Monday, May 31, 2010

Style, how to define yourself!

So, before my aunt passed away last year she said something about what to and what not to tell artists... What to tell then was that they had your support no matter what they produce, and that you're behind their creative choices. What not to tell them is what you think would sell - since then they would create art with sellability in mind and that would take away from their ideas and from the art its self.

That applies to photos because we all have to make the choice between selling and making money, or going forward with our artwork and live with the results. Granted, some of us will find that are work will be received well, some will find a cool reception, and so on.

This, our style, is the hardest thing to learn of everything we're going to do with photos. It is the next step past the technical skills we need, it's a step past from dabbling into fashion or kids, or whatever, it's what defines us from another person. Personally, and I'm a mid paced learner, it's taken me 4 years to define who I am, and I'm not even close yet. This doesn't happen overnight.

Once we find our style things become fun, we pay less attention to who is doing what, since we're all on the same level - our work separates ourselves. So it's a stress reliever to see that I'm different from someone else, or that my direction is just different enough from another person to give a client a choice.


So it's something to work towards, and keep working at.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Why designers have fashion shows...

So granted I'm stuck in MN, but I think I have a idea of what happens as far as marketing and promotion, or at least ideally how it should work in a classroom setting, so here goes.

Designers need to be on the cutting edge of fashion, and they need to set trends. This could be either regular clothes for normal people - which would include new styles, patterns, colors - or dresses, and high end clothing which would showcase more of a daring style etc... But they need to keep up with the seasons (time doesn't stop for anyone), and they need a way to showcase each of their lines.

Thus they have fashion shows, and thus fashion weeks, where they can invite the press and/or more importantly all the buyers they are trying to market to. This is why the major shows mostly happen in nyc, la, paris, etc - that's where the buyers are and that's where the market is.

From my understanding of real shows, they are invite only. This is not because the fashion scene is elitist or snobby, (well it is), but more so they understand that the general public, ie Jane Public, isn't their market. They also are writing off the expense as advertising and will make up for it later in sales.

Also, and this escapes most local shows, the real fashion shows are lit very well, since they really do need good images to promote their line. Not something in a warehouse space with house lights...

So we move on to smaller markets, like Minneapolis, and the market is totally different. instead of having shows for buyers they have them for God knows what and charge a cover to make up for the cost. I have no idea why they even do designs since at most shows there isn't a brochure about where to get the clothes, any websites, or any information past maybe "check it out at the local boutique". It's like the whole thing is just an excuse to have a party (at the designers expense, because it's a lot of work), and more of a club event than anything else.

Which is strange, since the same impact can be had if a few designers got together monthly, had a small private show for local boutiques (we have a bunch) and treated it like a mini fashion week where they target the stores rather than the general public.

Also designers need to realize that the show isn't the end of anything, it's just the start. It's like they feel good about putting in a ton of work only to stop when the marketing really begins. Most, from what I understand, don't have a real marketing plan, don't have a mailing list, flyers, post cards, or a system setup to sell their line or if they are in local stores, to expand beyond this city.

So here is what I'd do if I had the time (I don't) or the ambition for this (I'm busy with my own thing).

- Start a series of monthly or bi monthly shows targeting the local botique market, hire a professional photographer to do the runway photos as well as some basic on white or grey shots for general marketing. So that not only can their clothes get in front of people that matter, but they have the material to use later for those people. I'd host it in some basic location, maybe a club before it turns into a club (just need a room that's cheap).

But I'd also have those same designers get together, maybe with the help of local business, and get a mailing list out of more national outlets for sales. So that you have a show, promote your line, and then get it out in front of people.

I understand we do have locals trying to do somethings like this, however they either think the show is the final word and don't followup, or try to make it more of a club event or art a whirl type week than anything else. Sure that looks good in the press, that get's people my age (who don't really have money) out and about, sure you can charge a $20 fee, but as far as getting clothing in stores it does nothing.

But anyway, I'm not going down the fashion road here in town, I'm more interested in shooting shows in NYC, and I really don't have the time or ambition for this cause to jump into it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hot swimsuits in Minneapolis!

Got a chance to work with another Elle, and the Etiel building in Loring park. The swimsuits were done by Teknodoll, and makeup by Pam Brown. I wished I could share more however we're waiting for the rollout of her site and a few fashion shows before getting a lot of the images out.

She is going to have some awesome suits for sale both locally and in a few stores nationally (botiques), so keep your eyes open and watch out for her shows in a month or so!

Kuoth and I do a fashion test!

Today was the first time my friend Kuoth and I got to work together. It was a lot of fun and we did some amazing stuff. More images can be found on my site,

I'd give away some of the lighting, however let me just say it's pretty easy to do, mostly just blowing out the seamless and getting a reflector or something to fill in. Or, just one light (bare) against a wall - easy to do and you get some pretty cool results.