Author: Jose Soriano

Jose Soriano
How does photography post-production drive Ecommerce sales?

Have you ever wondered about the powerful effect photography has on buyers and what it does to their decision-making process? 

 

Good photos have a way of making any product look better. Colors are sharpened, the contrast is increased, and the entire photo becomes crisper. It’s probably not a stretch to say that virtually every eCommerce business should use professional photo editors to enhance their products.

 

But why should they? How much does photo editing actually contribute to eCommerce success? 

We will answer these questions in detail throughout the entire article. Additionally, we will discuss the 7 hidden benefits of Ecommerce photography post-production (spoiler alert: it boosts your sales).

 

Let’s pace up, and begin!

What is Photography Post-Production?

 

Photography post-production is the last step in the grading process. It involves bringing together all the different elements of photography to make sure everything lines up, is exposed well, and that it looks good overall. After you have finished capturing your images, this is the final stage before you share them with the world.

 Post-production is used in niches all over the world including fashion, decor, art, tourism, and of course, eCommerce.

There’s nothing more tempting than a beautiful photo of nicely arranged products, so your customers want to buy them immediately. Pictures do say a thousand words and they can also persuade people.

Uses of Post-Production in eCommerce

Let’s briefly discuss the most important post-production services that are utilized in the eCommerce industry.

Clipping Path

Clipping path services have been in the industry for a couple of years now and have gained a lot of traction in presenting a better image of your digital artwork. It is a very common element of modern image editing and graphics design. 

 A clipping path is used to create a silhouette of an image while the rest of the image is transparent or semi-transparent. It can be used to cut out any object in an image so that the background of the image remains visible. This service is widely used for portraits, product photography, and writing text on top of images. It is derived from a technology called photo-masking or vector masking, which service providers use to cut out objects from photos with exact precision.

There are numerous reasons why you’d want to use image clipping path services. When the design calls for a complex image but you don’t have the time to wait for a photoshoot, clipping path is a great alternative.


Other times, the background of the image may not allow for a clean cut. A clipping path can come in handy in those instances too.

Retouching

There are many different methods of retouching, but the objective of every method is to edit an image so that it appears more appealing. Maybe you want to smooth out wrinkles or remove blemishes on your subject.


The goal of retouching is to present your subject in a way that will help sell your image as a whole, not to mislead the viewer into thinking they’re seeing something that isn’t there.


It’s even more essential for beauty photographers, who often have to deal with high contrast black & white images, where practically everything is a distraction.

Color Correction

Color correction is the creative, technical, and aesthetic process of changing the color of an image in post-production. A common misconception is that color correction and color grading are interchangeable terms. They aren’t. 


When taking a photo, the colors captured by the image sensor may be different from what’s actually being viewed. It can either appear lighter or darker or have a different tint to it. In post-production, adjustments made to correct for this are essentially called color correction.


Photo color correction allows us to fix the problem of color that is poorly or incorrectly captured, or just to change it for artistic effect. Making good color corrections requires good knowledge of how the colors work and how they interact together.

Background Removal

Background removal is the process of finding and extracting an object from a particular background and replacing it with something else (usually a different picture). 


Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to remove a background from a photo? You want that picture of a child sitting in front of a window for instance, but the window was distracting. Background removal will help you get a completely separate picture of just the child.


Without a doubt, one of the most common tasks aspiring eCommerce business owners run into is the removal of a background image. The task can oftentimes feel simple in concept, but in reality, it requires a lot of time and patience in order to get it right.

Ghost Mannequin

Ghost Mannequins are digital models that realistically mimic the figure of real-life mannequins.


It allows you to shoot several pictures of cloth on a model or mannequin, then merge the photos in post-production to eliminate the body. As a consequence, you’ll get a realistic image that puts the attention solely on the cloth.


The Ghost Mannequin effect takes photorealism to the next level, giving your clothing a ghostly, otherworldly appearance. It is a quick and reliable post-production method for clothing product photography that addresses the presentation dilemma for online clothing stores.

How Product Photography and Editing is Increasingly Dominating eCommerce

The traditional eCommerce space has seen a great deal of activity for the last decade. From developing strategies to increase online purchases to further integration with social media sites like Facebook, there has always been something new to do or try.


And now it appears that product photography and editing are becoming more important than ever before. Have you ever wondered why some online stores have more online traffic than others? Or why some products don’t sell as well as others? It’s not only the quality of the product that matters here, it’s also how it is presented. 


By focusing on professionally shot products and a clean, well-lit background, you can persuade shoppers that your product is the best choice.

According to Magebit, 90% of consumers report that they use images in product searches. What’s more, 52% of shoppers abandon the sites and never return because they dislike the overall aesthetics.


Product Photography and Editing are an important part of online marketing. A product photograph can say so much more than a few lines of text describing the features. 


Of course, you are still going to have your product specifications listed. But having high-quality photos play an invaluable role in allowing potential customers to grasp an idea of what the product looks like in real life, and how it will be suitable for their needs. 


Not only that but if you’re pushing the sale of your products on your site, then good photography and editing will play a role in convincing people to buy.

How Does Visual Presentation Engage Customers More?

Humans are intelligent and emotional animals, and as such, we are strongly influenced by visuals.

Just look at most billboards that are most effective, they are filled with vibrant eye-catching colors that make you want to buy their product. But not only is it the color that creates this reaction, but also elements like branding, text, design, and layout.


According to E.N. Marieb’s book Human Anatomy and Physiology, our brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than textual information. You can then create strong retention when you give your clients the ability to take that material home.


The mere fact that content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images, tells us how visual content is engaging more of our brains. As a result, it’s creating a deeper presence of the brand in the minds of consumers.


In conclusion, visuals are a more exceptional way to engage customers. People enjoy seeing something, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they learn more when associated with visuals.

Ecommerce Photography Post-Production: The Hidden Benefits

What does photography post-production have to do with eCommerce? Is it worth investing in? What are the gains you get from doing it?

The following sections answer all of these questions through these benefits, which only professionals in the industry know.

Improve Stay-Time

Today’s consumers quickly scroll through information without absorbing any of it. That means your products, blog posts, and other contents aren’t doing their job if they don’t hold readers’ attention. With photography post-production, you can create images that are appealing to the eye no matter how quickly the consumer is scrolling through your content.


