Has Your Art Been Stolen Online? 5 Ways To Protect Your Images

Putting your artwork and photographs out into the online world can be exciting and scary. You worked so hard to create those images, and want to be sure to get them in front of other artists, brands, and potential buyers - but you might wonder, what if something bad happens to them? While fear shouldn't ever stand in the way of you successfully building your business online, there are ways to protect your images so they aren't used by others in ways you aren't okay with.

 
Are your photographs and art images at risk of being stolen online? Check out these five strategies for protecting your images on danielleandco.com + a video tutorial on two ways to easily add a watermark to your photos!
 

To be fair, images aren't always stolen by a super shady person. For instance, someone writing a blog post about motherhood might want a great image of a mother and a baby playing with blocks together. So, they google "mother and baby playing with blocks", then click on google images and see a great, high-quality photo that is exactly what they were looking for! So, they just right-click, choose "save image" and add it right into their own blog post graphic, with their title and blog name right on top of it.

Ugh! Didn't they even care that someone else worked really hard to create that great photo, and isn't getting any credit? Honestly, it may have not even crossed their mind - some people think if an image is right there on Google, it must be okay to use, or that it's unlikely they would get caught.

(BTW, if you're looking for a way to find great photos without using another person's work without permission, may I suggest Unsplash? This isn't sponsored, they are just a great resource!)

There are ways to protect your images using both technical and strategic moves, so let's dive into 5 simple things you can do today, to protect your images before you upload that Etsy listing photo or awesome Instagram post!

5 WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR IMAGES FROM ONLINE THEFT


Clearly explain what you're okay with

A little clear communication can go a long way! It seems obvious but people often forget about simply stating your expectations. You can add a brief statement on your website or alongside your images, letting viewers know what you're comfortable with in terms of sharing your work. For instance, if you have a portfolio or gallery page you can add a sentence at the top stating how much you hope the viewer enjoys your work, to let you know if they have any questions, and to please not share your images without your written permission.

There is also the matter of commercial use vs. personal use. If you're selling your work online, you want to be really clear about this in your listing language. Let's say you're selling a digital download of a repeating pattern you created. First, you'll need to decide exactly what you're selling - and it's not just the PDF file. Is the buyer purchasing the rights to use this image only for personal use (such as to print out and hang on a wall in their home), or limited commercial use (such as a header image on their website) or for commercial use (such as printing the image on throw pillows and then selling them, without your name anywhere on that pillow).

This is really a personal choice, and you'll need to decide what you're okay with. My suggestion is that if you choose to sell your products for personal use only, you offer another way for others to collaborate with you. For instance, you could offer an extended commercial license where they could pay an additional amount of money to use your design on items for resale, or you could encourage them to contact you to discuss options for working together. Here is some sample language you can use (feel free to copy & paste the paragraph and/or edit it into your own listings!):

You are purchasing a digital file that you download and print out yourself. No physical item is shipped. You cannot alter/resell/share, or claim it as your own. You can use this artwork for personal use only. You cannot use it for commercial purposes. Since this listing is delivered via instant download, no refund can be issued. All sales are final.

If you would like to use this artwork for commercial use (such as a logo, branding, or printing on an item for resale) please contact me and I will provide options. I would love to work with you!

Have a visible copyright notice

You don't technically need to provide a written copyright notice with your work. When you create an image or artwork, it automatically is copyrighted to it's creator. However, it's a great reminder to others and helps clearly communicate your intentions about use of your work. It's a quick, simple thing to add if you haven't already - mine is right in the footer of my website, and at the bottom of every sales listing I create.

You may also want to consider adding a free DMCA button to your website. You can find more information on the DMCA website, but essentially they provide free assistance in the form of buttons and "take-down notices" to help you protect your work online. I've never had to utilize their services, but I've heard they are a great resource!

Watermark Your Images

This is an important one! You don't need to watermark every single image you put on the internet (for instance, I've never watermarked an Instagram post - that would feel weird), but anytime you are uploading a full-size, clear image of your work you need to make sure you get a watermark on it first.

