Photographer for product, object and packshot photography

Packshot Photography Rochester MN and Minneapolis Area

If I am specialized in Wedding, I also offer other kinds of photography services directed to companies and local business, such as packshot photography.
So what is that? Well, it’s probably the most widespread type of product photography in the world, so you I bet you are pretty familiar with them.

At the origin, packshot photography used to design a still life image of a product inside it’s packaging. Thus the name pack-shot. Today, this practice is no more commonplace, and most of the objects are photographed without their packaging. That said, when the packaging is luxurious, it is often included in the pictures, on the side or behind the product.

Packshot photography (or buckshot to make it short) can design two kinds of photography: a very simple one, on a white background, or a more sophisticated one (who is more often called product photography).
Consequently, the motivations of creating such image can vary, depending on its nature of the photograph and the object. But let’s simplify and say the goal of a packshot is

  • To accurately display what is sold
  • to make the merchandise easily recognizable and identifiable
  • to feature the product’s quality
  • to enhance the merchandise appearance
  • to define a company’s brand with a visual signature (ex: apple)
  • to generate enthusiasm from the customer
  • to raise feeling and a strong desire to buy.

There is also some derivative kind that we won’t tackle here, such as 360° photos and short movie made by a videographer.

The price of those pictures can vary a lot depending of the desire quality, and thus the time, and the kind of equipment required (lighting, cameras, etc.). Actually, in photography you can find a large variety of pricing that would vary regarding of the client’s expectations.

How Imagery Can Creates Enthusiasm for a Viewer

While the role played by emotion is pretty obvious regarding family portraits taken by your wedding photographer in Mn, it might not seem logical regarding merchandise (for instance a camera body). Indeed, you may think customers will consider the genuine quality of objects he is buying. Then you should be interested to know that:

  • 90% of the information considers by a buyer is visual
  • 93% of people buying something on the internet say that they decide on the photo.

That’s why photography became so much more important in the last decades. In our consumer society we are fetishizing appearance, and that’s why photography took so important place in the marketing of the product.
In practice, each time you go on amazon to buy a simple plastic product, you are comparing a bunch of similar items at a similar price.

It’s the photograph that makes you trust more one item than the other one.
It’s the same when you are trying to decide between two luxurious products, and comparing two amazing commercial photography.

Who needs packshot?

Packshot photography’s typical clients cover a large spectrum. It starts with the small independent company (for instance a handicraftsman wanted simply but accurately present his work), to medium-size company (for instance a local restaurant, a brewery wanting affordable pictures to fine presents its beers or a local clothing brand).

It goes up to larger company producing industrial objects and in need of great images to show case them on their website. For instance, a health company producing electronic machines or a truck builder.

On the other side of the spectrum, stand the companies selling luxury objects, and thus in need of stunning images for advertising. For instance, the most famous industry is wine, other alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, perfumes, cosmetics, food, jewels, watch, cars, luxurious electronic (computers, TV screens, game console).

Depending on their destination of that image is often used in

  • in catalog
  • one-line listing (for instance on Amazon, eBay, etc.)
  • magazine
  • printed or on-line adds
  • billboard
  • website
  • packaging of the product itself

Simple image or Sophisticated image made by artists

As mentioned earlier, we can make the distinction is too big families: the simple image and the more elaborated ones.

Clean-up with uniform White background

That’s the one that is commonly designate buckshot, and used to sell the object on the internet. The object is pictured on a white background, similar to the white wall of the galleries and arts museum.

Some art critics theorize that “anything placed into a modern museum (bright and minimalist space with white walls), is immediately considered as a piece of art. That’s for example, the theory of Marcel Duchamp, the creator of the ready-made.

