Meet a Minted Artist: Kamala Nahas

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: photographer Kamala Nahas, who lives with her family in lives in Camarillo, California.

Kamala Nahas has always loved snapping photos, but it wasn’t until a trip to Arizona’s Antelope Canyon in 2011 that something clicked. She came home inspired and enrolled in classes to hone her technique; two years later, Kamala started her own photography business. Here, the Southern California-based shutterbug shares a glimpse into her life, process, and inspiration.

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
I’ve loved snapping pictures for as long as I can remember, but I never took it seriously. About four years ago we took a family road trip to Lake Powell in Page, Arizona. I had just gotten a new camera and literally ditched my family to go on a six-hour photography tour in Antelope Canyon. This was the first time I completely immersed myself into photography and was smitten with the whole process. Looking back, that was the beginning for me. For years I’d taken pictures at holiday gatherings, on vacations, and at my kids’ school events. Even though people told me I “had an eye,” I think part of me was afraid of making a serious try at something I’d never really been trained to do. Brooks Institute is close to my home and they offer workshops for budding photographers. It’s nothing like attending the school itself, but participating in a few of the workshops in the years that followed the Antelope Canyon shoot allowed me to gain some technical knowledge and see how I stacked up. About two years ago I started a small portrait and event photography business: Tall Poppy Photography. I love it. Even though it’s been so much fun capturing special moments and connections between people, my heart has always been in nature and landscape photography. Last year, I finally got the courage to submit some photos to Minted and explore the more creative side of my work. I feel fortunate to be a part of this community and can’t wait to see what lies ahead.

Did you study photography formally in school?
Aside from six weeks of photography in community college and a workshop here and there, I’m self taught.

What are some of your own “rules” for living + working?
In all things:
Be Authentic
Stand Up For Yourself and Others
There’s Always More Than One Way
Take A Chance
Wing It
Get Lost, Get Messy, Sing Loudly, Dance

Please describe your last month in a word.

What are you serious about?
I’m super passionate about education and volunteer a good portion of my time in schools. I’m very serious about finding ways of reinventing our educational system to ensure our next generation is made up of thinkers, innovators, and makers with a global conscience. I’m also very serious about preparing grilled cheese sandwiches properly—crunchy on the outside, creamy in the middle, with a side of homemade tomato soup to dip the corners into.

What things will you never take seriously?
Road trips, chocolate, and mashed potatoes are all things that should never be taken seriously—even when they are bad, they are still good.

Please tell us about your family.
I’ve been married for twenty years to my first and only true love. We have three children. My oldest is my daughter Asha who is almost fifteen. She is my partner in crime and assists me in my business—I’m going to be pretty lost when she goes off to college in a couple years. My oldest son, Sassin, is twelve. He has a generous spirit and can generally be found playing soccer in real life or on the XBox. My youngest son is almost ten. His name is Samir and he is the character in the family. He is constantly building something or making something or experimenting with something or getting away with something. Our house is loud and messy, but we love each other a bunch and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Click through to read more from Minted artist Kamala Nahas

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on Meet a Minted Artist: Kamala Nahas

Has anything ever scared you so much it inspired you?

Sometimes fear can be a good thing—in the sense that it can inspire you to take a risk or move in a new direction. For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, we asked Lehan Veenker, Natalie Groves, and Annie Seaton to answer the question Has anything ever scared you so much it inspired you?

Lehan Veenker
Plainfield, Illinois

As strange as it may sound, the thought of not being able to stay at home with my kids scared me. My husband and I always knew that having one of us stay home with our kids was important to us. In order to make that happen, I needed to find a career that would allow me to work at home with kids, and neither of my former professions would allow the time and flexibility to make that a reality.

I have always been fond of art and design and stumbled upon Minted in 2008 when it was just starting. I decided to enter a couple of challenges and didn’t have any winning designs. In my mind, I completely failed to enter anything close to the caliber of designs already present at Minted. I was scared of failing again and missing this amazing opportunity to work at home with our then-future-now-present children, so I took a break to learn. I taught myself about Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, textures, typography—anything design-related that I could get my hands on. This self-teaching hiatus lasted about two years. In September 2010, I decided to give Minted another shot and actually had some winning designs in the wedding challenge that year.

From then on out, I continued to build my collection on Minted, which enabled me to stay at home with my kids. Even before they were born, my children were the catalyst of my graphic design career, and they continue to inspire me every day, as seen in works like my “Heritage Children” art print and my “Enjoy The Little Things” holiday design.

Heritage Children” by Lehan Veenker

Enjoy the Little Things” by Lehan Veenker

Natalie Groves
Exira, Iowa

One day my family and I were checking on our pumpkins, and we came across a giant garden spider! He had intricate yellow designs on his big black body. He was so spooky that we were in awe, and instead of smashing him, we let him be and visited him every time we entered the pumpkin patch (mostly because we didn’t want him to surprise us in a different location). His web became one of the “homes” featured in my latest painting for the A is for Art Challenge.

Our daughter Navine (rhymes with “pine”) loves to investigate new things with her little pointer finger. It’s so fun to teach her about the world, and I love that I can do that through illustration.

Homes” by Natalie Groves

Name Bearers” by Natalie Groves

Annie Seaton with two Two Venice Beach longboarders. (Photo by Sonja Schenk)

Annie Seaton
Sherman Oaks, California

That would be pretty much everything. Let’s start with my decision to get pregnant and have two kids. I was scared to let go of my career and allow myself to become a mother. I always tell my children they are my best creative project. I never anticipated they’d become my best muses.

One of the reasons I named my daughter Violet was after a favorite oil color “Quinachridone Violet.” I felt her name reflected my creative values. Now, some of my bestselling artworks and paintings are of Zac and Violet. I would have never guessed I would paint them, and documented their entire childhood through my lens and paintings.

Secondly, I took a risk and decided to be a full-time artist after raising them. I moved into my own art studio and exhibited in the U.S. and Canada. It was a scary risk to not go back to a traditional job, and years later my artworks are selling in my Minted Artist Store.

Lastly, I did return to work and ran a brand-new photo gallery from the ground up as its director. I was scared, because I didn’t know if I could handle it and be a mom at the same time. I built up its program from zero, curated bi-monthly exhibitions, threw major special events, and grew to a very significant place in the L.A. photo scene. I was scared but I told myself,  “Don’t think Annie—just do it.” And it was one of the best projects I ever did and I’m proud of every exhibition and all the artist friendships I’ve made there.

Zachary And Violet Oxnard I” by Annie Seaton  

Zach and Violet Intertube” by Annie Seaton

How about you—has anything ever scared you so much it inspired you? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe. We feature some of our favorite social shares in our Minted Fine Arts newsletter.


