Posted by Paul Zimmerman on February 03, 2012 4 Comments
When it comes to product photography for online store fronts and e-commerce businesses it can very easily become all about the details. We know the main goal (other then making money) for an online store is to provide the shopper with an experience similar to one they can achieve in a physical store. And the most powerful way to do that is with your photography. You want to make that product feel as real as possible for the shopper and before you know it, they'll be buying it! But how do you go about creating product photography that makes the online shopping experience as "real" as possible you might ask? The Details!
It's all in the details! When putting together an online store, most businesses feel they only need one photograph of their product, a photograph that shows the item overall and what will show up at the shoppers doorstep. But when your shopping at a physical store, do you just look at that awesome looking cell phone without picking it up?! Or is your first instinct to grab it and check out all it's cool features and details? I would be willing to bet the more options you have to examine the details of the item the more likely you are to buy it. Whether your actually holding the item in a store or just checking out detailed pictures online, the more informed you are about the product the more comfortable you'll become with the idea of purchasing the item.
So how do you go about presenting the product details online? Well there are really 3 options.
1: Allow your shoppers to zoom in on the image of your product. This is something that involves a little more involvement on the development side of your online store. Not all store fronts have the ability to zoom in on a products picture in great detail in order to see the details of the product. But if your site does allow you to do so, you'll still need multiple shots of your product. After all it is a 3 dimensional item and has more to it then just a "Front." So lets say you sell Iphones. We all know Apple pays tremendous attention to the design and details of its products, so the ideal gallery for your store would show possibly the 4 different sides of the phone and then allow for the shopper to zoom in on the "Details."
2:Photograph the details. If your store front doesn't allow for the shopper to zoom in on the product picture, your best bet is to have your photographer photograph the details individually. You may be spending a little more for your photography, but you'll be providing a priceless comfort for the shopper. So, typically you'll have anywhere from 3 to 8 photos of your product. One overall shot of the front and back, and then your detail photos. The actually number of detailed photos will naturally depend upon the product, but its a valuable opportunity for generating sales.
3: 360 degree photography. This is a much newer technology and therefore much more expensive. It's slowly becoming more and more popular and as time goes by will become more cost effective, but for now it's an option that you'll only want to consider if you can afford too! 360 degree photography involves the photographer basically taking several hundred photos of your product and then putting them together in an interactive environment for your shopper. The resulting product is an interactive image that allows the shopper to navigate the picture angle around the product. Again, very effective but very costly option.
So, remember, it's all about the Details. You want to create an online shopping experience as comfortable as possible for your shoppers. A shopping environment that is as real as possible. The easiest and most effective way to do so is to give your shoppers the details. Allow them to "hold" and see the details of the product they are about to buy from you. The more informed your shoppers are the more likely they are to buy your products.
It's in the DETAILS!
Happy Selling From Products on White.
We recently had to photograph some Iphone cases for an online store called x-doria. Notice how the client asked us to photography this angle twice, once for an overall view of the Iphone case and then another closer image to show the detail of the case and how it fits the phone.
OVERALL SHOT DETAILED SHOT
Posted by Jeff Delacruz on December 22, 2011 3 Comments
Just like you, POW is a small business trying to make it in this mixed up crazy world. Recently, I've been working on creating a better GDN (Google Display Network) ad. You may have seen the blog article where I shared some Indesign templates that I created to make the process easier. I was inspired and excited when I saw the Google Adwords Creative Corner: Case Studies and realized that where as the still-motion images are good, I could have bigger, better and more exciting!
I started searching and finally came across the website http://4delite.com/ and it's pretty awesome.
It's a layout site that helps create Rich Content ads with motion and video. It easily resizes content, animates, it's easy to use and pretty affordable!
Finally, don't forget about Products On White if you need some great content for those new amazing ads your about to create.
Posted by Paul Zimmerman on December 15, 2011 3 Comments
Now I may be preaching to the choir,
but we can’t stress enough at Products On White what quality product
photography and web design will do for your online sales. Countless studies have shown that taking the
time and money to produce quality imagery and an online store front for your
e-commerce website will help drive sales and convert shoppers from just
browsing to shoppers just buying. I’m
not just saying this because that’s what we do here at POW! I’m telling you because
as a small business we understand how important it is to drive sales and
convert those “just looking” customers to buying customers. Providing a quality designed website and quality
product photography is the ultimate task in creating a trusting shopping
environment for online shoppers.
a brick and mortar store, online retailers unfortunately don’t have the added advantage
of allowing costumer to feel and touch the items they sell. So even before the doors open at an online
merchant there is one big strike against them.
