We get it. An iPhone and Instagram is a heck of a lot quicker and cheaper than hiring a professional photographer and studio to handle your product shots. With today’s digital devices, resolutions are reaching and, in some cases, surpassing traditional print demands. On more advanced devices, internal photo settings can simulate depth of field effects or even stacked focus. Heck, pop a shot, open Instagram, and add a funky frame or over saturate it a bit and “Voila!” ART! Why pay for “professional” photography when the intern or office manager can zip out 20 to 30 new product shots in the break room over their lunch hour?

That’s where we slap our foreheads and sigh in frustration…

Whether it’s time or budget, your products and your customers deserve more than the Instagram treatment.

studio product photography

From your retail products or parts for your catalog to staff photos for the Web site, the way you represent the images of your company ultimately comes down to how you choose to present your brand. If your brand stands on quality, if your brand touts professionalism, attention to detail, mastery of the market, leadership, or any other desirable label, you need to take the high road for your photography. On the other hand, if your brand is defined by shortcuts, shoddy processes, minimal effort and laziness, stop reading now and let that intern click away.

In all seriousness, when it comes to representing your product or your company, why would you cut corners on quality, composition, strategy, professionalism, or brand impact?

QUALITY: This should go without saying, but just because your iPhone shoots at a resolution high enough to make billboards (which really isn’t that impressive to professional photographers) it doesn’t mean it has the capability to create an image representative of your brand. From color accuracy and tonal quality to white balance control and sharpness, the professional photographer’s tool kit destroys any digital device. And no, a better (read “More expensive”) camera doesn’t make a better photo. Quality comes with practice. There are hours in the studio (or on location), trial and error over years of dedicated investment, skills in post processing, creativity and vision that, whether you want to believe it or not, you just don’t get in the latest version of Apple’s iPhone.

COMPOSITION: “You just slap it on the table and pop a shot…” a potential client once said. Yeah… Needless to say we didn’t work together much after that. Not because of the blatant disrespect for our skills, but more because he couldn’t understand WHY he needed a professional photo of his products. After over two decades in the industry, we’ve seen beautifully composed shots and horrifyingly composed shots. Good composition consists of balance, lighting, and perspective. When a professional photographer sets up to shoot your product shots or head shots or even an event, these elements are all at play consciously and at times subconsciously. If one or more of these elements are off, the customer senses it.

STRATEGY: Do you ever think, “How will the image represent my brand?” Seriously. It isn’t so much “Buy our stuff…” the customers see in product photos. They see much more than the “thing” on the page/screen. The professional photographer considers how will the image “play” within the final publication – is it for a print catalog or brochure? A web page? Is it being seen with other products? A professional photographer also knows to think of your audience demographic. Would shooting it from a lower point of view make a bigger impact (like toy shots) over shooting it from six feet above? What about cooler lighting for metal products or high key lighting for textural products? Strategy is so much more than an Instagram filter.

PROFESSIONALISM: Sure, this still counts in most industries. It’s more than “Service with a smile.” Professionalism encompasses the brand of the photographer – from guaranteeing the aspects listed above (Quality, Composition, Strategy) to customer service, clear, concise communication, scheduling and on-time delivery, file archiving and record-keeping, and on through support and follow-up. A professional photographer brings all of it to the table – so to speak. So when your printer asks if they can get the original for a product brochure you’re producing, the answer likely won’t be… “Let me check the intern’s phone…”

Today, the (slightly overused) saying, “A picture is worth 1,000 words” rings truer than ever. While we’re constantly inundated with pictures and words through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other channels, it’s no lie that the stronger the image is, the greater impact the brand will make.  Your customers expect… no, DEMAND quality. When you hire a professional photographer you’re one step closer to managing those expectations and delivering on quality. The investment ultimately pays for itself.

With that, the Holidays are quickly approaching. Do you have your product shots ready? Give SPOKE a call to discuss how you can bring the right imagery to your brand and to your customers.

(Images provided above are a SPOKE Communications sample of table-top product photography set in a professional studio. Photos represent lighting for a white product on a white background {strategic} intended for a seasonal toy product catalog. Image manipulation and post processing is documented as well as solutions – post shoot – for enhancing the product and offering a higher quality image for the customer.)