Choosing the right product photographer can be a daunting task. With so many options out there, from freelance workers to professional companies to even friends and family choosing the right avenue can be a hard decision. There are so many factors that go into choosing a photographer as well. I have to figure your budget, the timing of when I want your photos released, how I want your photos released (online, digitalized, etc.), if I need any editing done to the photos, and so many other factors that can make the decision on the photographer even harder. Once I figure out all of this information, I can then make my way into the choice of which I want taking your photos.
While many photographers can claim they are the best in the business there are a few assets that are must-need from any photographer. The first one is very obvious and it is steady-hands. When meeting with a potential photographer, make sure he or she does have steady hands. You do not want a photographer messing up photo after photo with shaking hands.
Another thing to look for would be their recent work. What was the photographer’s most recent work? I would bypass that photographer because a lack of work in the industry may lead to disastrous results in the final photos. An additional aspect to look for would be familiarity with photo editing software and printing services. As good as the best photographer may be, there can still be improvements put into photos in post-production settings. Knowledge of photo editing software like Photoshop may be a huge plus in terms of choosing a photographer. Also, printing resources can be a huge difference in photographers. If a photographer has their own print shop in-house, that can be a huge plus in keeping your costs down. The photographer does not have to act like middleman going between his photo works and the print shop.
The right photographer usually has these five qualities. Number one, the photographer must have an eye for detail. The second quality would be to have superior marketing skills. A third quality would be for the photographer to have excellent knowledge of the market/product of yours. Fourth, a product photographer must show patience and virtue in their set-up and style. And finally, the photographer must show ambition and innovation with their work.
EYE FOR DETAIL
The first quality the best people in the product photography industry tend to have is an eye for detail. Photography in general requires a keen sense of surroundings and the ability to take an ordinary object or scene and make it relevant to the buyer or customer. An eye for detail in the jewelry photographer and in the clothing photographer is a huge quality to have. First off, in both of these industries, the photographer is trying to make the product (jewelry/clothing) stand out from the rest of the industry. How can the clothing photographer show my line of clothing better than my competitors, how can I make my store sell more with the photos taken. These are a few of the questions that I would be asking of my photographer to make sure they are the best photographer for me to use. An eye for detail can be the difference between my best sales quarter or me closing down my shop.
SUPERIOR MARKETING SKILLS
The second quality for any product photographer would be for their superior marketing skills. While a simple photographer can just take pictures and make them nice, the best photographer can also have a marketing and sales aspect to their business. While I may have the final say for my product marketing approach, having a different set of eyes and a different marketing brain will also be a helpful step forward. Especially if the photographer has been working in a specific location for a long time and knows the marketing demographics well, that would be a huge bonus for me. For things like a jewelry photographer, having the knowledge of which pieces sell the best around certain times of the year can be a boost in sales that could result in more money for me but also potential expansion if the sales do well enough.
KNOWLEDGE OF THE MARKET
I touched on this a little bit in the last section, but it is worth repeating. Having a person, especially a photographer who knows the demographics of a certain location/area, or knows which advertisements play out the best to certain audiences is huge. This way, when setting up which pieces of product to use or deciding how to best frame the advertisement, the photographer can give options and suggest different avenues to go down for the best results.
PATIENCE AND VIRTUE
The fourth quality to seek in a photographer would be to have patience and virtue. Not every shoot is going to be picture perfect, not every piece is going to dazzle on the screen or on paper, and not every photo is going to turn out the way I want them to. This is where the patience of the photographer comes into play where they can work on a photo in an editing software and help transform it into something more into what I was dreaming of. Or if a product is simply not showing up the way I want it to, the photographer can suggest a different item that may have a similar result as the product I wanted displayed.
AMBITION AND INNOVATION
And the final quality to have in product photography would be ambition and innovation. A photographer should be able to work on their feet and think on their toes. The ability to think outside of the box is not only necessary it is a key. If the competition seems to be gaining an upper hand on my business, it is up to me to find a way to get back on top. If that means going to a photographer that may not have the “normal” portfolio, then that may have to happen. The photographer must be willing to take risks and push the envelope to get results for not only him, but for his cliental.