Sell More! Shae's Photography Tips for Boutiques, Fabric and Pattern Designers

Hi everyone!!  It’s Shae from Saflower Photography and Saflower Designs.  

You know that moment when a new pattern (or fabric) is released and you just sort of feel "meh" about it, but then you see a photo of one that a fellow sewist made, and you just HAVE to have it now.  So much of it has to do with how it was photographed.  

I wanted to put together a little post for you on how to style and shoot your boutique creations if you are trying to sell them, or if you are a pattern or fabric designer and you need to do photos to promote your latest line.  I’m not going to go into technical camera stuff since there are a ton of actual photography classes out there and hundreds of free tutorials floating around.  I highly suggest finding a photography class to learn how to use your camera.

OK, my number 1 has to be location.  You don’t want something that is super busy or full of colors that are going to clash with your creation.  For mine, I chose a place that was going to bring the focus on the dress and not the background.  Since this beautiful Jennifer Paganelli fabric has a bunch of florals, I wanted to avoid a garden setting so the dress didn’t get lost in the setting.  Also, think about the feel you want.  Does the outfit say urban?  Look for a fun urban setting.  Some of my favorites are brick walls or metal walls.  Basically, when it come to the location, pick something simple that will really make your outfit stand out.

Violette Field Thread's Clara pattern made in Nostalgia by Sisboom from Free Spirit Fabrics

Props!  This one can really drive me nuts when I see a beautiful dress hidden in a sea of props.  Huge bubblegum necklaces that hide the neckline of a dress, vases of flowers that have nothing to do with the dress, a million suitcases that are covering the waistline or the skirt of the dress.  I could keep going, but I have a feeling you know the type of photo I’m talking about.  Now don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for props, and as you can see, I do use them, however there is a difference between doing photos of a dress you are trying to sell, and doing photos for fun.  If you choose to style your shoot with props, make sure they don’t cover all the hard work you put into you outfit.  Buyers want to focus on the dress, not the props.

Peek A Boo Pattern Shop Bowtie and Patterns for Pirates  Jolly Roger Raglan

Scrappy Dream Catcher. Tutorial HERE.

“What does the back look like?”  How many times are you asked this question, whether you are a pattern designer or a sewist?  A buyer want to see all side of the dress, including the details!!  Obviously, you want a shot of the front of the dress, but you also want to include the back and side views as well. 

Violette Field Thread's Clara pattern made in Nostalgia by Sisboom from Free Spirit Fabrics

 I included a movement shot showing the back so my customer can also see the twirl factor. 

Make sure you zoom in on those details, like button closures, hem lines, and other little details that make it special.  I love the way these lace sleeves look against this fabric, so I want my buyers to see that as well.  I want my buyer to see the buttons I hand picked and the lace on the hem line.  If you think it is special, then your buyer will want to see it.  Does your pattern have a unique keyhole, or maybe a hidden placket like this dress?  Make sure your customer can see that.

I also wanted to include some photos that are really pretty pictures, and I totally love them, but they are NOT good photos to use to sell a dress or a pattern.  In the first photo, I think my daughter looks totally amazing and I just adore it, but as you can see, the way I shot it partially covers the dress and it’s hard to see it.  

 In the second photo, you can see the entire dress, but it is just too far away to see any details. 

 Finally, another favorite photo of my daughter, but you can’t see the actual shape of the dress.

Whew, I hope you stuck with me for that and I’m sure you are all wondering about the patterns and fabric.  The dress is the Clara by Violette Field Threads.  I added a few inches to the hem and took it from a top to a dress.  I also used the lace for a single flutter instead of the two gathered fabric flutters.  Since I just couldn’t leave her brother out, he is in a Patterns for Pirates Jolly Roger Raglan and the Peek-a-Boo Patterns bow tie.  This amazing fabric was sent to me by Jennifer Paganelli of Sis Boom designer for Freespirit Fabric.  It is from her new Nostalgia line that is due out next month.  I also used it for the crown, bow tie, and dreamcatcher (DIY Dreamcatcher Tutorial HERE).  I just love this line!

Hopefully these tips will help you take your product photos to the next level or just help you get some better shots of your little one.