A watermark is simply a semitransparent layer of text or image that you save on top of your image, that would make it difficult for anyone to save and use it. It is a great deterrent, and something you can easily do while you're already editing your images - it only adds about 30 seconds of work, once you have a method down!

Are your photographs and art images at risk of being stolen online? Check out these five strategies for protecting your images on danielleandco.com + a video tutorial on two ways to easily add a watermark to your photos!
Are your photographs and art images at risk of being stolen online? Check out these five strategies for protecting your images on danielleandco.com + a video tutorial on two ways to easily add a watermark to your photos!

Above, I used a simple text layer to add my website name on top of the images. My goal is to watermark it enough to make it difficult to save and edit the image without permission, but not so intrusive that a potential buyer can't view the details.

For a brief tutorial of two ways I add watermarks to images in Photoshop CC (but can be done in all sorts of photo editing software!) check out my YouTube video below. Consider subscribing to my YouTube channel to stay caught up on future videos, too!

 

If you use Squarespace as your web host, you can also watermark text on top of an image right in Squarespace, using the built-in Adobe Creative Cloud Image Editor.

Reduce your image sizes

The higher-quality and larger the image size, the easier it is for others to print it, enlarge it, and use it in all sorts of ways. While you need to keep a high-quality version of the image for yourself to order prints of your work or sell it as a download, the images you upload to social media or online shops can be much smaller.

A 500kb image that is 1500 pixels wide will still look great as a listing image, on Instagram, etc. but won't be very useful for someone to save and re-use. That is the size Squarespace recommends using for images you upload to the web, and it has always worked for me! If you use the max file size (for many web hosts and online shops that is 20MB), it not only makes it easier for others to steal your images, but might also slow down your website load time. Smaller image sizes is a win-win!

If you're looking for a way to reduce the size of your images without sacrificing quality, I've heard great things about JPEGmini.

Use styled photos and mock-ups

Another strategy that pays off in multiple ways is using styled photos and mock-ups to showcase your work. When your image is used as a part of a larger image, it's going to be challenging for another person to save it and crop out that section, and have it be of a high-enough quality to do anything with. The big bonus is, it also looks great for your viewers! Etsy and other online sellers recommend sharing photos of your products in a variety of ways, including close-ups and mock-ups. It helps potential viewers envision how the work might look framed, above a sofa, as part of a table-scape, etc.

 
 

You can use props and backgrounds to add a sense of warmth to your work, and make it really stand out! Above, you can see examples of where I have styled images to use on social media, as well as used mock-up frames against wood backgrounds for listing images of my work. I have a whole blog post on how to style flatlay images of your artwork, so check that out for more ideas!

Having others use your image is not always a bad thing!

When someone takes an image from your website or social media and uses it without your permission, it can instinctively feel icky. However, there are circumstances where it can actually be beneficial and positive. For instance, a blog using an image of your work in a post such as a "round-up", crediting you, and linking to your website or shop can be awesome! You may not know in advance they are going to do this, and it can be a surprise to stumble on, but if you're being appropriately credited and linked to it can mean your work reaching a whole new audience. It's also super flattering to know your work was appreciated.


Well, that's a wrap!

You might notice that I left out "disable right-clicking" as a strategy, and if you've read other tutorials online you might wonder why. I honestly don't think it is very effective or worth the effort, at this point. Technology has advanced enough that it is so easy for someone to screenshot your image, and anything you do to prevent it can be undone within the viewer's browser. I'd rather spend my time on more effective methods such as adding a watermark.

Overall, don't stress too much about it! The more time you spend worrying your images have been stolen, or searching frantically online to see if anyone else is using them, the less time you're spending on producing more amazing work and content. Take a deep breath, take reasonable precautions, and then turn your focus back on what matters.

Curious what to do after you discover your image has been taken and used without your permission? Check out this post from the Spruce, which I think is really helpful.

Are you utilizing these strategies to protect your images online? Do you have other tips to add? Please chime in, in the comments!