Many audiences are visual, so they are looking at photos more than trying to read through your content. Having beautiful high-quality images is the perfect way to keep someone on your site.

Increase Click-Through Rates

In a competitive online world where your product is being advertised alongside numerous similar products, the image you use for your advertisement is crucial.


You need an image that will stand out, make it easy for your consumers to see exactly what they are getting, and create an immediate positive emotional response. And then, click.


While stock photos of smiling people and happy families may play well on your page and grab your visitors’ attention, they won’t necessarily get them to click through to your website. This means that it’s important to invest in photography post-production and make your advertising images professional.

Reduce Bounce Rate

We can all agree that a website with a high bounce rate is, in most cases, not a happy place. We all want our site to keep people on the site and hopefully convert them into customers. And one way you can do this is with post-production in photography.


Incorporating rich media into your posts will reduce the number of visitors who bounce from your pages, as edits to your pictures improve your store visitors’ experience.

Grow Credibility

Editing your images to look as amazing as possible is a great way to garner more attention from viewers, and give them a reason to remember you. Credibility through providing value and cultivating relationships with your consumers shouldn’t be underestimated either, but at the core of that is photo editing.


There isn’t one concrete answer for what makes a photo seem credible. However, experts generally agree on certain things that often lead to credibility: composition, lighting, and subject matter expertise. Keeping these factors in mind for your post-production pursuits will help you grow your credibility and in turn, create a stronger brand.

Escalate Conversion Rate

A high-resolution, high-quality photo is a great way to increase your overall conversion rate. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that users will immediately purchase anything they see, it does mean that they are likely to be more inclined to click through and read the full content of the article.

In other words, if you can show off what your brand looks like with a beautiful photo, you’re going to increase your conversion rates in the process.

Lower Return Rate

But there’s something about beautiful pictures that make visitors hang around longer. Take the example of Airbnb; if it wasn’t for their beautiful pictures, they wouldn’t have become the world’s largest shared accommodation marketplace.


Good-looking pictures do make your website more attractive and help lower return rates.


Don’t focus only on the other benefits; make sure you look at the return rate as well, because it can really affect your bottom line. If you want to make the most money and keep your customers happy, don’t skimp on editing.

Ultimately, Boost Your Sales!

Photography post-production is not just about enhancing an image’s aesthetic value. More often than not, it’s used to make the product in the image more appealing, which could be directly correlated with an increase in sales.


If you want to build trust with customers who visit your site, you need compelling images that look good and reflect the brand attributes that you want. This trust goes a long way in affecting your profits.


Whether your business is B2B or B2C, by creating more visually engaging products, you can make a more lasting impression on your customers – which will ultimately lead to more sales. 

Outsourcing Photo Editing: The Most Efficient Route

Customers are less willing to purchase from a store that doesn’t have as many options. Competition is fierce, and creating beautiful product pages that compel people to buy is crucial. But as a business owner, you may not have the time or resources to edit photos by yourself.


This is why many eCommerce businesses resort to hiring photo editors or designers. If one does not have the scope to carry out the post-production process, it is better to outsource it to a professional.


Even if you did have the scope to do it yourself, it will save you a lot of time and energy. You’ll be able to direct that effort you invested in photo editing into other areas like expanding and branding your business.

Ending Thoughts

From websites to social media stores, images are incredibly valuable for promoting your product or service to the widest possible audience.

It speaks volumes about what you’re trying to present and whether you know what you’re doing. Does it look like something that’s hastily thrown together? Does it look like some random string of pixels that somehow conveys what you want it to?


However good your intentions may be, your eCommerce images can sabotage your sales even before they begin. That’s why the simple and ultimate solution is professional post-production in photography.

 

Ashique Rahman

Ashique Rahman is a dedicated soul of Offshore Clipping Path and passionate about the e-commerce industry. He has been sharing his deep learnings through articles on e-business updates, trends, tips, and strategies to help increase traffic, conversion rates. He loves to pass his leisure through photographing as this brings a feeling of complacency. Follow him on: Linkedin, Twitter.

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Jose Soriano
In-House vs Outsourcing Product Photography

Product photography is an integral part of any business as it can boost sales up to a significant margin. However, the main question when it comes to getting your product photos ready is whether to build an in-house studio or hire an external firm. Both options have their advantages and drawbacks depending upon your preference. Therefore, continue reading to understand more about both processes.

 

In-House vs Outsourcing

It is better to have a clear understanding of both categories before deciding on one. In-house product photography simply means that all of the photography processes including plan, shoot, process, and management are done by the company itself. For this purpose, the company will have to invest in the required equipment and manpower.

On the other hand, the outsourcing approach hands the product photography process to an external firm or company and lets them take care of the images. Your work is only to provide them with the product and guidelines regarding your preference for the images.

Several factors will influence your decision. Read along to understand which of the two categories best fits your requirements.

 

Total Images Needed

The very first point that you will need to consider is the total product photographs that you need. If that number resides under a thousand, then you should not even think about going in-house. It is better to outsource in this condition as will it save precious resources including time and money of your company.

However, if you require thousands of images and will continue to require images in the future, you can set up an in-house product photography department.

 

Still Images or 360 Images?

The next step is to determine whether those required images include 360 images or stills? As you might well know that 360 photography is more elaborated than the simple one. Therefore, it requires complex equipment and manpower to handle it. It all adds to the main cost of the setup. If you do require 360 images, it is better that you outsource your product images to someone who already has a setup in place for such shoots.

 

Project Scope

A critical point to this discussion is the scope of your project and business. Talking about in-house product photography is impractical if it is just a one-time project. In this case, outsourcing is the only option.

The in-house product photography department is only viable if your project is ongoing and you will need images in the future as well.

 

Project Deadline

Another important factor is the urgency of the required images. If your schedule is on tight deadlines, outsourcing would be the better option. This will save you the time of setting up the studio and training your personnel. On the other hand, if you have enough time on your plate, you may choose in-house product photography.

 

Budget Flexibility

Of course, this whole discussion revolves around one synchronized factor which is the budget allocated for product photography. Setting up in-house product photography does not mean that you are good to go with a single DSLR. The total cost includes all the accessories which are not cheap. Other than that, you will also have to buy the tools and software for post-processing the images. The cost must also include the amount needed to hire or train expert photographers. If you are new to this field, it would be best that you do not try to invest a large sum into this without proper knowledge. However, if you have a sound understanding and budget, you may choose in-house photography.

