Side-By-Side Comparisons - the White Background, Can You Cut It?
Watermarks on photos - Not Good, The Bad and The UGLY

Breaking the "Rules" with Style AND Perfection - Photos that work!

Recently, post after post on ASK Harriete has talked about the attributes of quality photographs to help artists and makers develop more effective photos to represent their work.  The "rules, standards, or conventions" are there because they reliably produce acceptable images for a wide range of situations.  Well, there are also exceptions!  I recently ran across a photograph that breaks some major rules, and it's fantastic!

The photo and artwork to the right below are from Krystal Speck.

Work by Krystal Speck at Chicago's
One of a Kind Show

Why does this image work so well? How can this artist break such fundamental rules so successfully? The answer is that it perfectly combines both personal style and accuracy.

  • The exposure of the photograph is perfect.
  • Focus is precise,
  • Colors clear.
  • The ceramic has a slight reflection to indicate a smooth surface but it doesn't wash out the work,
  • The standard graduated background balances the applied graphics,
  • The irreverent flower drawings parallel and reinforce details within the photo,
  • Overall, a very personal style that is memorable but doesn't obscure the work.

Rickson on Crafthaus commented about this photo saying, "I love the image as it shows the whole creative process from inspiration to drawings to finished product." The graphics are not extraneous.  They add meaning to her photos because they offer insight into the decorative elements in her work.

KrystalSpeckwebsiteNow take a look at the website for Krystal Speck, the graphics in her photos also match the website styling perfectly. Krystal Speck establishes an identity with each photo that she carries forward into her website. A recurring graphic (left above) is the header for every page.  A consistent header or style on every page of a website helps develop a clear identity within the website.

Krystal also has the more standard photos to represent her work (right below). Again the photo quality is superb. The graphics on these ceramic items match the website graphics. This complete approach to every detail of her work and website defines a very high level of professionalism.    KrystalSpeck2

Yet, some conventions remain reliable.  The standard graduated background photos demonstrate that she is ready with her jury submission photos.

[The one criticism that I would raise about her website is that there is no information about the work. Even when you click on the images, there is no descriptive text. I hope she adds this information soon.]

In the meantime, I hope this exceptional example offers insight into how breaking the photographic rules with style and perfection can really set you apart from the crowd.


The 2011 Professional Development Seminar in Seattle with three noted photographers, and editors Marthe Le Van, Lark Books, and Suzanne Ramljak, Metalsmith Magazine discussed trends in photographing craft objects. Listen to their commentary in this youTube Photography in Flux playlist.

Previous posts in the series Side-By-Side Comparisons of Different Photos:

Side-By-Side Comparisons - the White Background, Can You Cut It?

Side-By-Side Photos - Website Backgrounds Should be Consistent

Side-By-Side Photos -Clean or Complex Backgrounds?

Side-By-Side Photo Comparisons - Backgrounds with Texture or Pattern?

Side-By-Side Photo Comparisons: Colorful or Discordant?

Side-By-Side Comparisons of Different Photos: Black Hole or Super Sophisticated?

Side-By-Side comparisons of different photos - the graduated background. Stunning or stupefying?

Side-By-Side Comparisons of Different Photos - the white background. Trendy or Technique?

Are You Being Judged by the Style of Your Images?

The photographers are revealed!

This post was updated on January 26, 2022.