Why Is Good Product Photography So Hard To Find?

Braxton Wilhelmsen
March 10, 2023

The Problem

You might find, at least in Utah where we are, that it's really hard to find a good product photography solution if you're not ready to hire a product photographer in-house. Either the work is affordable but makes your company look cheap, or the work is fantastic but totally unaffordable.

The Reason

From what I can see, there's a reason this is the case. Companies that do product photography in mass quantities tend to be run by photographers who got their start 30 years ago and are trying to keep the dream alive. They tend to compete on price and rely on a high-volume, low margin model to keep the lights on. This is great if you don't care much about quality, but not so good if you get tired of people asking if your website is a scam. The 30 years ago matters, too. Fortunately, imaging has evolved quite a lot over the last 30 years, and not just in terms of technology. With the vast throngs of photographers that have appeared since the invention of digital photography competing for prominence, photographic work has become more refined than ever. Those who began before digital often adapt well in terms of business, but struggle to adapt fully to the constant aesthetic and process changes that are characteristic of the artform.

On the other hand, those photographers who do incredible work tend to be freelancers who, rather than focusing only on product, may shoot 5 different kinds of photography to try to keep themselves working. A full-time product photographer will have a setup ready to go in a studio, a refined workflow and go-to lighting and techniques. A freelancer who shoots product only occasionally has to set up and figure out lighting and style all over again on each job, and spends much more time in post-processing without an established or automated workflow. Results from these shoots may be very good, but also tend to be very expensive.

Well great. Are you just trying to make me feel bad or what?

Yes. That's why we made this website. Fortunately there is another option. Sus. We aren't an in-house hire. We aren't a super expensive freelancer. We aren't a cheap factory-photographer. We have shot product for over 10 years and have established and automated workflows. We have unbelievably high-quality work. And we have industry relationships we use to get things done quickly without sacrificing quality. Our prices will certainly not be quite as low as the cheapie-cheep guy, but our aim is to hit a balance that positions us well to be an ongoing partner for companies that take their brand very seriously but still need regular, consistent and right-priced images and other services. We want healthy, happy, fun retainer relationships where we're at the disposal of the brands we serve whenever they need us, without having to negotiate new terms on each interaction.

Do you even do the kind of work I need?

I'm primarily talking about ecommerce images shot on white seamless backgrounds like you find on Amazon or shopping websites, but we do all kinds. I have traveled to Florida, California, Arkansas and more specifically to shoot products for large companies looking for green grass in the wintertime or a certain landmark in their images. I've done lifestyle shoots in homes hundreds of times showing products in use. You name it. We do it. My particular favorite thing to shoot are the most technically sophisticated images possible with a great concept for advertising. Utah is full of incredible natural beauty that makes working here easy.

Creative agencies don't usually employ photographers full-time. That's Sus.

Exactly. That is Sus. That's a differentiator. It's just one way we keep things simple for our clients. We want you to know we have a complex set of skills and offerings, but working with us is as easy as pie.

Even if your project isn't quite right for Sus, we're happy to refer you to someone we trust for your project.