Monday, January 3, 2011
Record Photography: Records In Motion
Related to Elements: DJ, Crate Digging, 12" Single, Record Label
I'm a DJ, not by trade but by hobby. There's only one valid reason I'm a DJ; I love music. I love ALL music of all formats, but particularly I love records. I love listening to records, I love digging for records (in store or online), I love scratching records, I love juggling records, I love mixing records, I love their smell, I love their individual quirks and flaws, I love photographing records and I even love looking at pictures of records.
Let's go back to the 'digging for records' part of that last long sentence; online crate digging to be exact.
Question 1: Have you ever been to an online record store that didn't have a picture of the record they were selling?
Question 2: Did the record seem 'real' to you without a picture?
Question 3: Do stock pictures of records really tell you about the specific record you are buying?
1: Many times, honestly, it's a buzz kill and it removes the fun of digging altogether.
2. Sometimes it seemed real depending on the seller, but more often it seemed more like words on a page. An empty hollow promise from a stranger that you will get a record if you buy it. The reality of it is it might not be the record you imagine in your head.
3. If you know the record you are buying is sealed, it doesn't really matter if the photo is stock or not, but stock photos are absolutely worthless as a visual indicator of cover condition when you are buying used records.
Here's a question for the crate diggers... Have you ever been to an online store that had pictures of the records in action? Have you ever seen the product pic that doesn't actually look like a product pic? Can't record sellers try to stand out a little bit from the cookie-cutter style of record photography that shows a one-dimensional view of the cover only?
I say yes, they definitely can do better. In fact, I think they might sell more records if they take thought out pictures that look like submissions from a fan of the music rather then an online seller trying to push wax.
I know what a lot of sellers reading this are probably saying to themselves, "Yeah, they look great, but that's not practical to take pictures like that for all of our records. It would take too much time, energy and resources to do so."
^Absolutely, that's true, it would not only be unpractical to do that for all records but it would be a waste of time for the wack wax that they are just trying to get out the store.
I'm not gonna front, I'm not a record salesman, I'm a record collector, and as a fan I love to do this in my own time just to share these photos with fellow cratediggers. However, I do think that for the really great records, it would be not only beneficial to take thoughtful action photos for the crate diggers, it would also remind them that the record seller is like them, a true fan, that started this business because, like their customers, they love records.
Anyone can scan records with a scanner, or take quick photos of a cover in a photo box, or use stock photos, it takes no skill, no time, and frankly, no thought whatsoever. Diggers are not impressed with any of that. If there are any online record sellers reading this, I'm asking you to step up your game and take the time to display your records visually the way they intend to be used. Remind your buyers that you love wax too, and show off your special records using a little bit of creativity. I think you'll have more intrigued diggers coming back more often if you prove that you are a fan too.