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Should I do my own product photography or hire a professional?

Traders- Hints & Tips

When you look online for gifts or clothes, the image is the principle influencer on whether you stop to look further at the description. Here we look at the importance of self promotion through great product photography.

Greenfinch with viola is Louise Crookenden-Johnson

We cannot stress this enough – images sell!

The rise of platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest evidences the importance of clear images that pique your audience’s interest, and lead to sales. Aside from images, here are some tips on ways to grow your Instagram following.

When browsing online, the image is the principle influencer on whether you stop to look further at the description. Humans have an average of just 8 seconds’ attention span when looking at an image – so now is the time to capture your audience!

What kind of images are best to use?

Images that resonate with our feelings / situation / desires are best to use. Generally, photographs of people get most traction – people in cool places, friendly faces – this is why it’s so important to Meet the Makers and show your audience the face behind the business.

Is it useful to show different aspects of your product too – how it works, how it’s made, why people should buy it, and any other useful or unique features. This blog featuring Branding Expert Elizabeth Stiles could be useful.

Should I do my own product photography or hire a professional?

Since the rise of smart phones, we have all become semi-professional photographers – or so we think! Professional-looking photography is far harder than you may think, and amateur photography can translate a different story than you intend to your customers.

Getting the right lighting, background and set up is tougher than you may initially think. It is also an expense in getting a decent camera (or a phone with a decent camera), and time-consuming.

A professional may do this much faster than you can, and spot things you cannot (such as unhelpful shadows), therefore although hiring a professional product photographer may seem a large expense, when you think of not only the time you’ll save, in both photographing your products and editing them, but also the expense of the equipment, lighting products, and backgrounds you may use, it could actually save you money in the long run.

Our blog with Holly Booth Photography has some tips on how you can get the most out of taking product photos at home – click here to read it.

What product photos will I need?

Some of the most useful shots will be cut-outs, on a white background, or lifestyle shots where people can visualise how the product could be used or how it would look in situ.

Lifestyle shots mean creating a background and selling a certain ’lifestyle’, to give the photograph a certain energy or vibe. As we mentioned before people want to see images reflecting their feelings / situation / desires – and their dream lifestyles.

Lifestyle shots can take time and practice as they require longer to set up, and cut-out shots will require a plain background or possibly a light box, so can be tricky to do without professional assistance.

What are the benefits of hiring a professional?

Although doing your own product photography may be cheaper, consider that you may need to buy props, lighting, equipment, and ultimately it will be far more time consuming to do it yourself.

Professionals will have a good eye for photography, and may suggest new ideas you hadn’t yet considered, giving you further inspiration .

In Summary

  • Take DIY shots with caution. These may be great for social media, but won’t necessarily be high res enough for PR (if you want to be featured in magazines and suchlike), and are time consuming to take. They can also be a false economy, if you have to buy equipment and props, as well as factoring in your time spent on taking photographs instead of making products.
  • Choose a photographer carefully – If you take the plunge and hire a professional, ideally take recommendations from other makers and look at their portfolio of previous work.
  • Plan the shots you need – ensure you have the right angles and the right kind of shots – i.e. lifestyle, cut-outs, different backgrounds – consider exactly where you’ll be using these images and the product features that you want to talk about. If hiring a photographer, make sure they know about the aspects you require too. Communication is key!
  • Make the first impression count – don’t blend into the background, make sure your images stand out and your products are clear! You don’t want it to look as though your products are the props you’ve used.
  • Consider your branding – think about your colour schemes and the lifestyle you want to fit in with.

Where can I find a professional photographer?

Ask other makers. Perhaps put a poll or question box on your Instagram stories for suggestions. It’s always lovely to use a local photographer, if you can, and put your money back into your local area.

Alternatively, Pedddle can recommend these photographers:

Many photographers offer a postal service, where you can post your products to them to photograph. Enquire about the services they could offer you, as well as prices. Be specific about what’s included too, i.e. number of images, number of edits and so on.

Fancy a photography discount?

Pedddle members get access to EXCLUSIVE offers on product photography, branding, website development and more, with various companies. Once you sign up as a Pedddle Stallholder, you’ll get access to our Stallholder Dashboard with lots of great discounts. Click here to find out more.

Want more business tips? Check out our other blogs for ideas…