 

Required Expertise

We briefly discussed this factor in the budget; however, it is important to emphasize the total amount of resources this will need. You are not only going to need extra manpower for this department, but you will also have to provide the training for the required tools and software. In addition to photography, you will also be required to prepare the products needed for the shoot and keep an extra list in the inventory for this.

Unless your company can handle added distractions, you will have a hard time managing this whole process. If you do not want to add a burden on the company, it is better to outsource to someone who already has a setup in place.

 

Control over the Images

This will be a main deciding factor for some of the people. If you fancy total control over the project, you will be inclined towards the in-house setup. It will allow you to monitor and modify even the slightest of details according to your vision and sentiments. Additionally, it will also give you control over the deadlines and management of the whole process. Otherwise, reputed outsourcing firms will not compromise on quality if you were inclined towards this option.

 

Shipping the Products

Unless you outsource the products to a local firm, you will be required to ship them to their studio. It is not a suitable option if you produce heavy machinery or even fragile equipment. Other than that, if you deal in precious items like jewels, you will also need to bear the cost of insurance and security escort for the items.

 

Conclusion

Now, we believe that you will have a clear idea of what you want. As an added perspective, if you build an in-house studio, you can also try to monetize it by offering product photography services in addition to your main business. Otherwise, if you want to save time and energy, outsourcing will be best for you. Make a decision that will be healthy for both you and your business.

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Jose Soriano
10 things to look for when building a photography website

“A photographer teaching about building a website!?” This thought is most probably hovering in your mind right now, and it might mislead you. But trust me on this one, I have a strong background in system engineering and have been building photography websites for about 15 years now. Bear with me and read along to learn what my immense experience has to offer.

Like I mentioned before I have been building my sites and tried many different platforms and options in the last 15 years, even before SEO was all the rage like nowadays.

In today’s highly competitive time, having a site and not ranking well for the keywords that bring you business is a big problem, at least for me it is. In the last 8 years, I have been relying on many ways to bring business to me, referrals, networking, paid ads, and the most valuable and difficult, Search Engine Optimization. I don’t claim to be a marketing expert but with years I have realized that you need to invest in your website for a long-term strategy and that’s why I bet my money into SEO.

You might ask yourself, why is this guy talking about SEO, well, pretty simple. Taking the right decisions when building your site could have a big impact on your business success, so here are my valuable recommendations to look for when building your Photography website.

 

Look for inspiration

I do this all the time, whenever I have an assignment or a personal project, the same applies in this case. Photographers, are visual artists and visuals inspire us the most, what better way to get inspired than to look at the websites of the photographers you admire? Another good resource to find inspiration is to look for web templates, specifically photography-related ones so you get a clear idea. Forget what platform it is for now, at this stage what you want to do is spend some time gathering good examples of what you like.

 

How will your website work for you?

This is a very important question you need to ask yourself after you find your inspiration. The reason I say this is because many people these days rely on social media platforms, something that I think is a big mistake since social media platforms could come and go unexpectedly, I’m not saying Instagram or Facebook are going away soon but you need to have something more reliable and user friendly like a website.

 

Website platforms

These days I find the number of platforms very overwhelming that offer the ability to have your website up and running in “seconds” and in most cases that is what you want right? Quick and easy? Well, sometimes that quick and easy is not the best long-term solution, at least for me, based on my strategy. I want my website to be my main business driver, I rely on it more than social media, at least until now.

We are getting back to the main point right? Some of the most popular websites builders that I’ve tried for my photography website are:

● Squarespace

● Photobiz

● Wix

● Wordpress

● Pixpa

● Photoshelter

● Portfoliobox

● Smugmug

I have to disclaim that I did not run my website on all of them, on some of these I just did the trial, and some like Squarespace and Wix I stayed for a couple of months. After trying something easy to build like those I mentioned I realized some limitations get you stuck. In my case, I find that platforms like Squarespace have a design limitation since you can’t have the site exactly as you wish unless you spend money to customize it for a developer. Another limitation is the lack of plugins to enhance your site. And lastly, my main issue is the hosting those sites use, they are standard hosts and very limited. I’ll explain why…

The choice I went to is WordPress even tho is a more difficult path but it is more customizable and popular to build a website. Here are the reasons why I think it is the best option:


Pros

● You choose the template you want. I know it’s hard work but worth it

● You choose the hosting you want. In my case, I went with Kinsta.com, more about this below

● Unlimited plugins

● Integration with many services

● Unlimited developers


Cons

● More work to do

● You can’t change the template without editing the whole site

● More pieces to put together

I only scratch the surface with this info about website platforms but I want to give you an overview of what works for me and my experience.

 

The right website hosting for your photography website

I had a similar experience with this, testing different hostings where I got my website down for days due to the hosting problems, backups, customer service, etc.

This is what the ideal hosting should look like for your photo website:

● Cloud hosting: Don’t go with shared hosting, it is very slow and you will regret it

● Solid-state storage: Sometimes this is implied when choosing cloud hosting but not all the time. The solid-state is FAST.

● Integrated CDN: I won’t go into detail here but you want this feature.

● At least weekly backups: This is crucial because many things could happen, security issues that break your site, a wrong update, and many more.

● Reliable customer support, if possible 24h

● Staging environment,: I know this is could be confusing. In simple words, this allows you to create a new site or edit your site in a temporary URL without affecting your Live site, whenever you are ready just push one button and you are live with your modifications. Pretty cool ah?

● SSL certificate is a must, no you can’t avoid this, trust me

Some of the hostings I’ve tried:

● Godaddy. Avoid them as much as you can, they are the worst I’ve tried.

● HostGator. Average hosting with good price but to get to the features as mentioned above, it becomes expensive and the customer support is not the best

● Bluehost. Same experience as HostGator. I have to add that the user interface is horrible to manage your site, confusing as hell. And lastly, customer support is terrible.

● SiteGround: The second hosting I would recommend, has all the features I mentioned above but it is a bit pricey. Customer support is top-notch most of the time. The interface is a bit old and could be confusing.

