Should You Shoot Your Own Brand Images?

Whether or not you should take your own commercial photo shoot images is a hotly debated topic. Thanks to iPhones and their ever-advancing camera specs, just about everyone can have a professional-looking Instagram account or an attractive visual blog. When you’re able to snap hundreds of photos as you sip your morning coffee, odds are that one of them will seem fit for a magazine cover.

Ask yourself this, though: why does your brand need photos? Do you simply need to showcase your latest products? No – you also need to compete in your market. You need to make sales. The lens itself can’t do that, but the person behind the lens can. Even big businesses have advertising budgets that they have to yield to, yet they never seem to slack when it comes to hiring a photographer.

Photo by Sean Dagen, Poppy Creative Agency in San Francisco

Photo by Sean Dagen

#1: Equipment

Professional photographers have quality equipment to match. Yes, some photographers have iPhone-only collections, but they still know the notable difference between shooting with a phone or consumer camera and shooting with a DSLR. Commercial photographers also keep an assortment of lenses on hand and they know which lens to use for the situation.

#2: Expertise

Let’s say you splurged one day and bought yourself a fancy DSLR, the same one that your wedding photographer friend with a ton of clients uses. You can’t use a professional-grade camera to its full extent if you shoot in auto mode most of the time. Commercial photographers don’t just own expensive equipment, they know how to use it through and through. When auto mode produces a dark, blurry or overexposed image, in-depth knowledge of the camera’s manual controls is needed.

Food Photography in Bay Area

Photo by Eric Zepeda

#3: Lighting

Lighting is arguably the most important photography consideration, something that takes even the best photographer years to master. Outdoor settings have different requirements than indoor settings and studios, and light can change throughout a shoot. Photographers know how their camera reacts to light, what the different camera readings and how to adjust settings on the fly.

#4: Artistic Effects

Simple tricks, like bokeh (when the subject is clear and the background is blurry) seems easy to achieve with an iPhone and some light editing. Only advanced equipment and practiced focusing techniques, though, can truly make the most out of artistic effects and trends.

Photo by Shaun Sullivan of Poppy Creative Agency in Bay Area

Photo by Shaun Sullivan


#5: Editing

When it comes to editing, photographers retouch images to perfect the exposure, color and other characteristics. They don’t use Photoshop to make a terrible picture usable, like most of us do when we take a crummy image but want to make it social

When you work with a creative agency, you’re not just hiring a photographer, you’re hiring a full creative team that will collaborate on every stage of the creative process, from brainstorming and planning to execution completion.

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