5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering In-House Photography vs Hiring an Agency
Quality E-commerce photos for your brand can truly set you apart from the competition, so that is important to think about when you are considering producing photos in-house or through an agency.
There are 5 questions you should consider when looking at in-house photography vs. an agency.
1. Do you know the true cost of setting up an in-house studio?
Getting good photos should not lead to you going broke and hiring an in-house photographer can potentially cost at least 2x their salary. There is always that chance of you not liking your photographer, so firing and re-hiring can be draining emotionally and financially. That can lead to a high percentage turnover cost, averaging between 100-300%. On top of that, it could take you 8 months to find a replacement. Unfortunately, it is difficult to produce photoshoots with just a photographer, so you will need to hire a support crew. That includes things like hair, makeup, stylists, assistants, and the list goes on. You can’t take good photos without a proper studio, which you will have to pay for because photographers, their equipment, and their supplies are sold separately. Hiring an in-house photographer is not the same as hiring one for one off-shoots. They expect you to supply what they need which can run you an additional $10-50k, and that includes camera equipment, supplies, maintenance, and repairs.
You have to factor in space because it’s hard to take quality photos in your kitchen. You’ll need at least 250sf for still life, and 500-1500sf for an on-figure set. When the photos are done, they have to be retouched, so you have to figure out who is going to retouch those images which are more money out of your pocket. Photography is not just taking pictures. There are several pieces involved including booking crews and models, organizing the shoot, naming files, uploading and downloading, and delivering samples. Someone has to manage the project which can cost more in salaries than you are prepared to spend.
2. How many photos do you really need and how often?
It is safe to assume that if you are looking for photos for your brand then you will want pictures that sets you apart from everyone else. You may want different styles, but that requires different specialties. It is crucial that you choose the right creative for your project, and outsourcing provides freedom to pick EXACTLY what you need. When you are thinking about how many images you will need, the seasons do have an impact. You may want winter Christmas photos taken to send to family members or photos of your vacation during the summer. There may be those who specialize in photography in colder weather, and those who specialize in warmer weather so take that into consideration.
3. What levels of quality of content do you need?
You’ve heard the term, “there’s levels to this” That applies to photography as well. The images you might want for Instagram can look completely different if you use those same images on Amazon. The images you use on Facebook might have a different level of quality if you use those same pictures on LinkedIn. The images you take yourself may not look as good on your website as if you were to get them done by an agency.
4. What are your prospective customer's expectations?
In the effort to promote your brand and take it to the next level, you have to consider one thing, your customers. It is possible that you may make changes to your brand that your customers do not really care for, or they are simply not interested. You do not want to make changes that will drive away your customers, and your brand photography can steer them away to the next business. Your photos are often the first thing they see, so you should know if they care about quality photos and how the items look in the photos. Are the customers looking at the details of the item to help in their buying decision? Are your customers looking for you to put out something creative, unique, and different? Do they consider the level of professionalism that your brand offers them when they are attempting to purchase from you?
Every business has a boss or multiple bosses, and customers are definitely one of those bosses. They ultimately decide if your business will thrive or if it will struggle. That makes it 100% important that you understand what your customers want and sometimes expect from you as the business owner. It is very possible that one of the things that they look for is when they go to your website, they want to see eye-catching photos that make them want to either make a purchase or come back to make a purchase.
5. Is in-housing your content adding complexity or value?
When you think about building your brand or starting from scratch, we all want to know the best possible way to do that and spend the least amount of money to accomplish it. If you are here, that means you are looking to expand, build, and bring more exposure to your business. Quality photos can do that. At the same time, you do not want to build and go broke all in the same process. Quality photos should not cost you an arm and a leg, and you should not be putting your business in jeopardy if there is an alternative, My Product Model. We provide inclusive packaging for product modeling, photography, and video solutions for e-commerce fashion and beauty brands, Amazon Sellers, Etsy Shops, and eBay Sellers. We have everything you will need at a rate that won’t complicate your life. In other words, hire an expert.