You’ve decided to hire a photographer for your business. Congratulations! Quality product photos can mean more sales and increased revenue. So here is a client’s guide on how to prepare for a successful commercial product photoshoot.
Before you begin.
Be aware that high quality commercial product photography isn’t cheap. Cheap doesn’t produce results. You are hiring an artist and are paying for their expertise in creating images that sell & raise brand awareness. Their skill comes at a cost, and the cost can rise quickly if you need reshoots or re-edits of the photos.
Advance prepartation on your part can save your budget.
I get contacted by prospects who ask: “How much is product photography?” The truth is, that will depend on what you need. Giving pricing online is a lure to get people in and then hit them with the real expenses.
Before you reach out, consider what product photos you need.
- Are you looking for product on white e-commerce photos?
- Do you want lifestyle shots showing your product in an environment?
- Or with a model?
- Hand model or full body model?
- Do you want images for your website, e-commerce store or social media content?
- Images for print ads, online ads or billboard ads?
Where will you use the product photos from this shoot?
- Your website?
- Retailer’s sites?
- A flyer?
- A poster?
- Product packaging?
- Product display?
- Store signage?
- Trade shows?
- Newspaper or magazine advertising?
What is your goal with this commercial photoshoot campaign?
- Increase sales?
- Increase social following?
- Followup client contacts?
- Increase pop up conversions?
- Raise awareness of your brand, service, a sale or event?
- All of the above?
Be clear on everything upfront to avoid surprises later. If you want a specific look or the photos taken at a special location, tell them. Show them samples of what you have in mind. Not sure? Check out these 10 inexpensive product photography ideas you can use.
The more specifics you can provide your product photographer, the better the photographer can tailor the quote to fit your needs and goals.
Read the quote!
Don’t just look at the price, actually read the quote. This will become a signed part of the final contract, so you need to make certain everything is correct.
- Are the number and styles of photos right?
- Will they arrive in the format you need?
- What all will you get?
- Is studio time, props, models, backgrounds, lighting and retouching included?
- Does the photoshoot and editing timeline work for your deliverables?
- What is the license agreement?
- Are model releases included?
- What is the policy for reshoots or re-edits?
If you have any questions, ask. If changes need to be made, work with your photographer to make them now. Before the contract is signed everything should be nailed down in writing.
Photoshoot contacts & compensation.
If your photographer doesn’t use a contract, beware! Contracts are legally binding and spell out your rights as well as the rights of the photographer. They help avoid legal problems down the road.
Before signing, double check the quote and deliverables to make certain everything is correct. Understand your usage rights. Understand what is in and not included in your contract. (i.e. – additional photos, changes to the shoot, shot styles, products or deliverables, etc.)
Planning for a successful commercial product photoshoot.
The pre-production meeting
Before the shoot date, you should have a meeting or consultation call with your product photographer. Plan in advance for this meeting, do your homework, don’t just wing it!
This meeting is when you will discuss mood boards. Use Pinterest or email them photos of brands you admire or want to emulate. Understand these are inspirational only and your images, while reflecting that esthetic, will be unique to your brand.
Share what you like and don’t like about certain photos. These specifics will help your photographer hone in on how to create images you will love.
This meeting is also when you will discuss your shot list so they don’t miss any photos you need for this campaign. Perhaps you want a group shot of a product series together, then each product shot separately on white at different angles. Discuss the angles, simple line drawings can help get the idea across.
Don’t take this as having to micro-manage your photographer. You should trust their eye to make things right and even improve on your ideas. But if you say, “Just do your thing … “ they will, even if the results aren’t what you are looking for.
This process is a two way street. The photographer should offer his or her or their own ideas and suggestions too. This is a creative process that allows your brand to get the best image assets possible.
Shipping your product.
When getting product to your photographer, send extras. Manufacturing has defects, and shipping can create damage. You want to have pristine products for your photoshoot. This saves you money on retouching and editing.
Sometimes product packaging, (cans, bags, bottles, etc.) can be unusable after certain styles of product shots. (i.e. – flying/floating, underwater, etc.)
Once when photographing a lipstick, I went through twenty tubes to find one where the product’s engraved logo in the product was perfectly stamped.
Plan your shipping so the product can arrive at the photographer’s studio in time for the photoshoot. If your product is late, it can mess up the entire studio schedule which may result in an increased timeline.
Shoot day …
Depending on the level of your photoshoot, some clients want to be there on the day of the shoot. This is usually reserved for bigger brands spending hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Some photographers will offer virtual shoots, but a vast majority of product photographers do not offer either.
While being there or virtually watching on shoot day will allow a client to see or make comments on the product design of an image, it can also slow things down. Your input can mean less images taken, resulting in longer studio hours and more expense to your budget.
That is why the pre-production meeting is so important for most clients. It allows you to convey your thoughts and lets the photographer plan to get the shots you want.
Commercial product image selection.
Following the photoshoot, your photos will likely be presented in a gallery of images for you to select your favorites. If you communicated your needs and style clearly, you should have plenty to choose from.
At this stage, don’t sweat minor blemishes. You are looking at the presentation and composition of the photo. Once the images are selected, your photographer will have them edited and retouched to create the final product photo.
So that is, as a client, how to prepare for a successful commercial product photoshoot. By putting thought into your needs at the beginning of this process, you can get the photos of your dreams and no extra surprises to your budget.
If you are a small batch producer of goods, you should check out: The Ultimate Guide to Product Photography for Small Batch Producers!
Discover How Professional Photography Can Elevate Your Brand
Get a Custom Quote Tailored to Your Specific Needs
Take a minute to fill out the form below. Doing so will help me understand your product photography needs. Once I receive your information, I'll reach out to you personally to discuss the project in more detail and create a customized quote for you.
You may also text me at: 410-596-4127 or E-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org