Kinsta: This is the king of the kings. It has ALL the features I mentioned above and they add great features all the time. They run on a google cloud platform, they had proprietary CDN and it was great, recently they upgraded for free to Cloudflare. Lastly, the customer support is freaking amazing, fast, when I say fast is, you don’t wait more than 5 minutes on a chat to get a knowledgeable technician. What I like the most is, you get all those features for a very good price. You can’t go wrong about Kinsta for your photo website.

If you want to sign up, use this link (this is an affiliate link so I will receive a commission :))

 

A Coherent Theme

Now that you have selected the platform and hosting, it is time to pick a theme for your website. As a developer and a photographer, I would highly recommend that you choose a theme that best resonates with the theme of your photography. Another important point is that it should allow you to customize not just the fonts but colors and layout as well. Each element of your website including prompts, fonts, and background should follow a singular theme. The theme which has the same color theme as your photography and allows maximum customizability is the ideal choice. Remember it must be responsive.

A great resource where to get the best WordPress photography templates is theme forest.

 

Showcasing your Portfolio

Of course, the main reason for building a photography website is to show what you are capable of. However, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind while doing this. Let me emphasize that the key to an appealing website is how it displays the content. Hence, you need to find a visually pleasing way to do this. You should not put all of your work in a sort of heap but rather break it up. I would recommend that you divide up your galleries depending on the theme or even based on projects that you have done. This will not only help you order your work but also help the visitors navigate your website better.

The next thing that you need to be aware of is to only showcase your best works. I have learned through trial and error that although a photographer’s first work is dear to him potential customers are not here for the sentiments. They need to see the best that you have done. Therefore, remember to only put up the works that portray your strengths.

 

Acknowledge Your Goals

Website building is more than simply uploading content for people to see. The whole idea behind showcasing your best work is to make viewers into potential customers. Moreover, you should know that in addition to your works you need to add subtle prompts on your website which will influence the visitors to do some action for you. For instance, if your main goal is to sell or license your works, you can display a prompt talking about deals or discounts. Similarly, if you want to teach people photography, you can ask them to subscribe to your emails.

 

Prioritize SEO

Like I said above, Search Engine Optimization or SEO is all the rage nowadays and due to good reason. Search engines today have become so smart that they rank websites depending on their relevance to the subject. Since the main portion of the photography website is occupied by images, you need to make sure that you add relevant text with these images. If you want to attract local clients, you can use the name of your city or even country in the text displayed with your photos. On the other hand, if you want to work as an event photographer, you can use words like weddings, concerts for better ranking. These are just a few examples of keywords; you can select your own depending on your niche.

 

Make Yourself Approachable

Every photographer knows that although the images are the most critical part in securing a client, the photographer also needs to be approachable. While building a website, you must take great care in curating your ‘About Me Page’. This will serve as the first gateway towards you therefore it needs to reflect your priorities and values.

The next thing that you should do is add Contact Information. It would reflect poorly on you if you build a fully functional website but forget to provide a way for people to contact you.

Lastly, you should add links to your social media as well. Now, I said that a website is better than those mediums, however, even I cannot deny their significance in today’s world. Linking your website to your social profiles will generate more visits which will consequently lead to more popularity and profitability.

 

Watermarks Confusion

There are two sides to the watermarks discussion and both are equally important to understand. The first one is that, obviously, watermarks prevent image theft and keep your works safe. However, it is also a double-edged sword. Mostly, watermarks are placed right in the middle and with gigantic fonts. These might make the images look less flattering and visually attractive than they are. If you are too protective of your works, you should go with the watermarks. For others, there are a few methods that you can use instead of watermarks. You can try to display a prompt that displays your ownership if someone tries to copy your images from the browser. Otherwise, you can write ‘all rights reserved’ or similar text under your images. Unfortunately, the images still might get stolen even with watermarks, so I recommend that you choose the visually attractive option over it.

I particularly don’t use watermarks since it is so easy to remove it from the photo. Something that I came across not too long ago is a service that tracks all your work around the WWW and tells you if someone is using your work. They help you track and legally take action with those who like to steal your images. I’m just trying it, it’s called pixsy.

 

Start a Photography Blog

You might say that why would I need a blog when what I do is photography. However, you need to understand in this online world, people have become wary of online fraud. Therefore, you need a way to connect with them, and what better way than a blog. Not only will it help with your overall perception but it will also boost people’s trust and confidence in you. The blog will also help you if you write about your photography process and the tools you use. Who knows you might get some insights into your workflows if you start writing about them? Moreover, there is one more advantage of writing a blog. As I discussed above, focusing on SEO will be extremely beneficial for your website. Blogs are a great way to make a photography website rank better. You can write about your works using trending and relevant keywords. Blog writing will not only help the reader connect with you but will also be beneficial for your website, so why not give it a try?

 

Final word

To sum it all up, a website needs to be as creative as the photographer’s works. These points, if understood, will be enough to build a great website. Have fun with your photo web!

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Jose Soriano
Pro tips for Ordering Amazon Product Photos

Amazon product images are the most critical and valued factor for any potential customer to decide if they want to buy the product. Unless you are a photographer yourself, you would require the expertise of a professional product photographer. Now, it costs to hire them, however, let us save you from wasting your precious time and money as well as the photographer’s resources. Read along to understand how to order amazon product images in an efficient and better way.

 

Importance of Product Images

Amazon has a tremendous potential to turn even the simplest of homemade objects into bestsellers. There are certain factors that affect this. These factors include Product title, images, features, description, reviews, and rating. However, it should also be noted that after the product title, the first thing that people see is the product images. According to established research, more than 60% of customers are more likely to buy a product having good quality images. Of course, anybody would understand that 60% is a large enough number to be taken lightly. Another important point to discuss here is that first impressions do matter. Therefore, it becomes even more critical to get good images so that the ranking of your Amazon listing may improve.

We already understand that product photos are critical for success on Amazon. To get good images we must need a product photographer. Of course, it costs a bit to hire them. However, it is better to understand the different elements that may cause these costs to increase. Understanding the different aspects of product photos will help you save money and time when you hire a product photographer.

