With so many product photographers offering their services, it can be hard to make a decision on who to hire when it comes to shooting products for your brand. Here are 7 factors to consider when looking for the perfect product photographer to shoot your products.
#1 Does their style match what you’re after?
Every photographer has a different style of shooting and editing. And it’s important you hire a product photographer who is able to deliver images that will be on brand for you.
There are two things I recommend doing:
Looking at their Instagram and website portfolio to check out their work
Email the photographer with the vision you have in mind and the style you’re after to see if it’s something they can produce for you.
I emphasize that second point because when it comes to Instagram, photographers usually post images that will make sense for their feed and their own branding. There are usually hundreds of other photos you will never see that sits in their content bank, so it’s important to flick them a message to see if they can create what you’re looking for even if their Instagram or website doesn’t necessarily show it.
Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself:
Are you after bright and white images?
Are you after busy or minimal flatlays?
Are you after product shots with models or lifestyle images?
Do you require a specific type of edit for your branding? (e.g. pink tones, monochrome, something warmer)
For example, on my Instagram feed, I post a lot of bright and busy flatlays. However, my skill set extends much further than that to extremely minimal and earthy product photos. See below the image I shot for Claire Hill Australia:
Overall, a good product photographer can adapt to different styles.
#2 Are you able to find out more about their personality?
I don’t know about you but when I hire someone from online, my trust barrier is built up pretty thick. Which is why it’s so important to show our faces on social media.
You need to be able to trust your product photographer. I’ve heard stories of people just walking off with people’s products, never to be heard from again. That is NOT cool. And owning a product based business myself, I know how this feels.
I recommend to give their Instagram a little stalk. Watch their stories, flick through their most recent posts, and watch their highlights. This will help you get to know them a little better and what they’re like as a person to help you break down that trust barrier a little.
I make it a strong point to show up as much as possible on my stories and show who I am as a person, my behind the scenes processes, and I’m happy to answer any questions. My goal as a product photographer is to be approachable and friendly. So that when you communicate with me, it feels like we’re friends and not just two strangers who are in a business transaction.
#3 Find out who else they have worked with & read their testimonials
When I see someone who has worked with other reputable brands, it immediately helps to further break down my trust barrier. Because if ‘that’ particular brand has worked with that person, then they must be at least ok to work with.
I also suggest to read the product photographer’s testimonials. I post my testimonials in a couple of different places:
#4 They communicate their processes and make them clear
I get a few DMs on my Instagram asking about how my process for product photographer works. I always ensure my website sales page outlines the process my customer would go through in order to work with me which looks like the following:
My client fills out a creative brief which helps me get to know their branding and goals for the photoshoot – this is really important to me to determine if we’re a good fit
A contract is signed, invoice is sent and products are sent to my home
I have a 21 day turnaround for image deliverables. I usually take less time than this but it always depends on how busy I get. This gives me a buffer to work with and allow for creative process
Images are delivered via Google Drive or Dropbox
When I do a product shoot, sometimes I will take additional photos to give my client options. These images are then uploaded to a gallery with the ability to purchase additional images on the spot or at a later date.
#5 They use professional equipment and editing programs
Never hire a product photographer who uses a smartphone to take your photos. The reason I say this is because the quality of your photos will be significantly lower and you won’t get what you pay for. That and I wouldn’t call them a professional photographer if they’re just using their smartphone.
When I deliver images to my clients, I give them two types of photos. One for print quality which is exported at 320ppi (you can use these images for brochures, banners, anything you want to print basically) and one file size for web exported at 72ppi which won’t slow your website down.
I’ve invested heavily into my photography equipment and use a Canon 6D Mark III and a Sigma 35m 1.4 lens which equates to a few thousand dollars worth of gear. I then use Lightroom and Photoshop to edit my client’s photos to ensure best results.
#6 You receive prompt responses and they’re willing to chat on the phone
A product photographer who takes 3-4 days to reply to your email may not be the best option. Of course there are certain circumstances that come into play when responses are delayed but I believe first contact should be made no longer than 48 hours from when you sent the initial email.
Sometimes it’s also super helpful to jump onto the phone and chat to your product photographer about your needs and your goals for the shoot. Usually if I feel a creative brief won’t allow me to easily find out what you’re after or quote you for a project, I’ll ask to jump onto the phone with you and chat.
#7 They provide you with a contract
You should ALWAYS receive a contract (even for free collaborations) when working with a product photographer. A contract is issued to not only protect the work of the photographer, but also the agreement you and your photographer have in place. Ensure that both yourself and your product photographer sign the contract.
When choosing a product photographer to shoot for your business, I highly recommend to take all of the above into consideration. They have to be the right fit for you and your products and should be easy and genuine to communicate with.