The biggest and most important way to compete with brick and mortar
store fronts is to sell customers with quality product photography and web
design. The overall design of your site
as well as the overall consistency and quality of your product photography will
determine sales. No one wants to shop at
a poorly designed site, with poorly lit product photography. In fact most shoppers won’t even trust
browsing an online merchant that doesn’t provide a trusting and well designed
website visually. The most efficient and
cost effective way to create a trusting online store front is to provide the
shopper with a beautifully designed site and with quality images.
Using product photography correctly
and time again we have come across clients that hire us at Products On White to
photograph their products for their online store, and time and time again we only
later discover that the wonderful imagery we have created for them just goes to
Images that are stretched out. (see below)
images that are improperly uploaded to their
images too small.
images that are pixilated.
It pains us to see product photography that we work hard to
make beautiful go to waste. Items need
to be properly presented in an online environment, it’s the only way customers
will trust the shopping experience at your store. It begins with web design and ends with a
POW! with your product photography!
Check a couple blogs by shopify photography and it’s
importance to sales.
Posted by Paul Zimmerman on November 23, 2011 0 Comments
As everyone knows, Thanksgiving has now become synonymous with Black Friday. If anything, in these tough economic times, Black Friday has sadly taken on more importance than Thanksgiving for some. That's why Products on White is glad to announce that we have embraced and support American Express Small Business Saturday this Saturday November 26th and will be offering 10% on all orders placed on the 26th at Products on White. Just use the code SMALLBIZ10.
The main goal on Small Business Saturday is to have shoppers take control and help support the foundation of our nations economy with Small Business. There are almost 27 million small businesses in the United States and they account for almost half of all sales in the US. Now imagine if everyone bought just one item from all those businesses and what it could do for our economy.
Small business is the root of our economy and is a simple away for the US to get a boost in its national job growth. Small business have been responsible for roughly 60 to 80% of all new job growth in the US and in most states small businesses account for roughly 30% of all economic activity.
Products on Whites main goal is to provide easy and affordable quality product photography for small to medium business. So in an effort to help and promote American Expresses Small Business Saturday, we will be offering 10% off all orders placed on Saturday, Nov 26.
10% off code SMALLBIZ10
Posted by Jeff Delacruz on October 31, 2011 0 Comments
POW is a daring new business model; simple, clean imagery at half the price a traditional professional photographer.
We can offer professional quality imagery at half price a traditional commercial photographer, with the same quality because we have a workflow that is geared specifically to these simple looks. We understand that many businesses just need simple, beautiful images of their products on a simple background to post on their commerce websites, layout in their catalogs, send to potential buyers and distributors.
We admit it, what we do is not fancy compared to our local commercial/advertising photographer friends. A professional commercial photographer will give you any background you want, place it in an environment with models and action, they can make it explode with splashes and pepper it with garnish and style it to with all sorts of custom things.
The Creative Vs. The Catalog
Looking at the Aveda website, for example, the local pro-photographer's image is on the splash page, it sets a mood and gives the essence of the products and the companies. However, when you click on a category to actually shop for something like shampoo, that's when POW comes to town and saves the day with those simple product pictures that you need to sell those individual products.
POW is a great cost cutting way to get the most out of your budget by dividing up the highly creative images that brings in the customers (Them) and the great catalog imagery (POW) that closes the sales.
We don't think of ourselves as competition with our local pro-photog friends, let them have all the fun with the creative things. We focus on one thing, catalog/ecommerce product photos for the masses and we do that one thing very very well.
Posted by Paul Zimmerman on October 29, 2011 1 Comment
Products On White opened
its doors almost 7 months ago, but before launching we spent countless hours
debating on what platform to launch on. How could we provide our service
to the masses easily both for our customer and us? We even toyed with the
idea of hiring a developer to create a site and backend solution from the
ground up. After countless hours of working with a developer and hundreds
of dollars we begun to realize there had to be a better solution, something
that was already established we could build off of. That’s when we stumbled upon Shopify.
We quickly ditched all efforts to build
our own e-commerce solution from the ground up and signed up with Shopify. We teamed up with a web developer and Shopify
and customized our Shopify site to our specific needs hoping to make our site
even easier for our customers. After
several months and several test runs, we finally launched our site with some
mild success. It was then that we
realized that Shopify provides its customers with much more than an e-commerce solution;
it provides a whole network and community of like-minded business owners. We began utilizing Shopify’s forum for advice
and promotion. We even wrote in the “Just
Launched” forum, which to date is one of our biggest traffic links.
