You may be asking your self why a designer such as myself is so willing to promote other small designers. After all, aren’t they my competition? Well, yes they are but here’s what I figure…my daughter doesn’t have a closet full of kangacoo designs (my line), so I don’t expect others to. So I am happy to promote other brands that have inspired me AND that create product I love (and own) AND that have been willing to let down their guards and create a dialog with me so we can learn from each other.
It is truly my pleasure to introduce Elizabeth from Art and Soul by Bercot. We have become online mentors to each other, reaching out from time to time with questions on wholesale clients out of the country, marketing, and of course photography. Elizabeth has a clear vision of what images she needs to sell product and how to get those images when working with photographers. I know you will find this generous sharing of her experience and insight extremely valuable. Not only does she share about her process but she has shared some of her favorite images and listed why they sell product. Read on!
Tell us a little about Art and Soul by Bercot
At Art & Soul Boutique we make & sell comfortable and stylish boutique women and girls clothing. We started online in 2009 selling only girls clothing serving the 12 month through size 10 range. One launch, what seems like so long ago we made our first women’s skirt with yoga waist band to coordinate some of our girls pieces and the women’s line has just blossomed from there. Today we offer women’s pants, skirts, dresses & cardigans for ladies wearing XS-2X. An aspect of our women’s line that makes us stand out is that we make clothes for all sizes of women so each us, no matter what size, can feel good in affordable boutique clothing. We are proud to be one of the few clothing lines that can say we are 100% made in the USA.
How often do you do fashion clothing/accessory shoots?
Art & Soul Boutique is an of the moment line and launches 4 times per season for a total of 8 launches per year. Each launch is photographed by different photographers from around the country.
Who does your photography? How do you find photographers?
Art & Soul Boutique is always on the look out for new photographers who are able to take awesome pictures that also sell the product. We typically find our photographers through Facebook because we are following their brand and enjoying the pictures they post. We also find photographers because they buy our line and approach us about the opportunity to work together.
Do you pay for sessions or do product trades?
Art & Soul Boutique trades pictures for clothes. We encourage our photographers to take pictures of their kids and family so they benefit with an outfit in their size.
How many pieces do you photograph in one session?
Art & Soul Boutique typically only sends 1-2 outfits to a photographer who is out of town. There are times though that we photograph an entire line locally with 1-3 photographers which would include about 30 pieces total.
How many photos of each item do you request?
Art & Soul’s website allows 3 pictures per item. So for example if we send a photographer a dress, we can only use 3 images but if we send them an outfit we can use three images of the top & bottom. When we have outfits like a top & bottom I request that we get 1 close up image so shoppers know which item they are purchasing as well as 2 full body images which are sometimes front & back depending on the piece.
Do you attend the shoots?
When Art & Soul Boutique does local photo shoots I usually do attend. I have 5 local photographers that I have worked with over the last 2 years and each of them have varying degrees to which they know exactly what I want from the images. We are to the point that I can send a substitute in my place to help keep the models on track and the photographers will act like I am there when talking about what I prefer! A lot of times when I go on photo shoots it is to help the models style their pieces as this is likely the first time they have seen the clothes.
How do you prepare for fashion shoots?
At Art & Soul the toughest part of photo shoots is that we are working up until the last day to get all the clothes designed and assembled in the models sizes. This requires me quickly get a vision of how a piece should be photographed and styled and in some cases going out to buy those accessories to make sure the model has everything for the outfit. Other preparation includes determining which photographers we will use, the location and who is providing the models.
What direction do you give photographers?
I have a photography checklist that I send to each photographer which has the exact pictures that I need of each piece, which format I want and reminders about little things that I do and don’t like. I also make a point to talk on the phone with each photographer so we can look at our website and I can show them my favorite pictures and talk about what makes them my favorite.
What do you do when you are not happy with photos? What are reasons you would not be happy with photos?
I ask for reshoot. That is NOT my favorite call/e-mail to make! Sometimes it is just too close to launch and I can’t get new pictures from that photographer, in those cases I either work with what I am given or I get the pictures I need locally. The pictures of a piece will make or break whether people will buy it so I have to be particular and specific so the photographers know what I want the first time around.
Please share any advice you have for designers or photographers regarding photographing fashion products.
The pictures of an outfit will make or break it’s sales. Re-photograph if they aren’t perfect and then as a designer you have to figure out if the problem was your ability to communicate what you wanted or the photographers skill in translating that into an image. When you find amazing photographer…cherish them.
NOW FOR THE FUN PART! PHOTOS!!!!
I asked Elizabeth to share some of her favorite photos with us and tell us why. She wanted to start with this disclaimer: These are SO hard to pick by the way because I work with SO many talented photographers. So to be noted, this is in no way a comprehensive list of my favorite photographers or pieces there just wasn’t room or energy to go on!
This is our newest style of dress that we just launched at the beginning of September. I love how tight the photos are around the model. Each picture has a different background but those backgrounds don’t distract from the clothes and we are left just looking at a beautiful dress. Photography by Just Shoot me Photography http://www.justshootmebydawn.com/
From lighting, to angle, to styling Missy did an awesome job photographing this skirt & cardigan. Photography by Melissa Dewitt Photography http://www.melissadewittphotography.com
I think we only have 1 of these dresses even left but I just loved the images. The background was was bright and busy but some how complemented the dress. I loved all three of these images. Photography by Land O Jake Photography http://www.facebook.com/pages/Landojake-Photography/129941480356934?ref=ts
I loved how this photographer found a interesting and detailed background that contrasted with the outfit so that it really stands out. Photography by W. June Photography http://www.facebook.com/wjunephotography
Finally tell us a little abou the designer for Art and Soul by Bercot and yourself. Then tell us where we can find out more about your line.
Kristine Bercot is the designer and owner of Art & Soul Boutique by Bercot. She started in the clothing business over 20 years ago with stores around the country selling kids clothing under the name Bercot Childrens Wear. Life changed and she transitioned from managing stores to selling wholesale and then from wholesale to making clothes and patterns for other lines and then finally in 2009 to online sales through our current website. We currently sell both women’s & children’s clothing all over the world while mostly working school hours. We have a team of 5 ladies who make all of this possible. My name is Elizabeth, after everything is designed, cut & sewn I come in and make sure everything else runs smoothly. The launch and everything that goes with is my favorite part of the business!
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