You’ve designed an incredible product, you’ve built your website, and your brand is ready to launch. There’s just one thing missing. And this one thing could make or break the success of your business.
That’s right – product photos.
Did you know that 75% of customers rely on product images when deciding to make a purchase? That’s why having amazing product photos is so important. But in order to showcase top quality photos, you need to hire the right product photographer.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know to hire an amazing product photographer.
Table of contents
- The right Product Photographer
- Amateur Vs Professional
- How to choose the Photographer
- Deciding on a budget
- Viewing the portfolio
- Read testimonials
- Narrow down your choices
- Lighting knowledge
- Image editing
- Questions to ask
- Hiring the photographer
The Importance of Hiring the Right Product Photographer
If you’re starting an eCommerce brand, you’re probably wondering whether you should hire a photographer or go full DIY and take your own product photos.
Well, how much are good product photos worth to you?
The answer to that question should be “a lot!” Why? Because, when it comes to eCommerce, customers can’t touch or interact with your products. Quality product photos are the difference between someone scrolling past your listing and someone buying your product.
That’s why hiring an amazing product photographer is crucial to your success.
Beautiful images add personality, credibility, and value to your brand. The best product photographers know how to highlight the benefits of your product and make your brand stand out among competitors.
There a lot of tools and resources out there for DIY photography. For example, you can buy light boxes online for cheap and most smartphones have excellent cameras. All of these things make it tempting to save some money and take your own product photos.
But the truth is that it’s just not worth it. Taking charge of such a crucial aspect of your brand without professional experience is going to have a negative impact on your business.
When it comes to amazing product photos – nothing can beat the work of a professional.
Amateur Vs Professional Photography
There’s a lot of debate online about the differences between professional and amateur photographers. In truth, the difference is not that easy to define.
There are some amazing professionals out there but there are also amazing amateurs. There are also some poor amateur photographers and some poor professionals. So it works both ways.
How do you tell the difference?
You have to assess each photographer with his/her ability.
In other words, do they consistently take amazing photographs? Can they deliver incredible results under pressure? Do they make a good income from photography?
These are all important questions to ask, but the most important question is ‘do they run a successful business?’
A photographer that treats their work as a business and strives to deliver amazing results to their clients is a true professional.
In order to run a profitable, successful photography business, your work has to be top-notch. That’s why photography firms with lots of clients and a big team are most likely producing excellent work.
Tips for Choosing an Amazing Product Photographer
Choosing an amazing product photographer is important for the success of your brand. It’s not just a matter of finding someone who knows how to photograph products. Follow these top tips to make sure you make the right choice.
Decide on a Budget
Before you start searching for your ideal product photographer, you need to decide on a budget. If you don’t decide on a budget beforehand, you’re going to end up wasting a lot of time looking at photographers that you can’t afford.
Your budget will depend on the needs of your business. If you’re unsure what product photography costs, do some research online to get an idea. Check photography companies’ websites for a ‘pricing’ section or give them a call to discuss.
Having quality product photos is crucial for the success of your brand so don’t be hasty. Take your time in choosing the best product photographer for the job.
Skill levels can range among photographers. Some have years of experience snapping perfect photos and others are amateurs posing as professionals. Research different photography companies to see if their work is good enough for your brand.
Look for firms that have a proven track record of taking top-notch photos for successful brands.
Look at Photographers’ Portfolios
Ordering product photos is like getting a tattoo – you want to make sure you pick the right person for the job!
Looking at a photographer’s previous work will give you an idea of whether they meet the needs of your brand. Check to see if they have experience taking the type of shots that you want.
Have they worked with similar brands in the past? If so, this could be a major benefit.
Check to See if They Have a Blog
Reading a company’s blog is a great way to understand their company culture and level of industry knowledge. Most companies have blogs these days because they recognize it’s important for marketing and building customer relationships.
Choosing the right product photographer for your brand requires you to know how they operate. Do they stay up to date with industry trends? Are they aware of new technology and equipment? Are they passionate about product photography?
You should be able to answer all these questions and more by reading their blog.
Follow the Company on Social Media
If a photography firm is putting out consistently good work, they are likely to be showcasing it on social media.