WELCOME TO SHOPIFY
To my business partners credit, one of the smartest moves we made since establishing our business model has been going with Shopify to provide our platform. Not only for their e-commerce store front solution but almost equally important, their Shopify Network.
Posted by Jeff Delacruz on October 20, 2011 4 Comments
At POW! were here to help the small business owner any way we can. Marketing is important and Google adwords is the phonebook of today. So having a strong presence is important. Creating a beautifully designed Google Display Network Image campaign is cumbersome, but it makes a huge difference for your website and business.
When working on POW!'s GND campaign, I was looking for an Indesign template that had all the sizes pre-made and ready to drop stuff into it. I couldn't find anything. So, I made my own and now I give it you.
It's got all the sizes, in order as they are on the adwords uploader, so that when you export them, you can just go down the list and keep track:
300 x 50
468 x 60
728 x 90
250 x 250
200 x 200
336 x 280
300 x 250
120 x 600
160 x 600
A few tips to remember when designing:
- View it at 'actual size', so that you can see the stuff as it would on a real screen.
- Export as a jpeg high or above. The limit is 50k each image.
- The template is saved in an indesign cs5.5 format on a mac, so if you have problems sorry.
If you end up using the template and like it, let me know or if you really like it you could add a back link in your website or blog.
If you need product photography for your campaign, don't forget about POW!
Posted by Jeff Delacruz on October 10, 2011 5 Comments
Getting photography can be difficult, here's some great solutions!
Starting a new business and becoming an entrepreneur is one of the most difficult and exciting things you could do in your life. It takes more than just making the product and expecting everyone to just magically want it. You need to market it and sell it.
Photography is just a single step in the marketing process, but a very important one. First impressions are everything in the consumer world and a photograph of you product gives that first impression. It can be sole determinate on whether a consumer will buy or pass on an item. Companies invest huge money on trying to make their products look better than their competitors and i've seen the results.
One company i know of had their entire catalog rephotographed and redesigned to have a cleaner and more modern look to it. Their other catalog had been photographed by a friend of the business and designed by a friend as well. The marketing executive convinced the owner to raise their budget to accommodate using a design firm for the new catalog and a professional photographer. After the catalog was released they saw un-uptick in sales by 20% immediately.
Here we'll discuss some options on how to get photography and why we at Products On White, started our business that addresses some of these hurdles.
Shooting it yourself
Where as this sounds like a great idea, it's typically not. Let's face it, not everyone was born with a creative eye, but photography is a little more than that. There's a lot of technical knowhow that goes into photography. For example which Fstop is the best aperture to use when shooting a product and what sort of shutter speed will you need. If your using flash, what sort of modifier should you use and how do you meter it to get the best exposure. Different types of products often times need different types of lights, which one is the best? Certainly, digital photography has made this process a lot easier, but it hasn't made the fundamentals of photography any simpler.
If you're dead set on shooting it yourself or at least trying, you may find yourself racking up quite the bill to discover that the quality of imagery your getting isn't exactly up to par with your competitors. Heres a good link on how to set it up
First thing you've got to get is a camera ($400 - $2000) and a lens. Preferably a longer lens that can shoot at a high fstop is useful so that the entire product is in sharp focus.
Next you've got to get some lights. Our lighting setup at POW is typically 5 lights, but that's just how we do it. There's a million different ways to light a product and some work better than others. If you doing it yourself, you may want to try using window light and a fill card (a big white card). Sometimes people like to recommend using one of the white tents but we've found that those lighting tents render an image this lacks a dynamic quality of light and flattens out the image too much.
So after you've got all the equipment, and you've got your images, most images require a little bit retouching to bring out their best qualities.Every image requires a little bit of retouching, mostly cleaning up the surface around the image. This requires a little bit of photoshop knowledge.
The estimated cost of shooting your products yourself are based on mid range photography tools. Keep in mind, the real gamble is that your products might not end up looking that great if your not knowledgable on how to use the tools.
Light Tent: $100
Lights: 2 x 500
Total Estimated Price: $3300
This is quite the gamble to take, but if you can make it work and you have a lot of products to shoot than it might end up saving you money.
