Efficiency Meets Creativity: A Product Photographer’s Insights

What happens when you have to combine high volume, with high quality, and short timelines? We have to scale up, create templates, and automate workflows. An intimate knowledge of photography tools, from cameras, to file transfers, right until final delivery is important.

During a recent spate of photoshoots, we have had to implement all these, and more, to ensure that our clients received high quality images for their brand launches. While I would love to say that everything went according to plan, I can’t. Because there were hiccups, delays, and mistakes.

However, from each mistake made, we have to take away new learnings for future jobs, while also ensuring client satisfaction. In this article, we’ll quickly touch on some of the takeaways from this experience, to allow other photographers to also benefit from it.

Creative Problem-solving in Pro-Photography

Experience can teach you how to resolve crises, but it’s important for a professional photographer to be able to seamlessly call on their expertise, and experience to quickly resolve unexpected challenges that may come their way on the day of the photoshoot. Adapting, improvising, and innovating are all skills that are highly valuable.

One might think that creativity is important in photography to create images that have never been seen before but in my experience creativity is needed even at a much more basic level.

Creative problem-solving is one of the key elements and skill sets that a professional in any field must have. Whether you are a business person, an artist, a marketer, or a digital retoucher, this is an important aspect of the work that you do.

It takes a nimble mind to be able to make a leap – a connection – that others can’t make. This doesn’t come by rote learning. It comes by finding problems and overcoming them using the tools that you have acquired over the years of experience.

Systems and Processes

Without the right processes in place, a photoshoot can quickly descent into chaos. Once a problem has been solved, it should not be encountered again. A professional implements systems and processes to ensure that issues that occur in one photoshoot don’t crop up again.

Solving the same problem again and again makes no sense, and is a waste of time, and effort, not to mention the damage that it could do to your reputation.

Instead, explore more, and find new problems to solve… Then put systems in place to navigate those new problems.

Here are a few methods by which common problems can be solved in an ecommerce photoshoot.

Templating During The Photoshoot

What I mean by this is to ensure that there is consistency across all the photographs of a particular type, by implementing a template. This works across different areas of the photoshoot, from preparation, to lighting setups, to product placement, camera angles, camera exposure, image selection, processing, retouching, and on to final delivery.

How setting up templates works will differ for every photographer, and even for every client… so it’s difficult to give specific guidelines.

Batch Processing

One thinks of batch processing as a process in Photoshop, under the File menu item (or in this instance, Affinity Photo’s Batch Tool, but I’ll write more about that later). But batch processing goes way beyond that. It starts with how we arrange the products to photograph, how they’re prepared before the photoshoot, and ends with how we deliver the product.

Batch processing allows us to ensure that each image gets the same processing, while streamlining and automating the process to a degree, so that one doesn’t have to think too much about how each photograph should be handled.

There is an element of templating in this, and an element of batching in everything.

Thinking Beyond the Tools

If ever I had to think beyond my regular set of tools, both hardware and software, it was for this most recent set of photoshoots. My mental programming got a good workout, and in the end, it all ‘worked out’.

There were opportunities to use new tools, to use my experience in product photography to streamline the photography and retouching process, and opportunities to understand how I can run the business better too.

As always I want to give my clients, assistants, and well-wishers their due thanks for helping everything to come together over the last few months. You can expect photos to be shared on our social media as our clients release them to the general public.

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