Tuesday, June 3, 2014

If you've got it, flaunt it

So you have an antique store, and you'd like people to come in and browse the awesome collection(s) you've spent weeks putting together for display. But advertising copy can only go so far. People want to see what you've got, and then let something irresistible grab them and bring them in the door. That's where cameras come in.

Digital cameras have made photography so much easier! I remember when I published a monthly antique magazine and had to take roll after roll of film to the processor, where they'd charge me beaucoup bucks to even look at what I'd come up with, and there was no tweaking possible. If a shot was great but a tad too dark, there was little to nothing I could do about it. And digital cameras are capable of dealing with less-than-optimal lighting situations, too.

Now there's PhotoShop, but even more affordable, a nifty program called Preview (came free with my Mac) that allows me to crop, lighten, turn a photo on its side if that's the effect I want. But the best thing is just to take a LOT of photos, until you get over that attitude that "I can't take good photos." Take enough shots of anything, you're bound to come up with something you like.

How do you get the photos up where people can see them? A website is a great way to do that. Witness Hollywood Treasures' (of Eugene, OR) website, with a gazillion photos on their home page. It would be very hard to go through all those shots without seeing something you'd love to bring home. My favorites are a glorious, understated yet graceful chandelier and a handsome dive helmet of brass and copper. Not only are they very attractive pieces, but the photographer took great closeups of them. (OK, I confess, I did a little creative cropping too...)

Maybe you don't have time or the expertise to put together a website. You can still get your photos online, when you're included in Cochran's Collector's Guide. Stores in the Guide that don't have websites can have a free web page, similar to Hollywood Treasures' home page but with a descriptive paragraph and a map to your location. Take a look under the Free Hosting/Links to Shops Currently Hosted menu above for examples.

Whether you've got a website or a web page with Cochran's, the next important step is to get the web address out there, on your business card, flyers, maybe a poster on your front door, your Facebook page, Twitter...anyplace your store can be publicly viewed. And take fresh photos when new items come in! Your camera could be your new best marketing friend. And it doesn't even have to be a real camera, you can use an iPad, or a smart phone. Just start clicking away!

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