We were honoured to be asked to create advertising images for both the 2019 and 2020 British Craft Trade Fair. When creating imagery for this fantastic event we were able to capture the work of the some very talented designers, makers and artists through our very own lens. Read on to find out how our studio works, and how we styled this shoot.
WHAT IS THE BRITISH CRAFT TRADE FAIR?
The British Craft Trade Fair is an exceptional event showcasing the best when it comes to all things handmade. It’s an exclusive exhibition that takes place each year in Harrogate. It has a rigorous screening process, ensuring that all items sold are guaranteed to be handmade. It also means that all items are made right here in the UK.
If you are a designer-maker, or have your own brand, this is the place to showcase your work to potential buyers from ‘bricks and mortar’ shops and online stores.
“BCTF showcases the best of British artisan crafts, including: Ceramics, Glassware, Metalwork, Jewellery, Textiles, Fashion Accessories, Greetings Cards, Stationery, Fine Art, Sculpture, Home Accessories, Tableware and more. As the demand for quality British-made product becomes a priority for UK shoppers, we offer the ideal sourcing environment for discerning retailers.”
All of the product photography was created in our own studio, which BCTF would then use to advertise the show both online and in printed materials such as brochures and invitations. It was even used on their exhibition advertising boards placed on the entry to the event.
FORTY FIVE YEARS YOUNG
BCTF is a venerable 45-year-old event that has been showing the best unique handmade goods longer than any other trade fair in the UK. All participants have their items verified to be non mass-produced before they can be involved.
The British Craft Trade Fair has a unique mentoring program that helps makers appeal to professional buyers and prepares them for their first trade show. This experience can seem overwhelming, and meeting buyers’ high standards can be intimidating. BCTF ‘walks’ all newcomers through the process and ensures that everyone gets set up for success. It’s because of this BCTF is not considered to be just a trade show, they really do go above and beyond to help you achieve success.
One of our clients, Bob from Humblewood has been a regular exhibitor at the event over the past few years now and has this to say about the show…“I hope you and the team are now fully recovered from the show – I know it’s taken me a while! I just wanted to thank you and the whole team for your efforts in putting on the event, which was a great success for me. As a direct result of BCTF, I now have 12 new retailers on board.”
The Client for the Product Photography Shoot – Margeret Bunn
Margeret Bunn has been running the event for the last 27 years. Margeret has a good eye for talent and is responsible for selecting the makers that exhibit their work. She sets the standards high and ensures only the best show their work to potential buyers. When asked by Margeret to create the advertising images featuring the exhibitors for the 2019 British Craft Trade Fair, we were elated.
Margeret hand-picked all the work she wanted to see in the images, and all of these items were In the brief, she stated that she wanted bright, fresh, and Spring-like images. There were many products to display in the pictures, and as such props weren’t necessary for the shoot as they would have been a distraction.
“Magazine editors regularly inform us that the single most important thing a company can do to gain editorial coverage is to invest in photography. In such a visual industry – and especially in the age of Instagram – it makes sense to put your best face forward and allow your beautiful products to truly shine in 2D as much as they do in their real-life glory.” – Margeret Bunn
For this arts and craft studio photography shoot, we used what we have available to us. That is the studio itself, which also houses a whole raft of props, surfaces and backgrounds. We even have a small curated selection of furniture, from vintage to modern. By combining these elements we have been able to create unique and contemporary advertising images.
We offer all of our clients access to these and some of which are featured in this shoot. Our selection can be used to highlight key features of various products, and place them within a context too. It’s this context that helps create a story, which is key to selling by emotively triggering a consumers wants and needs.
Since the product photography shoot is all carried out in-house, within the studio communication is via phone, zoom (other video conferencing apps are available!), and email.
We provide test shots to ensure the client is happy before continuing with the rest of the shoot. Some photographers require that you be in-studio for the shoot. We have found that since it can take some time to setup both the styling and the lighting that the client doesn’t need to be present. You don’t need to ‘spend your time’ at the shoot.
2019 Product Photography Shoot for BCTF
Here’s how we made the whole shoot come to life.
The beautiful soft grey walls and wooden flooring of our studio made for the perfect backdrop. From this we crafted the lighting, selected the props, until everything was ‘just-so’. We thoroughly enjoy the process of course and experiment until we achieve the best ‘look’.
The colours have a cool and fresh appearance, and also provide a minimalistic look and the least distracting colour allowing the focus to be on the products themselves.
We placed everything strategically with attention to detail and by experimenting to achieve the best balance between the shapes, sizes and context of the work. When photographing many pieces of work within one image it becomes difficult to eliminate reflections on all items, and as such glass and ceramics were carefully considered as to not have any unsightly specular highlights upon them. Some items were removed and shots merged, this was to remove shadows that were partially cast over other products
“I would really recommend Richard. He has photographed many of our exhibitors’ BCTF work, and they have all been delighted with the results. Always friendly and happy to achieve your goals, he did some great lifestyle photos for us, which proved to be invaluable for the advertising we did for BCTF 2019. Thanks, Richard.” Margeret, BCTF.
The 2020 Shoot
It’s been great to work with Margeret and BCTF exhibitors again for the 2020 shoot. This year we decided a little upon a more exclusive, more luxurious look with this wonderful blue backdrop. (Oxford Blue from Colorama, we have a full roll of it in 2.7 metre wide format now!)
Like the previous shoot Margeret hand picked the work that was to be sent, and to go with a different backdrop colour, an entirely different furniture selection was chosen. The work had a different more textured and raw feel to that of the previous more contemporary work. The furniture was chosen to reflect this.
An image featured on the BCTF Homepage.
And another image featured in their printed invitation.
That’s a Wrap (for Now)
It was a real delight to work on these shoots for both the exhibitors and Margeret herself. Of course since this shoot was originally completed the world has changed dramatically, and it’s affected all areas of trade. Online sales have become so much more important, and BCTF has adapted to both the pandemic and resulting social distancing guidelines by converting to online exhibitions for 2021 and 2022.
The next British Craft Trade Fair will be online only from June 6th – June 8th, 2021! See here for further details.
We can’t wait to work with Margeret and the whole BCTF family again once the pandemic is over. Although we have been working throughout, so don’t forget you can send your products across, you don’t need to be here for the shoot to proceed!
If you would like help photographing your products, please contact us for your free consultation. We’ll answer all your questions to make the process streamlined. If you are at the stage of needing to improve your photography and make your brand more successful and more appealing to buyers we are here to help.
Let’s get your product images marketable!