As an eCommerce business, you want to make sure you’re presenting yourself and your products in an informative and appealing way. You want photos that are accurate, high quality, and professional. But there’s so much more to photography than just being able to capture a moment in time. Professional photography is about creating an experience for potential buyers to enjoy when they visit your website.
So let’s say you decide it’s time to look into hiring an eCommerce photography service, or photography specifically for your eCommerce website. What should you look out for in a photography service? What questions should you be asking them to make sure you’re getting exactly what you need out of their service?
Here are a few important questions to ask when hiring photography for your eCommerce website:
What is the timeline of photography services, from booking a photographer to receiving final images?
Honestly, this is one of the most important questions to ask your photographer. You may need the images back by a certain date, or they may have a lot of other jobs at the moment and they may not prioritize your job ahead of someone who hired them first.
You’ll want to know how long from first contact until finished photograph delivery it will take. It’s a process, so expect it to take some time and plan ahead as to when you’ll need your photos.
How long does post-production take?
This question goes along with the first one in how it affects timing in which you’ll get your finished photos back. But sometimes you have to be more specific with your questions, which is where this one comes in to play.
Some photography services prefer to take and edit photography for eCommerce websites in batches, but others prefer to work on each eCommerce photography image as they come. Find out how your photography service prefers to handle post-production with your eCommerce photography so you can have a better understanding of what type of schedule they will be working within.
How much experience does your photographer have?
You should ask about the specific photographer that will be taking and editing the photos how long they’ve been working as a photographer and how experienced they are in the type of editing you need. The more experienced, usually the job gets done faster and with fewer hiccups.
You may also want to know this information as it pertains to your budget. Photographers with much more experience sometimes tend to charge more, but it can be worth it for a quick turnaround time and flawless editing. However, it’s important to never underpay your photographers or other freelancers, so don’t hire an inexperienced worker with the intention to underpay them.
Have they worked on eCommerce photography before?
Even the most experienced photographer may not have a huge portfolio of eCommerce work. There are so many different types of photography, and not every type uses the same equipment or techniques. Even if photography equipment is used for different styles, the photography style still makes a huge difference.
It’s important to know that your photographer is experienced with photography services for eCommerce photography so you’re assured of getting the quality service you want and need. Ask what types of e-commerce projects they’ve worked on in the past so you can reference those photography projects to see if their photography style fits your needs.
How do they handle photography for eCommerce websites?
Different photography services will have different methods of photography, so it’s important to know how yours is going to take and edit the photos you need before you hire them. Some photographers may only take their own photographs while others may hire assistants or work with a team.
Some photographers will handle photography for eCommerce websites by taking photos of the product that are very clean and artsy, while others will photograph the product in use to give their eCommerce photography a particular style. Ask your photography service which method they would prefer to use or if they have another artistic way they take photographs.
What photography style do they use to take photos for eCommerce websites?
There are a variety of photography styles and it’s important to determine which one your photographer will be taking so that the images match the tone and theme of your website. There’s lifestyle photography, traditional photography, product photography, food photography. Most eCommerce photography services will be able to offer a variety of photography styles, but it’s good to know what they all are before you hire someone.
How do you determine pricing?
Another seemingly obvious question, but no less important!
You don’t want to end up paying too much for photography services, but you also don’t want to underpay for services rendered- you might get some sketchy work. Some photography services will charge by the hour, while others will charge a flat rate depending on what type of photography they’re doing for you.
Ask your photography service how they determine their pricing so you can understand which method works best for your budget and business plan.
Do they include photography post-production work like retouching in the price?
Some photography services will charge extra for photo retouching, but it’s popular to have photography editing included in your eCommerce photography service package. Lighting issues can be fixed with eCommerce photography post-production techniques and the photo itself can also be edited before it goes online. Ask if your photography service includes photography post-production in their photography services or if retouching is an additional fee.
Which leads us into our next question:
What is their policy on photography retouching?
A photographer might only include minimal retouching, which is usually what you want for eCommerce photography. You want to really show the product exactly how it is since you don’t want to falsely advertise the product on your website.
But sometimes there may be a need to retouch more than the basics. You’ll want to know if it’s included in the photography package or if you need to pay extra for extra editing.
You’ll also want to know if you can get a revision to the editing that has been done. Sometimes you won’t be happy with the final results- maybe the colors are too far off- so you will want to know if you’ll be able to get a revision out of your photographer and if it’s included in the price or you have to pay a little more.
What editing techniques do they use?
When it comes to photography, photographers tend to have their own personal styles. Some prefer natural edits while others will edit their work heavily. It’s important to know what type of photography editing your photography service prefers so that you can both agree on the style for your eCommerce photography.
If you want very clean and crisp photography, you may want them to avoid heavy editing and if your eCommerce photography is meant to be artsy or product photography-esque, you may need them to edit the images heavily. Ask how they would like to edit the photos for your eCommerce photography so that you know exaclty what to expect when they deliver the photos.
What type of photography equipment do they use?
This is a big one. You want to make sure you’re getting professional photography, not camera phone photos with filters added in. Ask what photography equipment your photographer uses to capture images for their eCommerce photography service. Are they up-to-date on the latest technology?
Photography equipment will vary depending on the style and eCommerce photography required for your business, so make sure you know what equipment your photography service prefers to work with. If, for example, you need photography for eCommerce website displaying clean and crisp photography , ask if they use prime lenses or photography equipment with a shallow depth of field. This will help you understand their photography style so your eCommerce photography comes out the way you want it to!
Where will the photographs be taken?
Do you need to take the products in to a studio for the photographer to be able to take the photos, or will they come to you? You need to know if you should be planning to travel and how to accommodate those added expenses and the time that you need to take out of your day.
You also want to make sure that if they’re taking photos on-site, that you have enough space to accommodate their equipment and that they have enough time to work with the products, too.
What is their availability?
Ok, this one is a bit obvious, but no less important to remember than any other question on this list. You need to make sure your availability lines up, especially if you want to oversee the products they’re photographing or you’re on a tight deadline.
If your photography service has other jobs besides your photography, then your eCommerce photography may not be given the attention it deserves in the timeline that you need it. Make sure that the photography service you choose is actually available to work on your photography and isn’t booked up for days or weeks at a time before they can get started on your photography.
Always make sure that you’re giving your photographer enough time to work their camera magic- tight deadlines will be your enemy. If you’re not giving a photographer enough of a timeframe, they won’t want to work with you. Plan ahead, make sure that you’re available just as you make sure your photographer is available.
Do they carry Photography Errors and Omissions Insurance?
This is something for photographers and photography services to consider whether you’re working with them on photography or not. Because photography is a profession that involves the handling of other people’s property, it should be protected by photography errors and omissions insurance to handle any issues that may arise during photography sessions.
Can I have editorial rights?
This is something that you need to know before you choose a photography service for eCommerce photography . It’s important that the photography services that work with you understand whether or not they can share, sell, and distribute the photos they take for you.
Be sure to have photography services have a clear understanding of what you want at the beginning- whether they can use your photography for commercial purposes or not, and ensure that their photography service is on the same page as well so there are no surprises down the line!
Knowing the legalities is always important when hiring out a service, no matter what that service is.
Make sure you know as much as possible when hiring a service like eCommerce photographer. Companies like C&I Studios are ready to answer any and all questions you have about the services they provide.
Contact us today to get started on a project together!