Starting a new business that deals with selling a product line presents every owner with the task of show and tell. It is interesting to wonder if standing in front of a classroom as kids showing and telling about the latest fun thing we discovered was really a lesson in sales entrepreneurship. It is certain is that if you want to sell a product you have to show it the buyer and tell them all about it.
Showing it to the buyer today means photographing your product for display on the internet. So what should you be aware of when deciding on this all important decision regarding photography for your product line?
Although some products need to be photographed on location, especially if they are large warehouse items that are difficult to move, most product work is done in studio. Therefore the photographer you choose to photograph your products should have a studio. But where is the studio? Is it in a safe neighborhood, and is it secure? In the wild west of photography today, the studio may turn out to be an abandoned industrial space with a grungy bathroom and no heat, rented by a group of aspiring photographers that come and go at random. Does the studio have real studio lighting equipment or is it a portable flash on camera that is supposed to do the trick? Is it accessible, on the 1st floor, with available parking?…this is especially important if you have a large number of items to be photographed that have to be transported to and from the studio.
Does the photographer know what he’s doing? In the wild west of photography, there is the illusion that if a person graduates from an art institute with a paper degree in photography that he/she is a ready made professional qualified and capable of photographing your products. Remember experience and longevity in the business of photography count. Does the photographer have a portfolio of product jobs? Are the jobs done for real clients, or are they school projects and/or shots done just for the sake of personal advertising.
Many product jobs require the use of models. You may need to show your product in use or being worn by a model. Does the photographer have experience working with models? Make sure the photographer’s portfolio shows product with models. You may need this for show and tell. Photographing products with models is very different from photographing products alone. It requires a photographer to be connected with sources of model talent (Agencies and On Line Directories) to assist you in selecting the most appropriate models at the best rates. It is also important that the photographer knows how work with models, directing them to achieve the best effect. Your photographer should also be capable of creative consultation with regard to wardrobe, makeup, ethnicity, and age of the model so that your product is displayed in the best possible way. Experience is key.
Finally, pricing is always an important question. There are no laws in the wild west of photography, so pricing is a kind of rodeo where you wind up trying to rope in the best deal and not get killed falling off your horse. In the Philadelphia area, my experience is that the average day rate for 7 – 8 hours of studio product photography fees by an experienced well-established photographer is on average about $1500, with 1/2 day rate 3.5 – 4 hours of studio time about $800. This does not include post production costs or other expenses such as props, which can make a significant difference. For small product jobs that do not require more than a couple hours, expect on average about $200 to $250 an hour.
At Church Street Studios we know that photographing your product well is critical to sales. We take your success seriously, and combine our extensive experience with products and people, together with our creative consulting skills, to bring your products to life in the best possible way.
Joe Chielli / Kristine Di Grigoli / Church Street Studios LLC / Old City, Philadelphia