Photography Saved my Company
How D'Argenta Got a facelift to survive the pandemic and how you can do it too.
2020 has been the most challenging year, we as a world community have faced in our lifetimes. My company, D’Argenta, had a particularly harsh year, as most of our clients are tourists, so no tourism, no sales, no flights, no exports, and we have to explore the online world head on.
We entered world of art 45 years ago. We make 24K gold and .999 silver finish sculptures, mostly of wildlife, human form, aztec and mayan art, home decor objects like table centerpieces, vases and candle holders that make for great decor and special gifts.
On October 2019, we had a website that barely sold anything, so I took the initiative of redesigning it, the further I worked on the project, the more apparent it became that the main reason for it not being able to sell our art pieces was the lack of high quality photographs. Even before we had the new pictures we decided to launch the new website on February 2020. We didn’t have anything to lose anyway.
Here are a few examples of the before and after, believe me, I wasn’t proud that the previous images stayed for so long after I saw what I could achieve. Some of them were taken with a film camera by my grandfather and the scans weren't the best because the film had deteriorated.
One thing I didn’t fully understand being an amateur of photography was the importance of a perfect white balance with the flashes, as silver reflects all colors. Anyway, with silver you may be able to get away with because you can decrease a bit the saturation and the blue or yellowish hue will vanish. But with gold and copper that’s not an option, any reflection with color will change how the metal looks in the picture. And that brings us to the Colorchecker.
This tiny piece of equipment helps you fix the colors taking into account the lens, filters, light, the sensitivity of the camera sensor to different colors, etc. And it indeed brought to life the colors from the art pieces.
But even after all this, my images where varying from yellow to blue with no change in any setting in the camera. And then I found a pattern. All of the pictures edited during the day in Lightroom were more Yellow, and all of the pictures edited during the night were more Blue. The Culprit: Nightshift was active in my computer
Some of the pieces are easy to photograph thanks to their matte finish. For example this elephant ear leaf is made of brushed silver for a rather gorgeous look, and the texture allows me to photograph it straight on.
And as some of you already know, photographing shiny objects is one of the most difficult tasks. You have to control every reflection, so you don’t appear yourself on it, but also to make the reflections of the flash follow the contours of the sculpture so they appear more natural. Here is an example of a badly photographed object vs a good one.
For years the company struggled to sell anything on its website, and just after all this work, we realized that we weren’t showing all the handwork and perfection of our sculptures in the place that most people came looking for in them. And boy we have gotten more attention. We even got to make the first Spotify Awards on 2020.
All of the pictures were taken with a:
Nikon Z6 with an FTZ Adapter
Samyang 24mm f/3.5 Tilt/Shift
3 Godox QS-600 Flashes
For all of you who want to discover our collections of Animal Statues & Home Decor that include table centerpieces, fruit bowls, vases, candleholders among others.
We invite you to look around our website at https://www.dargenta.com and only for readers I would like to offer you a 10% off anything you buy with the code “ WORLD102021“ .
I wish all of you to get inspired by our story and helps you somehow to get trough this year. You may contact me in my website SAWorks if you need my help.