- Dani

Are your photographs and art images at risk of being stolen online? Check out these five strategies for protecting your images on danielleandco.com + a video tutorial on two ways to easily add a watermark to your photos!
 

 

 

How To Set The Mood for Creativity: 5 Artists & Designers Share Their Wisdom

I love (love!) getting a sneak peek into other people's business. It feels a little voyeuristic, but I want to see it all; their studio or work space, the supplies they love to use, the mistakes they make, their habits - all of it. It's not just to be nosy; I also gain a lot from the wisdom and experiences of other artists! Particularly, those who are more established, or who might have reached a level with their work that I'm aspiring to.  Also, I'm a little nosy.

If I gain so much from this, I'm guessing you might too. So, I wrote down a list of four things I wish I could ask the artists I really admire... and then I just went ahead and asked them! Never hurts to ask, right? I was really excited when five amazing artists who I have followed along with for years in some cases responded! They include Stephanie Fehrenbach, Ingrid Sanchez (a.k.a Creative Ingrid), Ashley Rayne (a.k.a The Wild Hippies), Jessica Roux, and Monica Lee-Henell.

Not only are these five artists really talented; they are also really different from each other. With the unique perspectives they offer, I think this four-part blog post series is going to have something to inspire anyone - so please keep checking back for more!

 

 
How do you set the mood for creativity? We asked 5 artists & designers to share their wisdom, and how they create a space ideal for fine art inspiration, freelance illustration work, and productivity. From small things like a hot cup of coffee, to bigger things like establishing a routine, get inspired by these accomplished artists. More at danielleandco.com.
 

Guys, they put so much thought into their answers and I know you're going to enjoy reading them as much as I have. I've taken those four questions and turned them into four separate blog posts, so we can really get in-depth with each one; today, we're asking how they set the mood for creativity.

You can check out each of the answers below, with a little description of the artist and links to their websites and Instagram. Enough from me though, let's hear from them!


"What do you do to set the mood for creativity?"

 
Stephanie Fehrenbach shares how she sets the mood for creativity on danielleandco.com
Work by Stephanie Fehrenbach, shared on danielleandco.com as part of the How Do You Set the Mood for Creativity blog post.

Stephanie Fehrenbach

Stephanie is an Ontario based artist who works with oils, watercolors, and other mediums and who I've always especially admired for her floral paintings; they are just so vibrant and full of movement!

InstagramWebsite

I find having my space set up and ready to go helps so much. So I’m not spending too much time cleaning or getting organized before actually getting down to work. Music is a must for sure! I find now, especially as a busy new mom, I can’t wait for inspiration to strike. I just have to take the time to work whenever I can. I think that’s the secret to creative living. Don’t wait for it. Just show up and make something, and keep doing that as often as you can. You’ll have good days and bad days, but I find actually making work is what inspires me most and gives me new ideas.
Ingrid Sanchez shares how she sets the mood for creativity on danielleandco.com
Work by Ingrid Sanchez, shared on danielleandco.com as part of the How Do You Set the Mood for Creativity blog post.

Ingrid Sanchez

Ingrid (or CreativeIngrid as you might recognize her) is a Mexican artist based in London, who creates a prolific amount of work that is so bold & vibrant. The process videos of her painting large florals & abstracts are so captivating, I always look forward to them!

InstagramWebsite

My working space is sacred, it has to be clean and organized. Before I start painting I smudge the space with palo santo, sweet grass or any herb I’ve collected in my trips, and meditate. It doesn’t has to be very intense, I am happy with a quick one just to open myself and the space for creation.

After this I am ready to go. I like working in silence during the mornings, but after lunch I usually play some music or listen to a podcast, my favorite:  ‘Art for your ear’ with The Jealous Curator.
Ashley Rayne shares how she sets the mood for creativity on danielleandco.com
Work by Ashley Rayne, shared on danielleandco.com as part of the How Do You Set the Mood for Creativity blog post.

Ashley Rayne

Ashley (better known as The Wild Hippies) is a hand-lettering artist who is all about the positive vibes! Her colorful, cheerful artwork is shared on Instagram & available on Etsy. Her sense of humor is what sets her apart from other artists online, for me!

