my thoughts on fashion/product photography…

for the past few months i've been going in circles about what sort of photo shoots i want to use for Red Velvet (the online store, ads, promos ect…). I tried so hard to be excited about classic white background studio shots and professional looking product photos. in then end, what it came down to for me is that i wasn't feeling inspired during the shoots (i do all of the styling) and i wasn't having very much fun editing the photos. i think it's very important to be professional, but for a business like mine it's more important to be inspired!

since i spend many hours of my life working on these things, i wanted to come up with a concept that was exciting to me and that my business could grow into over time. i think that one of my biggest fears (as a business owner, but also as a human) is that i am going to get stuck in an outdated way of doing things (or thinking) and not know it. now, i'm not saying that any certain type of photography is outdated… the point is that i was doing something routinely because i felt like i needed to & not because i wanted to. then one day i woke up and wanted to change things…

jeremy and i spend hours talking about RV every week. we had the idea recently to start doing simple concept shoots for our fashion & product photography. this is a little bit more work and a lot more challenging creatively (i need a good challenge right now… it's really healthy for me). we decided to use real people who we know and love for all photo shoots and locations that are fun and set the tone for the types of items we sell… handmade, repurposed & vintage. here are a few peeks at the new style of photography we will be featuring at RVA. these are peeks from two different shoots with sarah & tessa, two lovely ladies who i adore!







i'm having SO much fun right now and feeling so inspired! this week i've been shooting for fashion & next week i'll be working on handmade & art! i'm also really looking forward to expanding the home section and adding a new section later this summer (shhh!) 

i wanted to post my thoughts here to inspire any of you who have creative businesses or side projects. sometimes it's good to do things the traditional way, but you don't have to! if something isn't inspiring you, you have the freedom to try it in a new way. i spend most of my time working on this little dream of mine & i feel like it's good for you to see a little peek into how much it really means to me. little things really count! 

goodnight, elsie 

  • Oh Elsie you are so inspiring. Thank you for sharing and letting us peek into your world xxx

  • TOTALLY agree with you. It’s good to think outside of the box and feel good about what you create. Sometimes it proves to be more work but your juices are flowing and it doesn’t seem like work at all.

  • Well, if it means anything, the photos are beautiful! I think you’re definitely headed in the right direction with these. They’re totally inspiring!

    I *adore* that yellow train case. I JUST blogged about train cases, the other night. I love ’em.

  • these shots are SO so so lovely!! i think they totally reflect RVA and the things your store and art embody. and they also remind me of the types of things I see in Anthro & Urban catalog :]

  • Elsie, you are so inspiring to me.
    Right now I’m working on making crafty things and dresses to sell on Etsy. Someday I hope to have an online store like yours or maybe even a real boutique like yours.
    I think you’re an amazing artist and business woman. Seeing all your hard work pay off really motivates me to work hard for my dreams as well.
    Thank you for being a daily inspiration.

  • I totally agree – you’ve got to do it in your OWN way that inspires you!!! If you don’t feel inspired, it will show. If you DO… it will SHOW!!! 😀 Love the concepts!

  • huge huge fan of these pics. and i know what you mean about being challenged – i always need that too or i get supah bored.

  • i LOVE the thought of concept photos and whats good is you can change them with the season or theme or whatever. AND i need that little coin purse belt NOW!


  • I like it.

    The muted tones are lovely, It’s definitely a bit less chipper then I’m used to from RVA but a switch up is always welcomed in my eyes.

    Kisses for experimenting and keeping it interesting for us RVA obsessive people!

  • Your photography is so inspiring! I love these photos and the idea of having bags and cool props in the photos.
    Way more inspiring than white background photos in my opinion and I am completely in love with the second photo and the one of the all blue dress. So lovely! Keep up the great work! 🙂

  • keep up the great work! we are all waiting with anticipation to what you’ll unveil next. it’s a good place to be. 😉

  • they look great elsie 🙂 im really glad to hear you are happy. its such an important thing for an artist to be happy with what they do. awesome, girl. keep up the good work. <3

  • love the styling of these photos — very anthro-esque! glad you went with your instincts & styled it the way you wanted to. and awesome that you used people you knew & loved!

