"You hired a product photographer?" my friend asked with a very confused expression. I'll never forget how she thought that was just so silly for me, a photographer, to hire another photographer to take pictures. She just couldn't understand why I wasn't capable of this task. I explained that of course I could take the pictures and if I tried hard enough I could definitely take my own product shots.
Last week you might remember my post about how I let my business go. In that post I shared about how when I outsourced parts of my business, even if I was capable of doing it on my own, I was able to focus my attention on the areas that I was so much better at.
Well here is the best example I have for you. I hired Kara Layne, of Kara Layne & Co, to handle my product photography. She was so fabulous and great to work with. It was an EXCELLENT decision and here are my reasons why.
I'm Not a Product Photographer
I need to be honest with myself. While I can youtube and pinterest help all day long, the research alone with eat up my time. My time is money. Then I would have to factor in the actual act of photographing my products. It looks pretty easy and I think I have a good eye for styling. But again, I had never done it before and it could turn out to be one of those things that I get frustrated with half way into. Especially since I am a perfectionist. I started to roughly plan out what I "thought" would be involved. That was all I needed to do to realize that I just needed to hire a professional.
I Do Not Have the Right Accessories
Since I am not a product photographer I do not keep an assortment of items to style with. If you have ever looked at styled stock photography you will see that there are the perfect accessories scattered around. There are flowers, and books, and little trinkets so perfectly placed. I would spend so much time and money trying to collect items that coordinated so perfectly. I am pretty sure I would drive myself insane and spend way more money than needed.
So if you find yourself agreeing with me, then perhaps you need to outsource this part of your business too! Finding Kara to photograph my products didn't take long, but it was something I had spent some time researching. Here are my tips.
Research Research Research
Take your time to find the right product photographer for you, your style and brand. I found several photographers that had reputable businesses. Take a look at their own branding and style. That's important. You want to feel like you connect with them based on their own style. If you get them then most likely they will get you!
Consider the Following
1. Their location
This is important because you will have to get your products to them. If they aren't within a reasonable driving then you will have to ship your products to them. This will add onto your costs.
In my case I am in NC and Kara is in AZ. I had to get all of my products and props out to her. It was time consuming and added extra costs for me, but I must say that it was worth it to me. I wanted to work with Kara. I would also like to give kudos to Kara because she worked so well with me and made herself accessible when I needed her to be. The biggest adjustment for us was that 2 hour time difference between East Coast and West Coast. But we managed just fine.
2. The cost
There might be different levels of packages they offer. Be sure to ask if they provide the accessories to style with your products and if that is included in the price. Ideally you want the digital images of everything they photograph. Make sure that is included. If it is not included be sure to get all the pricing details.
3. Their communication
In my opinion, when you are hiring a specialist they should educate you throughout the process. They should be anticipating your needs and questions before you even ask. Let's be honest, I am sure you aren't hiring them because you know how to do their job.
See if they can provide you with a list of things to consider when preparing for this project. It may or may not be easy for you to wrap your ahead around everything you want photographed. You don't want to leave anything out either. They will have all of your products, make sure they get everything photographed during that time.
For example, consider ahead of time what you will be using these images for. I didn't consider that I might want an image shot that depicted a celebration. I really wish I would've thought of that .. it's an image that could used in multiple ways.
They should be able to tell you exactly what you need and what they are going to provide.
Also let's just mention that your general communication and response time is important. This goes for all businesses you work with. If they aren't getting back to you within a reasonable amount of time during the beginning stages of working together, I can guarantee you that it is not going to get any better.
This leads me to ..
4. Make a list of all the ideas and setups you are considering. This will be super helpful for you and the photographer. In my case, Kara and I shared a pin board. This was so helpful for us to get on the same page with what the overall look and feel would be. We were able to narrow down my HUGE list of ideas.
5. What is YOUR timeline and what is THEIR timeline
Make sure this is one of the first things you discuss before hiring them. You may expect to have this project complete within a month and they may not even be able to start on your project for 6 months. I ran into this problem with another specialist, not related to this, that I wanted to hire. I learned my lesson and now I ask ahead of time.
I hope these tips are helpful to you!! I certainly think this is something you need to be prepared for and plan ahead. I absolutely love bragging on awesome people that I work with and Kara is certainly one of those people. If she fits your style I would highly recommend her!!
Don't forget that GPS Workshop Registration is OPEN!! There are only a FEW spots left and the EARLY BIRD RATE ends THIS SATURDAY! It is a huge savings of $250!! Take advantage of it while you can .. it only takes $500 to reserve your seat. To learn more about the workshop CLICK HERE.