Instagram is a favorite platform for photographers. Check to see if the firm has an Instagram account and if they do, look at the photos they’re posting. Check to see if the account has been updated recently and how much engagement they get on their posts.
This will help you decide if they are a good fit for your business needs.
Read Customer Testimonials
One of the most important things to do before hiring a product photographer is to check their reviews and testimonials.
If the company doesn’t have any testimonials on their website, this could be a sign that their work isn’t quite up to scratch. You could also phone the company and ask them to put you in contact with one of their previous customers. This way you can find out directly from a customer what their services were like.
Look for creativity
Creative product photos are a great way to make your brand stand out in a competitive market.
Just take Amazon for example. There are thousands of sellers on Amazon ranging from global brands to small businesses. In fact, over half of Amazon’s revenue in 2019 came from third-party sellers.
In a marketplace like Amazon, creative, unique product photos can give your brand a major edge. Keep this in mind when you’re looking through photographers’ portfolios.
Do their shots stand out? Can they capture products in a unique way? These are the kind of questions to ask yourself.
Narrow Down Your Choice
After researching photography firms within your budget, and checking their testimonials, portfolios, and social media accounts, you should now be close to making a decision. If you have found two or three firms that you really like, the next step is to meet and talk about your brand.
Meet to Discuss Your Project
If you’re unable to go meet with them in person, schedule a video call over Skype or Zoom. Otherwise, go to their headquarters to chat one-on-one.
Meeting the photographer at his studio will give you the chance to check out how their company operates, where they work, and what equipment they use.
Do they have a vibrant, passionate team? Are they friendly? Do they seem busy? These are the kinds of questions to ask yourself when going to meet with your photographer in person.
Keep Up to Date With Their Work
Lastly, stay up to date with your chosen photographer and their work. The best way to do this is to subscribe to their blog and follow them on social media.
By doing this you can build a good relationship with them. This is important for future projects that you may have. And if you have a good business relationship with your photographer, you’re more likely to get discounts and special offers in the future.
By taking an interest in their work, your photographer is going to feel appreciated and respected. This ensures a solid, working relationship where you get the best service possible.
Skills to Look for in a Product Photographer
When looking for the right product photographer, you need to know what to look for. Below is a list of essential skills that a good product photographer should possess. You can use this list to narrow down your choices until you find the perfect photographer for your brand.
An experienced photographer knows how to set up lighting for perfect product shots. The photographer will adjust the lighting depending on your product’s size and characteristics. This is to account for the shape, color, and reflectivity of the product.
Photographers with limited lighting skills can take longer to conduct a shoot and may make mistakes that affect the outcome of your product photos.
So when you’re looking for a product photographer, find someone who has experience in lighting, especially for products similar to yours.
Most product photos will be done on a tabletop. That’s why you need to find a professional with experience in tabletop photography. This also requires a deep understanding of how to stand, prop, light, position, and highlight different kinds of products.
Products of different shapes and sizes need to be photographed differently, so find a photographer who has experience working with different categories of products. The more experience they have, the better!
Product photographers should be experts in using photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Photography companies sometimes employ specialized image editors to handle post-production alterations and retouching of photos.
Photographers that understand this whole process can take photos that need a very little editing. This means less time spent touching up photos. This makes for a more efficient process and also saves money.
A good product photographer needs to be able to solve problems as they arise. This requires possessing good managerial skills.
The truth is that things go wrong on product photography projects all the time. Equipment can malfunction, the software might glitch out, or the products themselves might have an issue.
The product photographer is responsible for solving these issues when they happen. If these issues go unresolved, they can negatively affect the production process, delay the project, or upset the client.
It’s important to look for a product photographer with the ability to solve a range of problems under pressure. Confident and resourceful photographers are usually the ones that have the most experience in this area.
Product photography generally involves a team of people and that’s why goods communication skills are so crucial.
The product photographer must communicate with their assistants, the people in charge of administration and product ordering, the editing team, and, the client.
Efficient, well-run photography studios have good leadership. To make sure your project is completed on time, hire a product photographer who has great communication skills.
Finding a well-organized product photographer is going to make the process a lot smoother. Photographers that have good organizational skills tend to be more productive and deliver higher quality work.