Who’s your biggest creative influence?
When you need a quick creative pick-me-up, what do you do?
How has education inspired your creativity?

Published October 26, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on Has anything ever scared you so much it inspired you?

5 Tips for Getting Press From Local Media and Blogs

Written by Brady Wood

What’s not to love about publicity? In addition to being free (or, at least, inexpensive), press coverage is more organic and authentic than paid advertising. Both press coverage and advertising have their places in building a brand. PR, in its pure form, is an objective, editorial endorsement of your work. PR vouches for you, whereas advertising is inherently self-promotional.

Want to hear another beautiful thing about PR? The saying is true: press begets more press. Journalists and bloggers read each other’s work. Once you garner some coverage, you’re more likely to be discovered by other journalists and bloggers and get included in their stories, as well.

The Minted PR Team has strong relationships with national publications and publicists. Our team pitches stories about a wide variety of Minted artists to national media (and select international media), ranging from magazines to television to major blogs.

To build your personal brand with publicity, we encourage Minted artists to start local, including local newspapers, entertainment and arts weeklies, blogs, and local TV. Not sure where to begin? Here are five tips to help get you started.

Shari Margolin’s “Illustrious Hanukkah” card was featured in a holiday cards feature in Atlanta Magazine’s November 2013 issue.

1. Create Your Pitch List

When it comes to local and regional media to choose from, who’s most likely to feature you? Keep this question at the front of your mind as you compile a list of the publications and blogs you’d like to pitch your story to.

If you’re unsure of what’s out there beyond local traditional media, Google is your oyster. Search for local blogs with keywords like “Dallas art blog” or “Texas photography blog.” Once you identify some blogs that you like, look for a blogroll on their site — many blogs maintain a list of links to similar blogs.

Study the blogs’ content and whether your work plus their content makes an editorial match made in heaven. For example, would your art complement a particular local home décor blogger’s design aesthetic? Do you create baby and kids designs that would gel perfectly with a particular local mommy blogger’s vibe? Does your local city magazine produce an annual holiday gift guide? If yes, put these publications on your pitch list.

2. Arm Yourself With Information

Once you’ve identified your Pitch List, take a deeper dive into their content, and identify the best person or people to contact with your story pitch. Some publications post editorial guidelines, deadlines and time frames, and advice for pitching stories.

As you’re reviewing publications’ previously published articles, ask yourselves these questions and take notes:

  • Have they covered artists before? If so, how did they cover them? Is there a particular “art” or “home decor” writer? If so, keep track of their name.

  • Does the publication have any sort of regular series that spotlights shopping recommendations, local businesses, entrepreneurs, or creatives?

  • What kinds of feature stories do they publish? How could you creatively pitch yourself for a story with an angle that’s different from what’s already been done?

  • How far in advance is this writer, blogger, or reporter working on stories? In general, magazines work months in advance, newspapers and TV might work weeks in advance, and bloggers have the most flexibility (although most established bloggers sometimes book their calendar weeks or months in advance). If they haven’t published this information on their website, it’s a good question to ask and it will demonstrate your willingness to accommodate the writer’s needs.

Editors and writers appreciate that you’ve taken time to read their work; if you convey that you’re a fan of their work and you’ve taken time to understand what they’ve already published, you’re making it easier for them to make a decision.

Michigan artist Kelly Ventura was featured in the November/December issue of Midwest Living.

3. Pitch an Interesting and Complete Story Idea

Now that you’re armed with information, you’re ready to craft your pitch email. As for how you approach editors, use your authentic voice and address them by their first name—not “Dear Publication Editors.” A casual, friendly, and energetic tone works well with writers and bloggers. Score bonus points for personalizing the message by including a personal detail that you have in common with the reporter, such as mutual friends, parenting similar aged kids, shared interests, or the reporter’s hometown.

You may want to use a slightly more professional tone with traditional journalists (for example, with bloggers, you can let the exclamation points fly in your emails, but with journalists, you might dial down the exclamation points a bit). Exclamations aside, you can keep it conversational and friendly with professional journalists. Don’t be stiff or overly formal.

As for pitching yourself for editorial coverage, think about your “hook.” As in, what will make your story compelling and timely to the publication’s audience? As you’re writing your pitch email, include details such as:

  • Ideas for beautiful and unique visual content that you could provide (beautiful images are particularly important for bloggers, who are always hungry for eye candy)
  • Relevant facts and links to your work and other press you’ve received
  • Information about your accolades and achievements
  • Any exclusive portraits, photographs, or designs

Karly Depew, first-place winner of Minted’s 2015 Holiday Card Challenge, was featured in Columbus Business First.

4. Pounce Quickly and Follow Through

Keep in in mind that media tends to move on extremely fast deadlines. If they like your story idea and want to feature you, be prepared for a fast turnaround. Respond to media inquiries within hours when possible, but always respond within 24 hours. Make sure you’re clear from the start about the deadline and timeline that the reporter has in mind.

Always follow through on your commitments. This is an obvious but extremely important point. Follow-through builds trust. If the writer knows you’re a reliable go-to person in a pinch, they’re more likely to call on you for future story opportunities.
5. Build Relationships and Scratch Their Backs

Show bloggers and local publications that you’re a fan of their work by following them on social media. Media outlets tend to check out your social presence to see if you have a strong following and can help them promote the published story.

We recommend following the social media accounts of all of your local publications and blogs and that you follow individual writers and reporters public social media accounts. In other words, it’s fine to follow a reporter’s public Instagram feed. You might, however, want to wait until you’ve established a connection before following their private social media accounts. Keep in mind that some people like to keep their personal and professional accounts separate, and don’t be offended if they don’t accept your connection request on their private account.

If you spot another interesting story or local event that you think would be interesting for a given blogger or reporter, send it their way as a friendly, no-strings-attached FYI. You can also help local reporters network—make introductions to people you know who could be helpful to them.

Your genuine helpfulness shows that you support the writer and appreciate her work. And what comes around tends to go around.

Brady Wood is Vice President of External Relations at Minted, working with our artist relations, public relations, business development, and social media teams. He has been with Minted for almost four years and previously led marketing. Brady has been building online communities since the Internet stone ages (mid-90s) and has led marketing, public relations, and partnerships for several successful startups (if you have high schoolers, they probably know his last venture, Shmoop). Follow him on Instagram @BradyWood and on Twitter @bradyrw.

This is the seventh article in our 2015 Minted Holiday Playbook for Artist Stores, a one-month program designed to teach artists how to better merchandise, market, and sell their work. Stay tuned to the Community>Resources section of Julep for more.


