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The shop owner as an artist
Recently I discovered this nice internetshop called Present & Correct. I liked their products, but soon I noticed that there was something I actually liked even more than the products: the way they presented them! The product photography was so nice and inviting, that I almost started buying things I didn't really want or need.
image: P & C
I've been quite fascinated with the subject of product photography (maybe you also remember this post). Lately I've been wondering a bit about internet-shopping. I've been noticing for some time now that internet-shops are discovering the power of say 'visual merchandising' more and more: their virtual shopwindows become prettier with the day. Of course the Three Potato Four shop is one of the clearest examples of this development: visiting their shop often looks more like reading a cool book or magazine on interior decoration or visiting a museum of mid-century modern art than like plain shopping.
image: P & C
For those of us who love creative eye-candy, this arty product photography is a nice development and a treat for the eye. It offers free inspiration on how to display items in your home in a creative way. Shops such as Three Potato Four and Present & Correct are extremely good at showing us how you can use any colorful, nicely designed item in cool and original displays. Though the items they sell aren't cheap, their photography shows you that you sometimes only need one or two of those cool eyecatchers to really spice up a place. A nicely framed image, a colorful vintage table lamp and a bunch of pencils can apparently do the trick.
image: P & C
Small art, craft & design shop owners, for example on etsy, also show their work in the prettiest ways. Take this little trip through pretty-product-photography-land with me...
photo top: penguinandfish, photo down: reyaveltman
photos top: Saidos da Concha, photo down: element clay studio
photos top: abigailbrown, photo down: Naomi Murrell
Though it's obvious that I really like this creative, artistic and professional direction in product photography, I think it also has a reverse: where does the quest for nicer, prettier, more beautiful and more professional end? Aren't expectations getting a bit too high? Can we keep up? It seems that in internet selling it isn't enough to just have a nice product and to be good at for example sewing, drawing, screenprinting or ceramics: you also have to be a good photographer, stylist and visual merchandiser at the same time (or you have to be able to hire one of those ;)) .
Of course a lot of creative people have some of those skills more or less at their disposal, and maybe those who haven't shouldn't try selling their products through the internet. So maybe the title of this blog post isn't correct, and aren't we dealing with 'the shop owner as an artist' but with the reverse: 'the artist as a shop owner'. The mix of marketing and artistic skills has always been a lucrative one, so what's new?
But sometimes I just wonder: where did the fumbling amateur internet seller with his dark grainy photos-that-show-more-messy-home-than-actual-product go?


Concha on 2008-12-02 19:44
Hey, there's my tote bag hanging on that lovely white door!
Seriously, Nina, what a great point you have made! As an Etsy seller (and a recent one) I struggle to find nice spots/light/ambiance/my husband'scamerato take inviting pictures. Sometimes it is just too hard! I not only have to think of nice products, I also have to make them as perfect as I can and I have to be able to take gorgeous pictures (which I can't, especially during Winter time).
Well, but what can be done?...
Nina on 2008-12-02 20:33
@ Concha: yeah, that's your photography! I loved those photos that much that I saved them to my computer, even though that bag is sold now! ;)I think your photosshow a really cool way of displaying products, well done! But yeah, I feel the same way you do... sometimes it's just hard to have it all as good as you want it to be.
on 2008-12-03 01:07
i know what you mean! not enough time to keep up with eveything! would love one day to get the perfect camera, frame some work in a perfectly designed house decorated by me with no budget restraints and run a squeaky clean perfectly designed successful online shop! that bag stands out so well, it's very nice! great post :)
belinda on 2008-12-03 01:12
sorry, forgot to add my details to my comment above! {i take pot luck as to what instructions in dutch mean!} 
gracia on 2008-12-03 13:28
Yes, the artist as shop owner, I quite agree. I wish photography was a skill I possessed.
Great selection of visuals and goodies.
Nina on 2008-12-03 13:44
@ Gracia: photography, yeah, I know... The basics are so easy, but really mastering it is quite a thing! I hope to learn it from trying a lot!
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About Ninainvorm

My name is Nina, I'm a ceramics and paperwares designer and mom of Rosa and Julie. This blog is about making, living, liking, loving and so much more!

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