 

Amazon Policies for Images

It would be very annoying if you have a product shoot done only to get the images declined by Amazon. There can be any rule or policing against the decline. Hence, the very first step in saving both your time and money is to keep up with Amazon policies regarding images. You must read the full comprehensive list on Amazon’s site. However, just to give you an idea, here are some of the policies.

• The format should be TIFF, JPEG, GIF, and PNG.

• Image dimensions should be at least 1000*1000.

• The color mode should be SRGB or CMYK

These are just a few of the policies. Amazon has detailed policies for the main image as well as ‘other view’ images. You must go over them to save your resources.

 

Understand the Competition

 

 

Before you hire a professional photographer, you need to have some idea of what you require. An easy way to do this is to know what your competitors are doing in that specific niche. For this purpose, simply search the name of the product that you are going to sell and then open the images of top sellers of that product. This will give you an idea about the likes and wants of customers. However, there is no need to be obsessed with their images. You do not want to be a copycat. Just analyze their images to get inspiration from them. Also, in addition to top sellers, you should look at the worst performers as well. This will give you some insights into what customers do not like.

The important part to remember is that you are competing against all of the existing listings. Therefore, your images need to stand out among the rest and be eye-catching if you want to make a profit.

 

Make a rough sketch

 

Analyzing the images uploaded by competitors will give you a clear idea of what you want and what you do not want. By this stage, you will have a mental image that you want the photographer to create. A more streamlined method to convey what you want is to create a rough pictorial description of that mental image. You need to put your idea on paper. It does not matter if they look like doodles or cartoonish. Perfecting them is the job of the photographer, your work is to explain your ideas in the best way possible.

 

Communicate with your Photographer

 

Now that you know what you seek, you are ready to get the work done. While hiring a professional, you need to communicate all the requirements and the essential details with them. A communication gap will be detrimental to not only your resources but the photographer’s time as well. Therefore, it is better to sort out all the details of the project before the actual work is started. Like we said before, the rough sketch that you create will be essential for effective communication.

Another important thing that you can utilize here is to write a detailed note of the requirements. It will also be helpful for the photographer as a way of reminding them of key details. This brief should include every aspect of the project. For instance, it would be better if you start by explaining Amazon’s policies. This would serve as basic constraints and they may be able to better define the scope of the pictures. After that, you should describe your sketch and talk about all the texts and infographics that you need on the images.

 

Creativity is the Key

As we have discussed before, you are competing with all the existing listings. Therefore, your images need to stand out among the rest and provide some value that others do not. For this specific purpose, you need a photographer who is creative enough to capture the attention of viewers. You do not need some bland images that will generate losses instead of profits. Hence, you should look at previous works of the photographer to know if they are capable of producing creative images.

However, the photographer can only get as much creativity as your resources allow. It does not have to be too expensive but if you require lifestyle photos showcasing your products, you will have to bear the cost of models as well. If your budget does not allow it, you can find some stock photos to go with the main product photos. It will save both your time and money.

 

A/B Tests of Product Images

Amazon has recently introduced a new feature that will help you get insights into whether your product images are doing good or bad. You create two variants of your main images and then upload both of them. Amazon will give you weekly reports about which photos are doing better, at no additional cost. The process takes five minutes to set up and the results are pretty simple to understand. It can be set up in the Manage Your Experiments tool in the Seller Central. This simple experiment will save you important time that you might otherwise waste if your product photos are not good enough.

 

Step up the game with 360 Images

Amazon recently introduced the use of 360 spin photos. Although Amazon started testing this feature back in 2018, they have only recently started to implement it for general use. Now, it must be remembered that Amazon has a gigantic customer base, therefore, they faced some technical issues with this. Amazon also needed to make sure that visual experience and image quality will not deteriorate which made them test it for a longer period. However, the recent 60-day pilot program was quite encouraging which led to the addition of this feature.

As the name suggests, 360 spin photos allow users to inspect the product from every direction and angle. This added interaction has proven to not only increase sales but also lower the return rates. Before ordering product images, you should know that 360 images are a bit expensive than the stills, however, they will definitely, improve your listing and product ranking. If you are interested in creating this kind of 360 product photography let me know so I can help you.

 

Conclusion

Now, as a last piece of advice, it is important to realize that these product images are an investment. If you try to save on these and compromise on quality, you may hurt your sales. It is better to hire a good photographer than incur losses afterward. Otherwise, this guide will be helpful enough to save your time as well as money.

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Jose Soriano
How to Price your Product Photography Business

You are here, so that means you have already taken your leap towards professional product photography. The biggest question of beginner photographers is how much they should set their price packages. Most of the amateur freelance photographers that have just stepped into the market struggle with this question. The pricing factor is very critical for new businesses. Overpricing can result in the loss of potential clients and underpricing only because you are new, can be an injustice to your talent and hard work. There is no set of actual decided prices that we can mention. However, this article will guide you through some factors to consider while pricing your product photography business.


Figure out the running cost

The first thing you need to do is to figure out the total running cost of your setup. For perfect pricing, you should include all the expanses whether they are permanent or temporary.

  • Start with the equipment cost. Consider all the expensive equipment and lighting setups you got for your studio. Do not forget to include potential replacement and repair costs.
  • Another important factor that you should make sure your business is paying for is the studio space cost. The studio space can be a rental or a personal space. If the space is personal, that does not mean you have to cut the cost. You can assign a rental value to that place while calculating the total cost.
  • Marketing is one of the key elements for making a business successful. If the marketing is done right, it will prove immensely beneficial for your new product photography business. Calculate all the marketing costs, such as advertisements, portfolio website cost, digital marketing, etc.
  • You also need to include the cost of payments you have to make to the other officials working for your business such as accountants, etc.
  • Do not forget to include the taxes and other general expenses associated with the product photography business.

Cost of your time and effort

One of the main mistakes beginners do is not valuing their talent while setting the prices for their services. You have to take into account the factors like pre-production, different locations, setting up the equipment, etc. Depending on the type of product you are shooting, it can vary in terms of time and effort required. So keep in mind that you first will have to analyze the project properly to calculate the cost. Some projects also require extra time and effort during post-processing, if such is the case, include a fair cost for it too.


Determine the price

With all the costs calculated, now you have to decide the right prices.

