What is product photography anyway?

We all know that product photography is important, but what types of product photography are there? And why is each important for your growing business. Here are four types of product photography and why each is so important.

Product photography can be divided into four main categories: product in use, product on a model, product in an environment, eCommerce, and product packaging.

Product in Use (Product Lifestyle)

This type of product photography shows your product being used in its intended environment by its intended demographic. For example, if your product is a fitness tracking watch, it makes sense then to photograph the watch on the wrist of a fitness model with close-up images of them using it in its intended way.

It’s a great way to show off features and how the product works. This type of product photography is often used in things like instruction manuals or online tutorials. Images like these are also great for social posts, especially in connection to relevant copy that explains the features of the product.

Product on a Model (Brand Lifesyle)

This type of product photography is similar to the product in use but focuses less on close-up images informing the viewer how it works, this captures the context of the product. It sets the scene and is meant to tell a story. This product photography is about the product as part of a lifestyle.

A great example of this would be Apple product photography. They don’t just show you pictures of the product by itself but rather pictures of people using them in their everyday lives. These images are idealistic and optimistic, they are designed to show what’s possible. They are a polished version of real life.

Ecommerce

Another type of product photography is eCommerce product photography. This is when the product is photographed by itself without any context or background. The focus here is on the product and nothing else. This type of product photography is often used for things like catalogs or online stores. It’s used to convey information and show the product up close so the prospective buyer can see the product from various angles.

These types of images should be used on websites like Amazon listings, product pages, or (less common these days) printed in a catalog.

Product in the environment.

These images show the product in a real life setting. This type of product photography gives the viewer context and shows how the product can be used. It’s often used in things like advertisements or social media posts.

Product pack shots.

This type of product photography is used to show the product in the packaging. It’s common on product pages or when the product is being sold in a store. Often, online retailers require this image as part of the product image suite

In conclusion

When launching and marketing a product, it’s best to have a broad collection of images that capture the product in its best possible light. This will help potential customers understand what the product is and what it can do for them. With the right product photography, you can make a great first impression and set your product up for success.


What is Image licensing and How Do Commercial Photographers Charge?

What is an image license or image usage agreement? Often clients who aren’t used to hiring commercial photographers are confused and frustrated when they discover they don’t just own the images and can do whatever they want with them.

The goal of this blog is to break down what an image usage license is and why commercial photographers use them.

A commercial photography usage license is an agreement between the intellectual property owner (the photographer) and another party that wants to use the images for commercial/advertising/marketing purposes.

The license specifies the permitted usage (on billboards, on a website’s homepage, in one social media post, etc), and any user that isn’t covered by the usage license is prohibited.

A single usage license allows you to do anything, since there are an infinite number of possibilities for combining mediums/locations/times to come up with creative uses for images in/on/for a company.

Why do photographers charge a usage fee? Why can’t I use the image however I want?

A good example is an app for your computer. If you need to purchase Microsoft Office for your staff, you’ll need to purchase licenses for each user. Microsoft could just give you the software for you to distribute freely, sure, but they wouldn’t make any money that way.

Photography is the same way. Each use-case scenario will come at a different cost.

Here are three examples of usage licenses:

• The use of three images in a Facebook ad with a 72-hour run duration, aimed at a North American audience of 2 million Sony Playstation and X-Box console users.

• The unrestricted, exclusive, international use of 15 images in perpetuity. No third-party rights. Editorial use requires an additional fee.

• The exclusive, perpetual use of 35 images for organic social media posts on a single social media channel. No third-party rights. Promoted and paid social media posts incur an additional fee.

Simply put, a ‘usage license’ is the description of what the end-user/customer is paying for when they acquire usage rights to an image(s).

Usage fees/licensing fees:

A usage fee, often known as a licensing fee, is the cost the customer will pay to use the photos. This fee is calculated based on the client’s gain in return for using the images.

Where, what, how many and for how long are questions that are answered to determine what the appropriate usage fee will be.

A global company that places billboards along every highway in the United States is going to pay a significant amount. A modest local cafe or bar displaying an image in their social feeds for their new special or menu item will pay considerably less.

