Hiring a Product Photographer
RESEARCH PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY
When browsing images online, you will notice the vast difference in images. On social media, some brands will take images on mobile phones, maybe do a few tweaks to the photographs, add filters etc. They may have built up a following and for consistency it works best to stick to that style of photography. Sometimes this type of photography is the best option.
Some brands hire professional photographers for all of their social media content, in order for each post to look as well presented as possible. Some brands use a mix of mobile phone photography and professional photographic images, there’s as many different strategies as there are individual businesses.
When it comes to other types of marketing, photographs used on websites, web banners, print media, or even billboards. These are more than likely professional photographers work, and when the business has invested in professional photography, these assets can be used for social media marketing also. To get maximum usage out of the images created.
Businesses that don’t use professional photos for the products or services could be losing out to their competitors that have a more professional appearance to their target audience.
HIRING THE RIGHT PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHER
When a business is looking into hiring a photographer, there are many photographers to choose from, and if you approach any of them I am sure most would say they can do the work. My advice is to look at the previous work, their portfolio. Look for the style of photography that would best suit your business needs. Does your business sell cosmetics? Look for previous shoots of cosmetic products.
One area of product photography that is often mentioned is working with shiny products, or even chrome products. An experienced product photographer would have worked with these types of products many times, if you hire someone who does not have this type of experience, there’s a good chance that the image wont look as good as it could do.
AMATEUR VS PROFESSIONAL PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY
For a small business that is trying to save money, it is tempting to take on the multitude of tasks yourself. If you see a professional photographer at work, you can see that they have done shoots thousands of times before.
They know what changes need to be made to improve the images, they know when there’s some bits to change in Photoshop. They own expensive equipment that will have the quality that smart phones don’t have. Specialist lenses, tripods, lights, and hundreds of little things that a amateur wouldn’t even think of getting.
You’ve spent months developing your product and are ready to start marketing it, so you decide to hire a professional product photographer. But how can you be sure that hiring a photographer is worth the expense? Read on.
PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHER REQUIREMENTS, ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
There are 2 major skill-sets when it comes to appreciating how good or how experienced a photographer is: the technical & creative skills and the managerial and administrative skills.
Communication is key, ask the important questions that you need in order to make the shoot a success. Ask about the years of experience, not always is it the case that a photographer who has 15 years of experience is better than a photographer with 5 years experience, but it does show that they have a wealth of knowledge to reply on.
What shoots have they worked on before, and who was it for? If the photographer have worked on brands that are not widely known, they may of only worked for smaller businesses, if they have multiple shoots for recognisable brands, they they may have had experience shooting for large companies or design agencies.
You can ask about equipment used, but unless the client understands the equipment mentioned then this may not be the best question. But it is something that determines the cost, and therefore the value.
What’s included in the cost, some photographers offer a day rate, and you get their time, equipment, skills for that day. This can also includes the pre-production work. This may exclude image usage costs. Is there equipment hire needed for the shoot? Shoots that require a studio, extra, or specialist equipment is something that may increase the costs of a shoot depending on the needs of the shoot.
The cost could increase if you intend to use the images in many different ways, e.g websites, banner ads, print ads, TV ads, billboards. Some photographers don’t charge extra for image usage, best to ask these types of questions when looking for the right photographer. Other photographers have post-production included in the cost, but it’s not an infinite amount of post-production, best to ask questions on this to find out what is it you are getting.
To find out more about copyright topics when using photographers, it’s worth visit AOP website (Association of Photographers). They have detailed information regarding the legal side of copyright law in regards to image usage.
Find out about the photography team, is the photographer working alone, or are they hiring an Assistant Photographer, or a stylist, production staff etc.
What time would it take to complete the work? Great question to ask for the client, knowing the turnaround time can be crucial. If your business needs a very quick turnaround time there may be an increase in costs to make this happen quickly.
How many images can be created per day? It’s such an important question, the answer is it totally depends, it depends on the type of photography required. Food photography can take a long time to work on because each photograph takes time, and the food preparation takes time, how long does the food take to make? A question the food stylist could answer. Most product photography timing can be worked out easily, e-commerce photography is relatively quick compare to creative photography, plain background or many different props? Just another factor to consider.
One thing that is worth noting, photographers are business owners, the more work you ask for the higher the costs are going to be.
Although product photography may seem like a simple process, it is in fact a complex design task that requires preparation and keen attention to detail.
Photography sessions are both a process and an art. There need to be many pieces of the session puzzle in place for it to go smooth: from having the right equipment and ability to use it, to setting up lighting, using correct poses/product placement, asking for direction at the right time, taking product photos and positioning them in all possible scenarios.
WHERE TO FIND THE BEST PHOTOGRPAHERS?
This may seem obvious, because you found this blog post. The No.1 place to find photographers is a Google search. Best to type in the specialism your seeking, e.g product photographer, or include the location also. Product photographer Manchester. Go through the list, looking at each one, the first page is going to have some great options, if you really want to do a in-depth search you can peer at the second page of Google. Take a look at the work on these sights, reach out via email with all your questions ready. Get some prices and see which ones can work within your budget.
The next best place to find a product photographer would be Instagram. It does seem to be more difficult to find a local service when using Instagram’s search tool. However you will find the best photographers, they just could be in another country.
Word of mouth has always been a reliable method of choosing a photography service, if you know other people that have hired photographer before, reach out and asking about their experiences. I suggest you always do your own reach also.
Most businesses seeking a photographer will have a budget to work to before speaking to anyone in the industry about costs. It is worth thinking about how did you come up with the budget number? Most photography clients have a pre-conceived idea of what a commercial photography shoot should cost, with no prior knowledge of hiring a photographer.
One comparison that I think people could refer to is, how much does it cost to hire a wedding photographer? Most people over a certain age have been married and hired a wedding photographer and can get a good understanding of the costs involved. From my experience I would say that commercial photographers are cheaper then wedding photographers. It is a good starting point and if the photographer you want to work with is out of your budget, it is always worth asking questions to see what can be done with the budget they have.
A large company that needs to hire photographers can browse the market of freelancers, or it could look into a large photography studio or agency. When a studio scales up and hires many staff, the costs increase for the clients, but the turnaround time is usually decreased. It depends on a clients needs, if a business needs thousands of product images every month, then a large photography studio with multiple full time photographers is going to be able to handle requests like this.