Food

What is "Lifestyle Product Photography?"

I often times throw around the phrase, "lifestyle product photography." So what do I mean when I use it?

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Here are some definitions according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Lifestyle: (n) "the typical way of life of an individual, group, or culture." 

Product: (n)  "something that is made or grown to be sold or used."

Photography: (n) "the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface (such as film or an optical sensor)."

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Okay, you probably already knew what those words mean. But what does it mean when I put them together?

It means that when I capture pictures of things that you want to sell, I show them in real life situations. Not on cut and paste, white backgrounds. I stage a scene, that your ideal customers might find themselves in and insert your product into it. Often times I add a human element as well, since your product is probably for humans. This means that if you product is a food item, I probably have my model start to dig into it for the photo. Or if it is a candle I light it before shooting. It means that I use simple everyday props to showcase your product. 

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lifestyleproductphotography

Why do I embrace this philosophy behind my work? Because I believe that people will start picturing themselves using your product when they see photos of it in everyday scenes. My goal is that they actually won't be able to picture their everyday life without your product, or that your food will look so delicious and ready to eat that they will start craving it immediately!

Sure, if you request it I'll get you that standard shot that shows all the details of your product. The shot that is at the back of the carousel on your shopping cart page. But that's not really where you sell, is it? In this day and age you sell with a compelling Instagram feed or on Pinterest. Before your customers even open your website you are showing them how your product would seamlessly fit into their everyday lives through lifestyle product photography! 

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So lets set the mood, create an everyday scene where your product is being used and lets shoot! 

Hello, Cupcake // Food Photography

It is always a pleasure shooting for hello, cupcake in Downtown Tacoma! I've been working with them for a number of years and it never gets old! This session was for their Winter menu flavors and a few new seasonal features for the month of January. You'll see Snickerdoodle, Hot Cocoa, Chocolate Hazelnut, Boston Cream, Mocha and Butter Pecan flavors pictured below. These simple treats and the perfect way to celebrate everyday events and yet elegant enough to serve at your wedding! They are all around delicious and I definitely recommend stopping by the shop to try one, just because! Bon AppΓ©tit

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Bliss Small Batch Creamery // Food Photography

When you get to photograph your favorite dessert on a regular basis it's pretty much a dream come true! Here's a little peak into one of my recent sessions for Bliss Small Batch Creamery! It's currently only available through Uber Eats, but they plan to open up a scoop shop in University Place this spring! If you are vegan you will especially want to try them as they have lots of options for you too!  

Ice Cream is always a good idea!

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2017 Year in Review // Part 2

Last year in my year in review post I talked about how my vision for 2017 included expanding the product photography side of my business and I am happy to say that I have had huge success in this area! I've been able to connect with multiple new businesses in the area, as well as old ones, to create images for their websites, social media and marketing needs. It is such a joy to be able to support my community in this way! Here are a few of my favorite captures.

 The Nook. Gig Harbor, WA

The Nook. Gig Harbor, WA

 Channing Baby & Co. Tacoma, WA

Channing Baby & Co. Tacoma, WA

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 Paper Luxe Shop. Fircrest, WA

Paper Luxe Shop. Fircrest, WA

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 T Town Apparel. Tacoma, WA

T Town Apparel. Tacoma, WA

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It is awesome to be a part of such a vibrant business community here in the Puget Sound! Not only have I been able to connect with retail shops, but I have been able to connect with more makers this year. One of my favorite things is not only to be able to capture product, but also to be able to capture people creating! Here are some fun shots I did with Chelsea of Frame and Flora, creating her beautiful artwork!

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TacomaProductPhotography

In addition, I continued to work with Wax & Wool this year, with some of the most fun concept shooting I've done.

 Spring Collection

Spring Collection

 Fall Collection

Fall Collection

 Summer Collection

Summer Collection

 Winter Collection

Winter Collection

Another fun opportunity that I had this year was working with one of my all time favorite foods...ICE CREAM! I was thrilled when Snoqualmie Ice Cream reached out to me with this opportunity and to this day I get excited about these images!

