Does the photograph of your art or craft affect the interpretation of the work?

Photo Styling - "Reality" or Getting Real - an Authentic Opinion ab...

Hotbutton We've been discussing photos for almost two months, there is so much to consider. Your photos are the MOST IMPORTANT tool in the artist's or makers tool box.



Your photos are like Superherostraveling at the speed of light, working 24 hours a day, shrinking and expanding at the touch of a button. The folks at Search Engine People sum up this discussion about images perfectly:

The old adage is that you can’t judge a book by its cover. But you do it anyway, so it’s useless to pretend that others don’t, as well. Content may be King, but Appearance is the horse it rides in on, be it a magnificent steed or a gimpy nag.

One of the hot button topics is photo styling which will be discussed at theProfessional Development Seminarin Seattle.  Photo styling as in the stylistic appearance of the photos for your work.

Authenticity The question we are all asking is, "What attributes make an effective photo in documenting art or craft?"  My observation is that there is a shift in the marketplace toward the concept of somehow "capturing authenticity."

READ more on ASK Harriete......

What do you think?  Please leave your opinions on ASK Harriete so everyone can see them and comment further. 


Side by Side Comparison - The Whites of The Model's Eyes? Issues an...

 AVOID THE GUILLOTINE: If you don't want to include the entire profile, then crop the photo just above the lips.  This eliminates the guillotine/amputation problem discussed in a previous ASK Harriete post where cropping a photo cut off the hand(or the head) which looks weird.  Cropping above the lips also eliminates any distraction of the eyes, hair, forehead, or ears. Much less to worry about, Phew! Even a stray hair in a photo can be really distracting.

Brigitte Martin from Crafthaus addressed the most important issue when considering a model. "Ad agencies everywhere use specific model types for specific reasons, you will not find a sexy model advertising cleaning supplies.  And "granny" won't be able to convince you to buy perfume.  The choice in model, no matter how generic the shot, will ALWAYS....

(read the entire post on ASK Harriete)



Side by Side Comparison - Do You Want to See the Whites of Their Ey...

Bruce Metcalf necklace Bruce Metcalf necklaceonly
Original Photo     V.1      Version 2 Cropped w/Photoshop
"Lucia's Poppy Necklace" 2010   © Bruce Metcalf.
Mixed mediums, wood, paint. Model: Natala Covert.

A second set of photos illustrates a similar issue. This time the model is looking straight at you. Same necklace, different models, different poses.

Recycledcollar800 RecycledmILKNECKLACE
Option A                                  Option B
Recycle Necklace © 2010   Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit:(left) Liz Hickok         (right)Emiko Oye

Now, pretend that you are a juror and you have 5 to 10 seconds to make a decision to accept or reject.  Go with your gut reaction and make an immediate decision. Please leave your comment on ASK Harriete so that they are all in one place.  Thursday's post will start the discussion.

A Hand in the Photo Holds Lots of Problems - I hope these aren't yo...

In this post, a dedicated reader of ASK Harriete submitted a group of photos where the "hand in the photo holds lots of problems."  These were selected from the Internet as "worst case" examples.  Below are 5 common mistakes and solutions to improve your photos.

Look at the mistakes and read simple solutions to photo mistakes on ASK Harriete.

Hands holding jewelry. 

Fingernails that look like talons

The Stiff Hand or Arm

Model not appropriate to jewelry

Amputation of the hand.

Photo Magic or "POOF" Photo Disaster - The Hand as a Prop in the Ph...

Hands are particularly challenging in a photo. This is because our brains are engineered to stare at hands. Thus we can't help looking at the hands in the photo before anything else. Another problem is that most people's hands tend to look a little awkward. Bad combination! For these reasons, hands are particularly challenging in a photo. Read More on ASK Harriete

The model or the pedestal? Which is the more effective image?

Photographing jewelry, sculpture or clothing intended to be worn on the body presents specific challenges. The biggest question is what is the most effective  photographic image-- a model or a more "neutral" background without the figure?

Don't confuse this dramatic solution by Marjorie Schick with a headless muslin sewing mannequin. 

If using a live model, begin with the Model Release Contract from the Professional Guidelines.

Next decision, use a model.......(read more on ASK Harriete)

Watermarks on your photographic images, NOT Good, Bad and Ugly


 When I see a watermark on a photo, I refuse to try to look through it or past it.  The photo is ruined.  Instead, I move on.  And I believe most people react similarly.

That's my opinion.  Now here is a more information....


Breaking the "Rules" with Style AND Perfection - Photos that work!

Why does this image work so well? How can this artist break such fundamental rules so successfully? The answer is that it perfectly combines both personal style and accuracy.

The graphics in her photos also match her web site. Krystal Speck establishes an identity with a recurring graphic (right) as  the header for every page.  A consistent header or style on every page of a web site helps develop a clear identity within the web site.  Learn more on ASK Harriete.


Side by Side Comparisons - the White Background, Can You Cut It?

A white background in a photographic image has some very practical advantages. The pure white background (#000000) works very well to embed the photo in a variety of other media such as text documents, line sheets, combining images in print or creating a cohesive presentation on a web site. ASK Harriete has several examples in this post. Get ideas for your juried applications, text layout with images for you artist statements, books, and web site.