Well, for merchandise it’s the same process (the museum being replaced by a catalog, a billboard or a nice website).
Indeed, when an object is deprived of context, the buyer attention tends to focus on the product itself and its quality. The buyer would pay more attention to details, texture, design.
That’s why we consider a good image that accurately reflects the item for the viewer should:

  • be clean with a 255 white background and no shadows
  • present an image where each item’s element is in focus
  • is lightening well, to see each part (not part hidden by shades)
  • present the item without distortion
  • reflect true dimension and true shape of the items
  • display the true colors

Accuracy

An important point that should be highlighted is the accuracy of the pictures. As a matter of fact, you don’t want a disappointed costumer complaining and returning an object because he feels that what we saw and what he bought is diametrically opposed to an excessively flattering picture.
That been said, it does not mean either, that image should be flat and dull. A subtle lighting job would and enhance the object appearance and stick to the reality.

Variations: Colored background

Some time, for esthetic consideration, sellers could prefer a uniform background with a different color from white (for instance gray, light brown, light blue, etc.).
Images of small products on a white background can be produced in a short delay, while large product (such as a car), would require a studio location.

Elaborated Commercial image made by talented photographers

Alongside of my professional event and wedding photography activity in Minneapolis and Rochester, MN, I offer portraits, lovers sessions, college seniors images, camera training,
This kind is pretty exciting too, offering an artistic and creative license for the maker (when the direction of the shooting is not operated by the brand art director). Of course this image requires lots of skills (that I learn at school, with a degree in Photography), talent, resources, and they are not a child’s play!

A commercial buckshot image is also produced in a studio. It used a colored background (with the texture or not) and a complex lighting effect. The light variation show case all the subtleties of the object, featuring its own quality, and enhancing its appearance.

The goal here is really to raising the buyer’s interest to play. Also some small alteration to the reality is permitted. For instance, creative image makers will play with distortion, accentuating perspective and the object’s shape.

Complex image production vary regarding the nature of the product of its destination. Actually, after digital retouch (using Photoshop Adobe), some images can look more like a painting than a still shot image.

How much does it cost?

Given the wide variety of object and photography, it would be complicated to generalize on the production of such images given they all required specific need.
Several options would increase the price, such as

  • The size
    Very large industrial objects would be more complicated to be manipulated, and could need a larger studio, and thus take more time.
    On the contrary, tiny objet, such as diamond ring could require macro-photography technic that also takes time.
  • The nature of the object
    (some material is easier to picture than another one, depending on the shape, reflection, the nature of the tissue). For instance, a shiny ball is more complicated than a mat dark cube.
  • Post-production Needed
    Post-production is the hidden part of the iceberg, and retouch fees can quickly go very high. Sometime retoucher budget can be higher than the photographer. This is particularly true if you need a high level of composition, mixing several images and working on adding elements of background.
    The basic level of postproduction, made by the photographer, is to adjust the color, correct the imperfection, clean the pictures, and perform a background cutting.
  • Stylisme
    If fashion stylist is famous, food photography stylists and product stylists are a must for stage pictures. Their ability to find the right props, and move elements to the right place highly increase the quality of the final picture.
  • Stage renting or building
    Some staged image could need to rent or build a stage.
  • Preparation
    Items need to be unpacked, assemble or disassemble to show each piece. Clothes may need to be ironed or put it shape with a steamer.
  • Layout
    On some pictures showing every single piece of a product, the layout work can take a lot of time.
  • Express delivery
    Of course if you are on short delay and need all the pictures ready for the next day, it would be more expensive.
  • Shipping
    If you need to ship (larges) products far away, it would be more expensive than dropping the merchandise to your local studio. Time to properly pack and protect each element should also be taken in consideration.

Local or specialized studio in Minnesota?

Should you choose your local photographer or a specialized studio. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and you should decide regarding the kind and type of product you have, and, of course, the expectation you have.

Best Packshot Professionals

If you are a big famous brand, with a large budget and ready to invest $10,000 to have the perfect shot for your national (or international) advertisement campaign, then I would recommend you to choose a worldwide famous product photographer. They are usually represented by agencies, and you can find some really good in big town such as New York, Chicago or Los Angeles.
Those professionals are specialized in commercial photography, have a lot of experience, are used to complex techniques, and have a larger studio to handle big productions. It’s not rare that they are also videographer, and offer service including short movies made by a videographer.

