Superheroes of Promotion

Guest blogger Harriete Estel Berman on one of the most important things you must do to present your work.

The photographic images of your work can be like superheroes at promoting your work.  They can zoom across the Internet at the speed of light, shrink to the size of a first class postal envelope, expand to super viewing size, keep working 24 hours a day, and show up in galleries, shows, homes, and offices around the world.


Berman RECYCLE Bracelet by Harriete Estel Berman in Fushia & Blacka
RECYCLE Fushia & Black Bracelet
© 2011 Harriete Estel Berman
Recycled plastic
Photo Credit: Aryn Shelander

This is a really important concept for artists and craftspeople to embrace.  All of us hope that many people will see our work in person, however, it is a near certainty that many more people can or will see the photographs of your work in print or on the Internet.

Your images can be in every library and every home in books, magazines, or the web constantly introducing your work to new audiences.

Champagne 5-30-07 Bracelet by Harriete Estel Berman
 Champagne Bracelet
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

The photographic images of your work are the most powerful networking tool that you have in your possession. Yet all too often artists and craftspeople are not properly using or adequately developing this “super ability” available to everyone.


Paddleboat Teapot Bracelet by Harriete Estel Berman
  PaddlebBoat Bracelet with Tea © 2007
Recycled tin cans
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

It is a false economy to think that you are saving money by taking your own photos with modest consumer level cameras lacking professional quality backgrounds, lighting, and other advanced equipment.  Is there any wonder that such pedestrian images are not performing as well as hoped for?  Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to promote your work.


If your trying to take your own photos learn from the experts. The 2011 SNAG Professional Development Seminar offered a series of lectures with tons of information that will help you take better quality images. Find them all on the Professional Development Seminar page on my web site.


Oreo Bracelet by Harriete EStel Berman photographed by Stevie B Photography
Oreo Bracelet  © 2001
Recycled tin cans, brass,
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman
Photo Credit: Steven Brian Photography

It is time to create your own personal superheroes!
Take a look at your images with a critical eye. This is not in the negative sense, but with the perspective of careful comparison to truly high quality images. Are the photographic images of your work achieving the high standard and visibility that you aspire for your work?





Use the two new documents in the Professional Guidelines to guide you in this evaluation.

The Guide to Professional Quality Images offers concrete issues to evaluate your images. Here are a few highlights covered in this document in more detail.


Start with the focus, exposure and composition of the images. Every single element needs to be exactly 100% correct and interesting. Avoid over exposure, under exposure and harsh highlights.  Don’t settle for “good enough.”  Just like your work, everything should be perfect.

BadIMG_BraceletW Your photographic background should be white, grey or graduated light to dark.  Avoid distracting backgrounds such as leaves, branches, logs , stones,  or grass (as in this photo).

Colored, wrinkly and textured fabric or paper (as in the next photo) are not a good choice either.  These stylized attempts fail almost every time because they detract from the primary purpose of the image: to have the viewer focus on your work.

BadIMG_ear_fabric272 Fill the entire photographic image with your work. A common problem that I see is that the object or artwork is too small within the picture plane (as in this image) or shot at an odd angle. Be bold and confident; fill the picture frame with your work.

Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

The close-up image should be memorable also.  The close-up image needs to convey a ton of detail information about materials, texture, and techniques within your work.  It should be like an intimate revelation of key elements that make your work special.

Take time to evaluate your photos objectively and constructively.  Get in-depth, analytical opinions from friends, colleagues or your Critique Group.  Don’t let them give you a polite passing comment.  Really dig deep and evaluate the elements of the image.  Use the criteria established in the Professional Guidelines Guide to Quality Photographic Images as a foundation or checklist.

StarMOON2 copyweb ASK Harriete offers many posts on “superhero images.”    Learn how your photographic images can work for you more effectively.  Check them out!

If you have examples of good and bad photo comparisons that you are willing to share, please send them to me for a new Professional Guidelines document with photographic examples.



  1. great advice! photos of our artwork can be a powerful way to share and build our brand.

    For upcoming art shows, I have tried to choose one image not only for use on the web but also to have the digital image ready to send to media outlets if they request them.

    Also in the “real world” I suggest having your “iconic image” printed on the back of business cards and postcards. So when you meet someone – instead of just saying you’re an artist, you can hand them something that shows what you do. Images can be much more powerful than words.

    • David, That’s a great way to represent your work, and I’ve seen some arresting business cards that had a “wow” image on them that worked really well, as you mentioned.. You are branding yourself with your iconic image, which is a smart strategy as well.
      Check out Harriete’s blog for fantastic detailed posts on all aspects of photography.

  2. I agree ~ great tips! I have worked hard to take better photos of my work for my Etsy shop. There is always room for improvement and it’s fun to learn new techniques! 🙂

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