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Not only have I expanded my product photography, but I have also added social media management packages this year! This was a big step for me and I am so happy that I took the plunge! If you had asked me a year ago, I never would have guessed that I would do something like this, but it has been an amazing job! I absolutely love planning beautiful feeds for my clients and promoting local brands and this is the direction I feel myself pulled in more and more! Here are some of my favorites from working with Hello, Cupcake over the last six months. 

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In addition I've had the privilege of working with Charme Nail and Skin Studio.

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As well as Ice Cream Social.

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And Bliss Small Batch Creamery.

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Although there are so many more images that I want to share with you I will cut myself off here and just share this one last thing with you. As this year came to a close, it brought with it in an unexpected blessing of the opportunity for me to rent a studio at Court House Square! I am thrilled that at this chance and I hope it will help me further my creativity, even in these dismal winter months in Washington. I can't wait to see where this next chapter in my business leads as we launch into 2018! Cheers! 

Lifestyle Product Session // Wax & Wool, Etc.

Wax & Wool's Fall '17 collection marks the 8th time Kjerste and I have collaborated on a lifestyle product session for her candles and her 8th collection to hit the shelves of retailers near you! She may have out done herself with these delicious Fall scents: Pumpkin Spice, Cinnamon Chai and Brown Sugar and Fig. Her vision this time around was for a baking themed session. She loves Fall baking and she wanted this line to be a sort of tribute to those cozy Fall mornings that she spends with a cup of tea in one hand and a measuring spoon in the other. Here is just a small snippet into this lifestyle product session and if you can't resist these scents head on over to her shop and grab one for your kitchen counter!

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Product Photography // Wax & Wool, Etc.

Over a glass of wine at local 'hole in the wall' restaurant, Kjerste described a scene. Imagine after a long day, kicking your feet back on the patio with a glass of rosΓ©, a cheese plate, green olives, warm baguette, and of course some Wax & Wool candles wafting their sweet scent over the scene. And thus the Wax & Wool Summer collection came to life!

We shot it on a perfectly Summery night and lingered 'till after dark over this delicious spread! I'd do it every night if I could. Wouldn't you?

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An Instagram Guide

Dear Instagramer, 

Have you ever really thought about your grid and how it affects your business? Have you ever thought about how images are a part of your larger brand story? (Spoiler alert: brand isn't just about your logo.) Have you wondered if all the time and energy you put into social media is really worth it? You are in the right place if you want to dive in and grow your influence on Instagram. I hope these tips will help you! 

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instagramgrid_effiesphotography
instagramgrid_effiesphotography

1. Brand:

How many of us got thrown into running a small business with no experience because one day we realized we could make money doing what we loved?  How did that journey look like for you? For me that meant for years I didn't sit down and ever think about my brand. My goals were simply to book more clients so I could continue doing what I loved. How was I going to do that without first developing a brand and a vision for my business? My business grew, but VERY slowly. I'm here now, telling you that once I sat down and really nailed down my mission and vision things changed dramatically! So, before you go any further, I want you to think about that. Grab a cup of coffee turn on your favorite record, and really think. Come up with your three branding words, your mission statement, your big goals for your business. 

2. Aesthetic:

Now that you have your identity down in words, it's time to start thinking about how that looks visually. For me it was helpful to make a Pinterest board for this as well as a broader list of words that described the vibes I was going for. Is your brand playful and colorful? Dark and moody? Light and bright? What colors will be a part of your feed? What textures will you incorporate? Is your vibe gritty? Or is it clean? Go ahead, grab another cup of coffee and keep digging!

3. Consistency:

Now take all of this brainstorming and make your branding consistent. This means that when you post a photo on Instagram you should be using a consistent edit or filter. Incorporate the same types of backdrops often, similar lighting and styling. Pick a home base color to run throughout your feed. This doesn't mean every photo has to be filled with one color, or even have that color in it, but as you plan your content make sure that your color story is consistent. For example I could post a photo of me in a grey sweater and the next photo could be a flat lay of pink tulips with a grey background and in the next photo maybe I would pick up on the pink from the tulips in a detail somewhere in that photo and so on. 