InstagramShop

Working from a home office has its benefits (it is oh so convenient for parents with little ones at home), but it also has some major challenges. It can be a real struggle to get yourself into the working mindset, or getting yourself out of it when your family needs your attention. It isn’t as easy as driving to work, powering through the day, and then shutting down when you come back home. Working from home means you need to stay motivated and driven. It is much easier to just lay in bed for an extra 10 minutes (or an hour) in the morning. Much easier to take an extra long lunch break. Much easier to be distracted.

Keeping motivated is crucial to your productivity. I have a few small rituals that I do to get my mind and mood in the right place. First thing I do in the morning is make sure the house is tidy and clean. I can not focus when my mind is distracted by a pile of dirty dishes in the sink. Once the house is clean I make myself a big cup of tea - earl grey de la creme green tea is my go to - and head upstairs to my office. I will then sit at my desk and prioritize and expand on my daily task list (I make a quick list the night before that I work from). After writing out my schedule for the day, I light some sage and smudge (cleanse) my office and myself. Smudging really helps my mind relax and get focused. Finally, I turn on some noise - a pod cast if I am painting, my favourite playlist if I am doing some graphic design, or instrumental new age trance music if I am doing anything that involves reading and/or writing. All of this in combination get my creative juices flowing and makes for a very productive day!
Jessica Roux shares how she sets the mood for creativity on danielleandco.com
Work by Jessica Roux, shared on danielleandco.com as part of the How Do You Set the Mood for Creativity blog post.

Jessica Roux

Jessica's work is subtle and lovely in a way that's hard to describe without having seen it first. With very consistent use of colors and technique, she focuses on nature in a unique way. What draws me in is how she illustrates animals with so much life and detail.

InstagramWebsite

Every morning starts with walking my sweet pup, Molly. It’s wonderful to get to spend that time enjoying some fresh air and spending time with her, and it puts me in a good mood to get work done. I love listening to podcasts while I illustrate - I’m into science, design, true crime, and history mainly, but here’s a bunch of my favorites: Science Vs, Reply All, Ologies, Natch Beaut, Lore, Invisibilia, Every Little Thing, Criminal, Creative Pep Talk, 99% Invisible, and 2 Dope Queens. I listen to music when I run out of new podcast episodes. I love checking my Spotify for my Discover Weekly playlist, and they recently made me a “Your Time Capsule” playlist that literally sounds like they stole my middle school mixed CDs. It’s got some No Doubt, Pink, Green Day, Destiny’s Child, etc on it, and it’s perfect do get some serious drawing done.
Monica Lee-Henell shares how she sets the mood for creativity on danielleandco.com
Work by Monica Lee-Henell, shared on danielleandco.com as part of the How Do You Set the Mood for Creativity blog post.

Monica Lee-Henell

Monica's work feels ever-evolving, but always in a beautiful direction. I've followed along with Monica's work for years, and her vibrant, moody abstract and floral paintings always make me stop scrolling in Instagram just to admire them for a moment.

InstagramWebsite

I am a coffee drinker! Even if I’m not sipping something about having the smell and warmth in my hand sets the mood. I do listen to podcasts but am very careful to make sure they don’t set the wrong tone in my head, if that makes sense! So sometimes I just listen to romantic music. When I am really problem solving or need complete concentration, I need silence though!

I found it so fascinating that two different artists referenced smudging their spaces with sage or other herbs, to prepare it for painting. This has never occurred to me, but I'm intrigued and happy to experiment with it! Overall, what stands out to me is how we use rituals (even if it's just a cup of hot coffee or a walk outside) to get in the mindset for creating work. Creativity is all about having the space and ability come up with fresh work, and I loved reading about how others do it. Too often, I feel like I'm cramming work in between grocery shopping and soccer practices, and then feeling frustrated when it isn't coming to me naturally.

Also, those were some great podcast suggestions! I love listening to podcasts, and definitly added some new ones to my list.

