Many of the largest brands who sell online these days invest the necessary large sum needed to set up their very own photographic department. For my alumni in photography it has almost become a right of passage to intern and be employed in one of these departments.
After a period of time the friends I know quickly become divided into two groups: The ones who enjoy the regularity of the corporate culture, and the ones who don’t.
One thing is for sure, there is a clear cut precision in the work turned out in these departments. High level board meetings are held to discuss how a whole season of sleeves will be presented in fashion houses, the exact sheen on diamonds is agreed and then maintained for a season in the jewellery world, and on the list goes. Subtly, in the eye of the consumer (regardless of how big your brand may be), even the most visually stolid buyer will hesitate over buy now button when the image of the product they are presented with just doesn’t seem to cut the mustard. Chances are they may not be able to tell you what it is photographically about that image that is putting them off.
Considering how quickly your own faith and trust in a brand can be lost during an online purchase due to the appearance of a product gives you an immediate understanding of the first part of the concept. Team this then, with the fact that the ‘big boys’ in the ‘game’ of online purchasing are constantly pushing the envelope in this medium:
Pretty damn nifty ey?
And so you have it. Quite an immediate inversely proportionate consideration on your hands – as an online retailer:
- You snooze on having an online shop (if retailing is your business), and you loose.
- If you are putting out anything less that absolute perfection, you WILL loose sales.
- The definition of perfection is always going to increase. I’m sure the folks at the biggest Fashion Houses are currently working on something that will blow this video online shopping experience out of the water right now.
Many small businesses take a DIY approach when it comes to “the photography bit”. In fact, there are times when revealing your own attempt at photography through your phone or own camera is something I fully endorse.
Social Media MUST have an element of personality. In fact, you will see me talking about this much more in the near future. I’m poised to offer you some vital tips on how to raise your game and get the best out of the tools you already have right at your fingertips.
Back to the concept of today though…. and what you should be expecting from Product photography. Let’s look at how you balance out the management of getting your product out there on your site. It’s quite a project to begin, and lets face it – as a business owner, time is precious.
The location of the studio all depends on the product you are showing in your online retail space.
If you sell something big like swimming pools or cars, I’ll probably be coming out to you, if it’s jewellery or something tiny like ball bearings we may be meeting up in a mini studio.
We agree the exact look and style of the finished images before a camera is even charged up.
Meeting up and planning everything before any tools are even thought about is much easier, cost-effective, and organised. It will cut down on your stress levels if it is your first time of outsourcing too.
I usually ask you things you may have not even considered. This, sometimes ends up in clients getting a lot more use out of their photography after we are finished.
We agree things like:
- Stock to be shot
- Your seasonal cycle patterns
- Inspirations you want us to draw from photographically
- Introductions to your web team, design team, social media team (this makes all the techie stuff so much smoother later on in post production).
- Overall Timeframes in-line with the rest of your business
On Shoot day
This is a marmite one. I have clients who love to be on set with me for their shoots, and I have clients who find it really boring.
I’m finding it more and more common that clients these days will have some representation at a shoot with me to do some clever live social media posting with me, and I’m building this into my proposals to support maximising their exposure of this as an event, as their consumers love to see what’s going on behind the scenes.
Nevertheless, with the careful planning that has previously happened, shoot days with me always go smoothly. I have contingencies (always two). So things always go to one version of a plan.
In terms of post-production, I have found that every single client is different.
Some businesses want to be heavily involved in the selection process of editing (picking images from the shoot reel that are then retouched). Some clients just want images retouched, resized and sent over as quickly as possible online. Some clients need prints and a disc (to then be sent to their printer or different departments). No two are ever the same.
You can see why I insist on the initial meeting.
I issue all of my clients with a legally sound licence. This is a document any great printer or designer might ask you for when they are working with professional images. It provides them with assurance that they can work with my creations without any cause for concern that there will be prosecution.
It also gives you the right to take anyone to court (and win) if a competitor steals the original work we have worked hard to create.
What I love the most about product photography is that no two jobs ever are the same. I also get to really draw from my past life as a marketeer. If you would like to chat with me about your thoughts on Product photography why not get in touch on Social Media. Show me your current products and I’ll happily give you a pro critique!