Behind the scenes: reflections on investing in photography

It took a long time to get here.

It had been the source of many frustrated afternoons and evenings. Me, sitting at my desk tweaking images in Photoshop. Ted rearranging lights. Shifting product. Reading about white balance, about whether or not to use a lightbox. And still we were failing to produce photos that captured the gorgeous, unique candles we were so proud of.

It was so disappointing. We knew we loved and believed in our product. But selling products online is all about the photography. And some of our pictures were beautiful, did showcase our gifts the way we wanted them to. Others continued to elude us. We’d re-shoot, grow discouraged, and leave the office feeling like we were failing the women who had so carefully handcrafted these candles.

It seems like the solution should be readily apparent, right? Neither Ted nor I are professional photographers. We needed a professional, with equipment and expertise far beyond what we could accomplish in our office.

But.

But we’re a social enterprise, and we take our mission very seriously. We want to do right by the women we work with. And that means that every dollar we spend, we have to spend carefully. We’re constantly asking ourselves if a specific expenditure will help us continue in our work. It’s a question that keeps us grounded, mission-aligned, and looking forward.

So the decision to invest in photography wasn’t made lightly.

We knew there was a professional photographer who specializes in product photos working right in our building. We kept returning to his webpage, marveling at his work. “That’s what our stuff needs to look like!” we’d say to each other.

And that’s how we wound up in John’s photography studio, cart full of candles, watching him swing a light into position, nudge a bowl slightly left or right, and capture our products in a way we’d only dreamed of.

The results, we think, speak for themselves.

Growing a social enterprise is no easy feat, but it’s one we love and are grateful to spend our days working on. This investment, long overdue, is an investment in our products . . . and in the women who make them. 2013 is going to be a year of growth, innovation, and change for Prosperity Candle. I can feel it.

And I can’t thank you enough for coming along on this journey with us.

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