Outsourcing or Hiring Photography Freelance?

Outsourcing or Hiring Photography Freelance?

For many ecommerce sites who require photographs for their website, the default choice is to hire a freelance photographer. This has long been seen as the “normal” choice, and is one that many ecommerce store owners opt for without much thought - often because they are unaware of the potential alternatives.

Thankfully, there is a potential alternative for product photography, and it is a choice that has a variety of benefits that are well worth exploring. Rather than opting for freelance photography, ecommerce owners can opt to use PENCIL ONE for all of their photography needs. PENCIL ONE is a new, innovative solution that can provide a genuine option for ecommerce store owners who have been searching for a way to quickly, simply, and efficiently find the best pictures for their site, at the best possible price.

In order to introduce the service, below, we have put together a simple guide to the PENCIL ONE process, as well as the multitude of reasons the service is vastly preferable to conventional methods of obtaining the product images that ecommerce stores require. Read on to find out just how much time, and money, you could save if you switch to using PENCIL ONE for all your ecommerce photography needs.


Ecommerce stores continually add products to their range, as customers expect a constant stream of new, innovative products to ensure their continued business. As a result, many ecommerce stores will launch four or five new products a year, and larger stores will often release far more than that.

In releasing these new products, ecommerce stores have to obtain photographs of the products themselves. Product photographs are a vital component of the ecommerce world, and it is not stretching the bounds of supposition to suggest that product photography can make all the difference to a sale. As ecommerce store owners understand this importance, they will usually spend a large amount of money on obtaining images for their store, primarily via a freelance photographer. This can mean that a store easily spends over $3,000 for these images; a large cost burden that, for years, many stores have assumed is necessary. To spend less, they have feared, would mean compromising on quality, so they pay the large amount and hope that their chosen photographer will deliver images they can use.

How does the process happen?

The ecommerce store decides to work with freelance photographers.

The first step necessary to obtain new photographs for an ecommerce store is to contact a freelance photographer. This can be a long, arduous process; many freelance photographers work flexible hours, which can mean that the store owner spends days waiting for a response to their inquiry, and then must wait longer still for the freelance photographer to find space in their diary to actually do the work. This means that the process has already gotten off to a very slow start.

Freelancers are paid hourly.

As any experienced ecommerce store owner will know, freelancers do not charge per project; instead, they will charge an hourly fee, and some will also charge a photography studio fee in addition to this. The use of hourly and additional fees can make cost projections extremely challenging for the ecommerce store owner, as they will often just be quoted a ballpark figure rather than a set amount that they can build into their budget. A freelance photographer may take hours to produce a set of images, a process over which the ecommerce store owner has relatively little control. As a result, the costs can begin to increase; unfortunately, the store owner may not even be aware this is happening until they receive the final bill from the photographer.

The eCommerce store owner receives the finished photographs.

When the work is finally complete, the photographs are sent to the ecommerce store owner for processing. In most cases, this will mean that they receive large, zipped files, potentially containing hundreds of different photos. Given that no ecommerce store will display hundreds of photographs of the same product, the ecommerce store owner is already suffering in terms of value for the large amount of money they have spent; many of the images that they have received will never be used.

Storage Demands.

By this point, the ecommerce store owner has already paid - often more than they expected to - for a large number of photos, many of which they will never actually be able to use. To complicate matters further, the store owner now has to store these images. This is often easier said than done; most of the images will be extremely large digital files, which can mean that the store owner has to invest in additional storage methods specifically for this purpose.

Selecting the right photo.

The process just gets more complicated from here. Now they have the files, and they are correctly stored, the owner has to begin to go through the images one by one in an effort to find the right one for their store. This is a hugely time-consuming process and even if delegated to an employee, is far from the best use of business hours. Often, the freelance photographer will have provided in excess of 100 photographs for a single product, which means the store owner or employee has to go through every file and judge whether they believe it suitable for the site. If it takes two minutes to judge each photograph - a conservative estimate - then this will take over three hours, just to look at each image and decide whether it is worth using on the website. After the initial look through the images, even more time has to be spent creating a shortlist before eventually selecting the photograph that they wish to use in their store.

Retouching and editing.

When the final images have been chosen, the store owner or employee then has to spend time editing, retouching, or cropping the photographs to the point where they are ready to be used. Not only is this time-consuming, but it also means that the store is paying twice: once for the freelance photographer’s time, and then for their employee’s time to retouch the image

Why does this happen?