Local Studio

Your local photographer would probably not be specialized only in product photography, but would offer different kind of service, such as weddings, family portraits, sport, real estate photography. Of course, as all the time, check the pictures and make your own opinion! Local vendors can be good or very bad! And there is nothing worse than a bad image to sell your product!
The advantage of your local photographer is you can work with him and adjust the direction of the shooting step by step. In other words, you can control the result. What’s more, you won’t spend your budget on packing and shipping coast.
The disadvantage is that it’s usually some individual business. So if you need to have a lot of images of many products, very quickly and have them retouched, it would take more time than a specialized studio with twenty people working at the same time.

Size of the Studio

Another consideration is the size of the studio. Local photographer barely has huge space. Also, if you plan on having a big product photograph in the studio, you would need to rent a studio, or ship your merchandise to a bigger photography company.
That’s why, most of my clients live close to me, and come from cities such as: Saint-Paul, Chicago, Burnsville, MN, Lakeville, MN, Brooklyn Park, Duluth, Coon Rapids, Apple Valley, Mankato, Maple Groove, Maplewood, Maryland, Bloomington, Rosemount, Inver Grove Heights, Roseville, MN, Burnsville, Maple Valley.

Charge by time, object, or picture?

Time

Charging by time (hour or day) is great if you don’t have a lot of products, or if all your products are different and require different kind of attention. Charging by time makes sense when it’s impossible to make a right estimation.
Otherwise I would not recommend charging by time. Indeed, it can be tricky to control your budget and you can end up having higher expenses than expected.

Let me share a story that took place when I started photography. I had a client who had experience having his products pictured with his local photographer, and hired me for two weeks. He wanted some “simple image” shot on a white/gray/black background, but as often, the image board that inspired him to include a lot very good image.

Also, I was not sure of the kind of expectation he was waiting for, and I asked him to stay with me the first day. I showed him what can be done in thirty minutes: a clean and simple image. And he was happy and wanted to move to another object. But I asked him to wait. I refine my lightening. But I didn’t change any parameters (aperture, iso, etc.), or my DSLR camera to a medium format with different lens. It was just about the setup several flashes, to create a better light than with light coming from a window. That took one additional hour to shoot the same product better. He was amazed and decided that he wanted the best quality possible.
At the end I shoot pictures during almost three months when he came with me thinking of a two weeks’ work.

Picture

Charging by picture is appropriate when all your merchandise is the same and requires the same number of images.
If you have multiple kinds of object which all need to show different aspects, then organize your product by category.

Object

Charging by object is (more or less), the same as charging by pictures. You must categorize your products, make an estimation of the number of pictures you want for each one. In a marketing strategy that helps you a better understanding how to calculate your advertising costs.

Object and Lifestyle Photography

Discover the portraits of your professional photographer in RochesterMN.How capture emotion in images during engagement sessions in Minnesota, Minneapolis and beyond the Twin Cities.
This type of image including people performing action is called lifestyle photography. Of course here it’s related to marriage and families, but it became more and more popular to use such style for product photography.
Indeed, studies show that buyers manage to project themselves more easily when they see other people using an object in picture that looks natural (such as photojournalism style). That’s why today, you can see adds with a bunch of teenager having fun using a computer, instead of an add explaining how great the machine is.
Consequently such production is usually shot outside, on location, including models, and the coast is cheaper than building a stage. The destination of such image is usually for social media and Instagram.

Your professional background: 1 degree in photography at the Paris University and 1 in Art School

While engagement, wedding and seniors; can easily be learned alone, commercial photography could be required to learn from a teacher. It’s not only about lighting technic, science of digital images, composition, subtleties of film procession, bonds with video, but also about costumer psychology and marketing principle.


But, given there is nothing like experiencing the filed to learn jobs, I have works as an assistant for the fashion and commercial photographer for 7 years!

If you have a precise project and you want more info just send me an email.