoe has been stuffed and there are some cocktail sticks helping to shape the shoe and keep the tongue high.

- TOP TIP - basic stationary is one of the best tools I have in product photography, in almost every shot I use a different selection of stationary which ranges from Blu-Tac to cocktail sticks and black/white and coloured card. Build up a collection of handy helpers in the studio - small differences make a huge different to to final appearance of the product.

- Finally, I make sure the background will blend seamlessly into any artwork - in this case it's white, so I make sure there are no nasty greyish areas in the background - wiz around with any selection tool, open the Info window and check your hitting 255.255.255 (pure white) in the corners and edges, tweak where necessary. 

 

 

This is a very brief description of what goes into an image like this, every shot is different - but give it a go and see how you get on.

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