Having Your Uncle Do It
Ok, this is sort of a funny way of putting it, but as a photographer I hear the phrase "My uncle (or other family member) just got a new nikon, I think were going to have him shoot our wedding (or other important thing) for us." all the time. Having a great camera, doesn't necessarily make a great photographer and this is especially true for products. Product photography, when photographed in a professional way, is highly technical in nature and can be a little tricky. I don't know if i'd trust my uncle to craft the primary sales and marketing image that represents my company and brand.
Maybe it goes unsaid, but using craigslist to do anything can be a bit of a gamble. You have no idea who your going to get. It might be a seasoned professional or it might be a guy with a camera. Make sure they have a portfolio of work that meets your standards.
Often times I see people posting that they need (for example) 75 products photographed and they have a budget of $500. Don't expect to many professional to respond to something like this, because the rates are well below market rates. Chances are at this rate you'll find someone like in the example above who is just trying to make a little money from their new camera.
Hiring A Professional
This is always the best option. A professional photographer easy to find too. If i was looking, I would start my search at www.workbook.com . These are the true industry professionals. You will get the best images this way, custom tailored to whatever your hearts desire. You get to be there at the shoot and approve every shot as it comes in.
The main draw back is the expense. A typical day for a professional photographer starts at $1500 a day and ranges to $2000 a day. If you take into account all the overhead (studio cost, lighting, photography gear...) and the time to produce the shoot, this comes out to be about fair. Negotiating a usage contract for the images. This can be particularly confusing and frustrating if your not used to it. By law, the photographer owns the rights to the images they photograph and license the images to you. This licensing is an additional cost based on what your going to use it for ($0 - $100,000??). Usage Story
On a professional shoot there will typically be other expenses involved, like a photo assistant ($250 -$400 a day). If there's a lot of products a prop stylist might be used ($250 -$400 a day). If there's a lot of images and products being shot, all that needs to be organized as it's shot and be prepped for retouching and a digital tech may be hired ($400 - $600 a day). If there's a lot of people coming to the shoot to watch, a production assistant might be hired ($150 -$300 a day). If you want to build a set, theres the cost of the set and cost of people to build it. If there's a location involved theres the cost of the location to rent ($1000 -$2000). Lets not forget retouching, which is traditionally $75 - $175 an hour.
In a hypothetical situation, lets say I'm a small business owner that has 20 products that needs photographed on a white surface to be used on a website or ecommerce catalog. Easy. How I would estimate this project is as so:
Photographer Rate: $1500
Estimated Total Cost: $2850
In this case you, get what you paid for. The most amazing product photography money can buy exactly the way you've always dream it being.
Working with Products On White aka POW!
Sure, this is a shameless plug, but we've crafted our business to address all the frustrations we were seeing with small, new and medium sized businesses were having getting simple product photography.
First, the quality of the imagery had to stay as amazing as it would if wewere hired on a custom professional job. Through testing and planning, we decided that by limiting the backgrounds to 1 of 4 setups, we could still have the maneuverability to craft light on an object in a way that still maintained a style that is unique and professional in quality. This also helps us shoot faster and with consistency. This keeps cost down, which we pass on to the customer.
Second thing we did was get rid of the usage thing. Usage is confusing, frustrating and just plain pisses most people off. So where as we still own the copyright, you are automatically licensed for an unlimited time, for whatever you want, where ever you want.
Third thing we did was make it a flat rate per object being photographed. This makes it easy to budget with and easy to sell to a boss. There's no confusing a flat rate.
We also wanted to make it assessable if you only had 1 or 2 products you needed photographed. If you were to hire a professional, you would still pay a full day rate to get those products photographed. That didn't seem reasonable.
We wanted to make it simple to order and take out all the hassles that you would find with negotiating back and forth with a professional, posting and rooting through a craigslist ad responses, having to figure out how to use all the new gear you've purchased or trying to figure out how to tell your uncle that his pics aren't making the cut. We made it as simple as humanly possible. You can order on the site, the type of background you want, the size and write a little bit how you'd like it photographed and just ship us the items to be shot. It's that simple.
We believe in making the photography side of your business easy and affordable. So check out our site at www.powphotography.com
Posted by Jeff Delacruz on October 10, 2011 7 Comments
Dear Etsy Sellers,
Today i'm writing a blog article specifically for you. At some point you may have been wondering how to photograph your work or products for sale on Etsy. When we were formulating the plan for POW! we literally said "Wow, this is a great company for people who sell on Etsy" and here's why.
Etsy Sellers tend to have few products they're selling and with smaller budgets.
