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.
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.
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.
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...
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?