4. Diversity:

The feel should be consistent but the content should be diverse. What I mean by this is that you shouldn't flood your followers with three different angles of the same shot, or five shots of your kids in a row, or only share your product on your feed. Mix it up, keep it interesting. A helpful tip for this is to write down a series of things you will be sharing on your feed consistently. (These could be anything from your love of coffee to the product you are selling.) Then cycle through these subjects so that there are never (or rarely) two photos next to each other about the same subject. This will also give your grid a rhythm that will actually make it feel more consistent and interesting. 

5. Plan: 

So how do you get this consistent aesthetic while incorporating all the things you want your audience to see? Plan it ahead of time! I highly recommend getting an app like Plann or Later for planning your content and visualizing your grid. This will give you the tools to planning an awesome grid, not to mention save you energy because you can focus on planning content in advance instead of stressing about it every day. Lastly, this will help with your quality control as you will have to revisit your post on the day it is scheduled to go live. Reviewing your caption and making sure you photo quality is top notch is an important step to a successful feed that drives profit. 

Photography Tips for Small Business Owners

1. Light: 

Light is the most important part of photography. When I am photographing product I make sure to turn off any artificial lights in my workspace and open all the blinds. I find a window with lots of light pouring in. If I am photographing a small product and the window doesn't go all the way to the floor I often times use a table or countertop to get my product closer to the light source. 

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product photography

2. Environment:

There is a time and place for simply popping your product onto a white backdrop, this is helpful in some situations, however I try to get the product into an environment. People will resonate more with it and feel the need to buy if they can picture how they would use the product. Simple things like lighting the candles that you are photographing will make it feel real. Adding action such as pouring coffee into the mug you are photographing is the perfect touch.

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product photography

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3. Depth:

Giving a simple photo depth can be difficult, especially if you are using a phone to photograph. One thing that helps is to move your product away from your backdrop. If you have the ability to change your aperture or f/stop, use the smallest number available and your background will be softer when you focus on your product. If you are photographing food, adding a textured cloth under the dish provides depth as well.

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product photography

4. Simplicity:

Don't over think your photos and add too much clutter in for props. A simple prop speaks more, lets your work stand out, and gives your photos elegance. For instance, when styling a pine scented beard oil use a sprig or two of pine or a few pine cones, don't bring in the whole tree. 

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5. Take the Time to Get it Right

This may be the most difficult part of the process for a lot of busy entrepreneurs, but it's so important! Take the time to clear off the countertop and wipe it off because the camera doesn't lie! Style baked goods on a pretty plate instead of snapping a picture on the cooling rack. Grab a step stool if you think the angle might look better from above (or squat down to get level with your subject). If your photos just aren't coming out how you imagined them, change the direction of the light or take the time to rearrange your frame. It's worth it to get the perfect shot!

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Hello, Cupcake

Hello, Cupcake is a deliciously sweet cupcake bakery! They bake all their cupcakes from scratch and top them with oh so yummy buttercreams. I was so excited to take pictures of their bakery and even more excited when they called me back for more cupcake pictures for their seasonal menu! I mean, just looking at these cupcakes makes me drool! You should seriously stop by and try them out.

Happy 7th birthday Hello, Cupcake! Here's to many more!

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Lele Restaurant

Sometimes it takes me a very long time to catch up on blogging. Case in point: I took these photos for Lele Restaurant almost a year ago!

Lele Restaurant is a delicious mix of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. Lele has two locations; one here in Tacoma and one in Gig Harbor.  Hopefully these pictures will entice you to go try it out! 

It was so fun to take these pictures as Lele and a few of her kitchen staff whisked the dishes in and out of my set up.  My favorite little staff member was Lele's young granddaughter. She was so helpful and so interested in how I was taking the pictures.  

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