Product photographers, also known as commercial photographers, often spend several years practicing their trade before they get hired by online stores. The job requires more than the ability to work a camera. You must be a master of retouching images and of marketing your work.
Gain Some Experience
Candid pictures of family and friends won't prepare you for the world of product photography. Instead, find ways to get eye-catching photos of inanimate objects, from pebbles to tents to dishes. Create a makeshift studio by hanging a solid color sheet or backdrop behind the products. Concentrate on shooting within your background; you shouldn't have to crop the backdrop edges out of the picture. "PC World" also suggests getting comfortable editing pictures, like adding shadows or altering backdrop colors.
Make Your Portfolio
Once you've collected thousands of pictures, select the pictures that really pop for your portfolio. You want clients and potential employers to flip through your portfolio and see your style, talent and exactly what it is you have to offer. Include pictures from different angles and those that clearly utilize lighting techniques. Try to include photographs of products with various shapes and sizes.
Apply for Jobs
Find out what other commercial photographers charge for their services before you apply. Generally, photographers determine their own rates, and you don't want to get turned down due to pricing discrepancies. Your prices should mirror those of the competition until you gain experience and a client base. In addition, double-check the eligibility requirements before submitting your portfolio. Some companies may prefer photographers with a degree or a certain amount of experience.
Advertise Your Services
Some product photographers market themselves rather than chasing jobs. For example, Upgraded Images in Pasadena, California, allows clients to simply ship products to its studio. It photographs the products, clients pay for the images and the products are shipped back. Advertise every detail of your services, such as your ability to customize sets or backgrounds and various props you'll allow. Take advantage of personal websites, blogs and social media to get your examples and services out there.
Connect With Others
Even if you're marketing your services, send your portfolio to nearby marketing or advertising companies who are looking for photographers. An August 2013 article in "Contrastly" urged aspiring product photographers to join a local or regional professional photography association and start networking with other commercial photographers. It hints that networking along with the recognition that comes from an association membership can boost business.
- PetaPixel: 18 Facts of Life for Photography Students
- PCWorld: How to Take Great Product Photos for Your Online Store
- Rob Greer Photography: Product Photographer
- UpgradedImages.com: How It Works -- It's Simple!
- Contrastly: How to Land the Good Jobs in Commercial Photography
- Everlane: In-House Product Photographer and Retoucher
- Photo Credit Ron Chapple Stock/Ron Chapple Studios/Getty Images
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