  • Love your choice!!!!!

    I self-shoot a lot, so studio-style is easiest for me and the least embarrassing (i.e. not shooting myself with a tripod in a public space), but I love love love more “environment”-y shoots! xo

  • I love what you have created but maybe would minimize or contrast the number of items you have. The dress and the suitcases were competing with each other, same for the bicycle and the dress. I wasn’t sure which to focus on… but its a great start and keep going!

    I don’t really have a style of my own, so Im open to constantly experimenting. Recently, by a fluke I took a story telling photo not because I had planned for it, but because I had no time and just wanted to send a photo out. See my wedding gown photo here:

  • I love these photos! It’s like I can feel your inspiration coming right through the picture and straight to me. Thanks for letting us peek! 🙂

  • Personally I feel that these are far more gorgeous AND appropriate for your business! Hope you get a lot more business because of it <3

  • the pictures really create the right athmosphere for your business. Thank you for sharing your point of view!

  • i think you’ve done the right thing. reminds me of a scottish company called pedlars who use their family, dogs, homes etc to sell their products. also reminds me of the toast catalogue (not sure if you get that clothing / homeware brand in the states)

  • this is simply lovely! and you are very inspiring to me as main inspiration. if i hadn’t found red velvet art, i wouldn’t have found myself.

    and i wanted to tell you that because of you, i’ve got this whole new outlook on my life and what i’m supposed to do with it…

    i got out there and posted my photography as an artist…and believe it or not, i’ve been hired to shoot a wedding this winter! i’m so nervous and extremely excited about it!

    you are one of the most lovely women and i look up to you! i’m excited to meet you at Renegade in Chicago this year 🙂


  • Gorgeous shots, I am definitly drawn into the photographs! Love them! Great work!

  • urban outfitters catalog is always inspiring and never the boring studio shoot.

    your photots are reminding me of the store.

    leigh, ky

  • These photographs are excellent. I really love your styling- everything works together to tell the story of the product- as a photographer myself, I’m very inspired and impressed by your work!

  • I absolutely adore the pictures with the bike- I’ve always wanted to do a shoot like that.
    (I also am slightly obsessed with the blue dress in the second to last photo. So adorable)

  • Congrats Elsie! the photos are so beautiful and inspirings! I like it the first one!!

    Kisses from Spain and good luck with your photo shoots!!


  • i really like where your going with this, it’s natural to want to keep growing and avoid falling into “if it ain’t broke why fix it” pit.

    Challenge and change is key to the success of any business and you’re pushing forward. I salute you Miss Elsie, keep on truckin!

  • I Loooove this shoot! I get pretty bored w/simple product shots & I rarely feel a connection w/ a product if the way it’s displayed isn’t inspiring. I want a dress more if I see someone having fun or looking exciting, inspiring & interesting in it. I’m really excited to see what else you come up with!

  • i love the concept shoot, and as creative and inspiring as you are, you should always go with whatever your heart is telling you! Because Elise ideas are always a hundred times better than the norm!!!:)

    the shots are lovely!!!

    love you Elsie!!!

  • I love the new photos! I go to your website everyday to see the little gems you post. They totally make me happy and help me day dream. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Oh, also, I don’t agree w/one comment-er who said the suitcases & bike distract from the dresses & make it hard to know what to focus on. I think they add to the feel- we want to be the cute girl on the bike, or the vintage girl, going on a trip w/our stack of suitcases.
    Whatever you tag the photo will show what is specifically for sale & allow us to focus in just fine. Just my 2cent!

  • I totally agree – those are fully inspiring images, and they make me feel like I’m looking at someone I know, and am SUPER jealous of their amazing style.
    Oh wait
    I could totally have that look.

    You are a wiz.

