Preparing for a product photoshoot can be a daunting task. You’ve already put so much work into perfecting your product - from the packaging, to the branding, to the content of the product itself - you’ve put everything into this product, and you’re finally ready to show it off to the world.
But where do you begin? There are so many different kinds of product photos out there! You may be asking yourself: what kind of product photos do I need? How many photos should I get? Where do I even find a product photographer, and how do I know I can trust them with my product and money?
Have no fear - the product photography process is actually much more straightforward than most people assume, as long as you go into the process with a few key things in mind. Here at Chromatone Studios, we've shot a vast array of products and have compiled a list of tips for clients in order to demystify the process. Keep reading to discover how to prepare for your product photoshoot. Once you do your homework, working with a product photographer is a breeze!
Understanding your brand identity
Before you hire a product photographer, it’s important that you have already laid the groundwork for your marketing strategy. Understanding your target audience is an essential starting point in the process of finding a product photographer. Not only is this a good idea in terms of your long term marketing strategy, it can also help you identify what you’re looking for in terms of the style and tone of your photography.
For example, figuring out whether you want your brand’s messaging to be fun and quirky, or perhaps more serious and elegant, can help you narrow down your style options. Ultimately, this will be important to communicating visually, and if you come prepared with your brand guidelines, it will save you and your product photographer a whole lot of time and guesswork.
Plan your content strategy
Planning your content strategy is the logical next step after identifying your brand’s audience. Before starting the product photography process, it’s important to have a specific idea about how you would like to use the photos. Will the photos be used on social media? Your website? Maybe a banner ad? Perhaps you want a gif, or even a video as well. Not only does this information help the product photographer come up with a styling and shooting plan, it helps make sure you get your money’s worth by using your product photos in the most effective way possible. By having a content strategy, you and the photographer will both have an easier time narrowing down the scope of work - which will be important for setting budgets (more on that later).
Take time to research
Product photography is a big investment, so it’s important that you take time to research to identify a few key points. Researching existing product photography for products similar to yours can be extremely helpful in identifying a direction. Let’s say you’re a hot sauce company - a great place to start is by searching “hot sauce product photography” on either Google or Pinterest. Pinterest in particular has TONS of product photography content that can serve as inspiration for your project. When chatting with your photographer, providing them with visuals that align with your brand will help them get a sense of what you are looking for.
Additionally, make sure you put in the proper research when finding a photographer. Check out the photographer’s portfolio to see if their content fits your style needs. For example, if the photographer specializes in basic white-background photography, they may not be the best fit for your vibrant and fun product.
Schedule a phone call with prospective photographers
We cannot stress how important this step is! Explaining your vision, asking questions, and discussing rates is way more difficult over email than on the phone. Take the time to schedule a quick consultation with your photographer as you’re shopping around. Most photographers will be happy to hop on a quick phone call to discuss your options. Make sure the photographer is really listening to you and understands your brand vision before moving forward.
Product photography can be a much bigger investment than most people realize. Depending on the photographer, even just a handful of product photos can run you upwards of $1,000-$10,000. This seems expensive, but keep in mind that the photographer is responsible not only for creative direction, but also lighting and camera equipment, styling, editing, prop sourcing, creating custom sets, and working their hardest to produce content that aligns with your vision.
If you want quality photos, it’s important to set aside a large enough budget to pay for a true professional. Hiring a professional photographer instead of doing it yourself or settling for mediocre imagery will ensure that your photos are of the highest quality and really show off your brand’s aesthetic in a cohesive manner.
Your budget will dictate how many photos you will receive as well as the complexity of the styling and creative direction, so it’s important to come into the product photography process with a solid budget.
Communicate your vision to the photographer - or, let them have full creative direction!
Once you’ve found a product photographer, let them know exactly what you’re looking for. In as much detail as possible, share your brand identity, content strategy, and what goals you have for these photos.
But if you’re finding yourself a bit overwhelmed in terms of brand direction and style, don’t fret! Once you’ve shared your general vision with the photographer, feel free to ask them for some ideas, or brainstorm together! Sometimes, it can be easier to just let the professionals take over - it’s their expertise after all. Plus it will give you peace of mind that your content is in good hands. Just make sure to communicate your needs thoroughly!
That’s it! Hopefully these tips will help you prepare for your product photoshoot. If you have any questions or more tips, feel free to comment below and let us know!
Thanks for reading, and good luck with your product photoshoot!