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EFF SOURCE Fashion business success without compromise

23 September 2013

Image is everything: The key to getting your product photos right

Contributor MAJR Magazine

Camilla Wellton

MAJR is a trendy new social good magazine created by students for students. Here, the MAJR editorial team share their philosophy on putting out a great product, garnering press attention. Image: SOURCE member brand, Camilla Wellton

Go professional, it’s worth the investment

If a fashion brand wanted to get featured in a magazine such as MAJR, the advice we would share about how they photograph their collection is either a simple two-part recommendation or a more involved five-part answer that will help you on a very limited budget and choosing the DIY route.

For the simple answer, we highly recommend going with a professional photographer and professional models.

We see a professional photographer and professional models as critical components to the success of a fashion brand, even startups. MAJR magazine

Over the last few months, we have seen so many exciting new brands and products to feature. The ones that stand out are always the ones that capture our attention with compelling images.

MAJR Magazine is themed on social good, so when we find new brands or products that have a positive mission or create some kind of positive impact, we want to support their work. However, many times we see collections that probably are great, but appear unprofessional in their images.

We see a professional photographer and professional models as critical components to the success of a fashion brand, even startups.

SOURCE member brand, Eden Diodati is an exemplary example of how professional, compelling brand images

We’re a startup, so we understand the philosophy of bootstrapping, taking it one step at a time, and being financially responsible to maximize our long-term growth. But we also see branding as an important part of the early stages of growth.

Maybe some startups spend too much on production or other investment-heavy necessities upfront, and run out of funds by the time they launch. Or maybe they’re doing their best to cut costs and might not realise where it’s smart to spend a little more.

We’re learning as we go too, but when it comes down to it, you have to lead with the best presentation possible. For press, it’s tough to feature potentially great collections obscured by unprofessional or awkward photos.

5 key tips to ensuring your brand images are good enough get featured by press

For those who still want to go the DIY route, our more involved, five-part answer should help you do it right. Keep in mind, even if you go DIY, sometimes hiring professionals turns out to be less expensive on account of re-shoots, spending a tonne of time editing, or on the back end, lack of sales.

1. A model’s experience with poses can make or break images that should compel your audience.

Asking a friend, neighbour, or your business partner to stand in as your model is easy on the budget, but if they aren’t completely comfortable in front of the camera, it’ll probably show. Advice on this one is for your model to practice as much as they can and take several rounds of test shots to see what works.

SOURCE member brand, Nakate Project’s model clearly knows how to showcase the jewellery in an interesting way

As an additional note to this one, you may find someone with a great look, but it doesn’t mean they’re a great match for your collection. Try to find someone who would accentuate the best features of your designs in the way you imagine your ideal customer to wear them.

2. Back to basics on this one as well, lighting is very important, so practice is key.

Without a professional’s working knowledge of how to maximize natural light, or how to use basic lighting equipment, it takes a lot of practice. Too much light and the clothes will get lost in the brightness, too little light, and they’ll get lost in the shadows.

Don’t count on your camera’s auto settings to do the work. If you’re shooting on a sunny rooftop or a shadowy alley, auto settings, editing, and filters may not make up for it. Great lighting makes your clothes look their best, and you’ll benefit from it in the few seconds it takes your audience to form a first impression.

If you find yourself thinking everything is fixable in Photoshop, scratch those images and start over.

3. The setting should highlight the clothing.

Not all collections are complimented by a favorite urban or rural setting. If it’s in the theme of your collection, test it out, but sometimes it’s best to play it safe and go with a studio.

Regardless of where you choose, make sure the setting isn’t distracting to the product. A cityscape or landscape may look great by itself, but you’ll want the attention on your product, which is why plain studio backdrops are a safe bet.

People Tree AW13 shoot using the environment to enhance the clothing

SOURCE Founding Partner, Mantis World, keeping it simple and effective with a plain grey background

4. Don’t mix and match your shoots.

If you’re going to hire a professional for some pictures, then try to duplicate or substitute budget images for the rest, it will show. Keeping consistency across your entire collection will give your customers the confidence they need to count on a professional product.

5. We recommend shooting in high resolution. Kind of a given but it’s worth explaining.

Lower resolution is generally ok for web, but if a magazine requests images of your collection, they’ll probably want high resolution images. If the resolution is low, the images tend to turn out blurry or pixilated and you could miss out on an opportunity to have your products featured. We aim for 300 dpi with our magazine to keep everything looking sharp.

Make the most of what you’ve got…

All in all, it’s ok to start with what you have, but make the most of what you’ve got, and know where to spend. As we grow our own magazine, we know the more we can invest in our brand image, the more our audience is going to engage.

At the end of the day, when we’ve put our heart and soul into our product, we want it looking it’s best.

MAJR Magazine is soon to be launched. As an experiment in collaborative culture, MAJR is attracting top talent from college students across the USA as contributors.

For more about MAJR, visit: www.MAJRMagazine.com

If you’d like to have your fashion collection featured in MAJR, you can reach them at: [email protected]

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