How about you? What's one thing you do to set the mood for creativity before you work? This week, I challenge you to join me in being more intentional when creating a space and time for work. Find what works for you! Making sure you have a cup of tea to sip, trying to work a different and quieter time of day, putting on some great music or cleansing your work area - please let me know about it here or on Instagram!

- Dani

How To Style Flatlay Photos of Your Artwork

The most beautiful, fresh and detailed artwork in the world won't get far if isn't shared with others. A huge (huge) part of having a successful fine art business is sending that work out into the world. It can be super scary - trust me, I know. Everytime I finish a work and then upload it online I feel like I'm just a big jump off a scary cliff. What if it gets harshly critiqued? What if (almost worse) it is completely ignored? Or what if it even gets stolen? One quick search of Etsy and you can see how often one person's original idea "inspires" a dozen other copycat shops. It can hurt, and leave you feeling really vulnerable. And... you need to get past that.

No venture becomes successful without risk, and putting your work out into the world is worth it. There are ways to help prevent, for instance, your fine art images being stolen - that's a future blog post. Getting your work out into the world and in front of future clients, art galleries, or collaborators is the goal; it's how you can build a community around your work and begin to earn both a little money and a lot of joy with your business.

Today, we're going to talk about how to style your artwork in photos to make a big impact online; particularly, using the ever-popular flatlay.

 
How to style flatlay photos of your artwork or products - tips & tricks for showcasing your work for listing images, marketing, and social media use, from danielleandco.com
 

Flatlays are ubiquitous on Instagram. Sometimes it feels like half the images you see are items intentionally laid out in a casual-but-specific way, somehow always on someone's white linen sheets with a mug of coffee.  While that sounds a little jaded, there is a reason you see flatlay style photos so often! They are just pleasing to the eye, while showing products in an appealing scene. A flatlay photo can appear cozy, modern, expensive, outdoorsy... it's easy to create a "vibe". Showcasing your artwork in a way that stops someone scrolling right past it in their feed, or clicking on your profile to learn more, is absolutely what we are going for here. So, let's get started!

Choose Your Background

No need to have that same white linen sheet as everyone else! There are so, so many options for backgrounds; think texture, colors, and pattern. Determine the feeling you want to convey, and what will look flattering with your artwork. If you need some ideas, feel free to scroll through your own Instagram feed and check out what stands out to you in other's work... but don't try to copy it exactly! You can be original and have some fun with it; it's okay to choose what you know works well with your audience, but it's also okay to be a little different too.

How to style flatflay photos of your artwork or products - tips & tricks for showcasing your work for listing images, marketing, and social media use, from danielleandco.com
How to style flatflay photos of your artwork or products - tips & tricks for showcasing your work for listing images, marketing, and social media use, from danielleandco.com

The backdrops I use the most often are the blush pink, pine, and marble ones I made myself. You can read all about how I DIYed these backdrop boards, and come up with your own spin on them. If you don't have room to store wood boards, or want to have a lot of different options on hand, go for paper! You can see above a few different big pieces of decorative paper I keep on hand, just for this purpose. All of these came from local stationary shops, which often have an amazing supply with lots of textures, patterns, etc. for just a couple of bucks each. I keep them folded in half, and tucked into a portfolio where I keep finished artwork too.

If your work is smaller enough, 12"x12" scrapbook papers are super affordable and so readily available! I have some tucked into the clear, plastic box in the above photo, too (you can see the mustard-colored paper in the corner). These are sold for less than a $1 at pretty much any craft store, and are so easy to store away. 

Use Cool Props

The props are my favorite part! My biggest tip is, don't rush out and spend a bunch of money buying props. Slowly collect them as you see things that are cheap, interesting, and would compliment your artwork. I've built my collection over time, and am always on the lockout for little things less than $1 to add.

