19 Ways To Squeeze Every Last Drop From Your Content (+ Free Printable 90 Days of Awesome Content Prompts!)

If you’re anything like me, you’re working hard. You’re excited for what you’re creating and it shows - all of the photos saved on your phone, notes scribbled with new project ideas, drafts of blog posts and listing descriptions… it is a LOT.

Eventually, it can become overwhelming and a just dissolve into a hot mess if you don’t figure out how to work smarter and not harder. Today is all about getting the most out of your efforts, and finally having time to move on to that next project you’ve been dreaming about (and rescheduling) the last 6 months.

Below are 19 ways to make the most out of the content you’re already creating - those blog posts, product photos, and awesome Instagram captions can live a new life and give you a little extra oomph (or free time) and I promise it’s all without cheating. No one will notice or mind the content being re-worked a little - especially if they missed it the first time!

 
19 ways to squeeze every last drop from your content (plus, a free printable checklist of 90 days of awesome content prompts!) from danielleandco.com
 

BONUS: If you’re looking for a ton of content prompt ideas without having to rack your brain, I’m sharing a 90 days of awesome content prompts printable with you - so next time you’re sitting there with the laptop open and just feeling OVER IT you have a back-up plan. They are written specifically for artists and craftspeople. Just sign up at one of the links below!

I’ve sectioned these out a bit by topic, but arranged them loosely from the easiest/most feasible right now to a few more long-term strategies.

I also share 7 weekly content prompts on Instagram every Friday, so you can follow along with those too!

 

Your Photos & Videos

#1: Have a great photo you’re excited to post to Instagram? Do a quick re-work of it for all the other platforms, too! You can make a quick template in Photoshop, Illustrator or whatever you’re most comfortable with and have it ready to go every time - it takes just seconds to pop a new photo into your templates, save it, and spread that image all over the inter-webs. Below you can how I used the Layout app to create a grid of my new camp mug products. Then, I popped it into a template for Instagram Stories and shared it there. Then, I popped it into ANOTHER template for Pinterest, and shared it there. That’s 3 times the reach it would have gotten just as an Instagram post. Actually, I guess I just used it in this blog post too, sooo… 4 times.

Would you be interested in some premade templates just for this? If so, comment on this post and let me know! It’s on my list of project ideas, if there is any interest.

The same little grid of my camp mug listing images, working hard to make the most of my time! 19 Ways to Squeeze Every Last Drop From Your Content at danielleandco.com.

#2. While you’re taking those awesome photos of your new work, zoom in and snap a few close-ups or detail-shots too. Those little details and behind-the-scenes insights are often the things I most enjoy seeing, as a follower. It also creates a whole new set of images, making good use of your time. If you do a multi-image post on Instagram, the close-ups don’t have to show up on your grid permanently (if you don’t want them to), but they will still pop up on your follower’s feeds.

Word of caution - be sure to know what your followers like and go with it! If you notice your close-ups are getting all of the love, share more of those - if they seem meh, dial it back.

You can also step back and take a “behind the scenes” photo of your process for photographing your work, and share it on Instagram Stories - it feels very meta, but followers (especially other creative business people) love to see your methods and hard work in action.

#3. Coming up with well-designed and attractive header images can be daunting. In the early days of your business, your aesthetic can evolve repeatedly making updates more frequent than you can keep up with. Why not take your best recent photos and create a collage or grid? Below is a Facebook header image I whipped up in a few minutes using my Instagram posts. Keep a template saved in Photoshop or another program, and you can update it as often as you need to for use on Etsy, Facebook, Spoonflower, and more.

I just popped three of my favorite recent Instagram images into a template and have a fresh new Facebook page header. 19 ways to squeeze every last drop from your content, on danielleandco.com.

To keep your website homepage up to date without having to constantly swap out images, you can insert your Instagram feed. It will automatically pull in your most recent posts, so your webpage is dynamic and shows your most recent work at all times (and as a bonus, encourages social media followers!)

#4. If you create videos for social media or blog posts, you can upload those into a YouTube channel (or Instagram TV, now that it’s catching on!) and reach a whole new target audience. This is especially fun if you tend to feel bummed by how much video you have to cut (to keep it to 1 minute for Instagram); go ahead and ‘Gram the shortened version and let the full-length one live on YouTube in all of its glory!

#5. If what you really need is a little extra cash, you can turn some of your photos into stock images. Sites such as Creative Market or Etsy make it easy to sell them to other creative entrepreneurs! Just make sure you’re really okay with them being used by others, and that they are general enough (they don’t show your specific art and sharing them won’t undermine your brand). For example: take a beautiful staged photo of your knitted hat with Christmas ornaments and knitting needles scattered artfully, and then remove the hat but leave the pretty set-up. It could be perfect for someone else looking for a general knitting + Christmas themed photo.


Kick your content up a notch with a free 90 days of awesome content prompt sheet! from danielleandco.com

Your Blog Posts

#6. Make it a point once a season or so to go back and spruce up your old posts. Nothing makes a website look unprofessional faster than broken links and error messages! Once a blog post is linked somewhere like Pinterest, it can keep bringing in new traffic for years and that traffic is good traffic! Read through the post and add updates anywhere it would be helpful (such as if you recommended an app but since then found a better one), check links are working and swap out any images that are now totally off-brand for you.

#7. The next time you dive into content planning, take a moment and check your analytics to see what’s been working for you. Review a popular blog post and see if there is a point buried in it you could expound on (to create a whole new blog post). When you’re generating ideas, blog posts can be planned out in series to get the most bang for your buck as you’re writing, and that could even go on to be a little e-book if you’re really looking to squeeze every drop of content-goodness out of it.

