You know those gorgeous photos you see in the catalogues? You know the ones – a colorful t-shirt blowing softly in the wind from its idyllic clothesline on a peaceful farm. Or perhaps a kaleidoscopic of breezy scarves, draped over sea-worn driftwood on a sunswept beach at twilight.
Perfect settings that bring you so much joy that you can’t wait to click that “Add to Cart” button and break out your credit card so that you, too, can be in those places experiencing those things.
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You won’t see those types of product photos on the Old Mission Peninsula Store, our online store that helps to support Old Mission Gazette and us. Not yet anyway. Oh, it’s not that we haven’t tried. I have this vision in my head of doing photo shoots at Haserot Beach for our Haserot Beach t-shirt, Mission Point Lighthouse for our M37 collection, Bowers Harbor Park for our Peninsula Redeyes collection, Old Mission Peninsula School for our Panthers collection … You get the drift.
Tim and I launched the OMP Store about this time last year, and we got a taste of everything that’s involved in running an online store (a lot, it turns out; don’t believe those ads that say, “Open your online store in minutes!”).
We did pretty well over the holidays last year, and then my attention turned back to Old Mission Gazette because I’m wired for writing and photography, not for selling things. In fact, I’d rather give things away, which I realize is diametrically opposed to running an online store. It’s an emotional work in progress and deserves its own Jane’s World column. Stay tuned for that.
But I digress. I’m in the process of revamping the store a bit as we head into the holidays. (I know. It’s summer, but it’ll be snowing before you know it.) So I had this crazy idea to take some of our cool products and stage cool photos of them at all the cool places around the OMP.
We did a trial run last weekend, and let’s just say it didn’t go as planned. I’m an ok photographer, but there’s a whole other level of creativity involved with shooting product photos. Like, where do you place the product so people can see the location? How do you make it look natural and not staged when you’re draping it over a fence post or sign? You know, like someone just tossed it there before diving into the refreshing waters of East Bay. Now I understand the concept of “art directors” and “creative differences.”
Here’s our first photo at Haserot Beach, shooting our brand new t-shirt, “My Happy Place is Haserot Beach.” It’s a groovy t-shirt, but you wouldn’t know it looking at this photo. About this time, we decided that maybe we should have ironed it prior to hauling it to the beach.
Then we decided to hang it ON the Haserot Beach sign. Now, not only is the shirt wrinkly, but you can’t read what’s on it. I kept waiting for a gust of wind to blow it flat.
That’s when Tim jumped in and decided all we needed was a little human help. Nope.
Next up, we hung it over the “no parking” sign next to the fence by the road. Now it’s wrinkly AND it looks like something out of the “Paranormal Activity” movies. All we need is to set up a tee-cam so we can watch it come to life and terrorize the Old Mission villagers at night. Haserot Beach will not be their happy place anymore, and it’ll be all our fault.
And let’s terrorize the kids while we’re at it.
Next up, the dock. We’re getting closer. You can see the words on the t-shirt and the wrinkles are smoothing out a little, thanks to the stick we put under there (you wouldn’t have a smartly-pressed t-shirt at the beach anyway, would you?). But we’ve still got that “Paranormal Activity” thing going.
Then we spotted the old green pickup owned by one of the villagers (see it here at this year’s 4th of July Bay Street Parade). This is probably the closest we’ve gotten to any photo being website-worthy, so maybe we’ll ask the truck owner for his permission to use it (because, apparently, we always do things backwards).
Then we headed to Mission Point Lighthouse to take a stab at the M37 collection photos. I like the concept here with the M37 road sign in the background. Except it looks like some clueless people said, “Let’s go park by the M37 sign and put the M37 stuff in the back of the car and take a product photo of it.” Everything about this photo is staged. Maybe if the t-shirt and hat had been “tossed” in there, but the coffee mug is too much. Maybe a travel mug instead?
How about we give the Lighthouse Park sign a go? Ok, this just looks dumb. Why would someone put all this stuff on the sign? That makes no sense.
Maybe just the shirt? Nope. It looks like a bicyclist took it off to cool off and forgot about it. (We always score some free t-shirts in the driveway after the Bayshore Marathon.)
Just the hat? Yeah, maybe.
Stay tuned for more of Tim and Jane’s “Adventures in Product Photos,” and feel free to wander over to the OMP Store and shop for neat OMP items. Even if the photos are still a work in progress.