Great Product Photography is More than just Great Product Photography

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You need great straight forward product photography for your brand’s website, packaging design, and other marketing collateral. Sounds like it’s time to find a professional product photographer; but how do you know if the photographers you’re considering are any good?

Because your image needs are relatively straight forward, you’re having trouble distinguishing between potential vendors. There’s a lot of noise out there, and you have to be careful to pay attention to the little indicators that reveal the true jewels.

Below are a few considerations that will help you select a vendor that can produce great work, and is focused on helping you win.

1. Great Product Photography starts with Great Product Photography

A great product photography vendor must, first and foremost, be able to produce great product photography. This can often be determined by a simple “gut check.” Do you like the work the photographer has produced for other clients that is similar to what you need?

If you’ve found a couple photographers that pass the gut check, it’s time to take a look at a few technical considerations:

  • Color accuracy – are the colors in the image consistent with the colors of the product? If not, you may get a lot of returns because the product color didn’t match the listing photo.
  • Texture – One of the best ways to bring products to life, is to reveal their textures. Does the photographer’s work reveal product textures appropriately?
  • Reflection control – This is a big one! One of the biggest differentiators between low-quality product photographers, and true craftsman, is the ability to control reflections. What can you see in the reflective areas of the product? If you can discern anything besides the shape of the lighting source… move on.
  • Retouching – Does the product look like a perfect specimen i.e. have dust, scratches and defects been removed? If not, you won’t be putting your best foot forward in your marketing.

If your potential vendor passes the above hurdles, you’re on your way to a winner. But a truly great professional product photographer will also have a few bonus services going on behind the scenes.

2. Great Product Photographers are laser-focused on helping you win.

A truly great professional product photographer will start their service by creating great product photography, but will bring it home with a suite of behind the scenes processes and services.

Auxiliary services to look for in your next professional product photographer include:

  • A commitment to customer service: This should go beyond “we love our clients.” What is the company committed to doing if they don’t make the timeline or create images that aren’t exactly what you’re looking for? A great product photography company will have systems in place to make up for schedule slip, and address your concerns with images.
  • A commitment to delivering value beyond the image: A truly great professional product photography company will do more than just take a photo and deliver a .jpg file. They will either have a working knowledge of your end-use, or will develop a working knowledge over the course of the project. They should deliver image files that are plug-and-play ready for the end-use you’re working towards. Is there much value in receiving a file that you have to spend 20 minutes prepping for deployment? NO!
  • A commitment to transparency: A great product photography company will have a transparent pricing structure that ensures you won’t be surprised by unexpected charges in the final invoice. We’ve heard horror stories of photographers bumping the invoice amount because it took them longer than expected to figure out how to photograph a product! You shouldn’t have to pay someone to learn how to photograph your product.
  • A commitment to open, honest communication: A great product photography company will have a system in place to foster open communication. It might be a project management dashboard, an account manager that check’s in every time work is done on your project, or an excellent e-mail communication system. No matter what, however, communication matters!
  • Transparent usage licensing – A great product photographer will be up front about the usage license that is / is not included with their service. Be 100% sure you’re comfortable with the included license before you sign anything; this is your right to use the images for your business. No license, no permission.
  • Taking a few moments to check each of the boxes will mitigate the risk of working with a weak vendor. Your brand is worth the time to find a vendor that’s excited about joining you on your path to winning!
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