How to Promote Your Artist Store Beyond Social Media
What Are the Best Social Media Platforms for You?
9 Ways to Build a Social Media Following
Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand
How To Merchandise Your Artist Store for the Holidays
10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store
The Essential Checklist for Minted Artist Stores

Published October 26, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.
MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on 5 Tips for Getting Press From Local Media and Blogs

How to Promote Your Artist Store Beyond Social Media

Written by Amy Schroeder

October is the perfect time to prepare your Minted Artist Store for the holiday shopping season. To make a memorable first impression, we recommend completing your Store merchandising and marketing by Halloween. This is when holiday catalogs begin to hit mailboxes, and consumers start thinking seriously about their holiday cards and gifts. By mid-November, momentum is really building, and the 10 days immediately following Thanksgiving are the biggest shopping days of the year.

Social media is a tremendous way to build your brand and promote your Store, but you don’t have to stop there. Personal websites and blogs, events and tradeshows, email newsletters, and print collateral are great opportunities to promote your Store beyond the social stratosphere. Let’s take a look at some of the creative ways to promote your Store all year round.
Personal Websites
Your personal Website is one of the best places to define your personal artist brand and serve as a home base to all of your marketing, including your Artist Store, social media, articles in the media about you, a blog (if you have one), and more.

Minted artist Carrie O’Neal is redesigning her site, but wants to make sure that she was armed and ready for the holiday season. Her solution? She created a temporary landing page that provides her contact info and a “SHOP” link that directs viewers to her Minted Artist Store. “My landing page matches the branding of my Store,” says the Ohio artist.

Renee Pulve of Smudge Design promotes her Minted products in the header photo of her homepage and links to her Minted Artist Store via the top “Shop Stationery & Art” button on her personal site’s righthand sidebar. Each quarter, Renee spends about three hours updating her site, usually just before the upcoming season.

To create a cohesive look on her personal site and Artist Store, she uses the same logo and portrait on both platforms. “I know it’s easy to fall into the trap of following the pack for imagery and style, so I concentrated my Minted Artist Store and site on the creative elements that set me apart—watercolors and sketching,” she says. “You can also access my Tumblr through my site, which includes postings about featured work with links back to my Store.”
If you love creating content, blogs are a great platform for telling your story via images and words—especially if you’re prolific and want to go deeper than, say, one line of copy on social media. Like your personal site, blogs are a great way to link to your Minted products and your Minted Artist Store, within the context of an interesting article. If you’re considering building a blog, read “The 10 Best Blogging Platforms Available for Free” to help you select the right platform for you.

Andrew McClintock promotes his Minted Artist Store on his blog, The Austin, Texas, artist covers the stories behind his art and creative process, such as his trending “A Deer Friend” print, below. His blog article opens with, “It’s not every day a 200-pound wild animal watches you eat spaghetti.”

Artist Erika Firm considers her blog,, to be one part editorial content and one part mini art portfolio. She uses her blog to showcase licensing projects, artwork, and passion projects. She also uses her blog to remind friends, family, and fans to vote for her work in Minted Design Challenges and includes small banners in the sidebar to direct visitors to her Minted Artist Store.

Events and Tradeshows

If you sell or promote your work at art and craft fairs or industry tradeshows, share your Artist Store information so customers know they can order a variety of formats of your work. Place an email sign-up sheet at your booth and follow up with customers to thank them for stopping by and sharing a link to your Store.

Jessica Tree of The Social Type says The National Stationery Show is the most impactful way to expose her company brand and products to the out to the stationery industry. The Social Type is planning to share their work in pop-up shops during the holiday sales season. “It’s important to collaborate and network,” Jessica said. “You’d be surprised how communication among like-minded people can create new opportunities.”
Email Newsletters and Promotions

Email is still one of the most effective ways to promote your business and drive sales. Create a newsletter to spotlight your latest Challenge-winning work and self-launch products on your Minted Store, and include interesting updates and photos about your creative process.

Many creative small businesses use email template programs such as MailChimp to build their content and manage their lists.

A fall email promotion from Moglea

Print Collateral and Business Cards

The Social Type sends retailers and NSS attendees a pre-show mailer, both online and through snail mail. In 2015, they hosted a happy hour at our booth, and offered additional show specials. “This was a great way for us to socialize and network with retailers and people in the industry,” Jessica says.

Erika Firm takes a creative approach to business cards, which are letterpressed in grey ink in bulk, then hand finished with paint for a unique look. “I paint a few dozen a time, usually before a show or event—some people even collect them,” she says. “They’re a good conversation piece and the little details are a subtle reminder that my work is handmade.”

We’d love to hear from you. What do you think are the best ways to promote your artist brand and Minted Artist Store? Share your thoughts in Comments below.

About the Author: Amy Schroeder, Minted’s Community Content Manager, founded Venus, the magazine about women in the arts and DIY culture, and has written for Etsy, West Elm, and NYLON. Connect on Instagram @thevenuslady.

This is the sixth article in our 2015 Minted Holiday Playbook for Artist Stores, a one-month program designed to teach artists how to better merchandise, market, and sell their work. Stay tuned to the Community>Resources section of Julep for more.

What Are the Best Social Media Platforms for You?
9 Ways to Build a Social Media Following
Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand
How To Merchandise Your Artist Store for the Holidays
10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store

Published October 20, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on How to Promote Your Artist Store Beyond Social Media

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Advice is like a train. You can take it or leave it.

For the launch of our #ArtistAdvice series, we asked Minted artists Tanya Lee of Frooted Design and Eric Beckett of GeekInk to share the best career advice they’ve ever received. Luckily, it shaped their paths for the better.

Stay tuned to the Community>Resources section of Julep. For upcoming editions of #ArtistAdvice, we’ll take a deeper dive into advice ranging from artistic techniques, personal branding, and life-changing insights.

Tanya Lee of Frooted Design
Orange County, California

Think of your computer as just another tool. If you always begin there, then what you can or cannot do on the computer limits your full creative potential.

Practically speaking, this means I usually begin a project by writing word lists, sketching, or experimenting with new mediums. Sometimes it means taking a step back and just hanging out with my family, who often proves to be my best inspiration. For example, “Splash-o-saurus” was inspired by spending the summer swimming with my dino-loving 5-year-old son).

(Right) “Splash-0-Saurus” Art Print by Frooted Design

Peace on Earth’s Globe” Business Holiday Card by Frooted Design

Eric Beckett of GeekInk
Los Angeles

In the middle designing an invitation for a Minted wedding Design Challenge, my wife walked in and saw that I was working on a floral-themed wedding invite. In a confused voice, she asked, “Why are you trying to do florals? That’s not your style.”

That one small question made me stop and really think about what I was doing. My florals were horrible, and I realized that the key to me being a successful designer wasn’t in trying to do what other successful designers were doing, but to find what I could do better. It freed me from the stigma that “florals always win,” and I was able to think outside the box and design what I thought looked cool. Sometimes the best advice isn’t advice at all, but simply asking the right questions. The next day, I started working on my Antique Lines design, and to this day, it’s still one of my favorite creations.