  • Review the market: To come up with the best price, review your competition in the market. With some research, you will get a clear idea of what the prices according to the expertise.
  • Evaluate the value: Never set too low prices, in hope of getting clients. Underpricing will decrease your business value and can set low standards. Similarly, avoid overpricing. If you are a beginner, do not go for market prices set by professionals.
  • Pricing models: These are a few models to go with when it comes to product photography.

    • Price per image
    • Price per product
    • Hourly/Daily (by time)
  • You can also offer multi-service packages.

The rates in product photography vary from 10$ to 2000$ for a single product image depending on the effort required, license, complexity, and other factors. The rates can go even higher when professionals and big brand names are involved.


Keep a realistic Profit Margin

Once you have decided all the costs and prices, make sure that your profit margin is reasonable and is rewarding you according to the time and effort putting into it. If you think that the prices are not paying off how much you expected, you can increase the prices, as your portfolio gets stronger.


Conclusion

This brief pricing guide shows you, how you can price your product photography business by considering all the important aspects. If you are a beginner, keep the prices according to the market rate for beginners. Increase the value as your business grows and your portfolio improves. In the end, keep one thing in consideration that you are not under or overpricing.

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Jose Soriano
Tips to Photograph Product Advertisements like a Professional

Photographing product advertisements is not a new thing, it has been around for many decades. However, due to Covid-19, the world has picked up its pace towards virtualizing every aspect of businesses. Similarly, e-commerce has seen a boom and almost all stores are moving towards online selling. It basically means that there will be a huge demand for photographing product advertisements may it be for social media or their own online stores. Now, if you are here, you have already stepped into this field. This article will properly guide you about different ways so you can stand out among others. Let us get on with it.

 

 

Lighting

Before we begin, we assume that you have already gathered all the necessary equipment and are comfortable using it. That is why we will only be talking about the tips and ideas that will help you in getting the full potential of your equipment. The very first thing that you need to worry about is lighting. As you might already know, product photography only deals with a still object and the rest is your own creativity and imagination. Light plays a big role in making a stationary object appear full of life. You must keep an eye on how light affects the shadows on the product. You may use diffusers or reflectors to manipulate light as much as you like.

 

 

 

Reliable Tripod

One thing that shouts amateur is a blurry photograph. If you are striving to be a professional, you do not want that unless it is the depth of field that you are working with. Otherwise, you should think about getting a sturdy tripod. It will not only remove the slight hand-shake but also give you the creative freedom to mess around with other settings.

 

Composing the Photo

This part will require you to get a bit creative and approach the product with different techniques. First, you need to photograph it from different angles to identify the one which highlights the details of the product. Second, you need to place props that complement the product. For instance, you can use kitchen utensils in food advertisements. Lastly, you need to choose a perfect background. You can either use some combination of colors or even the environment in which the product is intended to be used. If you are not so sure about it, you can work with a pure white background. However, composing the photograph is such that the focus is on the main product, not the props.

 

Learn from an Experienced Photographer

An important thing to remember is that theory can only do so much. This article will arm you with the knowledge, however, you will have to practice yourself. An easy way to learn quickly is to pair up with a seasoned photographer. You will not only learn new tricks and techniques by doing this but also if you run into any obstacle, you will have someone to help you. You can even take a basic photography class if it fancies you. There are multiple sites available online so you can learn from the convenience of your home.

Also, if you are struggling with ideas and creativity, you can get inspiration from your favorite brands or even photographers. However, do not simply copy their ideas, it might get you into legal problems. Just analyze the elements and style and try to carve your own.

  

Work Magic with your Editing

 

Editing sets apart professionals from beginners because pros are as skilled with editing software as they are with a camera. Not only does editing fix any minor mistakes that you might have made, but it also opens numerous creative doors for you. You can even create new backgrounds entirely on editing software. If you are quite comfortable with your camera, the next step for you is learning how to process your images in software such as Photoshop.

 

Conclusion

Like we mentioned above, this article simply guides you about the various ways of photographing product advertisements like a professional. However, it is all going to come down to the patience and resilience that you show in your journey. Keep practicing and keep improving.

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Jose Soriano
How to start as a Professional Food and Product Photographer

You are probably thinking about getting into product or food photography but do not know where to start. Worry not, this is your one-stop guide to starting and establishing a professional career in either of these fields. Since both of the fields involve photographing stationary subjects mostly in a studio, that is why the professional journey is quite similar. Other than the subjects themselves, there are slight differences which we have also mentioned. Now, let us get to the main article right away.

 

 

Get your hands dirty

Now, you might have guessed, the absolute first thing is learning the craft. If you do not possess any cameras yet, you can even start with your smartphone. However, it is only recommended if you own a phone with advanced camera systems. Also, you need to remember that photography cannot be mastered in a short time. It takes time and patience to develop the skill. You need to pay attention to the smallest details such as lighting, composition, props, and more.

 

 

Gather the Equipment

 

photography equipment

After you have spent some time learning the basic tips and tricks, you must invest in professional equipment or prosumer equipment that allows you to produce decent-quality photos. Of course, the main things include a DSLR or mirrorless camera paired with a similarly good or even better lens, a great option to start is at least a 50 mm prime lens, and if you will be photographing small items a 105 mm macro lens is ideal. One last thing but not least is a flash, even tho you can work with natural light like a window, I recommend artificial light because it is controllable and repeatable. These three things are a must to produce great photos. Till this stage, you have only worked on the basics, now you are going to learn not just how to shoot with a camera but also how to process the images in the editing process. For that, you will need some good editing software like Lightroom, Capture One, or Photoshop. Other than that, you need to know that photography is a creative process. That is why learning how to compose the images and product placement that will reel in the viewers is necessary.

 

Showcase your work

It is now time that you start working on your brand. We assume that at this stage, you are very well familiar with your niche, either product or food, and can create awesome photographs. You need to showcase your work if you are confident about your skill. It does not need to be professional paid work; you can even showcase the work that you have done in your own kitchen. The only requirement is that the quality of the work that you publicize is professional and top-notch. Now, comes the hundred dollars question; where to showcase? The simple, however most effective method is to start with your social media accounts that are most suitable for a photographer like, Instagram, Flikr, 500px, Viewbug. The other way is to build your website. Don’t underestimate this last one since there are lots of people relying only on social media and it is a big mistake.

