Browsing through well-made business websites is often a great visual experience. These sites have appealing graphics, pleasing colors, beautiful font, and great product images. Customers look at this beautiful product photography and are compelled to buy the item. That’s the magic of well-planned professional product photography. If you want to attract customer attention or influence their purchase decisions, consider hiring an experienced photographer for the purpose.
What is Professional Product Photography?
Taking pictures of products for display or marketing purposes is more difficult than it sounds. The process is complicated, requires a lot of planning, and skill. It isn’t just pointing a camera in one direction and taking a shot. Many businesses don’t know what’s involved in professional photography and consider DIY images an adequate replacement. Here’s a look at how experts carry out professional photography:
Consultation is the first step in every professional product photography project. Photographers discuss the scope of the project with clients and take time to understand their requirements. During the consultation, photographers may ask several questions like:
- How many images do you need?
- What kind of message do you wish to convey?
- Do you have any inspiration images?
- Do you have any competitors to take inspiration from?
- What kind of images do you need?
- Where will you upload the images?
- What are your target audiences like?
The purpose of a consultation is to ensure the client and photographer on the same page. You can explain what you want to achieve through product photographs and how you will use them in the future. The consultation also helps clients understand the photographer’s vision. Professionals will often provide a rough sketch and present a few ideas about the composition of product images. You can take this opportunity to determine whether the photographer’s style truly matches yours.
- Planning and Composing
Once the expert has all of the information they need about the photography project, they will start planning their approach. Photographers spend a few hours just visualizing how the shoot will go and what the final images will look like. That ensures the shoot has a strong direction and is carried out purposefully. Some photographers will hand-sketch the compositions while others will develop digital line art pieces.
Planning and composing eliminates guesswork from the process and ensures the resultant images are meaningful and convey the right message. Even the most experienced photographers can take lackluster pictures if they’re not well-prepared for the shoot.
- Choosing the Equipment
Most photographers have a few different cameras and a wide range of lenses. It is important to choose the right camera equipment for every shoot. For example, small items like jewelry pieces may require a macro lens and special camera settings. The right camera equipment won’t just capture great images, but also help reduce the time it takes to edit them.
Make sure your photographer has the equipment needed to handle your project. Some studios can handle small products but don’t have enough resources to take photographs of big products like cars and furniture. Check the studio’s portfolio and study the images carefully before hiring them. You can also speak with the studio’s past clients to get a better idea of what to expect.
- Setting the Stage
Photographers spend a lot of time setting up the background for shoots. Even a simple product on white photography requires a bit of planning and a good lighting arrangement. The white background can easily overwhelm the product if they’re not careful. Creative in-studio and lifestyle photography require more preparation.
Creative in-studio images have several background elements that add some dynamism to the picture and highlight the product’s purpose. Professionals use a range of props or create custom props for the shoot.
Lifestyle product photography often involves models and outdoor locations. Photographers will take time to find the right models and choose the best backdrop for the shoot. This requires some research and planning because both the model and location should fit the brand. For example, if you make athleisure items for the disabled, you will need models that belong to that community. An experienced photographer will make sure the model looks authentic and can represent your brand perfectly.
Studios also employ lighting technicians to ensure the background is well-lit and showcases the product effectively. Experienced lighting technicians know how to create the right environment
Once the setup is complete, the photographer starts taking pictures from different angles and with different lenses. The shoot can last for a few hours or several days depending on the number of products or pictures. In most cases, photographers will take multiple pictures to ensure they have a good collection of images to choose from.
Professionals work with lighting technicians, models, assistants, and other such studio staff members during this process. Freelance photographers usually work alone with the product and model. They may take more time to get the finished images than studios.
Editing is one of the most important aspects of professional product photography. Raw images look unpolished and have several flaws. Even images taken by the best cameras require some tweaking to look good. An experienced photographer is also an expert photo editor. They will use software like Photoshop to refine the photographs and ensure they look professional.
The editing process can last for several hours or days based on the number of images. Photographers carefully choose the best pictures from their collection and correct any flaws they find. These flaws can include things like poor light balance, bad contrast, distracting reflections or background elements, etc. The editing process ensures the images look professional and are suitable for all kinds of platforms.
Once the photographer is satisfied with the pictures, they will deliver them to the client. Most studios just upload the images to a cloud server and give their clients access. You can download the photographs from any device or location easily. Professional photographers make sure the images are suitable for all kinds of screens, especially mobile screens.
As you can see, the product photography is a complex process that requires time and effort. However, it is a worthwhile investment and can deliver great returns over the long term.