Antique Lines” Foil-Pressed Wedding Invitation by GeekInkDesign

Merry Little Lines” Holiday Card by GeekInk Design

What’s the best career advice you’ve received? Share your answer in Comments below and on social media with the hashtag #ArtistAdvice.
This is the first edition of Minted’s #ArtistAdvice series. Get a glimpse into more Minted artists’ lives in our #WhatInspiresMe series:
MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

9 Ways to Build a Social Media Following

By Meighan O’Toole

Building an audience and creating community can feel like an enormous task when you look at it broadly. One could get the idea that a social media audience should be thousands deep—but that’s not always the case. In fact, the most important thing about creating an online following is the engagement you cultivate from the followers you do have.

While building a following takes time, laying the foundation for a highly engaged audience only takes converting one follower at a time. So while you may only have a handful of followers now, that doesn’t mean you can’t build upon your current following and develop a strong and robust community starting today.

Here we cover basic tactics to focus on while building an audience on social media.
People” by Heather Marie
1. Be Authentic and Share Your Voice
Just be yourself. People are tired of being sold to on social media. Write captions that are real and authentic, and truly represent your brand and your process. In the highly curated perfect world we live in, people crave authenticity. Let your followers get to know you. Show bits of your life, and behind the scenes. They’ll follow you for it!

Brandy Brown of Marabou Design shares a great shot of her daughter on Instagram.

2. Make Yourself Findable

Don’t make people guess or search for you—let them know exactly where to find you. It should go without saying that social media accounts should be accessible on your website, but don’t stop there. There are many other places for potential followers to find you.

Your email signature, newsletter, and blog or personal site should direct potential followers to your social media accounts and your Minted Artist Store. Add your most active social account to your business card. This is key for when you’re speaking with someone in person—hand them your card and tell them where they can find you. Promotional paper products such as hangtags, postcards, and notecards should spell out exactly where your clients can find you. Pinterest, Facebook, and Google+ offer areas within your profile to plug in other social media accounts. Utilize these to point followers to your other accounts.

Everyone is part of your potential audience, and it only takes a few seconds to tell them how to find you.

3. Make a Strong First Impression

Studies have shown you have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention online, so it’s imperative that your accounts tell your story succinctly. Profile images should match across all platforms so you’re easily recognizable. It’s best to use the same (or at least very similar) username across all platforms for consistency. You can change your username on most social networks, so you could change that regrettable “@bonjovi4ever” username to one that reinforces your real name or your artist name. Using the same handle on all social networks will save you space in your advertising. Rather than listing a different handle for each network, you can say “follow @minted on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.”

Where it’s offered, choose a cover image that represents your brand (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn all offer cover images.) For brand consistency, you may want to use the same cover image that’s featured on your Minted Artist Store. Fill out your bio using keywords (like “artist and illustrator in Detroit, Michigan”) so your accounts are easily searchable.

Pro Tip: If you have dormant social accounts (perhaps Twitter is no longer your cup of tea but you still have the account), make sure all of the above are up to date on these accounts, and your bio and most recent post points possible followers to your most active account.

Amy Moen uses the same logo on her Tumblr that appears on her personal site,

4. Engage, Engage, Engage

The key to creating a supportive community online is responding to comments in a timely manner. Building a captivated audience rests on demonstrating that you hear them. Responding to followers takes a few seconds, and could gain you a follower for life. Engage with followers within 24 hours. Social media is a 24/7 game, and while no one expects you to respond immediately every time, there is an expectation of timeliness.

Responding to comments in an authentic way shows your audience that you’re interested in them and that you appreciate the time they spend to support you. They’ll recognize and respect you for your response, and will continue to engage with you because of it. Social media is a two-way street, and followers know that now more than ever.

5. Follow Back, Share, and Spread the Wealth

While you don’t need to follow everyone who follows you, it’s smart and spreads goodwill to follow others within your community and industry, especially those who have followed and supported you. Everyone has their own guidelines as to why they follow someone, but it’s important to pay attention to this aspect of community on social. Be aware of who your supporters are. If they have continually shared and bought your work, following, liking, and commenting on their content is a great way to say thanks and build a relationship that could become a true brand evangelist.

You’re part of a strong community on Minted—who are some of your favorite fellow artists? Team up with your friends and colleagues and share, like, and comment on each other’s posts. Offer to do Instagram takeovers (where you take over their account for one day) for fellow artists, spread the word on Twitter or Pinterest about their work and products, share their Facebook posts to your page. Not only does this give you more content to work with, it spreads the wealth of your fellow artists.

Tag brands and products that you use in your daily life along with bloggers and publications you follow on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Some of these other brands and content producers may regram, retweet, or repost your content, which are great ways to get your content out there and attract more followers.

6. Diversify Your Content Across Platforms

Give followers a reason to follow you across all of your social platforms by offering interesting and dynamic content that isn’t the same thing you’ve cross-posted everywhere else. If you don’t have time to create completely unique content across platforms, you can repurpose the same or similar photos from a scene or story, and alter the copy.

Post behind-the-scene peeks, special discounts, giveaways, or exclusive looks at works in progress to specific accounts. We’ll share special holiday discount codes with artists with Minted Stores via email soon—offering your followers Minted discounts will be a good way to spread news about your Store and offer something fun and unique.

While it may seem daunting, offering varied and compelling content is possible if you take time to plan. Experiment with different types of content to make your voice unique. Providing diverse content encourages your audience to not only be loyal to you but also sets you apart.

Read “6 Tips for Creating Engaging Social Media Content” to develop other ideas for unique content.

7. Make Your Content Discoverable With #Hashtags

Using hashtags in your posts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest helps people discover your content when they’re searching for topics they’re interested in, and essentially attracts new followers.

SocialMention shows trending hashtags, and Trendsmap is a fun tool that allows you to see which hashtags are popular by geographic region. Monitoring hashtag tools help inspire content ideas and make your posts more discoverable. In this screencap, you can see that #thanksgiving is trending in Canada, which makes sense since it was taken on the day that Canada celebrates Thanksgiving (October 12, 2015).

A few hashtags that are used by Minted and our artist community:

  • #mintedartist: posts about artists
  • #mintiespotting: spotting your fellow Minties covered in the press and blogosphere
  • #whatinspiresme: Minted asks its community to share your sources of inspiration
  • #artoftheday: a huge worldwide feed of art
  • #detroitartist: (replace with your city, state, or country) tap into your local arts community
  • #minteddesignchallenge: share your challenge submissions
  • #mintedweddings, #mintedholiday, #mintedart, #mintedhome, #mintedbaby, #mintedkids, #mintedfabric: Minted product categories

Pro Tip: If you don’t want to clutter your Instagram copy with too many hashtags, upload your image and caption, and then post a second comment beneath your caption that includes your hashtags. This comment will be hidden from view once there are multiple comments on your post. Use a notes app to save your hashtags so you can cut and paste easily.