Building a website is not as difficult as it used to be. There are sites like WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, and other ones that provide you with themes and plugins that you can drag and drop however you want. This lets you create your own website with minimal technical knowledge.

 

Spread some love

After all this work, you still have not made a single dollar, but you have to be patient for a little while longer. Setting up your social accounts or website will give you a solid footprint which is very helpful in this next step. You need to start approaching local businesses or even your friends who might be operating a physical or e-commerce store. However, offer them free shoots because it is very difficult to get paid clients without any professional experience. These free shoots will strengthen your footprint, give you new insights about the craft, and most importantly, these will get you good reviews. All of this is necessary to make your name in your field.

 

Understand your clients

All of the free shoots and the reviews you get will definitely help you in getting your first client. However, you have to know that many people are working for the same thing as you. That is why you need to be creative with your process and stand out from the rest. Apart from your skill and creativity, it Is equally important that you fully understand what your clients want. Listening to your client will greatly improve your success rate and you will be able to easily understand the nature and scope of the work needed. One bonus tip I highly recommend you apply is to underpromise and overdeliver, this will exceed your client’s expectations.

 

Seek a mentor

There might be a few cases where you will be struggling to find some work. For this, you can pair up with an experienced photographer to share some of his workloads and to get some practical experience. This will not only help you how to get clients but also serve as a way of learning new techniques and tips specific to your profession.

For food photographers, we have a very special recommendation. Since your main work is to present the food that looks delicious and practically reels people in, that is why it would be fitting that you learn some techniques from a food stylist. Creatively presenting the food will get half of your work done, therefore, give it a thought.

 

Publish on Websites

If you cannot find clients or even if you do, this option is beneficial for both groups. Basically, you just have to work on your own and create your own pictures. After that simply create an account on a photography website that publishes photographs for sale and you publish your work under your name. People will be able to view your work and they can either buy or even license it for some time. This method is very convenient because it allows you to work on your own ideas and even make money from them. One that I use very often is wirestock.

 

Conclusion

We have talked about every aspect of the professional journey of a product and food photographer from scratch. However, this is a very basic and generic map that you might follow but you are free to understand it and then carve your own journey. Remember that it might take a lot of time but if you are patient and diligent, it will definitely be worth it. We hope that you get to play with a lot of products and food.

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Jose Soriano
5 Ways to Improve your Photography Portfolio and Get Paid

In the virtual world, we are living in, online presence means a lot. Over the past few years, market jobs and opportunities have expanded more in the internet domain than physical applications and the selection process that takes too much time and effort. This is where portfolios come in and save the day for you. You need to have a dossier containing your talents and work experiences in hard and soft copy. They link your work and skills and present them to any employers or companies looking for fresh talent. They speak for you more than you could possibly think.

While its true portfolios do reflect your talent and skills, it’ll be too much to expect them alone to land you a handful of opportunities without investing your effort to upgrade them. In this section, we’ll talk about ways to upgrade and improve your personal statements to effectively stay on top.

 

Look for collaborations

The fastest way to grow and develop yourself is to look for collaborations with already established setups. Button up your shirts and walk into the offices you want to be associated with. Offer them long or short-term associations in terms of mutual benefits as photographers or promotions on the internet and social networking sites. This step will get you much-needed belief in your talents in addition to career development and extension and financial stability. So go for it without being discouraged by proposal rejections. Not everyone is going to endorse your ideas but then again, not everyone needs to do that. Sooner or later you’ll find what you’re looking for.

 

Invest in a local business

Investing in and learning from a local business is the fastest way to get your foot in the door and build a pretty solid client base. The idea you might pursue includes the design or redesign of a local and small non-profit or neighborhood business in your portfolio. You can also take a shot at rebranding your favorite restaurant. If you try hard enough you can give it a completely modern and fantastic feel— making it stand out —while preserving the original business’ identity.

There’s absolutely nothing holding you back— except for some things that you should keep in mind: First, make sure that the final product associated with the business you choose for your portfolio is the exact product you want to be associated with—in simpler words, ask yourself this question if your potential clients will want to be associated with the concept products you’re presenting.

 

Shoot Stock themes and Images

Without a doubt, Stock themes and images are the biggest source of images for most of the internet. One of the prominent advantages of integration and capturing or developing a stock theme is that you can also sell it yourself as a premium theme, generating additional income while contributing significantly to your portfolio. Or you can publish your theme away as a means of promoting your business and yourself (you can consider offering someone support or proper customization for an additional price as in this case). All you’ll need to do is do a bit of market research and create a standout product.

 

Create a versatile body of content

Your gut feeling intuition can derail you, so coupling it with market research for informing your content creation is all fine and good-looking. Research and Data say that certain kinds of review articles and content pieces are performing the best. You would feel bored exclusively promoting and writing them alone, though. You want to actually experiment with newer and exciting content formats to satisfy and broaden your vision.

The joy of creation cannot be contained in a few themes and paths. A creative career in content calls for building a versatile and strong body of work — something you feel excited about even while putting sweat and extreme effort and something you feel really proud of — and that can’t happen with “safe” career choices and “proven” frameworks alone. You need to take risks and let your inner curiosity guide you — maybe even when everyone tells you otherwise and even when it doesn’t seem to have a financial impact potential. Always Remember your portfolio reflects your creative potential and will result in career opportunities of that magnitude. So go out there and offer themes to big names that are worth your time and effort.

 

Work for a “CAUSE”

It’s true you won’t have much time in your professional career but taking out time for a cause will be beneficial instead of detrimental in the long run. Volunteering to take photos at a charity event or an event run by non-government organizations and offering to write descriptions on media for them can do wonders for your career as these associations go a long way. And it’s a mutual effort on your part as the work will be done by a professional with the best possible experience which will also give you the much-needed “exposure” and recognition which in turn will boost your career significantly.

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Jose Soriano
Why is event photography the best way to grow your photography business?

Want to express yourself onto digital memory or reels or are you willing to spread joy by asking people to show those beautiful smiles that will soon be turned into eternity by a single click of the camera? Alternatively, you might simply be following the dotted lines of passion passing through and over the creative world of photography… something that is not so old but still captures vintage scenes as easily as anything.

Most photographers have no idea where to begin their professional career and if it does take off owing to helping environment and factors, pulling it through the rough initial years is no small task when you take into account the saturation of this field. In this article, we’ll explore the possibilities and advantages of taking into account, event photography in terms of the boost to your professional photography career.

