Your e-shop is developing, and the big decision has been made: you will outsource your fashion product photography. But since you have been reading this article, you probably don’t know how to do it or which part of the production is worth outsourcing.
From a professional studio perspective, we think that outsourcing the entire process, meaning: product photography: packshots or flat shots, detail pictures, and model photo shooting is the best way to do it. Below you can find out why. Let us imagine two possible scenarios:
Option one: you decided to outsource only 50% of the product photography. Usually, the outsourced part is stills photography (packshots or flat shots), and photo shooting with models is kept in-house.
Option two: you are outsourcing the entire process of fashion product photography
We will take a look of what the advantages and disadvantages of those two possibilities are.
Two main reasons for leaving models product photography in-house
- Keeping consistent and strong brand identity
From our perspective, fashion retailers have the biggest issue with outsourcing models photography. Why? Because styling and “feeling” of the presented clothes are sometimes very strongly connected to the brand identity. And the brand identity is created by various, sensitive factors: the way clothes are styled together, the type of models are being chosen to present products, and even tiny details like accessories (or lack of them) added to the stylization. So creative personalisation of the shootings to keep consistent brand image is one of the most critical factors for keeping the models-photo shooting in-house.
- having broad control over the process of photo production
Fashion brands often claim that only controlling the process and having the final decision regarding styling will help them develop the perfect brand image. So “control” would be the second and vital aspect of keeping this part of production in-house.
This “total control” is usually needed when it comes to high-fashion brands, with an exclusive, fancy garment, where the high quality of images is the only way to stand out.
Six disadvantages of partial outsourcing of the product photography
Keeping the models’ product photography in-house may seem very convenient for the fashion retailers, who still need a lot of control over the process and are unwilling to trust the partner about the styling. But this solution has many cons that you will encounter along the way. Therefore, please read our list below to know what to expect while choosing this business model.
• The problem of the consistency of product photos
It’s not possible to have the same lighting and color adjustments in both studios. One of them will have to match their photos to the second one. The process seems easy, but it requires coordination of the work of both studios. Also, if a person from the client’s side approves the final result, they will have to do it twice.
• Longer delivery time of the final product-photos
When one studio has to wait until the other one does the job, the process takes more time. Let’s take a look at the example. If we assume that shooting is done on day one, retouching on day 2, and corrections on day 3, it means that the second studio will get pictures on day three and has one day to adjust colours and shades. It will mean that a client will get his photos ready to go online within a minimum of 4 working days. And we have taken into consideration the only time needed for taking shots. Now add to it shipment time…
• Complicated and costly logistic process of shipping goods
Unless you have two sets of samples that you can send out to the two studios, you will face another problem while having two studios: you will have to shift all goods from one studio to another. Can you imagine a situation when a parcel gets lost during shipment? Or there is a delay in shipment due to weather conditions etc. There are so many factors that you cannot control during the shipment process that it will make the whole process very complicated and generate many stressful situations. Did we mention about double cost of shipment?
• Lost opportunities of selling products
You may think that one day of delay is nothing. But it is. Time always means money, especially in the fast-fashion industry. It’s a so-called “time to market” factor, and it means that the sooner you introduce product shots to the market, the faster you realize increased sales. Think of roughly 50 products that you could have sold – sooner. And now we come to another conclusion: If you decide to outsource only half of the photo production, you lose time and money.
• Time-consuming management of the process
Another disadvantage of outsourcing e-commerce product photography only partly is the effort and time you need to spend on managing communication between 2 studios. You will also be obliged to check the quality of images twice. You need to respond to different questions also twice. Then consider your time as the most valuable resource you have. Can you afford to make things twice?
• The initial investment to create an in-house studio
Also, suppose you decide to have an in-house photography department. In that case, you need to invest the money to develop such, have human power, equipment, and all employed by the business permanently. To find out more about outsourcing product photography, please read this article.
Why it’s worth taking the risk and outsourcing the entire process of your fashion product photography?
Suppose you still have doubts after reading all that was written above. In that case, we are giving some fine examples of why it’s worth outsourcing the whole process of product photography to an external service provider.
