When it comes to creative professions, especially in the world of crafts, the creator can be responsible for multiple parts of the process
Those who work in embroidery, ceramics, or textile art often oversee every stage of a project’s development, as well as handling marketing and building a global image for their brand. This is why it’s so important to stay up-to-date with new tips and tools that will help with all of the extras, such as knowing how to best present your work in a portfolio or on social media.
Here, ceramic artist Paula Casella (@paulacasellabiase) and textile artist María La Biyux (@marialabiyux) share some of their top tips on how to get the most out of sharing your craft work online.
For María, it’s important to emphasize that “the brand image we want to communicate and build is part of the project”. Her textile jewelry brand sets out to create decent jobs in vulnerable communities, condemn the use of cheap labour, and produce well-designed products.
Paula reflects on how “often we do great work, but it doesn’t reach as many people as it could because we don’t have the knowledge. As a result, we don’t make the most of our talent. It’s important that people can see how much work goes on behind each beautiful photograph, not just in making the pieces every day, but everything else that comes with it.”
How to photograph your craft projects
Paula recognizes how much her photos have improved since she first started out. Not only have the pieces she is photographing evolved, but taking a few different courses has enabled her to work on her photography technique. She has learned new skills and been able to define her own style, which she applies to her craft projects.
What photography equipment should you use?
Paula uses a basic camera: a Canon EOS 400D with a 50mm lens. With this equipment, she is able to take quality close-ups. She usually doesn’t bother with props, so as not to distract attention away from the focal point: her ceramic piece. However, it’s always important that each individual develop their own style.
“In the beginning, I used a light box which was marketed for product photography, but the light it emits is too cold. I want to transmit warmth. I have discovered a corner where there is the right natural light to give my photos the feel I’m after.”
Editing is also important
Knowing a bit about set design and how to capture light are key. However, the editing and post-production stage that comes after is also part of the magic. Retouching programs can make your craft photos look more professional, but you have to define your own style and find a balance so that your pieces look great while still being an honest representation. Paula uses Adobe Photoshop–“but at a very basic level”–to edit her photos.
The power of social media
Social media, above all Instagram and Pinterest, has become a window that draws millions of eyes and facilitates a reach that would be practically impossible to obtain offline. This gives creators extra responsibilities: they must make the most of this opportunity to show off their work in a way that is different to how they would physically.
“When I publish photos, I am showing exactly what it is that I do, without camouflaging or distorting my work and potentially confusing people. But I don’t have to show everything,” explains Paula. Through social media, she has the opportunity to show the creative process behind each piece, the materials she works with, the tests she does with new materials. She also uses it to share tips about how to work with certain materials or images, or for publishing video workshops. A traditional portfolio wouldn’t permit her to do all of this so easily.
For Maria, social media is an opportunity to develop a craft project which is valuable and unique through focusing on elements such as image, design, and sustainability.
You should constantly evolve
For Paula Casella, it’s also fundamental to continue growing and learning every day, including expanding her knowledge of disciplines outside of the world of crafts. “As well as learning to use my camera and mobile through photography courses, I also regularly do courses in marketing and different apps. That way I get the most out of them.” Recently, Paula signed up for the Domestika course, Pinterest Business as a Marketing Tool, taught by Mercedes Valañón. The course has been helping her to make improvements to her Pinterest account.
To conclude, and in Casella’s own words, “it’s about showing people how much work goes on behind each beautiful photograph, not just in making the pieces every day, but everything else that comes with it.”
Paula Casella teaches the Domestika course At-home Ceramics for Beginners and María La Biyux is a textile artist who teaches How to Make Textile Jewelry. Both courses will show you how to create craft pieces with character and love.