Add the hashtags as a comment within a few minutes of uploading your image and no later; otherwise, you’ll miss the opportunity to get your image at the top of the particular hashtag feed. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per image, and you can only tag your own posts. While others may add hashtags to your images, these do not show up in the hashtag feeds.
8. Be Dependable and Stay on Brand

People like reliability, and social media is no exception. Don’t disappear for days or weeks at a time and then suddenly flood your timeline or post one link on Facebook per month. Not only will algorithms ignore your activity, people may not remember who you are or why they followed you.

Pro Tip: you can pre-schedule posts on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Prepare a week’s worth of posts in one sitting, then set the date and time that you want them to be published.

  • Facebook Brand Pages allow you to schedule a post (click the pull-down menu next to the “Publish” button when you publish a post).

  • Tumblr allows you to schedule posts (look for the option when you publish a post)

  • Hootsuite is a tool that allows you to schedule tweets for Twitter

Post consistent content that aligns with your particular message and aesthetic. You may not consider yourself a “brand,” but you do have a style that people have chosen to follow you for. Stay on brand as it were—your followers have chosen to follow you for a reason, so give them what they came for.

Stay consistent with your posting activity so your followers not only get to know you, but depend on your content.

Portland artist Alicia Schultz of Vine & Thistle is a good example of showing a cohesive brand on her Instagram.

9. Look Outside Social Media

Go beyond your own feeds to find your community. Join Facebook groups, Twitter chats (one of my favorites is Caitlin Bacher’s #CreativeBizChat), and Pinterest Boards. These are all great ways to connect with other artists and build your following.

But don’t just look for community online—seek out groups that meet in person to connect with other like-minded individuals. Academy of Handmade is a great group of makers and artists that meets in California and is expanding elsewhere. Reach out to your local community as well. Is there a small boutique you admire? A creative workshop center? A craft store? Approach them and see if they’re open to partnering with you on social media. Discuss doing an Instagram takeover of their feed, or a giveaway of one of your prints.

Building a following takes time, energy, and a little experimentation. Have fun and enjoy the process. Think outside the box! Follow your gut and be true to yourself. But above all, get to know your community because without them, where would you be?

Meighan O’Toole is a digital strategist empowering creative businesses online through social media, content creation, and cultivating community. Connecting people to technology to help make their work and personal lives easier and more enjoyable is her passion. She lives and works in Boston. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

This is the fifth article in our 2015 Minted Holiday Playbook for Artist Stores, a one-month program designed to teach artists how to better merchandise, market, and sell their work. Stay tuned to the Community>Resources section of Julep for more.

What are the Best Social Media Platforms for You?
Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand
How To Merchandise Your Artist Store for the Holidays
10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store

Published October 15, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on 9 Ways to Build a Social Media Following

Non-Photo Holiday Challenge: Guest Judge’s Pick

This holiday season, customers searching for a non-photo holiday-card design will be in for a treat! Our Minted community of artists dreamed up fresh holiday cards that feature strong typography, illustrations, and graphic design. Check out our guest judge’s pick!

We were so excited when Brittany Jepsen—designer, crafter, and stylist behind one our favorite blogs The House that Lars Built—signed up to help judge our “Winter Wonderland Non-Photo Holiday Challenge.” Brittany’s favorite holiday-card design? The cheery, bright-yellow “Bursts and Swirls” by Genna Cowsert. Which makes complete sense, since Brittany is all about color (she pioneered the fun Insta hashtag #dresstherainbow).

Bursts and Swirls” by Genna Cowsert

“Everything about ‘Bursts and Swirls’ by Genna Cowsert expresses the exuberance of the meaning of the card, from the bright yellow to the jubilant typography. It’s a non-traditional
color to ring in the new year, which is both refreshing and enthusiastic.

—Brittany Jepsen, blogger of  The House that Lars Built

Congratulations, Genna! Check out more non-photo holiday-card designs here and click through below to see more prize-winning holiday cards from this year’s collection.

More Winning Holiday-Card Designs:
• “Winter Wonderland” Non-Photo Holiday-Card Challenge: Special Prize Winners
• Holiday Photo-Card Challenge: 1st Place Winner
• Holiday Photo-Card Challenge: 2nd Place Winner
• Holiday Photo-Card Challenge: 3rd Place Winner

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on Non-Photo Holiday Challenge: Guest Judge’s Pick

6 Tips for Creating Engaging Social Media Content

By Christina Loff

Have you decided which social media platforms are right for you and your artist brand?

Now comes the fun part—creating great content. The blogging and social media landscapes have changed quite a bit in recent years. Blogs were once the home of content. Today, the lines between blogs and social networks have blurred a bit as social networks have increasingly become home to content, albeit short-form content. Blogs still play an important role in hosting your longer-form content, but it’s more important than ever to invest time and energy into building your artist brand on sites like Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.

Here are six tips for creating compelling social posts that will keep your followers hitting the “like” button and sharing your content with their friends.

Christine Joy shares beautifully composed behind-the-scenes social posts, and she uses search-friendly hashtags.

1. Understand and Connect With Your Audience

Knowing what makes your audience tick is perhaps the most important continual “research” you’ll do to inform your content-creation process. To understand your fans, follow some of the people who follow you, spend time looking at what they share and the other artists and brands they follow.

Another great way to learn about your audience is to pay attention to what they respond to. For example, if you post a photo of your latest painting in progress, and it gets more likes than anything else you’ve posted, that’s a good indication that your audience is hungry for behind-the-scenes work-in-progress shots, so give them what they want. Your followers are telling you what kind of content they love every time they like, share, and comment, so pay attention, and let those clues inform your content strategy.

Don’t be afraid to like and comment on your followers’ posts. Chances are, they’ll be flattered you took the time to check them out, too. You want to establish a genuine connection with your followers, which means you’re also paying attention to what they’re posting and you aren’t just there to grow your numbers.

Carly Reed includes a strong call to action in this timely Facebook post along with a well-styled photo.

2. Track Your Results and Set Goals

There are many tools available to help you understand your audience, track your results, and monitor engagement. Some of these tools are free, and there are many complex tools you can use for a monthly fee.

These tools are free and easy to use:

Hungry to learn more? There are also a number of blogs to keep you up to date on the ever-changing social media landscape; Social Media Examiner, Hubspot, Simply Measured, and Buffer are all solid resources worth reading.