• Having the highest capacity when it’s needed
This topic is also connected with seasonable picks of productivity. Suppose you decide to have the photo production in-house when large quantities of products are waiting to be introduced online. In that case, the capacity of the in-house team will be limited to only the number of employees you have at your disposal. Most probably, they will not be able to fulfill the demand. When it comes to outsourcing, the service provider can always book the workforce needed for you. Meaning the process will speed up when you need it the most. Furthermore, the quality can be delivered right away, as the process of photo production is already a core business and most likely, after slight modification, will be as tailored especially to your needs.
• Easy management of the process
Would you mind thinking of how much easier it is to explain the requirements for the product photography to one person instead of 2 or 3 or… And this is how usually you will work with a professional photo studio. You will get a dedicated success manager who ensures seamless communication between you and the team working on your project. People who will be working for you will focus only on you as a client. They will make sure the quality of received photographs maintains as high as possible.
• Access to the knowledge and skills of the professionals
While it usually takes a while (or even a little longer) to find the right people to create the photo team in-house when it comes to outsourcing, you have all the people with the right skills already there for you. They have the knowledge, experience and are focused on making the best possible pictures. A professional photography service provider hires photographers, retouchers, project managers, plan assistants, etc. And they have been doing product photography for different brands for years.
• Limiting the cost of full-time employment
For some fashion retailers, the product they are selling is highly dependent on seasonability. Meaning they have one or two peaks when products go online, and then there is a gap when only a few or a low number of items needs to be photographed.
That is one of the reasons why outsourcing has the advantage over in-house photo studios. If you have full-time employees, you need to pay their full salary monthly, no matter what. With an outsourced process, you are paying only for what you get. Nothing more and nothing less than that. This way, you can save money when the season is low, and photo production runs only from time to time.
• Facilitated logistic process
Your goods will be delivered only to one studio instead of 2 or even 3. Thanks to that, the risk of missing or broken pieces during transport and the photography process will decrease. Logistics costs will decrease as well.
• Limited risk of lost/destroyed pieces
A professional studio will make sure the delivery and shipment of all samples received for the photo-shooting will become only another point to tackle on the “to-do list.” When there is a repeatable sequence of how the job is done, and there are people responsible for the small part of the process, there is a limited number of things that can go wrong.
• Seamless naming and transferring of photos
Please imagine that for each and every product, you need to take six photos. Each one of them should be named according to a certain specification. If daily, you can produce 50 pieces, you will have 3000 images. If any of them is misnamed, they will not be uploaded to your e-shop. Nor will it be displayed on any of the platforms like Zalando, Amazon, etc. Now imagine that you need to locate, fix, and re-transfer the photo every time the mistake has been made. Sounds exhausting? It is. But with a professional photography provider like Go-packshot, those mistakes will happen very rarely. This is because the file naming, transfer, and color adjustments have been made hundreds of times before, and the process has been perfected for many months.
• Easy access to the content
It is a standard that companies like GoPackshow keep the files stored safely on the external server. We keep them for you for a minimum of 3 years to have all the past data you need accessible within seconds. It is also imperative that access to the files is being granted from every place on earth. The only thing you need to have is the internet connection and, of course, credentials to the server. The data is easy-accessible and transferable so that you can share any pictures with as many people as you need.
• No initial cost
While building a studio from scratch or outsourcing to the service provider that offers service on-site requires an initial investment, you don’t need to have any initial capital to start working with a company like Go-packshot. The entire production process is carried out in a local studio owned by the service provider.
• A solution in the box
By establishing cooperation with a professional photo studio, you will not only get good quality photos. In fact, you get access to knowledge, people, and structured processes developed by the company over the years. In addition, you get the help of professionals who will help you solve any problems that may arise during the production process. Thus, you can count on creativity and valuable professional knowledge at every stage of creating product photos.
Now that you have learned the arguments why you should outsource your product photography entirely to a professional photo studio, we hope you will find the right partner that will meet your expectations.
If you think it could be us, please contact us by filling out the contact form on this page. Also, write to us if you have additional questions or comments regarding the article.
If you would like to see more of our projects, please check our portfolio here.