When searching for a photographer, which i'm sure a few of you have, you may have encountered some problems with pricing. A traditional method of pricing photography is a bit complex for a regular non-advertising executive person. The basic model combines 3 factors; A day rate (which is traditionally +/- $1500 a day), a usage or licensing fee (which is highly complex and deals with licensing the copyright of the image in different mediums) and expenses such as assistants, retouching, food. For a small seller like an Etsy Seller, this is just way to big of a headache and much to expensive for someone selling a 10 - 15 different types of handmade items.
POW! can deliver professional quality photography at a flat rate of $39.99 per product, which includes basic retouching and all usage rights in a timely manner. No usage fee headaches, no day rates, no expenses, just one flat rate and thats it.
I know that Etsy Sellers are compulsive DIY'ers and it's this creative spark that makes you a joy to work with because we are too! However, when it comes to photography, taking good Etsy photographs is easier said than done. High quality imagery, as we've talked about in other blog articles, has proven to sell more products than low quality imagery. We have invested 10's of thousands of dollars in top quality equipment and spent years perfecting our craft specializing in product photography.
Not to say that it isn't impossible, but replicating the same quality of imagery in a DIY environment at a lower cost than what were charging would be a very difficult task.
It is my bet that you would end up saving more time and money having POW! photograph your items, than going out and purchasing a new camera system and spending the time to figure out how to do it.
In short, Etsy Sellers, we're here to help you grow your business at great rates and easy ordering methods. Oh, and don't tell anyone else, but you're our favorites.
Posted by Paul Zimmerman on September 26, 2011 1 Comment
Our doors at POW! have only been open for a little over a month and
so far so good. We’ve had a wide range
of clients big to small, clothing to beauty and all have been amazed with the
imagery we’ve been producing. And with that said I would like to take the time
to compare the quality of imagery we produce and to help you find the right solution for your product photography. Many people take photography for granted, especially with digital photography now allowing anyone to become a "photographer." But when it comes down to selling your products, it will be your images that will make or break your sales.
A good example of this is a recent story done on CBS's Sunday Morning on pet photography for animal shelters. Now I know what you're thinking, pets aren't products. Well watch this video and then tell me what you think.
Adoption rates soared, and every pet photographed by a professional photography was adopted within days! See what a difference professional photography can make! It can make all the difference in a shoppers perception of your product. Whether it be a shoe, a diamond ring, or a wiener dog; if your products are photographed by someone who cuts corners or pays no attention to the detail in lighting your product, your sales will hurt.
So what we can take from all this is taking your photography for granted can cost your business tremendously both in sales and reputation. If there is one thing a product oriented company should take seriously, it's how its shoppers see their products. And there are several online photography "studios" that claim they can solve that for you and for CHEAP....
Many of these "Studios" claim to be professional photographers, in a professional environment
providing professional quality images. But
few can actually produce quality images.
So we suggest before choosing your photographer for you products, take a
close look at their images, not just the bottom line and ask the following
Do they use a light tent to photograph your client’s
At POW! each item we photograph is lit for that specific
item, paying attention to the texture and details of the highlights in the
product. If an item is photographed in a
light tent, you’ll get nothing but a muddy, flat looking picture, like this.
Pay attention to their website and how it looks.
Just like any website, it should appear professional, both in look and in content. At POW our product is our Photography. You should feel comfortable with what you see on the site. You should be able to contact them by phone, email or their website. And naturally, their photography should look AMAZING! Because, ultimately, you want AMAZING photography for your business and in turn AMAZING sales!
Some examples of websites that seem to provide an "affordable" service but upon further inspection may not be the solution you are looking for are ProductPhotography.com and Product Photography 4 Less. Both seem simple, cut and dry solutions for your product photography. And they may be, but they both fail to sell you their "product" from a visual standpoint.
Price shouldn't be your only determining factor.
Now, I've owned and operated my own business for years and if anything I understand that keeping costs low is necessary. However, there is a tipping point or a line to cross in every industry where trying to cut costs can at some point be detrimental to your profits and your reputation. Your product photography is one corner that should never be cut. While there are some studios out there that offer product photography for less than $10 an image, I can assure you, you'll get what you paid for and then some. But trying to save some up front cost, you loose 10 fold in sales.
So, next time you consider going with that craigslist photographer who will shoot all 100 of your products for $100, or that online studio who will photograph all your products in a light tent. Take a step back and consider the bottom line.
Here are few photos from some of our clients from last week. Enjoy!