Product Photography

Getting ready for your product photoshoot Part 1

Group flat lay photography by Andrea Russell Perth Commercial Product photographer
Jewellery flat lay photography by Andrea Russell

When clients call to discuss their upcoming photography session they naturally want to know what they can expect from the day and what to prepare for the photoshoot.  Photography sessions can vary, however this blog outlines some of the frequently asked questions, starting from an initial enquiry through to receiving the finished images.

It all starts with a conversation

The initial phone call with clients is all about getting to know them, their business and their product.  It is important to understand the intended use of the photos and the reasons for engaging a professional commercial photographer.

For clients who have just started their business, often they have tried taking photos themselves but have soon realised that to succeed in selling their product online they need professional images.  Other clients prefer to engage a professional from the beginning, so they can focus on other aspects of developing their business.  

After the initial photography session, together we collaboratively develop a photo shoot routine that works best for each client.  This may be as frequent as multiple shoots per month or a few times each year as new products are released.

STYING

When a new client calls up we mainly discuss their product and the vision they have for it to be seen online.  If the photoshoot is for their website, we will discuss the look and feel of their website first. For example, if a product is aimed at families then the photographic approach will be different to the method used to shoot images for high-end jewellery brands.  Sometimes the look of the website may be all dark and moody, so photos may need to be taken with a strong contrast light as opposed to the soft lighting used in say bridal photography.    

Consistency of images is important for the look of each client’s brand and website.  I keep every client’s photoshoot on file, so I can refer to the images taken for them previously.  It is most often that clients want their products photographed in a similar way in future shoots (eg. angle, lighting, styling).

Image showing a soft look produced by using pastel colours and wide light boxes.  Photo by Andrea Russell
Soft look produced by using pastel colours and wide light boxes
Image showing a contrasty look produced by using black and white colours and strong small direct lights.  Photo by Andrea Russell
High contrast look produced by using black backdrop and strong direct lights

TYPES OF IMAGES

Next we discuss the type of photos needed; online shop images, website banner images, detail or macro images, styled images for blog or social media use and any specific advertising images such as “hero shots” to feature on other platforms like magazines. 

For online shop photos, clients need professional beautifully lit images of just their product on a white or other plain colour backdrop.  These are often portrait rectangle or square cropped images.  For banner images, we may need to take more elongated horizontal images that can fill the top banner space of their website.  Styled advertising images are very much open to individual interpretation and for these especially, I prefer to work together with clients in my studio or on location.  

Stretched horizontal crop for website banner use
Stretched horizontal crop for website banner use
Normal horizontal rectangle crop.
Perth Jewellery Product photography by Andrea Russell
Normal horizontal rectangle crop
Square Instagram Crop.
Perth Jewellery Product photography by Andrea Russell
Square Instagram Crop
Advertising image styled with props.
Perth Jewellery Product photography by Andrea Russell
Advertising image styled with props

DIGITAL POST PRODUCTION

Just as a photoshoot may vary from a few hours, to a full day or a week, digital post production requirements can also vary.  If all images need specific Photoshop processing such as clean-up of scratches, removing parts, changing colour of metal or product selections, then the digital post production will take much longer than basic colour corrections and sharpening.  A good understanding of the intended image usage and product presentation on delivery, can greatly help in keeping post production digital costs down.

Images showing examples of additional photoshop work used to add the photographed product onto a previously purchased image of a cake and to create graphic style images for an Amazon listing.  
Work by Andrea Russell
Examples of additional photoshop work used to add the photographed product onto a previously purchased image of a cake and to create graphic style images for an Amazon listing.
Image showing additional photoshop work used to change colours of metal.  Work by Andrea Russell
Additional photoshop work used to change colours of metal

THE QUOTE

After an initial conversation, client often visit my studio where they can show me their product in person, share ideas, further develop the brief and discuss possible dates & times for the photoshoot.  

With an understanding of the photography brief, I am then able to provide a quote for each client.  For a client with a high volume of products, that all need to be photographed a certain way and the client does not need to be present at the photoshoot, then quotes can be provided on a per image basis.  

It is more common however for photography and digital service quotes to be provided on an hourly rate basis with an estimate for the time it will take us working together to finish a job.  Clients who have a specific budget find it best to work backwards, using their budget as a starting point then seeing how many images we can create in the time they have booked.  Sometimes the really good ideas only start to happen later on in the shoot when everyone’s creative juices have had some time to flow and get into their groove!  That’s when clients will say “Let’s keep going!”

Styled images of eco toothbrushes on location.  Photography by Andrea Russell
Styled images of eco toothbrushes on location

To learn about what happens on the day of the shoot please read the following Blog Article:

Getting ready for your product photoshoot – Part 2.