Working in the UK greeting card industry is the aim of lots of designers and creatives, and Adriana Lovesy is one such designer who has had a number of successes with her greeting card business including recognition within the industry’s Henries awards. Read on to find out more about Adriana’s journey and how we have helped with unique styling starting with a small sample shoot and continuing to this day with regular photoshoots.
Greeting cards are by their very nature a very emotive product, having lots of different meanings, themes and covering lots of different topics. The UK is a world leader in the field, and it is a deep-rooted part of our culture to send and receive cards. This way of transmitting a feeling is even bucking the trend for moving to digital products, as discussed in this Guardian article ‘How Gen Z Saved the Greetings Card’. Quite aside from the primary reason that people love to receive a physical product with a loved one’s handwriting in, the article discusses aspects such as low volume print runs that have been enabling smaller publishers to succeed. Designers, illustrators and artists contribute to the creativity seen within the field and we aim to do our part by putting our thinking cap on when creating settings, styling and using props to create unique imagery.
The Business and The Brand
Adriana Lovesy is the founder of this greeting card business creating luxurious cards. Named after the designer herself, Mrs Lovesy continues to have success which all started when Adriana enrolled on a degree course in Fine Art with the prestigious Slade School of Fine Art in London. From there, while on maternity leave, she continued to develop her skills and introduced us to her new brand in 2015. Adriana also received her first Henries finalist nomination that same year before going on to receive further nominations in both 2016 and 2020.
“It has been an important part of my business growth to have good product photographs that not only gives a true and accurate representation of my product but also my brand. My first sample shoot with Richard at Forever Creative Photography really opened my eyes to what was possible and helped me put together a clear visual representation of my brand. I think one of the most important elements about having a successful business is having a clear and recognisable brand. “
Mrs Lovesy’s cards sell all across the UK through independent retail channels and also export across the channel to France. Online she sells from her Not on the High Street store, Etsy shop and direct from her own website. As a mother herself, Adriana understands the pressures of combining motherhood with employment and so actively seeks to employ other local mothers to help with the hand-finishing of her products. She offers flexible working hours to suit their schedules and the option for them to work from home ensuring that they are not excluded from work due to time pressures.
All the detailed elements of the product are sourced from the UK, making this an original British greeting card brand!
The Greeting Card Industries’ own Association (the GCA)
The Greeting Card Association, commonly referred to as the GCA has been the voice of the industry since 1919and is an independent not for profit organisation and works with members large and small to help them succeed through their various initiatives. Adriana was promoted to a council member of the Greeting Card Association in 2020 with an aim of bringing some perspective and views from an under-represented group. The GCA also have other members including retailers, suppliers, trade fair organisers, and agents. Because of their knowledge, this makes them a real hub to seek out information for any designer or artist wishing to enter the field.
We are also a member of the GCA, an associate member and have previously written various guides on the subject of photography of cards. Check out our Greeting Card gallery page to see more about those and also a discount offer for GCA members. After requiring images for their recently relaunched website we were happy to supply various images such as web banners and product images taken for our clients.
The Brief and the Sample Shoot
The client brief explained that the products were to be pitched as a sophisticated choice in the greetings card market. Many of the cards, which are handmade, feature contemporary floral illustrations. They are then finished with glass crystals which really adds a touch of decadence to the products. Adriana also draws inspiration from her Ghanian heritage and adds colours of the countries flag into her designs. This inspiration brings about pops of colour with a touch of African flair. The brand’s logo is often reflected through the use of jewels as props in the imagery.
“It was amazing to see Richard’s interpretation of my brand from the brief that I gave him – the results far exceeded my expectations. Even though I am creative and have an eye for design I think having someone like Richard work on my product photography greatly helped as he brought a fresh prospective and vision. I have been working with Richard for several years now and he completely understands my brand. Every shoot he always captures the essence of the Mrs Lovesy brand but adds a lovely twist making each shoot slightly different from the last – I still get excited viewing the images from new shoots.”
When photographing this greeting card brand, there are elements of the cards we wanted to capture to ensure that these unique points are communicated visually. Including the card’s texture and of course the gems incorporated within the design. “Having never paid for a professional product shoot before I was a bit nervous and unsure.” This is why we suggested a small sample shoot to start with. During this ‘introductory’ shoot, which is something that is offered to all new clients, we produced the following shots. Read more about our introductory sample shoot service which includes the pricing which for this particular service is a fixed cost. It really does help you visualise how your work may appear when professionally photographed without committing to a larger shoot.
We have a large selection of backgrounds and surfaces to choose from to make the perfect greeting card shoot. These include a variety of surfaces, backgrounds, and props. With top-notch professional lighting equipment, we can illuminate the cards and show off the textures and colours to make them look as luxurious as possible.
We start by unpacking the cards and sorting them according to the images to be taken, placing them in groups revolving around which props will go with each group of cards. What we tend to do with greeting cards is create small movements of props from one image to the next. And then change props every four or so images in sequence and then swap them out completely. Depending on the client preference and the budget sometimes these changes are reduced slightly.
