Taking your own product photos if you have little to no experience can be a really scary prospect – I know, I’ve been there. But taking your own photos provides so many benefits that hiring a professional photographer does not. Here’s 5 reasons why I think it’s way better to be a do-it-yourself-er even if you’ve not got a lot of camera experience*.
*It’s not a one-size-fits-all-situation, I’d say it depends on your products and the look you’re going for but if you don’t need anything too fancy then it’s totally achieveable to develop a few skills yourself.
#1 LEARN SOMETHING NEW
Whilst taking on this huge challenge can feel a bit daunting, adopting an optimistic mindset is half of the battle won. Believe you can do it, have faith in your learning capabilities and commit yourself to the journey. If you stick it out, the amount of knowledge and skills you will gain will make all of the frustrated confused times totally worth it. One of the biggest difficulties I found was to finding the right equipment, once I’d done that, it got a little easier because I no longer felt I was doing it blind. You’re going to learn how to use a seriously cool camera and photo editing software, it’s exciting, embrace it. Once you’ve got the basics sorted, the only way is up!
#2 CONVENIENCE, CONVENIENCE, CONVENIENCE
This was one of the things that really swung it for me – you have everything you need right where you are. There’s no need to pack everything up, load the car and hope to the gods that you’ve not forgotten anything important. Nope, if you can do it at home then things are immediately just so much easier.
#3 BUDGET FRIENDLY
I’ve only ever had one photo shoot done by a professional, the experience was fun and exciting but the cost was 195 of my precious pounds. These rates were more than reasonable, BUT I needed at least four days worth before I had everything I needed to launch my store – that’s 780 pound coins! This is a cost that would have to be paid every year when a new collection is ready for the spotlight. It makes much more sense to invest your hard-earned cash into decent equipment that will last you years upon years.
#3 YOU’RE NOT ON A TIME LIMIT
The problem with photo shoots is that you are 100% on a time limit and this creates pressure to make sure you get through everything important. Depending on your product, things might take longer than you initially expected. The benefit of doing it yourself is that it can spill out into a couple of days, or even a week if you fancy! This relieves that blasted pressure and means you can really take your time to make sure things look perfect – if a prop doesn’t work as you’d initially thought it would then you have time to try different one or even different angles. You could spend all day on just a few products if you really wanted to!
#4 YOU DON’T NEED A WHOLE NEW COLLECTION
Whilst photographers may offer an hourly rate if you’ve just got one or two products. I firmly stand by the belief that the most cost efficient and convenient solution is to do it yourself. There is no faffing about checking your photographer’s availability, packaging things up, sending stuff off, waiting for it to be returned and then waiting for the edited images to be website ready. As soon as your product is ready for launch, you can shoot, upload and boom it’s ready to go!
#5 IT’S YOUR VISION SO YOU’RE IN CONTROL OF EVERYTHING
This is the most important one, sometimes it can be quite difficult to communicate your vision to others because it’s in your head and giving it justice can be tricky. A do-it-yourself-er can experiment with tonnes of angles, props and backgrounds until their heart is content. My hand is up! – I admit that there has been many times I’ve changed my mind at the photo editing stage about a prop or positioning and sent myself off back to the studio to redo the whole thing. Then there is the editing process to think about, if there is a certain style you’re going for, then you can test the waters and see if this is indeed suits your product and props – see if is as epic as you initially envisioned. If it’s not, then you can try something else and create an end result that is uniquely your own (that makes your head and heart smile!).
Don’t get me wrong, there is totally nothing wrong with getting a professional – there are tonnes of advantages to this option too! However, if you’ve got enough time on your hands and you fancy learning something new, i’d totally recommend you take the leap because the benefits are limitless and it’s a really fun activity to immerse yourself into. Admittedly there has been times whereby I have felt like throwing the camera out of the window – my fault…my blatent stupidity actually – the camera was in fact entirely the innocent party as the jury discovered*. But 99.9999% of the time, it’s been a blast AND it’s been an excuse to shop fun stuff too – like pretty stationery, fluffy toys and really cute baby booties. Give it a go & I’m confident that you won’t look back!
*If you’re really stuck then I’d recommend hiring a professional as a one-off cost to come into your home/studio to give you a crash course on how to use your own personal camera and to utilise the best settings to get the shots (& vision!) you’re looking for. Luckily my partner has a friend (Richard from RJ Bradbury Photography) who knows a thing or two (okay, a lot more than that…) about cameras and photography who came to our home and set up presets for us so all we have to do is point and shoot, point and shoot. No stress, tears or tantrums here! He even showed us how to use the editing software (Adobe Lightroom if you’re wondering) so we had a grasp of the basics in our toolkit ready to jump into the world of product photography. This small one-off investment was totally worth every penny and I would recommend this method to you small business owners out there a million times over!
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Are you a do-it-yourself-er? Or do you prefer to put full trust in your photographer?