#8. This is an easy one - refer to your older blog posts in your new ones! You’re likely already doing this, but try to make a point of taking one last look at your new post before you click publish and see if there aren’t opportunities to link to other content (not just old blog posts but also social media, affiliate product links, etc.). It not only will capitalize on past work you’ve done, it’ll be helpful for your readers too.

#9. Make your blog archives more interesting! Most websites have an archive somewhere, linking back to past content - usually sorted by tag or date. Kick it up a notch by highlighting your past content in a unique way. For example, you could curate them onto a “Start Here” page, with your most helpful blog posts in the order you think would be most beneficial. Or, you could have start things off with a list of your most popular posts (like Kelsey did from Paper & Oats, shown below).

#10. If you’re looking to gain more experience and get your work in front of new audiences, there are many websites that accept articles (or even pay you a little bit for them!) so those old blog posts you have could be re-worked a bit and then submitted to your favorite online magazine or resource. Just make sure to follow the guidelines for the site you’re working with, which may require you to re-write it to a certain level of originality. Publishing your blog posts on Quora is an option too - check out this post on SmartBlogger, which gives you all the dets.

#11. Create a newsletter welcome series, and start subscribers right off with your most useful evergreen blog posts. All of the major email newsletter hosts (Mailchimp, ConvertKit, and so on) offer a feature where you can schedule a series of blog posts to be sent when someone signs up. Having a little set of your best blog posts sent right to them is a great way to welcome new followers! Chances are if someone is just signing up, they haven’t read all of your older stuff so you can get them caught up quickly.

#12. Turn those blog posts into something bigger. Make it a webinar, e-course, e-book, podcast… the list goes on! Brainstorm a list of topics you want to teach OR see if there is a theme you can pull from your blog posts. For instance, if you have 6 past blog posts all about selling at craft fairs you could gather those babies up and launch an “Ultimate Craft Fair Success Guide” e-course or booklet. Just be sure to add original content too, so your long-time followers still find it relevant.

 

Your Artwork

#13. Waste not, want not - if you have old paintings, printed photos or materials you’re ready to recycle, go ahead and turn them into cool and creative packaging. I’ve admired how Ingrid Sanchez of Creative Ingrid takes the beautiful watercolor-painted papers she is finished with and uses them for packaging (shown below, from her Instagram). I can only imagine how delighted her customers are to have this lovely little bonus arrive!

#14. If you’re a photographer, painter or create any two-dimensional work, consider creating designs for products. It’s a way to open a whole new income possibility and reach audiences who might not be in the market for original artwork or prints. It can seem daunting (or even like cheating) to many artists, but I can say from personal experience I’ve really enjoyed the process. I love to watercolor paint, but giving them new life by creating a pattern or design is actually my favorite part. You don’t need to take on all of the work, either - there are plenty of professional print shops and print-on-demand companies that take part of the profit in return for most of the stress. As you can see, a little painting of a whale tail can become mugs, prints, scarves… and so much more.

19 ways to squeeze every drop from your content, on danielleandco.com.

#15. Use product samples wisely. If you’re already selling products, you can take a sample of your work and then have it live on in so many helpful ways! If you’re using a print-on-demand company, you can often get discounts to order samples for yourself - if you hand-make your product, of course you already have some samples around. Say you have designed a mug - you can take one of your mugs and have a photo shoot to create listing images to sell it online. Then, snap some pretty pictures of it in action for social media. Keep it in good shape, and you could offer it as a giveaway prize to gain followers after that.

 

Your Work As A Whole

#16. Round it all up in a newsletter with a little original content sprinkled in. It’s like a bonus for your followers, and ensures nobody is missing out on anything. Whip up a little original content to start it off and then use it as an opportunity to highlight the best of your social media, link to new blog posts and new podcast episodes, and even offer special discounts or a first heads up on shop updates. This is a great way to encourage people to keep following you while making sure none of your content is lost and forgotten.

#17. Plan your blog post or social media content strategically, with an end collection in mind. I know coming up with fresh ideas of what to post about can be hard for a lot of busy entrepreneurs, so I post a weekly set of content prompts every Friday on Instagram. While I tweak how they look depending on the week, I try to keep the format consistent so when they are compiled they make sense together. For anyone who needs more than a handful of ideas at a time, The Content Archive page (shown below) has it all in one place. This is a way to offer a service to others without having to generate any new content, and it takes me approximately 1.2 seconds to upload the new prompts every week.

The Content Archive  page is a collection of weekly content prompts from the  danielleandcopaints  Instagram account. New content prompts are posted on Instagram every Friday, but the whole collection lives on here at danielleandco.com!

#18. Recycle content seasonally. For example, late November is a great time to begin linking to gift guide posts from previous years. Update any links for products no longer offered, but as long as you do your best to keep content evergreen, most things should carry over for awhile!

#19. Share with your friends! I don’t recommend joining a fake Instagram pod thing, but I know I like to shout-out people who I authentically appreciate and they feel the same way. You could ask a close friend if you could swap products or services and share the results with each other’s followers, or write genuine testimonials you could each use on your websites. Often if you start appreciating and highlighting other artist’s work, you’ll see a return on your investment and you’ll feel good doing it.

I hope these 19 ideas will help you get every single last drop of awesomeness out of your amazing content! The most important thing is to find what works for you. Reflect on what your community responds to and what you enjoy creating, and do more of it.

What content is most successful for you? Comment below and share your tips with the rest of us!

— Dani


Kick your content up a notch with a free 90 days of awesome content prompt sheet! from danielleandco.com

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 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