Product photography for small business

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Product photography for small business – be strategic

Decision making hell

Small businesses live in a uniquely hellish decision making paradigm. We encounter folks all the time here in Denver who need better marketing collateral in order to boost sales, but are afraid to invest in better marketing collateral because if they don’t boost sales they’ll be in a really tight spot. Product photography for small business doesn’t have to be so painful! Read on to learn a better way.

Small businesses create a false paradigm as they think about photography. The paradigm goes something like this: EITHER we have to shovel out a mountain of cash and risk everything, OR we can plug along and hope things get better. This is a false paradox – there’s a better way to discover how product photography will impact your business.

Like all things in business, if you can’t go all in but you need to make a change, go small in. Lower your risk, measure your return, then decide whether or not to go bigger.

How do you start small with product photography?

Managing risk is easy with the right photographer. Purchase professional product photography based on the actions you need your customers to take. List your needs in order of importance, then purchase the most valuable images first. Work down the list until you’ve spent your photography budget. Fill in the gaps with your iPhone or friend. By approaching photography from a needs-first perspective, you’ll maintain a high degree of control over your budget, while still ensuring you have the highest quality assets at the most important places in your marketing and sales funnels.

An example from online marketplaces:

Step one – get attention

A faux leather kneeling chair is photographed against a clean white background.


Step two – share details and answer questions. The second step is irrelevant unless step one is accomplished.


Many online marketplaces display a single image when presenting your product in search results. This is your product’s MAIN image. The MAIN image is the most important image associated with your listing. It’s the image that makes the consumer take pause and change direction. The additional images – features, colors, lifestyles, etc. – are important, but they are secondary and only come into play once the consumer has already taken an action. If a business can’t afford to use professional product photography for all their images, then it would make sense for the budget to be spent on the highest impact images (MAIN), and using other resources to create the secondary images.

A slightly different approach might be to invest in professional product photography for those highest margin, or most popular items. It just depends on what priorities drive your business.

To summarize – photography is a strategic scalable investment

Small business product photography is therefore not a massive fixed cost. Instead, it’s a strategic investment that can be scaled up or down based on budget, and where consumers get lost in the purchasing process. And, as with anything else in business, it’s always prudent to test, evaluate, decide, test, evaluate, decide, etc.

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A detail image of black, faux leather captured in a studio in Lakewood, CO.Premium, custom lit photograph of a grey and black clay teapot.