Side by Side Photos - Website Backgrounds Should be Consistent?

When showing a group of photos, be sure the backgrounds are consistent. Practically speaking, if the backgrounds and/or photographic style changes from photo to photo on your web site or portfolio (or even in a juried application), it does NOT look good. Learn more at ASK Harriete:

Side by Side Photos - Clean or Complex Backgrounds?

Backgrounds with additional items or content are said by advocates to be more interesting, offering mood, style, warmth or appeal to the viewer and potential customers.

This is a really important aspect to consider.  A number of artists and makers are showing their work with  styleized backgrounds and groupings.  This may draw a particular audience in a particular scenario, but is it an effective representation of the work?

If you submitted any one of these photos to a jury for a book or retail craft show (as just two examples), the risk of REJECTION is significantly elevated.  The photos are not a clear and accurate representation of your work.

Are you aware of how much the photographic background adds to the work? Is that the message you planned to send?



Side by Side Photo Comparisons - Backgrounds with Texture or Pattern?
Today's post discusses backgrounds with texture or pattern.
The background material certainly adds a significant element to the photo. 

The viewer is driven to consider the background in addition to the the work.

Is it a distraction? Is this a fabulous photo,  or too much personality detracting from the work?  When your photos include apatterned or textured background, will people judge your background before the work when they have 2 seconds to look at the image? Read the entire post on ASK Harriete


Side by Side Photo Comparisons: Colorful or Discordant?

Some comments during this series of "Side by Side Comparisons of Different Photos" prompted me to add comparisons of photos with colored backgrounds.

The use of colored backgrounds in photography of art or craft is not simply a "black and white" issue.  There are too many considerations.

But let's get really honest! -- the vast majority of the art and craft community do not view work on bright backgrounds as serious work.  The general consensus seems to be that a brightly colored
background is perceived as decorative, overly dramatic or superficial. 
Or am I mistaken? What do you think? Read more on ASK Harriete



Side by Side Comparisons of Different Photos: Black Hole or Super S...

There are some makers who regularly photograph their work on a solid black background holding the opinion that the black background highlights light colored or silver work but it has many of the same problems as white, few benefits and is even more problematic for capturing a great image of art and craft.

What do you think about the black background? Compare and contrast some examples with ASK Harriete.




Side by Side Photos - The Graduated Background: Stunning or Stupefy...  What is your opinion?

At this point the graduated light to dark background has become an industry standard for art/craft  photography. Looking through recently published books and magazines reveals graduated backgrounds in all its variations, page after page. This can
be both good and bad.

The good side is that the graduated background is considered neutral, easily assigned to the background and ignored adding little or no commentary to the artwork. We have become accustomed to
its appearance and for this reason it is perceived of as "neutral."

The opposite point of view is that the graduated gray background may be considered boring, old-school, or even out of date by some groups.

What do you think? Read the entire post and comments on ASK Harriete. Are you willing ...




Side by Side Comparisons of Different Photos - the white background...

The white background in the photographic image is the "new" look. When discussing a white background, we are talking about pure white...absolute white....#FFFFFF in HTML or Photoshop.

A major concern with white background shots is that the shadows and reflections on the background look fake. Some people who like the white background also like the artificial shadow. This "artificial" appearance is part of the new and trendy style.

Are you familiar with the positive and negative concerns with white backgrounds?



Are You Being Judged by the Style of Your Images? Side by Side Comp...

Image backgrounds are becoming a stylistic issue (or "trend", if you want to call it that).  In fact, the choice of backgrounds for a photographic image may even be placing your work into a "category" of the art or craft world.  This may be an unpopular opinion, but I think there is ample evidence.

Does the color of the background contribute to the emotion or vocabulary of the work?

The world of photography is changing rapidly. Is your photography up to date? Is it an effective tool?
•Are you being judged by the style of your images?
•How much post production is acceptable and who should do the work?
•Current trends in background and composition.
•and much more……

In a side by side comparison of two images, by two different photographers how much original content is the photographer adding? Are we seeing creativity from the photographer or skill? Who do you think owns the copyright of the image?.

Read the entire post and see the images on ASK Harriete

Please consider leaving your comment below the post on ASK Harriete to keep all the comments in one place.

Discussion will begin with the most pertinent, provocative, interesting or informative comments for future discussion. Please consider leaving your name with your web site (or Crafthaus page) in case I reuse your comment. (sample below) and so people can see your photographic images.



These issues and more will be discussed at the Professional Development Seminar titled, Photography in Flux: Technical Issues, Media and Style.

DATE:           May 28, 2011
TIME:         9:00 AM to 12:00 noon
                 (followed by brown bag lunch discussion)
LOCATION: The Westin Hotel,
                 1900 5th Ave,
                 Seattle, WA.

Free with SNAG Conference registration or $40 at the door (for the PDS only).


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Dear All Members, Followers and Likers of our Network pages.We are currently streamlining our pages at the moment and have found that fewer people are now following and using twitter and crafthaus to find out about jewellery events, exhibitions,…See More
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