Professional Photography or not? that is the question.
When browsing online for gifts or clothes etc the image is the principle influencer on whether you stop to look further at the description. It is useful to explain exactly what you are getting or how it works but I am sure most people will agree that the image will make you stop and look a little longer. With the rise of instagram and Pinterest it is clear we are very visually orientated creatures. Therefore, we need to see something we like or that may strike a cord with our feelings/situation/desire.
Since the rise of smart phones, however, we have all become semi-professional photographers or so we think. I say that with a chuckle, because I am as guilty as everyone of taking photos with my phone and we do arty shots, selfies and landscape shots and it seems easy. But ask any professional photographer how hard it is to get the lighting right and the background set up, they will agree it is difficult! However, it is an expense and when making limited profit with handmade items it is indeed a choice many choose not to take.
It may be something you want to explore yourself and is worth having a go, but show the final images to someone who has experience in this field or is particularly creative & (most importantly) will give you an honest opinion about them. They may spot something you hadn’t. Take a read of this blog about creating your own shots for under $50. Overlooking the use of dollars, the principles are right and they do give some very useful tips on what to do to achieve a decent finish. What radiates from the blog, in my opinion, is that you need a lot of time to prepare, money to buy equipment and a camera (not phone) and have the ability to edit your photos yourself. Photographers can do this for you within a few hours due to their experience and the outcome will be less stressful. Personally, I thoroughly enjoy going to the photographers, if you have a product that you are excited to sell, it is a great experience seeing it get photographed professionally! If you have done your research well, you will be very satisfied with the outcome.
The types of shots you might want to use are cut-out, which is on a white background or lifestyle shots.
On this website we do have quite a few people that use lifestyle shots. Shots that show a person or a situation involving the product; it helps customers to visualise the item. These are slightly more tricky particularly if it involves people/pets as there are more variables that can affect your shot, such as hair or facial expressions to name a few.
Using items in the background makes a shot become more personal and you are selling a lifestyle. Not a new idea, as all the big retailers having been selling lifestyles for years.
LCA Photography, Macclesfield.
The latter is less tricky but do take time to set up. A lot of fore-thought needs to go into planning a shot like this. From experience, I will practice at home and set up a shot and see how it looks. I take a picture with my phone then take it into the photographers to help lay it out. It is a huge time saving activity as you know exactly what shots you want and can set them up quickly, meaning less money in photographers fees. However, you may just want to leave this with the photographer to do themselves as they have an eye for what looks good and may suggest some new ideas.
Holly Booth Photography, Derbyshire
We also use the cut-out shot, which is perfect and clear but is not to everyone’s taste. However, it is functional and you can see when it has been taken professionally. A mix of both styles works well I feel.
Giving your images the ‘stop this instant’ message is surely what everyone wants to achieve so pick your photos or photographer carefully.
DIY shots – do with caution and be critical. These are great for social media. but could be a false economy.
Choose a photographer carefully – get someone recommended and take a look at their work.
Plan how you would like your shots – this could save time and money on using professional time.
Be clear of the type of shots you want, lifestyle or cut-out. Then you won’t be disappointed.
Make your first impression shots count. Don’t blend into the background!
Here are a few recommended photographers. I have used Paul from LCA a number of times and have been very pleased with the results. Holly has been recommended by a number of traders and her work is beautiful take a look. Mark has an extensive portfolio of lifestyle shots and has recently written his own blog about how to market artisanal food & photography & The Artisans.
LCA Photography – Cheshire
HollyBooth Photography – Derbyshire
Mark Lord Photography – Oxfordshire
- Product Photography
- Lifestyle Shots