 
How to style flatlay photos of your artwork or products - tips & tricks for showcasing your work for listing images, marketing, and social media use, from danielleandco.com
 

A few ideas to get started include:

  • Faux flowers & plants. You can see my collection of those above; I try to have all sorts of options around, but my favorite is definitely the faux succulent you see in so many photos. I love the pussywillow too, because it feels a little different. This is a great opportunity to highlight or compliment a particular color in your artwork.
  • Attractive desktop items. Think magnifying glasses, paper weights, ornate scissors, and more. Honestly, I love the Target Dollar Spot for these!
  • Natural items. I found some little dried starfish at Michaels for less than $1 a few years ago, but I've seen a lot of people use pinecones, fall leaves, acorns, and dried flowers. Some of this is probably free in your own yard or neighborhood, depending on the season!

FYI, this post contains some affiliate links below, which means I make a small commission if you purchase an item using one. I would never recommend something I don't think is great, though. Thank you for supporting danielle & co.!

At the bottom of the post I've linked a few options on Amazon, just in case you need more inspiration that is actually currently available for purchase.

How to style flatlay photos of your artwork or products - tips & tricks for showcasing your work for listing images, marketing, and social media use, from danielleandco.com
How to style flatlay photos of your artwork or products - tips & tricks for showcasing your work for listing images, marketing, and social media use, from danielleandco.com

I use a clear, plastic 12"x12" scapbooking box to hold mine (like this one, for about $5), so it can also hold smaller papers for backdrops along with all of the little items I keep on hand for styling photos. I can tuck it away easily on a shelf, it keeps everything tidy.

Use What You Have

If you're an artist, I know you have a bunch of supplies around. This is my absolute favorite things to style photos with (as you'll see throughout this post!) because it is so relevant to my work. Also, art supplies are just beautiful. Paints, pens, brushes... I love them all, and think they are all worthy of being shown off.

 
How to style flatlay photos of your artwork or products - tips & tricks for showcasing your work for listing images, marketing, and social media use, from danielleandco.com
 

I usually choose what art supplies to include by first choosing the ones most related to that particular artwork (is it watercolor, pen and ink, or calligraphy), then out of those which ones are the most attractive, and after that I narrow it down by what I haven't already used recently. You want to create a cohesive look to your work, but keep it feeling fresh, too!

Below you can see how I styled some calligraphy practice with a nib and holder, along with this little metal box used to store nibs (I've seen many calligraphers use that tin in their photos, because it's just adorable! It's available online at Paper & Ink art supplies) along with this little pink flowers I found in the clearance section at Joann Fabrics for about a dollar.

To the right, I grabbed my favorite faux succulent stems and a couple of the micron pens I actually used to create the peony & fern drawings. I think it's important to use at least two different types of elements in photos; if you're using art supplies, also throw in something natural to add interest and create a scene.

How to style flatlay photos of your artwork or products - tips & tricks for showcasing your work for listing images, marketing, and social media use, from danielleandco.com
How to style flatlay photos of your artwork or products - tips & tricks for showcasing your work for listing images, marketing, and social media use, from danielleandco.com

Add Something Natural

Nothing makes a room feel cozy and decorated like adding a plant, and the same is true for photographing your work! Natural items create a sense of life, and are just... naturally appealing.

How to style flatlay photos of your artwork or products - tips & tricks for showcasing your work for listing images, marketing, and social media use, from danielleandco.com
How to style flatlay photos of your artwork or products - tips & tricks for showcasing your work for listing images, marketing, and social media use, from danielleandco.com

There are so many options, too, so finding something that suits your work is easy! Find any craft store and walk through the faux and dried flower sections, and but also the aisle where they store moss, stones, tiny feathered birds, and seashells. Don't forget to search for a 40-50% off coupon on your phone, too, if you're in a Michaels or Joann Fabrics because we are also all about doing this on a budget, right?

Make It Relevant

While creating a cohesive look to your social media accounts (or "grid" as I've heard the cool kids on Instagram call it) is helpful, evolving with the seasons, holidays, and your own interests keeps things from getting boring, for your viewers and for you. It's also an easy way to use things you have around your house, too.

