Looking for some advice here, so please chime in.
If you’ve ever had to take images of your pots you will know that sometimes the best pots in person just don’t translate into a photo. This can be frustrating, especially if you are trying to put your best foot forward to make an impression. On the flip-side, some not so good pots can photograph really well, and may look better on a computer monitor than they do in person. So I guess there’s some good and some bad to this whole image taking adventure. The interesting thing is that for some pots you just can’t make certain viewpoints work, but something different could very well have its own photogenic charm.
One of my stumbling blocks is that I still know so little about lighting and other photography basics, so often my images turning out well is more a matter of luck than expertise. And for one glaze in particular I can’t seem to luck my way into getting good shots. They always look washed out, so I’m guessing that its something basic that I’m doing wrong. A question for another day, perhaps.
That’s not the issue I have right now. I’ve got plenty of other pots that I’d like to sell on etsy, so I don’t really need to photograph those ones. Instead, I am wondering about a strategy for which shot to use as my main image for each pot. In particular I’m thinking about mugs. The idea is that I want to make a good first impression on the ceramics filter page so that potential customers will be drawn to entering my shop. Does this mean using a standard ‘front facing’ view, or can it mean something else? An image that sells a pot on etsy is not always the one you might choose for a postcard or getting in Ceramics Monthly. The aim is probably something different in each of those cases. So this is what I’ve got:
Call me crazy but I glaze the bottoms of pots and then wipe off small areas and wad them. This way I get to highlight the cut-off pattern with glaze, but also insure that a glazed surface will always be presented to the table surfaces it rests on. I have been horrified at the goobers and sharp crusty bits that are sometimes left on the bottoms of pots, so this is my way of taking care of business (though I’ve been looked at as quite the strange bird by some of my fellow potters, and customers don’t even seem to notice the difference. So if the people buying my pots can’t appreciate this extra bit of effort you may wonder why I bother. I guess I was so used to wadding pots for salt, soda, and woodfired kilns that doing it in an electric kiln seemed pretty natural….).
So I guess my thinking is that this underside view is what I want to present as the first image of many of my pots. To me its the most interesting. It carries so much information, but I also think the view itself can be kind of neat. Am I wasting my time? Am I making a mistake? People’s expectations are probably for the much more straightforward shot, so am I turning away potential customers by spitting in the face of convention? Will customers even see what interests me about this other view? And since these shots seem to work best on mugs (for some reason) I won’t be using it on all my pots. So another question is whether it makes sense to only do it consistently. In other words, from the front in all cases. Is a hodgepodge of first views a mistake?
I’m kind of confused, so I’d like to hear what other people think. Maybe you guys can talk some sense into me and reel me back in from the precipice….