Ask The Expert, Design, Studio, Uncategorized

September 22, 2017

Stationery Photography: Take Control of the Photos of Your Work

detail shots of paper (especially foil stamped or letterpressed paper) show off the richness of paper and sets the tone for your client’s experience.


A few months back, I participated in an amazing styled shoot. I was on location for this one (sometimes I’m not able to be due to the location of the shoot) and I got to hang out with vendors I’d never worked with before. The photographer was the sweetest; she was so open to direction, offered great suggestions to help achieve the look we were going for in a particular shot, and had a great eye for styling.

Styled shoots are always such a treat because of the collaboration with other vendors – you get the look of a real wedding for a fraction of the cost! I had just debuted a new product and semi-custom suite, so I was eager to have it photographed with models, full florals and a gorgeous location.
I was pretty excited to get the photos back, but when I did, I loved all of them except for the photos of my work. Aesthetically, the photos were very pleasing: the color was vibrant, the text was in focus (which so often is not the case), and the styling was interesting. So what was I disappointed by?
As a calligrapher or stationer (or both!), you know how much time, practice, and love goes into your work. You understand that the beauty of calligraphy isn’t only in the skill involved, but the way the ink rests just so on top of your thoughtfully curated paper. Your practiced flourishes are whispered words of love, and just the touch of finely made paper makes your heart sing. You may even get into passionate debates at parties about the necessity of sending paper wedding invitations over email invitations (guilty as charged).
The photos I received were indeed beautiful, but they lacked a sense of intimacy, and that’s what paper is all about. It’s personal in a way that digital correspondence can never be. Paper is all about texture and tooth and smoothness or roughness (and those tiny perfect imperfections that make up a sheet of handmade paper). Those styled shoot photos didn’t reflect any of those characteristics. After spending hours of creative time designing, agonizing over the tiniest of details, and spending money to create samples for styled shoots – not to mention the sweat, blood and tears spent creating an invitation suite for a paying client! – getting a series of disappointing photos back from a shoot or wedding can feel defeating.
And what about the horror stories I’ve heard from several of our fellow stationers? Some have received photos that were so overexposed that they couldn’t read that text! Some of my stationery friends only received one or two photos of their work, and the focus was more on the peonies or the bride’s ring than the stationery.
Maybe you haven’t participated in any styled shoots or haven’t had any problems, but you still struggle to take quality photos of your work.
You might be doing your side-hustle thing or you’re a full-time mom, so you don’t have the time to dedicate to getting the right light, staging pieces, taking photos and editing them.
Perhaps you recently shifted the look of your brand and your photography hasn’t quite caught up yet.
Or do you fall behind on social media because you don’t have a library of images of your own work to choose from?
I’ve struggled with ALL of those things. I have a suspicion that you have, too…because as small business owners or side-hustlin’ ladies or full-time mamas, we can’t do everything all the time (even though we try to).
And then I had a thought: why doesn’t someone who is passionate about stationery and calligraphy get behind the lens – not only to alleviate some of the stress of photographing your own work, but to showcase the intimacy of paper and calligraphy?
Let me introduce you to your new best friend!
I’m pleased to announce that Sablewood Paper Company is launching photography services for stationers and calligraphers. Package and subscription options will be available launching on November 1st.
Y’all, I am SO excited about this feature and I cannot wait to help you elevate your brand!
Holly signature

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *