Scott Acevedo AIFD did an important program for all florists on photography. With the popularity of blogs, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook taking great photographs of your work is not only good to do, it is essential. Your clients are surfing the web before they even talk to you and if you don’t have your work up, your competitor will. For someone like me, if you don’t have a website or blog showing off your designs, I’m going to wonder why.
I hear all of the time from florists that they just don’t have the time to create content for a blog (or social media), but here’s the “thing” … each and everyday you have the most challenging part done – creating unique content a.k.a. your floral designs – and all you need to do is have a set up to take pictures and then throw it up on a blog and let your audience know through your social media channels about your new content. Easy, peasy!
The first part of the Scott’s program covered the different ways you could use your floral photography:
- Use the pictures on your website. For example, use them for the lead departments of your site – birthday, sympathy, wedding, corporate, etc.
- Create note cards to use to send out with your floral designs – a great up-sell. We actually just created our own custom floral note cards for our branches to use and they are a big hit!
- Enlarge the prints to sell and/or to decorate your floral shop or design studio.
- Use single variety pictures to help sell new or unfamiliar varieties to your customers. For this point, I just wanted to say that we have many customers who point their customers to our very own Flower Library. I even know of a customer who has printed cards with the Flower Library URL to give to all of their brides so that they can browse through all of the flowers and create FloraFiles filled with their favorites. I even see florists share our Facebook photo albums with their audience to show what is available now. Easy, free content all at your disposal.
Here are some photography basic set-up pointers on using a tripod, PVC pipe frame, foam core draped with material, 2 lights, and camera placement:
- Use a tripod whenever possible. Even if you think you are holding the camera as still as possible, most likely you are not. A tripod makes a huge difference in making a photograph look professional. Just using your point-and-shoot camera with a tripod will give very nice quality pictures.
- Be aware of “low key” and “high key”. Low key is using something like a black background and high key is utilizing a pure white background.
- Scott likes to use a neutral gray backdrop draped over a PVC pipe and foam core frame because it allows all of the colors to pop, whereas black tends to absorb all of your light making it hard to see the details of your design.
- I differ from Scott’s opinion on this subject a bit and I am not a fan of plain gray backgrounds as I think it looks drab and boring. I really think investing in a great backdrop and/or floordrop will take your pictures to the next level. I’m a big fan of Traci Ryant Photography (she has taken my daughter’s pictures for the last 2 years) and she often uses drops from a company called LemonDrop Stop. Here’s a picture of a sample set-up. You would want to set yours up on a table, of course, but these drops are swoon worthy and would be a spectacular backdrop for your beautiful designs. They have faux wood, old doors, fun patterns, and fabric all in a inexpensive polypaper perfect for you! You are sure to find something that will ensure that your pictures are completely branded with your company’s look from the flowers to the background. A few samples from the LemonDrop Stop site:
- Do you have old shutters, or an old door, or a cool looking wall? Then try those as backdrops too.
- Lighting – if you want to be a professional as possible you can go with a strobe light, but to get started 2 basic lamps can be used to fill your pictures with the proper lighting. Of course, if you have a great area in which you can utilize natural light, that is always the best option. Here are some lighting specifics to keep in mind and play with:
- Hair light – this lighting comes from behind to light from the top and behind
- Key light – accents the facial features
- Fill light – Fills with the light a bit more
- Scott recommends Calumet Photo if you want to start looking into lighting.
- If you are on site at night, using flash may help prevent blurriness.
- Camera position – be aware that you will need to adjust the angle of your camera depending on the design. Sometime it may be better to be looking down at an angle or sometimes it may be better to shoot straight on. Experiment and have fun!
If you do wedding and event flowers, then be sure to bring your camera (and your tripod) with you for the set up. It is great to get pictures with your clients holding the bouquets, the boutonniere on the guys’ lapel, or the centerpieces placed on the tables. Be sure to crop out the faces, otherwise you will need a model release. If all fails, be sure to introduce yourself to the event photographer. Often times, the photographer will allow you to post pictures as long as you are giving proper credit. You won’t know until you ask.
Last, but not least, to ensure that some other site doesn’t steal your work, be sure to watermark your pictures. You don’t need to get fancy software as you can just use something free, like Picasa, to add a text watermark with just a few clicks.
I hope you are now ready to start capturing pictures of your floral designs. If you are still looking for more pointers try browsing Pinterest for camera and photography tips. Also, FlowerChat recently published a post all about photography too – check it out here.
For all you floral designers already taking your own pictures, comment some other tips of what works well for you!