It’s important to set goals around how often you will post, how many new followers you will try to gain each week or month, how much traffic you want to drive back to your Minted Artist Store or website, or how many clicks you’d like to see on the links you post. is a great free tool that helps you create shorter, unique URLs that are trackable so you can see how many people click on each link that you share.

@MogleaMeg Instagram fans loved the post about proprietor Meg Gleason’s daughter.

3. Showcase Your Original Aesthetic

Show the world who you really are. The content you post should reflect what’s unique and interesting about your artistic style. While it’s easy to take inspiration from other artists you follow on social media, remind yourself what sets you apart and focus on that. Your social media posts should feel like an authentic snapshot into your life, your work, and your inspiration. Lean more toward personal or editorial images, and shy away from anything that feels too much like an advertisement.

What content can you share that no one else would think to post? Do you live in the countryside surrounded by goats and horses? Share photos of your environment that will surprise and delight your audience. Are you a mom who doesn’t start designing until the kids are in bed? What does that look like? How many cups of coffee do you consume while creating? What rituals do you do to get inspired and motivated? Chances are, your processes are different from other artists, and your fans might get a kick out of learning that you need to listen to Barry Manilow to get into your painting groove.

Once you figure out what makes you uniquely you, it’s important to take great photos that will grab people’s attention. Read “10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store,” for advice that doubles for shooting your creative process and styled product shots for social media. And don’t be afraid to post differentiated variations of your content on your chosen social media platforms, to maximize mileage. You can also cross-post between networks (for example, linking to Instagram content from Facebook) to help your followers on one social network find you on another social network.

Social media is a visual medium—even Twitter has become visual. Studies have shown that tweets that include photos actually get up to 150% higher engagement than tweets that only include text or links. Show off who you really are with great photos and visuals, and experiment with the social platforms you share them on.
Minted Artist Patricia Vargas of Parima Studio has a beautiful Instagram aesthetic.
4. Be Consistent
We recommend creating a social media content plan or schedule. This can be as simple as deciding how often you will post and what you will share each day. For example, on Sundays, you could share a photo of the mess you made in your studio over the weekend, or you could ask your audience a question every Wednesday. For #tbt (Throwback Thursday), you could share a photo of your favorite painter or a vintage illustration that inspires your own work (Creative Commons on Flickr is a great resource). But don’t get so consistent that you get bored! Keep your schedule interesting, and don’t be afraid to mix things up when your posts feel stagnant.
The other essential element of consistency is posting regularly. Commit to how many times a week you will post on the social networks you’re active on, and stick to it. Opinions vary greatly about how often you should post on social; the best rule of thumb is to do what feels right for you, measure your results, and adjust accordingly. Buffer has a great infographic on how often they think people should post and why.


  • Pinterest: It’s good to spend at least an hour a day pinning and aim for 10 or more pins per day. Make sure that your pin descriptions include important keywords like colors and product categories, for example, “blue watercolor art print.” This will help Pinterest searchers find your pins. About half of your pins should be content other than your own—repin from other pinners or pin from content you find on other websites. Mix your products and content in with others so your boards are not overly self-promotional. To make your daily pinning easier, add the Pin It button to your own browser. If you want people to pin your artwork from your website, make sure to add a “pin it” button on your website for your visitors to use. Think of yourself as a curator on Pinterest and use this platform as another way to showcase your aesthetic.

  • Instagram: We recommend posting no more than two times a day, but posting just one solid photo once a day is totally acceptable on this platform. Instagram is about quality over quantity.

  • Facebook: Because of Facebook’s algorithms for brands that have Facebook Pages, it’s a bit harder to get your content seen on this platform unless you boost your posts or pay for sponsored posts. You can also post from your personal account, but, depending on your privacy settings, your posts will only be seen by your Facebook friends. If you have a brand Page, we recommend posting about once per day on this platform.

  • Twitter: Tweets have a short lifespan (about 15 to 30 minutes), so chances are most of your followers won’t see your tweets unless they happen to be looking at Twitter the exact moment you tweet. For this reason, it’s OK to post more often on Twitter. As many as five to ten tweets a day is acceptable. But remember what works best on Twitter is being a part of conversations, so reply to other people’s tweets and retweet often.

Descriptive captions are one of the most important elements of Pinterest pins. To help fellow Pinterest users find your pins, use keywords such as product type descriptors and colors (example: “brown fall wedding invitation”). Shown here: Erika Firm’s Pinterest.

5. Be Timely

Acknowledging what’s going on in the world helps define your voice as an artist, and chances are, your followers will want to engage with you. Is there something relevant happening in the world that relates to what you do or what you know matters to your followers? For example, did a new museum open in your city, or is a big event happening? Share an article, photo, or thought about relevant current events.

@Minted shared this beautiful artwork by Kiana Mosely on the day the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. This is Minted’s top Instagram post of all time.

6. Give Something Back

It’s important to remember to not always talk about yourself on social media. What can you give your followers that will inform or entertain them? Sometimes this could be a contest or giveaway of one of your prints. It could also mean you regram the work of one of your super fans, they will appreciate that you took the time to notice their work and are helping to grow their audience, too. Do you have any great tips on how to take a great photo? Do you have easy recipes you can share around the holidays? Maybe you discovered an amazing new band—tell your followers.

People who are active on social media like being in the know, so give them something they can use and share with their own friends and followers. Maybe it’s a cool gif, or a link to a great story that will make them look informed. You could deliver your readers a shot of beauty in their day, and sometimes you can share information that they can’t find anywhere else. Be useful to your followers.

Betty Hatchett did a nice job tagging fellow artist Lindsey Megahed in this re-post in which both artists are featured.

Christina Loff is an Artist Relations Manager at Minted, focusing on outreach and onboarding. She relishes every opportunity to collaborate with creative people and brings communities together around original products and ideas. She’s been lucky enough to work with the talented and innovative teams at ReadyMade magazine (RIP), Creativebug, Hello!Lucky, and Chronicle Books, where she worked as a publicist and marketer for six years developing and promoting their lifestyle and craft category. Christina has also written for various websites and magazines including CraftStylish and SFist. Follow Christina on Instagram @tweetsweet.

This is the fourth article in our 2015 Minted Holiday Playbook for Artist Stores, a one-month program designed to teach artists how to better merchandise, market, and sell their work. Stay tuned to the Community>Resources section of Julep for more.

What’s the Best Social Media Platform for You?
Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand
How To Merchandise Your Artist Store for the Holidays
10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store

Published October 13, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP... Comments Off on 6 Tips for Creating Engaging Social Media Content

What Are the Best Social Media Platforms for You?

