After months (or years) of preparation, research and development, you have finally perfected your new product.
Now, you think you are ready to unleash this product to your target consumers. But before you do that, there are several things that you need to tick off your to-do list. One of these tasks is getting your new product shot by a commercial photographer.
Why hire a pro?
Today, photography has become more accessible. On one hand, the prices of cameras have gone down considerably, making it easier for people to start with photography. Along with that, the barrier to entry has been lowered with the proliferation of digital photography. New photographers can now forgo some of the costs associated with the hobby, like purchasing films and having these developed.
Does that mean that anyone can take photos of your new product? Can't you just ask someone in the marketing department who dabbles in photography to do the product shots?
In photography, the difference between an amateur and a professional does not easily boil down to skill and talent. There are amateurs who can take stunning photos and there are professionals who still have to hone their skills.
However, there are a few critical reasons why companies should enlist the help of commercial photographers instead of handing the task of shooting product photos to newbies.
Hiring a pro vs. DIY
When you hire a professional photographer, you do not have to invest in a camera as well as the necessary tools and equipment. Plus, you will get help from a professional who knows exactly what to do.
Next, hiring a pro enables you to focus on the other important things that you need to do before the actual product launch.
You get what you pay for (or don't pay for)
If you choose to cut corners and do the product shoots yourself, you risk taking poor quality pictures. And if you insist on using these, you are doing a big disservice to your company simply because you are not showcasing your new product in the best possible light.
High quality pictures are important, whether you are posting these online on your website and social media accounts, or using them offline for brochures and other marketing collateral's, simply because these are often the first materials from your brand that customers come into contact with.
Remember, your customers have yet to know about your product. And it may take some time before they actually touch and see your new product on the store shelves. Great pictures can entice potential customers to have a second (or third) look at what you have to offer.
Customers are drawn to what is authentic. And if they see that you simply fiddled with stock photos instead of taking actual pictures of your new product, you risk turning them off.
Many of today's consumers are aware of the differences between real photos and those rendered using editing software. And when they see that you use fake photos, customers, rightly or wrongly, will base their view of your product and company on the pictures that you used.
Which type of photographer should you hire?
Your choice will depend on two things: the type of product you are launching and how the photos will be used.
If your company specializes in clothes and fashion accessories and you want to use pictures to tell a story or create a mood around your offerings, you should hire a fashion photographer.
Hire a photographer that specializes in still life if your product does not need models. A still life photo shoot will focus more on your product.
Product photography, on the other hand, is focused more on giving customers the information they need to buy from you. This entails shooting your new product from different angles and perspective.
With excellent photography, your target customers will get the best possible first look at your products, helping you to establish your presence and build your name.
A quick word on licensing and usage
Before signing a contract with your chosen photographer, you should be aware of the terms of usage and licensing which may vary from one photographer to another.
When you hire a photographer for your product shoot, that does not necessarily mean that you own the photographs. In fact, the copyright of the pictures is owned by the photographer.
Your contract should detail your usage agreement. For example, if you wish to have an exclusive license for the photographs, the photographer will give you the assurance that the photos will not be used by a third party.
In a non-exclusive license, the photographer can sell the licenses for the same pictures to third parties.
A one-time-use license agreement allows you to use images for a single instance. You and your photographer will need to agree on the extent of the use of the pictures (e.g., number of copies, amount of time images are posted online). In order to use the photographs beyond this agreement, you will need to secure an additional license agreement.
With an extended use license agreement, you can use the photographs for an extended timeframe, usually between one to five years. As the licensee of the images, you can use these for different purposes without having to secure additional licensing. However, you are not allowed to transfer the license to another party.
During the negotiation process, talk to your photographer about the usage and licensing terms that are most suitable for your needs.