As an eCommerce store owner, you likely recognize the description of the process above, and you are almost certainly well aware of the fact that it is far from ideal. It is worth looking at the reasons the above scenario has become so common for ecommerce store owners and, primarily, there are two reasons for this:

Lack of clarity.

Many eCommerce store owners know that they need product photographs, but they are not particularly clear on what those photographs should actually look like. This leads to outsourcing the task to a freelance photographer, who will seek to provide a variety of images that might work, and the store owner can then choose from these options. Store owners believe that they need a range of images to choose from as they are simply unsure as to what will work best; it is hoped that by ordering a number of images, they will like something.

Belief that this process is the only option for obtaining ecommerce product photos.

Many ecommerce store owners simply think that this is their only choice; that the process as described above is how they should go about obtaining product photographs. If ecommerce store owners have always obtained photographs using the aforementioned long, convoluted process, they may simply be unaware that there are alternatives. However, you do have options that can save you a small fortune - you should be paying $300 for product images, not $3000. In addition, you do not need a huge range to select from, either - all you need is an image that you know will work, without the need to carefully sort through hundreds of different photographs to find it.

Thankfully, there is now a solution that solves all of these issues: PENCIL ONE.

How obtaining eCommerce photos can be done differently with PENCIL ONE

Pay by photo

Rather than obtaining a huge number of photographs from which you select your final image, with PENCIL ONE, you can pay by photo. This ensures you can manage your budget efficiently, and that you can enjoy the peace of mind of knowing you are only paying for images that you are actually going to use. This also means that you do not have to store extraneous images, simplifying the idea process from start to finish.


When you know exactly what you want from your product photographs, you can pre-order, and then progress with firm knowledge of what you will receive. This removes the need for long periods spent trying to ascertain the best possible images and the need for a substantial editing process.

Outsourced decision making

As we touched on above, the time it takes to decide on the best photographs is hugely time-consuming. You can easily spend hours deliberating over which of the many, many photos delivered to you by a freelance photographer is actually the right one for your store. However, with PENCIL ONE, this entire process is outsourced. PENCIL ONE will select the right photo for you, as well as finalizing the image to meet your specific requirements. This ensures that when your order is complete with us, it really is complete, and you will receive a photograph that is absolutely ready to be used, without the need for a long deliberation process - you’ll receive it, and it’s ready to be uploaded to your ecommerce store there and then.

Low cost

PENCIL ONE is not only a more convenient choice, but it’s also a far more cost-effective choice. For example, we would expect the product photos for four or five products to cost less than $500 - substantially less than you would be charged if you were to source the images through a freelance photographer. Also included in this price is the selection, editing, and finalization process; we handle this on your behalf, which reduces your costs in terms of employees going through the images to select the right one, editing, and retouching. As a result, we’re confident that PENCIL ONE is the most effective, cost-efficient way of obtaining the product photos that your eCommerce store needs.


Ecommerce store owners have long been restricted by their options for obtaining the product images they need for their website. The process of hiring a freelance photographer, often alongside photography studio costs, has been “the norm” since the dawn of ecommerce as a sector - even though this is far from the ideal solution for ecommerce stores.

We recognized this issue and identified how problematic obtaining professional photography was for ecommerce store owners, which led to the foundation of PENCIL ONE. We want to demonstrate that while hiring a freelance photographer has always been the standard, it doesn’t have to remain the standard; that there are alternatives that can be explored. We have put ourselves in the ecommerce store owner’s shoes, seeking to refine the entire process and deliver the best, most cost-efficient service that is genuinely beneficial.

We understand that when stores outsource their photography, they need a reliable partner to outsource to. They need a company they can trust; someone they know is going to be able to deliver the best results every single time. We also know that, unfortunately, this aim is not always easily achieved when working with freelance photographers - and we created PENCIL ONE in an effort to provide a much-needed solution.

Our service allows ecommerce store owners to obtain the photography they need, but without the many catches that hiring a freelance photographer often involves. You will receive incredible images that look fantastic but don’t need to cost a small fortune. Using PENCIL ONE will save you time, hassle, and money - as a result, PENCIL ONE eCommerce Photography should be your first choice the next time you require photography for your online store.

We welcome all inquiries, so if you wish to ask a question regarding our process and how it can work for you, please do not hesitate to get in touch today. We look forward to providing you with the best ecommerce photographs, at the lowest possible price, in future.

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