Good organization is important for ensuring success in each step of the product photography process. These steps include:
- Receiving and preparing the products
- Positioning products
- Adjusting the lighting
- Choosing the right camera and taking the shots
- Sending photos for editing
- Packing the products after photography
Look for a product photographer who can demonstrate the ability to run an efficient and organized studio.
Do you have a lot of products that need to be snapped? You should look for a photographer who has experience in product photography.
What is production photography? It is the process of photographing up to hundreds of different products per day. A production photographer can’t spend ages perfecting each image, they must take photos quickly while ensuring good quality.
A photographer with experience in product photography will be able to determine when an image looks good, without having to be perfect. If you need hundreds of photos taken, look for a photographer who can produce high-quality images fast.
Questions to Ask Product Photographers
So you’ve found some potential photographers and have arranged a meeting with them. Now you need to know what questions to ask. Asking the right questions will help you decide if a product photographer is right for you and your project.
1. What Equipment Do You Have Access To?
There are several tools and gadgets that photographers use to take great photos. If you know what kind of pictures you need, you should have an idea of the kind of equipment that is required.
For example, do your photos need to have a pure white background? This might require the use of specific lighting.
Maybe your products are small and you want to showcase their finer details. In this case, your photographer will need to have a macro lens as well as experience using it.
Finding a photographer with the right equipment and the skills to use that equipment is key to getting the perfect product photos.
2. What Experience Do You Have?
Finding out about a photographer’s experience and background is important before hiring them. Let’s face it – you need to find someone who knows how to take amazing photos.
An experienced product photographer will understand how to work with your products and produce creative, professional product photos.
Do your products vary in size and shape? Do they attract dust? Are they reflective? These are all factors that can affect the outcome of your product photos. For example, you don’t want dust or fingerprints showing up on your product photos.
A photographer with extensive experience will know exactly how to position your products and adjust the lighting. Ask them about past shoots that they’ve done and how many years they’ve been in business.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for references. A good product photographer will be more than happy to give them to you.
3. How Many Photos Will We Receive?
If you’re running an eCommerce brand, you’ll want several images of each of your products. One or two images are not always enough to convince visitors to buy. Amazon, for example, allows up to 9 images per product listing.
Before you hire a professional photographer, find out how many images are included in their fees. If you’re working to a deadline, find out how long it will take to receive your images. Remember this includes photography and post-production editing.
Emphasize the fact that you’re working to a specified schedule and get your photographer to agree on a fixed deadline.
4. Describe Your Style of Photography
There are many different styles of photography and therefore different photographers will deliver different results. Make sure to ask your photographer what kind of style they favor and how they would describe their photos.
Make sure their photography style matches what you’re looking for.
Also, ask to see their portfolio. Look to see if they have done work that is similar to what you want. You can also call references to find out if the process went smoothly or whether there were bumps along the way.
5. What’s Included in Your Fee?
Before committing to a product photographer, find out what you’re paying for. Ask them to list everything that’s included in the fee and find out if it’s going to be affordable.
Don’t assume that everything is included. Some photographers charge extra for things like image retouching and rental equipment. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting and whether or not you need to budget for any added extras.
6. Who Will Manage the Shoot?
Before hiring the services of a product photographer, you need to know who is handling the creative direction of the shoot.
Are you expected to provide a shot list? Does the photographer manage his own shoots? Does the company use a creative director to manage shoots? You need to know what your photographer expects from you before committing to a contract.
7. Who Do the Photos Belong to?
Another important thing to sort out before you hire a photographer is who owns the rights to the photos. You don’t want to have any legal issues in the future, so be sure to sort this out ASAP.
Usually, the images belong to the photographer (unless otherwise stated in writing). If you’re working with a professional firm, they should provide a standard contract that protects both sides.
Hire Your Perfect Product Photographer
Now you’re ready to hire an amazing product photographer!
Remember – don’t rush the process. Take your time and do thorough research before deciding who to hire. Check different companies’ portfolios and blogs, follow them on social media, and meet face to face to discuss your project.
Make sure to find a photographer with all the necessary skills and ask them the right questions during your meeting.