If you’re selling products online, having high-quality images of your inventory is one of the most important aspects of your business. Product photos can make or break a sale. Hiring a professional photographer to take your product photos can take your business to the next level.
Why great photos are so important
If you’ve been taking photographs yourself and thinking they’re “good enough,” you’re leaving money on the table. Nothing says “amateur” like a blurry, poorly-lit photograph. You want your customers to trust that you run a professional shop. If your images are shoddy, maybe your products or customer service are too. Remember that just like your storefront is your face to consumers, so is your website. You want to invest just as much time and energy making your website look professional as you would your physical store.
Having a professional photographer provide crisp, clean, enticing product images for your website gives you the aura of professionalism you need to stand out from the crowd. Put yourself in your potential customers’ shoes: If one site has great, appealing product images and the other looks like its photos were taken with a cell phone, which store are you going to patronize?
Hiring a professional photographer
Photography is a broad discipline with lots of subcategories. Someone who is great at shooting weddings isn’t necessarily good at shooting products. The two require very different skill sets. Don’t assume that a great photographer is great at all types of photography.
And, while it’s tempting to cut corners, don’t. Your cousin Jimmy who has a new camera and took great shots of your kid’s last birthday party probably isn’t your best bet. You want to hire a photographer who is experienced in catalog product photography.
You can search for a photographer using online or hard copy yellow pages, or through one of the various online sites for freelance photographers, including Photographers.com, Professional Photographers Association (PPA), Elance or Guru.
A Few Things to Remember
- Make sure you look through each portfolio.
- Determine what digital editing services are available.
- Find out if you have proof approval.
- Discuss the project with your top choices and get a written proposal to start the process.
Go local if you can, because it’s likely your products will have to be delivered to the photographer’s studio. If there just aren’t any good options locally, there are some larger studios, like Product Photography in Las Vegas, which will accept shipped goods.
If your budget just can’t stand the cost of one of the local studios, try local colleges and universities that offer photography as a major.
Working with a photographer
Communication is the key. Make sure your photographer knows what your business is about. Not just what you sell, but what your brand is and who your target audience is.
Discuss various backgrounds and setups. For instance, if you sell clothing, you might want on-model photographs. Maybe table-top photography (generally cheaper) will suffice. Make sure you’re on the same page, and remember to respect their time.
We’re a visual society and the web is a visual medium. Professional photographs give your website the professional edge over the competition. And in today’s market, it’s important to stay ahead of the game.
About the Author
Monique Martin served as Chief Operating Officer for a successful online insurance marketing firm for five years.