In those scenarios, the benefit to the company (e.g. potential payoff) is drastically different.

When you purchase a usage fee, you are investing in the predicted outcome from the photo advertising/marketing usage. This is not a cost; rather, it is an investment with anticipated results.

Almost every photographer is willing to offer open usage for an unlimited amount of time in perpetuity to their customers, but this comes at a very expensive rate since it covers ALL visible uses, including television/broadcast and book cover production, as well as packaging anywhere in the world. (For example, a company will never utilize all of that usage.)

Consequently, the majority of businesses opt to identify their usage to avoid significant expenses in licensing costs.

Why do I still have to pay for the photographer’s time to shoot the image if I still have to pay a licensing fee?

Photographers will charge their fee for actually shooting the photos. This is usually an hourly or day rate for showing up to do the work. You are paying for the photographer’s time and not the images. Image Licensing is a separate line item. This ensures that the photographer is paid for their time, regardless of whether or not images are licensed.

Retainer agreements

There are also retainer contracts, which are often used in cases where the photographer has been working with the client for a while and they both are happy with the work produced.

Retainer agreements are special arrangements that wave some or all licensing fees in exchange for consistent billable hours.

Agreements like this are rare and are made when the client and photographer have been working together for a while. It’s a special circumstance when there is a benefit of consistent paid work for the photographer and the client knows what to expect from the photographer. Relationships like this are built on trust and commitment.

Retainer agreements shouldn’t be seen as a way to save money, but as a way to have a long-term relationship with a photographer that they trust. It truly is a partnership.

In summary

You can think of photographer billing in three parts:

• The photographer’s fee – Hourly or Day rate.

• Image license fee – Based on how the image will be used.

• Production costs – Paying for models, locations, grip, hair/makeup.

It can sound complicated, but a qualified and experienced commercial photographer can simplify the process and explain how they bill. For us, we value transparency and you will never be chared anything that you don’t know about or haven’t signed off on.


6 Reasons Why You Should Hire A Commercial Photographer

Hiring a professional commercial photographer seems silly these days. Since everyone has a high-tech phone in their pocket, capable of generating some pretty remarkable images. However, as amazing as these images are, they might not be best for your business.

customer inserting visa credit card into a wireless POP terminal over a counter full of leather making tools.

 

There are many benefits to hiring a professional photographer for product photography. Here are just 6 of them:

1. Professional photos will help improve the design of your website and social media feeds.

Quality professional photographers think about where images will end up and consider that when capturing images. Shooting for Instagram is different than shooting for a landing page or Amazon listing.

2. They can help increase brand awareness and recognition.

Photography can help shape your overall brand voice. Quality, meaningful, authentic images can leave a lasting impression and help people connect with and engage with your brand.

3. Good photography will elevate your brand and create trust with potential customers.

Customers will always want to purchase from a vendor that offers genuinely excellent photographs of their items. Creating images that show what the product or service looks like and then people utilizing it can help you establish credibility and make customers more comfortable buying from you.

4. Quality images will help motivate customers to purchase products and services.

Product photography should highlight the features and benefits of what you are selling. It is one of the most persuasive tools in your marketing arsenal and can be a great way to increase sales conversions.

5. Photos can show off your products in the best light.

Any true professional will use the best possible lighting and color-accurate tools to create stunning images of your products. Beyond that, they will retouch the images, removing any blemishes or imperfections, things that might not be that noticeable to the naked eye, but will be picked up by the camera.

6. Well-executed product shots make you stand out from the competition

In a world where anyone can sell anything online, it’s important to make your product photos stand out. Potential customers are bombarded with choices and if your photos don’t look as good as the next person’s, they might not stop to take a second look.

Conclusion

Professional product photography is an important marketing tool in your company’s arsenal. It’s an investment though, but it’s one worth making if you’re serious about how people perceive your brand.

Any quality photographer will show up with quality, industry-standard tools, and competency to know to use them to elevate and capture your product or people, or service in the best possible light.

Hiring a professional will also give you peace of mind knowing that this one important task is being handled by someone who knows what they’re doing so you can focus on other areas of running your business.