  • really really wonderful.
    and far more appropriate for rva that any white background images.

    i think one of the reasons why people love rva so much is because it’s not just art or fashion or photography- it’s everything together and people can take little bits and pieces from it that they love.

    good work elsie!

  • As a graphic designer, I totally have a same fears!! I never imagined that you also did, though.

    I LOVE all these pics, they look awesome! Keep ’em coming!

  • These are great! I love the rounded edges of the photos, makes it feel very vintage.

  • I love the feel of these photos! It’s important to run with your inspiration. And look at the results! Beautiful photos that in turn inspire others.


    Talia Christine

  • You made such a good choice. These items shown on a white background wouldn’t have been half as inspiring. I now am not only inspired by your products but by your photography too!

  • I totally agree with you here–> “i think it’s very important to be professional, but for a business like mine it’s more important to be inspired!” (quoted from the post)

    PROPS to you for this! We need more people like you!!! Putting heart into things change the world.

  • Very nice jewelry for the test of time and they look much more beautiful jewelry that are usually cleaned to remove dust and dirt to collect without. The exact technique you use for cleaning and care of your jewelry depends on the program itself . Regardless of the type of jewelry you should obviously try to prevent it from scratches, beaten or whipped.

  • These look just great, Elsie! And I love seeing “real people” in photos as opposed to ridiculously tall and impossibly skinny models that very few people can relate to. Real people are so much more beautiful to me 🙂

    Keep being amazing! <3

    ~twiggy h.

  • I love the new direction. They’re beautiful and definitely inspiring. They capture the feel for the products and your personality as a designer/photographer. I can’t wait to see more!

  • beautiful shots! <3

    and i totally get what you're saying.

    i think it's important to understand the way light works, and i get that when you're showcasing an item, it's best to have it stand out on its own [hence the white background], but who's to say that the product can't be nicely framed by other objects?

  • Elsie, I don’t think you need to worry about ever being ‘routine’ or ‘out-dated’. You have a natural sense of style that will evolve as you evolve. You have the courage to be who you are and present your art for what it is…a reflection of you, what you love, who you love, and where you are going. Keep doing what you do best!LindaC (probably your oldest (in age) fan)

  • You inspire me so much Elsie, I adore these photos and love that you’re always pushing yourself to not only stay creative, but be happy in the process! *standing ovation*

  • Loving the new photo style! It’s really suits the fashion and sets it off with style! Can’t wait to see some of your handmade and art new look photos. xx

  • I’m so very proud of you! as I told you before, the photos are amazing <3 they are YOU, they are RVA, they are inspiring & beautiful. and TOTALLY professional!

  • I believe the only way to really push yourself is to take an idea,play with it, twist it, and turn it, until you discover something new and clever.



  • Elsie! I’m so happy about these new photos! They are very beautiful and leave me wanting things from your store even more!!! I’m glad you chose to do interesting backgrounds and props in your photos. 🙂


    Ashely from O’Canada

  • I love the new product photos. It’s so much better for me to see products in their natural element (how they’ll be used). I can’t wait to see more! 🙂

  • These are great photos! I can’t wait to do some modelled shots of my bags – it’s on the never-ending to do list!

  • i kind of wish i could forward this post to the people that run the company i work for. i’m a graphic designer/art director and it can be really frustrating when your superiors are satisfied with the status quo. to me, it’s so much better when a company is unique, personal, and true to it’s own style, but still evolving.

    so, way to go! you have really found your niche and that’s something that doesn’t happen for everyone / every business.

  • Ok… these photos are awesome! And this look is very popular right now for showing off product! Besides, I think natural light is way more becoming than studio light! Great job!

  • these shots are SO so so lovely!! i think they totally reflect RVA and the things your store and art embody. and they also remind me of the types of things I see in Anthro & Urban catalog

  • totally love the new look. excited about your summer collection!! thanks for a peek into your creative process, elsie. you’re so inspiring!

  • Those fashionable outfits are so inspiring. I am so amazed in all those outfits but what I really love among all the outfit was the stripe dress. It is a gorgeous dress.

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