By Meighan O’Toole

As the social media landscape changes and grows, so have the rules. It’s no longer necessarily true that you need a presence on every social network—especially if you’re a one-person show. The last thing you want to do is waste time on social media when you could be creating your art. Many artists will want to focus on two or three platforms rather than spreading themselves too thin.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest speak to different audiences, hold different appeals, and serve different purposes. What works on one network may or may not work on another. Here, we highlight some of the benefits of Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, a handful of best practices for each, and share examples of Minted artists who excel on each platform.

Ask These Questions Before Diving In
The important first step is outlining your goals. This doesn’t need to be a labor-intensive process. Think of it as a road map to guide you in how to approach social media.

Do I want to:

  • drive traffic to my Minted Artist Store and personal website?
  • increase sales?
  • gain exposure?
  • build a larger online following?

Once you outline your goals, you’ll have a better idea of how to approach your social media strategy and how to use the platforms. For instance, if your main goals are to drive traffic and increase sales, focus your efforts on sharing content that includes links to your Artist Store and talk specifically about your products and the stories behind your brand. (We’ll cover social content and building an audience in upcoming Minted Holiday Playbook articles.)

Which Platforms Are Best for You?
The next step is to identify the best platforms for your business. I encourage small businesses that are just starting (or that have been posting to social media with no real results) to focus on one to three platforms. This allows you to maximize your effect and efforts.

Some artists succeed by focusing their attention on one platform. Minted artists Annie Bunker Mertlich and Stephanie Ryan take this approach with Instagram.

When deciding what platforms are best for you, consider these factors:

  • Where will your content perform best?
  • Which platform(s) do you enjoy and feel most comfortable using?
  • What is your schedule?
  • Look at your contemporary peers—how are they engaging their audiences?

I would never encourage someone to copy their professional peers, but it is important to pay attention to the platforms they’re using and how well they’re doing. Think about this first, then think about your content and what platforms feel like a good fit for you. Approach these platforms with curiosity as opposed to fear.

Social media strategy is a skill just like anything else you do within your business—the more you do it, the more you’ll grow. Also be sure to think about your schedule; it’s easy, for example, to get sucked into a four-hour time trap on Facebook; be realistic about the amount of time you can spend.

Everyone is on Facebook. Literally. Facebook is the most-used social media platform with 1.5 billion monthly users, and while it may not be growing in leaps and bounds anymore, its users are using it more frequently. You’re most likely to find your friends and family on Facebook, and they’re likely to support you.

Content types that perform best on Facebook are images, personal stories that resonate with your audience, and video. (For example, watercolor artist Naomi Ernest does a fantastic job including short, fun videos on her page.) Facebook is a great place to cultivate community through your friends, family, and really share your brand’s overall look and feel. While its algorithm can be a little tough to get your content into your follower’s News feed, it’s not impossible.

Keep your captions short; studies have shown that copy with less than 40 characters gets much higher engagement. When using images to promote your product, make sure to always drive traffic back to your Store by including a compelling call to action (directive copy and a link).

Example CTAs include “See my newest prints: [your Store URL]” and “Shop now: [your Store URL].”

Hooray Creative on Facebook

When you receive a comment, be sure to respond, which shows fans there’s a real person behind your brand. Correspondence also alerts Facebook’s tricky algorithm that activity is happening, which in turn pushes your content up higher into others’ News feeds.

A great example of someone who demonstrates many of these tips is photographer Jessica Cardelucci. Jessica makes a point of sharing her ethereal photographs but also gives a well-rounded view of what her brand is about. She posts behind-the-scenes shots, her Minted products, her work being featured, and personal photos that reflect her brand’s mission. Jessica also really connects with her fans on her Page, making it a point to reply to and like every comment.

With over 400 million active users, this photo sharing app is perfect for artists and creatives. What sets Instagram apart from the other top social media platforms is that it offers the ability to tell your story in a unique way—primarily through images.

There are many ways to use Instagram, but the best place to start is to share your work. Aim to use natural light, and eschew Instagram’s filters as it tends to dampen the strength of one’s work. But do use Instagram’s editing tools—they’re powerful and in cases when natural light isn’t available, they can save an image and really brighten it up.

Aesthetic style is perhaps the most important thing to focus on with Instagram, so I recommend showcasing your best images. The aesthetic of Annie Bunker of WildField Paper Company’s Instagram is beautiful. She creates a lifestyle within her images, inviting followers to become engulfed.

Because Instagram is a never-ending feed of images, aim to post at least once a day or at the very least a handful of times a week. Respond to comments and follow accounts back that share your interests. Instagram is a huge community-based platform, and as an artist, it’s imperative to build and nurture that community. While hashtags feel a little spammy on Twitter and Facebook, hashtags work really well on Instagram because it’s the only way to search for new content. I recommend using one or two hashtags to describe your work.

Don’t be afraid to share images that go beyond your work. Share your studio space, things that inspire you, works in progress (using the popular hashtag #wip). Tell your story through pictures. Watercolor artist Stephanie Ryan not only shares her beautiful paintings of florals, but shares images of her paints and supplies and inspiration, such as crystals.

Instagram is an incredible ecosystem for artists and creatives, and I bet you’ll have fun being there.

A virtual bulletin board, Pinterest is a collection of millions of visuals. It’s a never-ending stream of images that you curate or “pin” to Boards that you create by theme or topic. Pinterest is about more than sharing your own content—it’s about creating a mood and a feeling. It can feel inspiring and a little overwhelming at first. But once you get the hang of it, it’s a great place to tell your brand’s story.

Over 63% of Pinterest’s users now use the platform to shop and be inspired instead of looking at magazines and catalogs. This is a great opportunity to share your Minted products, but also inspire your community. Jessica Cardelucci does a wonderful job embodying her brand through her Boards about the ocean, California, and her own photography.
Spend 10–15 minutes once or twice a day on Pinterest to share your own content, as well as content from people you follow and original content from the web. Your profile should spell out who you are, and what you pin, so people know immediately why they should follow you. Sign up for a business account, which includes analytics and information about who’s pinning what from your site, and what pins are performing well.


If you have a personal account, don’t fret; Pinterest allows conversion easily. Create Boards that speak to your brand, and that are easily searchable: utilize the Board Name, Description, and Categories, and be sure to choose a winning image that describes your Board perfectly.

What are the best social platforms for you? Share your thoughts in Comments below.

Meighan O’Toole is a digital strategist empowering creative businesses online through social media, content creation, and cultivating community. Connecting people to technology to help make their work and personal lives easier and more enjoyable is her passion. She lives and works in Boston. Follow her on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

This is the third article in our 2015 Minted Holiday Playbook for Artist Stores, a one-month program designed to teach artists how to better merchandise, market, sell their work. Stay tuned to the Community>Resources section of Julep: The next two articles will cover social media content and audience development.

Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand
How To Merchandise Your Artist Store for the Holidays
10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store
Minted Artist Stores Merchandising Tools Tutorial Video
Minted Self-Launch Templates

Published October 8, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.


10 Tips for Taking Great Photos for Your Artist Store

By Marlo Miyashiro

Now that you’ve got your Minted Artist Store up and running, it’s time to turn your attention to the presentation of your work by taking outstanding photos to fill your Store’s photo carousel, in addition to other branding materials such as social media and your personal website.

If you’ve tried to take photos in the past only to find limited success, you’re not alone. Product photography can be very challenging and requires a good amount of skill and practice to master.

Of course, the best thing to do is to work with a professional photographer. However, if you are unable to work with a professional right away, here are some DIY tips to help you easily improve your product photography using the camera you already own.

Get to Know Your Camera

Whether you are using a simple point-and-shoot, a fancy DSLR, or your phone camera, it’s worth the time to read your owner’s manual in an effort to get to know some specific settings on your camera that can help you improve your photos right away.

Carly Reed’s elegant black-and-white portrait

Carly Reed’s product photography on her @carlyreeddesigns Instagram

1. Exposure Value (EV +/-)

Adjusting the exposure value changes the camera’s shutter speed in very small increments. In essence, it slows down to brighten or speeds up to darken the image in your camera. When used correctly, this setting can lessen the time it takes to adjust the brightness in your photo editing program. So if you find that your photos are consistently too dark or too bright, exposure value is a setting that can help you create better-looking photos in your camera almost immediately.

Pro Tips: As a general rule of thumb, when shooting indoors, it’s best to avoid taking photos when sun is shining directly into your room. Also, cloudy days are a photographer’s best friend, as the lighting acts a natural diffuser. When photographing framed art, you might want to remove the glass in the frame to avoid catching glares.

2. White Balance

Different light sources project different colors that are almost imperceptible—until you take a photo. For example, household light bulbs shine a warm, yellow tone while fluorescent lights project a cool blue hue.

If you find that the colors in your photos aren’t as true as you’d like, you might want to try adjusting your camera’s white balance setting. This setting allows you to change what your camera sees as pure white by choosing a preset white balance range that matches the ambient light around the things you are photographing. If your camera allows for a custom white balance, give that a try. You’ll be surprised at the difference it can make in the overall tone of your photos.

3. Camera Timer

If your photos are very blurry, there is likely too much movement of your camera when you are pressing the shutter button. A very easy way to minimize movement is to use a tripod, focus in on your work, and then set your camera’s shot timer to take the photo a couple of seconds after you push the shutter button. Crystal-clear images every time!

4. Macro Focus Mode

Auto focus mode is usually fine for most photography. However, if you are taking close-up photos of your products to show detail, you’ll want to learn how to set your camera’s macro focus mode (or use a macro lens for your DSLR). Look for the little flower icon on your camera or macro mode in the settings menu. Your camera can now focus in on the smallest details and your photos will seem to pop right off of the page.

5. Composition 

Experimenting with composition is very important when it comes to improving your photos and creating interesting images that your potential customers will want to learn more about.

Kristy Kapturowski of Hooray Creative did a great job composing this shot by using visual elements and props to express her personal brand. Annie Clark, a Minted artist and the company’s Associate Creative Director, recommends keeping propping minimal, so as not to overwhelm the product.

6. Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is to imagine your camera’s visual field divided into a grid, much like tic-tac-toe. If you place your main focal points in the intersections of the lines, you’ll create visual tension and interest within the image. This commonly used composition technique is why many cameras have a view screen grid option in the menu settings. Try placing your work at an angle, putting the focal point in the lower right or left intersection, or in the center but very low in the frame. It may be a bit uncomfortable to place items off-center at first, but when you step back you’ll certainly see a positive difference.

Amy Moen’s creative-process shot is a good example of using the rule of thirds.

7. Fill the Frame

Bringing your viewer up close and personal with your items emphasizes the fine details of your product. Using the macro-mode tip, focus in closely and fill the frame while keeping a keen eye on your composition. If you get close enough and hold steady, you might be able to catch the grain of the paper or the depth of your print—everything that shows the great quality of your work. This type of close-up photography is something that can be a bit difficult to master, but give it a try and see if this type of photography enhances your presentation.

8. Choosing Backgrounds

Beware of distracting textures and props. Oftentimes simple is better—especially if your Store’s branding supports it. Pay attention to the details to ensure the most interesting part of your item is the focal point and not the surrounding area. Experiment with letting your background elements fall outside of the edges of your photo to de-emphasize them so your piece is always the star of the photo.

Pro Tips: When shooting stationery overhead, place thicker pieces of paper beneath your stationery (they should be smaller so they don’t show). This approach will add a bit of a shadow and create more depth.

Minted photographer and stylist Olivia Kanaley recommends shooting products against interesting surfaces and backgrounds that help define your brand. In the above photo, Amy Moen does a great job of displaying her Minted artwork in a decorative setting.

9. Using Blanks

Make the most of styled product photography by using “blanks,” as shown below. For art, set up a scene with picture frames holding white paper or foam core, and for stationery, photograph plain white cards.

Then in post-production, insert the digital images of your work, making sure to set the artwork layer in Photoshop to multiply to preserve the shadows on the white cards and prints. Voila! You’ve got a interchangeable slate for featuring your products on your Store carousel as well as social media and your personal website.

For Minted Home products, we recommend photographing the actual products instead of using blank pillows and curtains.

10. Finding Photo Inspiration

As you’re browsing around, watch for photos that catch your eye. Think objectively about the photographs you find and determine what made you pay attention to them. Strive to create photos for your Artist Store that clearly represents your overall brand and you’ll find that your customers will appreciate the clarity of your presentation.

As with learning any skill, it will take time to learn how to take great photos of your work. However, if you take these tips one step at a time and give yourself lots of practice, you’ll soon have the photos you need to make your store the best it can be!

Marlo Miyashiro is an artist, teacher, mentor, and arts business consultant based in Seattle, Washington. She teaches arts business workshops and small object photography classes at conferences such as Craftcation Conference in Ventura, California, and School House Craft in Seattle, and helps emerging artists start, run, and grow their creative businesses at Creative Arts Consulting. Connect with Marlo M. on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest @imakecutestuff.

This is the second article in our 2015 Minted Holiday Playbook for Artist Stores, a one-month program designed to teach artists how to better merchandise, market, sell their work. The next article will be published on in the Community>Resources section of Julep on October 8.

Minted’s 7 Tips for Creating a Unique Artist Brand
How To Merchandise Your Artist Store for the Holidays
Minted Artist Stores Merchandising Tools Tutorial Video
Minted Self-Launch Templates

Published October 6, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.