Creating the Setting
The initial step to create a setting is to gather an array of possibilities. This includes props, backgrounds and surfaces. Generally, we will have an idea of surfaces and backgrounds, but certainly, with props, an array is exactly what is created as there are props everywhere! It’s much easier to pare down when you have lots to choose from. When working on this greeting card photography shoot, we made sure to keep everything simple using background materials with a lot of texture. Small jewel props are used throughout to echo the glass crystals within the cards themselves. To achieve this we created a setting that was simple and elegant but maintained a contemporary feel. A subtly textured backdrop was used, alongside a pair of modern geometric vases from the prop store. Using softboxes combined with additional diffusion material produced a very soft light and appearance.
A couple of behind the scenes images, getting the white balance right and tweaking props as the shoot progressed…
Here you can see the brand’s homepage, using one of the shots as a web banner…
Behind the Scenes
The next stage is lighting. We focussed on creating a very soft effect by additional diffusion than a standard softbox can offer. Starting by placing diffusion panels, which will result in a halo effect around the cards. When combined with a shallow depth of field creates a wonderfully unique style. While crafting the lighting can be a technical and sometimes an experimental process, when we work regularly with a client we take notes of how the lighting setup is created. This ensures we can similarly reproduce the lighting setup with enough accuracy to the previous shoot. For greeting card business shoots we also pay particular attention to colour reproduction. For this particular shoot, we aimed to reveal accurate colour, but it was more important to convey the texture and the reflectivity of the gems within the card. Either way, it’s a case of ensuring an accurate white balance throughout the shoot, and then making minor adjustments in post-production to colour saturation, and depending upon the card stock used, and the way it has been printed, sometimes further colour corrections are required.
Here, we show how we use two diffusers alongside a strip box to create a soft effect. A black piece of card in this particular image is used to reduce the reflected light coming in on the left-hand side.
Sharpness vs Softness
It can be a little bit of a balancing act, between having sharpness to reveal texture, vs softness communicating the sophisticated nature of the brand. Which has been used to help communicate the sentiments and emotiveness of the product.
Adriana says “It was amazing to see Richard’s interpretation of my brand from the brief that I gave him – the results far exceeded my expectations. Even though I am creative and have an eye for design I think having someone like Richard work on my product photography greatly helped as he brought a fresh prospective and vision. I have been working with Richard for several years now and he completely understands my brand. Every shoot he always captures the essence of the Mrs Lovesy brand but adds a lovely twist making each shoot slightly different from the last – I still get excited viewing the images from new shoots.”
All clients, and greeting card businesses are no exception, underestimate the effect of having too much light within a scene. We are often asked to make things as bright as possible and can understand why but at the same time certain details and textural elements begin to disappear as the brightness goes up. Leaving the brightness down a notch or two also avoids the card blending into the rest of the scene.
We use a Nikon D3x for all our studio shoots. This is an excellent camera for product photography, it’s full-frame and 24MP so ideal for ‘cropability’ too! The camera is connected via a tether cable to a MacBook Pro, this really is invaluable in product photography as it provides instant access to closely review images and make subtle corrections as the shoot proceeds. From there images are moved across to the main PC monitor for final editing, enhancements and colour corrections.
Since the sample shoot, Adriana has been back time and again for shoots photographing her various card collections, with the images primarily being used for website product listings, but also for other advertising purposes such as social media.
“Richard has produced beautiful photographs and interpreted my brief perfectly. I was impressed with the results from the sample shoot and he showed me what was possible, and it gave me the confidence to hire Richard to shoot my whole product range. I was really happy with the service that was given to me and would highly recommend Forever Creative Photography to anyone.”
We can help you visualise your design and bring it to fruition. Let us add value to your overall brand.
Greeting Card Designer Photographs
Working with Adriana and indeed any greeting card business is something we really enjoy and our goal is to ensure that the images produced are unique and convey the value of the design and the card itself. Read more about our simple copyright policy here and our different license types. We’re here to help you construct your brand and bring your products to life!
As product photographers, we strive to bring out the best in your products and offer free quotations and consultations. We can answer any questions you may have and there are some of our FAQ’s here. If the question isn’t listed don’t hesitate to Get in touch as we have various options for you, and can advise on which of these may be applicable to you. Such as shooting entire ranges of cards, or which to have shot, and perhaps which you could ‘get-away’ with using digital artwork for. We have a pragmatic view of these things and understand that budget and time considerations are real. Particularly when first starting out, where you really do need to prioritise your allocation of funds. We can advise where professional imagery will have the most impact for you and your sales.
There are some images that may be seen to be secondary, and this is why we’ve also produced a guide on photographing greeting cards, and you can find this on our main Greeting card page.
Don’t forget we also offer digital mock-up services, and can also superimpose designs from your own digital artwork.