Product Photography Startup

Discussion in 'Commercial/Product photography' started by Oceanblue140, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. Oceanblue140

    Oceanblue140 TPF Noob!

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    Can anyone give me some advice on how find clients for a Product Photography sideline of my business. I know that much of this business goes thru Graphic Designers these days, do manufacturers even look at advertisments from product shooters.
     
  2. eravedesigns

    eravedesigns TPF Noob!

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    If you are trying to get big serious clients almost all of them work through agents. These agents are the ones that go out and find art work and creative stuff to use for advertisements and such. I would assume that product photography also goes through an agent so try finding some agents in your area that handle that type of advertising.
     
  3. D-50

    D-50 TPF Noob!

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    If your looking to do work for Coca-Cola or McDonalds or any other lage corporation eravedesigns is right, however there are many smaller companies who need product shots done, and honestly if you do not have a good product portfolio there is no way Coke or McDs would look in your direction. Start advertising in local papers, send mailers out to companies that would need product photography and be sure to follow up with a call. There are plenty of avenues you just need to be persistant and creative. I was recently doing some research on jewlery photography for a shoot I am doing. I came accross a very high end Jewlery Retailer with pieces going for up to $100,000. The photos they have on their website are absolutely horrible, I plan on contacting them to reshoot their products, I couldn't believe a high end store like this would have such sub-par photos.
     
  4. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Many small companies too rely on their design firm to handle this. Many have in-house photographers.

    My clients include all discussed here. The designers I've worked for seem to be drying up in my area. I currenlty do steady work for just one, but he gives me work for multiple clients. A couple more have only spuratic work for me

    I also do work directly for some companys, dealing with their marketing departments. Amost always, this is done at corporate headquarters. Look for companies that are headquartered in your area and approach them with industry-specific samples. In other words, if you want to do work for a builder, show lots of architectural images, both interiors and exteriors.

    Finally, I do work for smaller companies without marketing departments. They rely on me for design and printing. I do most of this myself, but have subbed out a project or two that was beyond my capabilties.

    -Pete
     
  5. Oceanblue140

    Oceanblue140 TPF Noob!

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    When sending mailers to different companies I guess Att. Marketing Dept. is the way to get to the people who buy, or at least make decisions regarding photography of their products, Correct?
     
  6. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    In my experience (admittedly some years ago and in the UK) Photographic Agents were a double-edged sword. They only take you on if they have space and if they think they can get you work, and then they charge a commission on every job they get for you. If they are pitching for a job with an Ad Agency they can sometimes price you out of the running because they bolt their commission on top of what you quote.
    The best way to get in is to do your homework. The person who usually chooses the photographer for a job in an Agency is the Art Director. Check out all the companies you are thinking of trying out for, find out if they have any AD's, who they are and what they have done. Then you approach them direct. Write a letter or e-mail, give it a few days and then 'phone them. People ignore letters but you can usually talk your way into an interview on the 'phone.
    Failing that, find out who the head of the Art Department is. The personal touch pays dividends and making the effort to find the info shows you are serious.
    The method I used to get into the business was to work as an assistant. You can learn a lot but even more importantly you can make contact with AD's. They prefer to use people they know rather than strangers.
    I used to often work as an assistant for some top photographers even when I had my own Photography business because of what I could learn and who I could meet.
    There are various bodies and organisations that you can use to find AD's and other useful info. This one is a good place to start:
    http://www.dandad.org/

    A useful book (it's UK based but it covers every country) is the Writers & Artists Yearbook. Lots of addresses and information.
    http://www.writersandartists.co.uk/

    There may be American equivalents but if you want to become successful then you have to put in the work ;)
     
  7. Normann Photo

    Normann Photo TPF Noob!

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    If you are looking start in product photography, keep your expectation realistic. Go to SMALL companies to start with, Forget corporate for now, as your skills get better, your portfolio grows, and network expands, that type of work will come. Rather than wasting your time with mailing expensive material, maximize your exposure by going where small business connect, your local chamber of commerce or business organization. For the amount you spend on marketing collateral, postage and the time to get the names, addresses and putting it all together, you could take a handful of potential contact you meet through the chamber of commerce to lunch. It is said your net worth is your network (not my quote but I wish it was) and it is so true.

    You can land well paying work in this area by being a better provider of services to the millions of SMALL business. I have one client that I offered a great price to shoot every product in their line, now the come back as packaging changes and product lines expand to update their image library. They stay with me because I take care of them, not because I am the cheapest (but the quality of work has to be top notch to get top price.) I also deliver the images ready to use for any application. One version for print, one for large view web and one thumbnail web optimized and ready for use.

    Keep in mind that small product photography falls into two categories, simple white seamless, and creative (which many times showcases the benefits more than the actual product.) Think of it from the end user perspective, why would this image entice me to purchase this product. Look at LOTS of catalogs and critique the photography, dissect how it is lit and shot and be sure to ask yourself why it was shot like that.

    You CAN get work in this field if you work at getting your foot in the door.
     

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