How to style flatlay photos of your artwork or products - tips & tricks for showcasing your work for listing images, marketing, and social media use, from danielleandco.com
How to style flatlay photos of your artwork or products - tips & tricks for showcasing your work for listing images, marketing, and social media use, from danielleandco.com

Above on the left, I styled this photo with a gold patterned paper I found at a local stationary store, and these bottle-brush trees from the Target Dollar Spot for $1 each (our local store is still selling them as of this week, November 2017!).

On the right, I added a little velvet pumpkin also from Target for $1 (okay, yeah, I spend too much time and money at Target, I get it). I was using the bottle brush trees and pumpkin in the middle of my kitchen table, so grabbing them only took a second and didn't cost a thing!

Add Some Action

This is my absolute favorite thing to see in other people's photos, and something I'm pushing myself to do more. I love to see some action! A hand painting, a person at work in their studio, even a cup of coffee makes the photo feel a little more recent and alive.

I really optimistically believe that Instagram is moving away from perfection, and more toward authenticity. Which brings up an interesting point. Isn't all of this styling sort of staged? Yes, it is. It is all about balance, though. There is nothing wrong with treating your business account as a business and not a personal account, which means showing your products in a professional and attractive way. Your audience likely follows you because they are also interested in you, so don't be afraid to show yourself! Even if it's just your hand at work, it makes your account feel more personal, authentic, and encourages engagement.

You know what, though? Maybe don't use that photo of your face to market on Pinterest, though - photos of people don't do as well. This Buffer blog post explains that photos without human faces are repinned 23% more often. Weird, huh? I think of it this way: people go to Instagram for inspiration, and Pinterest to shop.

How to style flatlay photos of your artwork or products - tips & tricks for showcasing your work for listing images, marketing, and social media use, from danielleandco.com
How to style flatlay photos of your artwork or products - tips & tricks for showcasing your work for listing images, marketing, and social media use, from danielleandco.com

Take A Great Photo

Lighting: I have a whole blog post coming up soon on how to achieve natural, bright lighting without buying a bunch of expensive equipment, but in the meantime let's just say lighting is key! Listing and marketing images that have dim or yellow lighting are not going to be viewed as professional, and will decrease your credibility in the eyes of viewers. Using some LED lightbulbs in "daylight", setting up your photo shoot outdoors on a slightly overcast day or next to a window, and using a $1 white foam board as a reflector are all some basic ways to improve your lighting.

Height: To get a photo from above, you need to be, you know, above the layout. I typically set up on my kitchen table and then use a little wood kitchen-stool to get up high enough, but I've also just set things up on the floor, too! (Not when my kids are around, though, for obvious reasons.)

 
How to style flatlay photos of your artwork or products - tips & tricks for showcasing your work for listing images, marketing, and social media use, from danielleandco.com
 

Take quality photos: This one is easier than you think it might be. While big bloggers and stores use fancy DSLR cameras to photography their products, when you're just starting out you probably don't need to. As you can see above, I use my iPhone 7 for almost all of the photos I take, and when I think it might not take large enough images, I use a point & shoot that goes up to 16 megapixels. While I wouldn't recommend using these to digitize your artwork for reprint, for listing images and social media posts it is just fine. If your cell phone doesn't take high enough quality photos, a decent little point & shoot can be found on sale for around $100 if you're willing to shop around. This Canon PowerShot on Amazon has good reviews and 20 megapixels.

Arrange the items in an interesting way. You can lay the items out in a casual way, so it feels like you just finished painting and happened to snap a shot of the work, or you can get a little more formal and lay items out in a grid or line. Check out my Photography Tips Pinterest board to see some different options.

 
How to style flatlay photos of your artwork or products - tips & tricks for showcasing your work for listing images, marketing, and social media use, from danielleandco.com
 

Edit the photos. I edit a lot of mine in Photoshop CC, but if you don't have access to that there are some great free photo editors online. When I don't use Photoshop, I actually use the app A Color Story which is free and the basic filters & tools are surprisingly robust. I've shared my favorite photo & video editing apps, too, so check that out!

I hope all of these tips has helped you take your own awesome flatlay photos!

Do you keep a little collection of props to stage photos? What are your favorite things to use? Please share in the comments!

- Dani