 

Opening up or is it that easy?

Face it, the major issue you get during startups is a lack of confidence and trust in your own work and abilities. Going to various events and covering them whole from top to bottom will not only inject the much-needed self-confidence but will also help you cope with pressure and hectic routine immensely in the future. Not something, that should be passed on easily without thinking about it through.

 

Financial viability and sufficiency

No need to debate this one. No matter how passionate you are about your skills, this is where everything is headed to and a considerable pay-check in your pockets will automatically boost your business. So click away where you can and preferably in gatherings and events.

 

Learning opportunity

Having a large number of people and scenic beauty, in a single place can be overwhelming from a point of view of a photographer. You need to realize what you should capture on the frame and what to leave alone. Which angles to use for capturing the objects and people amazing you and how to simply vanish into thin air when not needed. All this might be exactly what you need to learn in order to survive and thrive in the photographic world. This learning opportunity is worth every second in your clock and each move you make in an effort to squash your ignorance will only take you forward in business and career.

 

Let your work speak VOLUMES

A corporate event, wedding, birthdays, or any celebration guarantees a large gathering of people that will automatically translate into an equally large amount of impressions inside your camera ending up ultimately in hands of clients. Practicing the art of photography in huge numbers is indeed a significant step forward and should be taken care of. An album filled with your work or a digital gallery on social media or even your website reflects the magnitude of skill you possess and the prowess of mind translated in the frame at exactly the right moment to write it in history forever.

 

Making connections

As already mentioned, a considerable number of people gathered in a place for a function is bound to contain names that are respected a lot in society. You can impress them with your work and even talk about expanding business outside the narrow domains you still stalk around without success. Maybe a business tip or two from the graceful man in coat sitting at the middle table or perhaps a joking remark from the marketing manager who can help you expand into the market efficiently in a short time without much trouble. Not too farfetched to happen the next time you get called up for any function.

 

Collaboration offers on the table?

All events are headed by organizers and planners that have a vast circle of influence as well as professionals that look after everything ranging from décor to photography and dispatch. You can land any collaboration offers or dig into opportunities that might come your way while carrying out your deemed task of covering any gathering. You can get called onto a team of photographers that exists in essence under any big project or you might get offered to fill in a place vacated by former aspirants who had other errands to tend to in their lives. All it takes is a little sunshine to brighten things up significantly.

 

Start being a heartthrob

Taking all these points into consideration, growing out of the shell in a photography business is not a walk in the park especially for people who are relatively new to this field and more importantly to the market and its demands. Event photography gives you a bunch of opportunities to polish your talent and learn a whole deal of things in the ground, boosting your confidence by a considerable margin while at the same time landing offers that will further adjust and extend your cause unto the field. So go for it and go for it well.

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Jose Soriano
8 Tips to Make Your Client Comfortable in a Portrait Session

Getting people to be comfortable in their photo sessions and getting the best out of it can be pretty difficult and tiring at times. You need to have this knowledge and how to practically implement it if you want to be a Professional. Portrait photography is already a very difficult subject to master given the technical details you need to pay heed to. On top of this, you have to effectively deal with clients to make them at home. Only then will you be able to produce the desired results. Let’s take a look at the ways you can make your client comfortable.


Assess the personality

Portrait photography is actually capturing the personality of the subject. Even before you start the photo session you need to assess and determine what type of personality your client has and how your treatment should change based on this information. No two people can exactly be the same. Some will be extroverts taking in conversations and instructions as easily as anything while others will be staunch introverts shying away from any directions you give them. The key to a successful photoshoot lies in your intuition and professional approach to deal with people. Make up your mind and then treat them accordingly for fine results.


Have a chat

Establishing a friendly relation with your clients is not something unheard of and should be practiced as often as possible in every field and moment. Chat with your clients before you shoot and make them comfortable. Ask them about their work routines and personal habits. Anything that brings them inside their comfort zone and they start feeling at ease and home with you. Relaxing them and taking out the rigidity if it exists should be your goal. Reaching that point will have a significant impact on your outcome.

 

Guide them through every pose and angle

While many people are reluctant and shy by nature, a majority of them are simply nervous about what to do and how to respond to instructions they might not understand in the due course. Take away this hesitation and nervousness by guiding them through every step. You can hold a small briefing session in the beginning as well as take every moment and opportunity to sail them through the moments of posing and smile and correct orientation. Make them as comfortable and easy as you can.

 

Compliment them as often as possible

What you really want to capture onscreen is not a rigid and nervous face but a confident one looking with eagerness into the lens. This might seem far-fetched at first thought but is actually very possible. Compliment your client as often as possible and on every little detail, you find fascinating. It’s strongly advised that you should refrain from showing pictures to your clients during the photo session, you can assure them that they are doing a fantastic job and pictures look marvelous. This will put a confident and pleasant smile on their faces as well as an upright stature marking a happy person. This glow will also be captured on your screen giving the picture a new aura.

 

Lighten the air

Remember to have some jokes and topics ready to narrate when things get a bit stuffed in the studio. Lightning the mood and getting all the people comfortable will be extremely beneficial in the long run. Your clients will trust you more as throwing a few jokes and narrations will help build their trust in your which will lead to accurate carrying out of instructions and exact posing. This will save a lot of effort in terms of time and stress on part of the client and staff along with yourself.

 

Don’t rush

It doesn’t matter how much time you have left, don’t rush your session as it will be extremely detrimental to your overall results. Trying to wrap up things in a very short span of time will not only affect the duration of the shoot but will also invariably result in decreased quality and production. Reschedule your sessions if you have to, instead of rushing to complete them. Do not trade your skill and quality for something as little as a simple lack of time.

 

Project confidence

Most of the clients make up a perception in their minds and then follow your instructions according to the impression they have about you. Extend a confident appeal to anyone approaching you for business and photos and you will realize its reflection from the second party. Deal with everything in a calm and composed manner that shows your experience and talent and everything will fall in place for you.

 

Maintain professionalism

In all of the above points do not forget to maintain a professional attitude. Talking and showing your friendly nature does not relax the requirements of your profession and keeping them apace is the only thing that’ll guarantee your success.

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