5 Things Stationers Wish Photographers Knew
Lately, several of my photographer friends have asked, “What are you looking for in details shots? What’s most helpful for you?” I so appreciate this, because photographers’ talent is key to showcasing my work; I was grateful for the opportunity to share my perspective, and thought it might benefit other photographers as well. Plus, details shots are garnering greater importance when it comes to publication, especially in the fine art community… for many photographers, this may be a relatively new realm in which they are gaining expertise.
So, from one creative heart to another, here are the 5 things I wish photographers knew about stationery details shots!
✉ 1. Snap more than just one photo.
Sometimes I think there’s a mindset to get “the” stationery shot at a wedding or styled shoot. A publication may only need “the” shot (you know the one… the big flat lay!), but as a designer I deeply appreciate more than one image of my work! We stationers pour hours into these pretty paper pieces… and all too often, we only get one image back from a shoot or wedding. Having several images from the same shoot or wedding helps me immensely; it adds consistency to my portfolio and feed (plus, I’ll be sure to credit you each time!).
✉ 2. Style at least 3 vignettes.
Once you’ve gotten “the” big flat lay, style at least two more little scenes with paper details. Maybe you just focus on the main invitation, with a ribbon or delicate hair piece… or perhaps just the liner and response card. These photos can be much simpler than the big flat lay, but they give us stationers a whole new composition to use in our portfolios.
✉ 3. Get the details of the details.
Designers put so much thought into every little detail of a suite… the kerning of the text, the flourish of that one capital letterform. All too often, I spend time designing custom liner patterns that don’t receive much love in the photos—even though they’re a completely unique custom detail that I’d like to showcase. (Not sure what to photograph? Just ask! We’re happy to tell you which design components we’re most proud of.) As much as we love a big flat lay that shows a cohesive suite design, we also go heart-eyes over details shots of our paper details. Trust me, a lot of work goes into them!
✉ 4. Variety is so helpful!
Again, I love a good flat lay as much as the next gal. But I can’t have a whole website or Instagram feed of only flat lays! A little variety goes such a long way in boosting our portfolios. Snap several shots at an angle, or capture paper pieces stacked messily instead of neatly arranged. Add a touch of character and authenticity with a hand in the photo, carefully placing a reply card. Maybe you use another background color for a few shots, or swap out the florals for a different detail. The possibilities are endless!
✉ 5. Integrate pieces into the scene when you can.
When you look at a publication, most vendors will be showcased repeatedly… obviously, the photographer’s work is represented in every image. The gown and hair and makeup and accessories are incorporated into every bridal shot (which is a lot!). Florals make an appearance in almost every setting—from bridal bouquet to tabletop and even in styling details. But guess who only gets represented once or twice? The stationer! (Cake designers often encounter this issue as well).
Of course, we are mindful that our work is one detail of an overall vision. But if there is a logical way to present our work in more than just one details shot, we appreciate the opportunity to appear more than once in a publication. Don’t forget about the stationery after you’ve snapped the styled shots; instead, look for places to incorporate it into the overall scene. One of my favorites? Have the bride hold the invitation (or vows), or cup a place card in her hand. Then let the groom hold a program or love note. This helps us with variety (see above!), and offers us a chance to appear in more than just one image of a publication.
- Please, for the love, get the edges straight in flat lays!
- Stationery (as in paper goods) is spelled with an E (not an A… that would mean not-moving!)
And last but not least… keep doing what you’re doing. None of these tips are to denigrate your hard-earned skills and innate talent; as I mentioned, this is just a topic that has come up in conversation recently and I am happy to share my thoughts. I am beyond blessed to work with incredibly talented photographers, and I always appreciate your creativity! As I mentioned, my work would never see the light of day without your phenomenal skills.
Thank you for showcasing the talents of this industry through your lens.
And thank you for taking the time to read along and consider my opinion! Is there anything I can do to make your job easier? I’m here to support my photographer friends however I can—just tell me what would best assist you, and I’m happy to do it. Questions? I’m happy to chat! Shoot me an email if you want to talk more about paper details (I could go on for hours—easily!) or meet up for coffee.