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Professional Photography - Leather

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Hey Folks,

Been a very long time since I have posted anything. Years ago I was very interested in making saddles and learning the trade. I ended up getting very busy in the career field I left years ago, and found myself back in. Commercial Photography. I had my business in Maine and just shut my studio down and have since moved to Denton Texas, just nort of Dallas and Fort Worth. My goal is to expand my business to include equine photography for ads and promos. (not a show photographer)  But, I still do studio work. SO, if any of you saddle, tack or makers of other fine cowboy trappings need professional images of your products for web or catalog, give me a shout and lets see if we can put something together for you.  Feel free to look at some of my various projects at my website wwwDManske.com  I am sure there are craftsmen and women in the area that could use some good images for their business. My contact info is on my website. Glad to See Leatherworker is still going strong!

Best regards,
Dennis Manske



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Hey Newf, good to see you back!  I like your work, wish you were close so we could get some good pics of my stuff.  All too often, I hear the comment "the pics don't do justice to the real thing" when I deliver a saddle.  Look forward to seeing more of our work, and,

welcome back!


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Hello Bob! Thank you for the warm welcome back. I completely understand the sentiment about 'pics not doing justice'. There is so much hard work, craftsmanship, and artistry that goes into making these cowboy trappings that it is a shame that everyone doesn't have the resources to show their works in the best 'light' possible. I hope that I can at least help some of the craftsmen in my new home region. Saddles may be a bit unwieldy to ship for images for most makers, but smaller items can ship without a problem. It adds to the overall cost, but if you are just wanting a handful of examples for your website, it may ultimately be cost effective. If you have a good commercial product photographer in your area, it could be a good business move to work something out with them for your images. 

Rambles to the community....

There is a big trend to shoot everything on black, or clip the product and drop it on a black background. There is a richness to leather and black when you put them together, but they also tend to look very flat because the product is sucked into the blackness of negative space. Beautiful saddles look like they have been sliced from horn through the jockey laces like they are some sort of weird half-saddle. Most saddles come with two stirrup leathers and stirrups, but in those images, you see just one. I realize the off side stirrup isn't pretty on the backside, but it is still part of the saddle. Good lighting will downplay the lack of tooling, but will still give your saddle a more three-dimensional look.

The other thing I have noticed is the image files are so small that, as a prospective buyer, you can't get a close-up view of the detail. I have to wonder just how many times people have felt compelled to run their fingertips across the toolings of fine leather when they see it in person. Like, pretty much everyone. With photos, you can't do that of course, but people still want to really get a sense of the workmanship. The potential buyers that get an emotional reaction to viewing your work are the ones that will buy from you more readily.

No matter who is photographing your work, you should put files up that are at least 1500 pixels across on the long edge, so that people can bring it up full screen on their monitors and really feel like they are as close to being in the room with your leather work as possible. Hig quality close-ups of detail with good lighting is also important because they get to see the fine nuances of your workmanship, which they are not normally privy to if you live far away. On my website, I upload as large an image as I can, limited by the website software. Am I afraid someone will steal my images? Yes, to some extent. Hey, if you love Cannolis so much that you want to steal the image from my website and use it as a background on your computer, knock yourself out! I'd be honored. Even more so if you appreciated me with the photo credits. Of course, should you try to sell it as your own, to a company for advertising, it is going to cost you a lot of money in back licensing fees and attorney's ;)  But, there is nothing worse to me when I think I am interested in a product to purchase and I click on it to make it bigger and it moves to a new page, but is the same darn tiny size it originally was! Makes me wonder what they are hiding. 

So, there are some rambling thoughts for ya!

Now if I can figure out how to get notices of comments to threads... 

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