Product photographers usually spend most of their time getting the setup right for whatever they are shooting and then another huge chunk of time editing the photos they take. This is where most of the cost comes from and is why I don’t charge an hourly rate for this type of work, because I would never be able to charge for the time it takes to set things up on top of the time it takes to do the actual photography and then editing. This is why I have set rates for different types of products. Over the years I have come to know more or less how long a certain type of product will take to photograph, so I charge per image. It’s fair on everybody if I do it that way.
However, there’s always this customer question of total aggregate cost when it comes to large inventories of products for online stores just getting started. For example, if you have 100 products to photograph and you need say 3 photos per product, you’re immediately at a cost of R30,000 for shots of your inventory based on my pack shot pricing. That’s probably going to cause you to think twice about making the investment. In the past I have seen many a potential client walk away from my quote (which is priced on industry standards) and try to do it themselves. Most of the time the results are not pretty and the net result is that the products don’t sell because potential customers are not getting excited about your product based on the dodgy photos you’re showing them. Product photography is a big investment, but it pays off in the long run!
Anyway, that doesn’t make me immune to the fact that we are living in extraordinary times and I have to be realistic about just how much money people who are struggling to re-start their lives have to throw my way when it comes to product photography for new online stores they are starting. So what I have done is introduce a rock bottom option to my offerings and I am calling it the “Drop & Pop”. At only R50 per image it is literally half the price of my standard pack shots. How can I do it so cheap? Good question! Read on.
As I said at the beginning, most of the cost of product photography is in the setup and editing. For this service I am using the same basic setup, but without any reflectors and I am not doing any major editing to the results. I am quite simply dropping the item on the shooting table and popping the shutter. That’s it. If you want to see what the difference is between a typical Drop & Pop and Basic Pack Shot, drag the slider across the image below. Now while the image on the right is clearly more exciting to look at, the one on the left will do the exact same thing for your online store if you were selling that product. Not too bad, hey?
Taking the example mentioned above of a store owner who needs 3 photos of 100 products, we are now at half the cost for the same number of images, namely R15,000. This is a lot easier for a start up to budget for.
Without the advanced editing and lighting modifications there are some limitations on the type of products that I can shoot this way. For instance, no jewellery, bottled items, glassware, highly reflective or see-through items will look good using this method. Unfortunately if your product has any of those characteristics you will have to pay more for your photography because you’re using more of my most precious resource: time.