7 reasons quality photography is key for your small creative business

If you're running a small business solo it's very likely you're doing it all, maker, photographer, marketing, customer service and everything in between. Sometimes it can be hard to know what to focus on to take your business to the next level, or what to invest in to take the pressure off and free up time for your actual job. As a small creative business I can only speak from personal experience but here's why I think photography should be the thing to nail in this year, and how professional photography had a huge impact on my business, Botanical Boheme.


Blurry photos, poor composition, dodgy angles, strange lighting or simply 'meh', some photos just don't quite cut it for the gram, let alone a website or an online store where you are supposed to be attracting customers. You spend so long creating those beautiful products, they need that beautiful photography to do them justice.

Your social media and your website are essentially your shopfront online. Imagine you had a physical store, how would you want that to look? How would you dress the windows and draw your customers in? Think about how you could translate that to your online shop and get across your brand identity with some professional imagery.

I've since had images from my shoots with Beth Cath Key Photography published in 3 magazines, all of these opportunities came through Instagram - reiterating how important it is to be sharing good photos on your social media. 

Image by Beth Key, modelled by Zulaihat Sule


If you are selling a physical product the photos should be clear, so people can see what they are spending their money on. Have you ever been online wanting to buy something but the images aren't quite good enough to make you take the plunge? You don't want to put potential customers off with poor images. If you are selling clothing or jewellery it's always a good idea to have images of your products worn, not only to show scale but to inspire people with the styling and storytelling. Online, the only thing between a customer and your product is a photograph - it should be amazing to make them want to buy it!

Esmerelda studs modelled by Eloise Taylor for Botanical Boheme


If you're doing any kind of marketing, you're going to need some quality images. Here's a list of things I've used professional images for in the last year alone:

  • Business cards/postcards
  • Website Images
  • Social media content
  • Stockists websites - more and more stockists and shops require images from makers now to make it easier for them to create the 'about the maker' pages on their websites.
  • Magazine submissions
  • Craft fairs/ markets promotion

That's what I can think of right now, I'm sure there's more which I'll edit in later. The point is you will need good strong images for pretty much everything. I have noticed the shift over the past couple of years with the amount of stockists and markets requiring images when submitting work or applications - it makes the life of the organiser so much easier if they have images ready to share and makes your brand that bit more desirable to have on board. Which brings me on to my fourth point.

workshop photo from a branding shoot with Headcake Photography


Is that the right word? I'm not 100% sure it is but it's a Monday morning so lets roll with it. What I mean by this is how much a potential craft fair/market/magazine would want to have you on board and part of their creative line up. From running a market for a year I can tell you that the quality of a small business's photos has such an impact on whether your application is successful.

If you're sending photos that are blurry or oddly styled it can give a "they're not quite ready" impression. Which does sound unfair, but if that's all organizers' have to go on, it will make a difference to the success of an applicant. This absolutely does not mean that you have to rush out and spend hundreds of pounds on a photoshoot, see point 5 below.

Eco silver Hirut hoops, an example of a product image I would use in an application for a market


If you're not quite ready to invest hundreds of pounds, you could team up with creative friends or connect with photographers on Instagram. There are always budding photographers/stylists/makers trying to find opportunities to show off their skills. I would recommend researching through hashtags and locations on Instagram, or even doing a shout on stories to see if you could find fellow collaborators.

For the first few years I collabed with photographers who wanted to include my jewellery for photoshoots to build their portfolio. This is a great way to see how shoots work and get some high res images to share! 

For my first professional shoot I teamed up with Kaely Rusell and Elle Clipse, they provided the most beautiful linen clothing that complimented the jewellery and aesthetic of Beth's photography perfectly. Other shoots with Headcake Photography and Margo R Photography have included collaborations with Yoke Salon providing hair and make-up. The point is, teaming up with other creatives has benefits for everyone involved (as long as no one is having to do a tonne of free labour). All the images shared accross social platforms gives exposure to all involved.

Here's a few images from photographers I've teamed up with over the years: Zuleika FrayHeadcake, Margo R Photography


I cannot begin to explain the amount of hours I have lost to trying to take a photo with a camera I simply don't understand. For the first two years of my biz I roped a friend into coming over and modelling jewellery for me, using my SLR camera at home. I'm not awful with a camera but I certainly don't know what I'm doing 80% of the time. The results were OK, but it would take me around 50 attempts to get one good photo. It was time consuming and pretty much the same shot over and over again.

All this time I spent attempting to be a photographer took away from jewellery making time, you know, my actual job. Over the past couple of years I've got better with our SLR, I know zero of the technical jargon. But I do know that if I turn the dial to the left so the number goes down, my photos will be brighter, to the right and they'll be darker. However, I'm only good with stationary product shots. You put a human in the photo and I will f*** it up guaranteed, which is why I know that it makes far more sense for me to pay for a photographer rather than waste hours of mine and a models time trying to get a mere usable shot.

Image by Beth Key, modelled by Zulaihat Sule


Seriously, it will. You'll have a bank of images ready to put on your website, post on socials, attatch to market applications, send to stockists, use for business cards etc etc.

From my first shoot by Beth Key in 2021 the difference the images  made to my business felt quite dramatic at the time. I was finally able to have high res, beautiful photographs on my website which instantly made it feel more professional and on brand. Not only that, my product images were so clear and styled well, showing the scale of the jewellery when worn that it was much easier for customers to make the decision to buy.

I ordered new business cards and postcards with the photos and perhaps most important of all, I had shareable content. The social media world is vastly different now, but at the time when I posted the images they got so much engagement and shares which opened up avenues for new customers and led to many more sales. 

 Some tips that you may find useful:

  • Take the time to research different photographers and see what aesthetic suits you and your brand. Photography is an investment and not a decision to be made on a whim! Make sure you are confident that the photographer you're choosing is the right one for your brand.
  • Create a Pinterest board to build ideas and inspiration, you can share this with your photographer when the time comes to make sure they know exactly what you're after.
  • Collab with fellow creatives! Get in touch with other small businesses who could provide clothing, styling, hair and make up etc. It's good for everyone involved to market their brands.
  • Plan for the seasons! I tend to book my photography around Christmas time when I've got a good amount of income from sales to pay the 50% deposit.
  • If you're definitely not ready to invest in photography, maybe you could spend some time learning how to edit your photos professionally via YouTube tutorials? Or if you've got that SLR camera lying around and you're not really sure what you're doing, you could take part in a workshop that could teach you the basics. Sarah Brittain Edwards offers these sorts of classes in the South West.
  • Again, if you're not ready to invest, it's a good idea to look at Pinterest and indie magazines to get some styling ideas and think about how you want to style your products to make your photos look professional and engaging.

If you made it this far, Bravo! I hope it was helpful in one way or another. It feels good to type this small business journey out. You can find me on Instagram where you can find out more about my small biz if you like eco friendly jewellery and some very green branding,

1 comment

  • Great blog that is really helpful. I use drop in templates of styled rooms for my website but am looking into getting lifestyle shots done fo


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