4 Things You Must Check Before Choosing a Product Photography Vendor

Discover 4 essential factors to consider before selecting a product photography vendor, including pricing strategies, communication efficiency, service quality, and available resources, to ensure the best fit for your business's visual marketing needs.
4 Things You Must Check Before Choosing a Product Photography Vendor

Before picking a product photography vendor for your wholesale, retailer or eCommerce needs, it’s important to consider a couple of points that will ultimately affect the product photography pricing you’re expected to pay and also the quality of the results. We should know that work with the photo studio near me is not always to the best choice. In this article, we’re going to explain four of the most important tips for choosing a photography vendor.

Requesting Quotes

All businesses are limited by their budget and it should be obvious that you need to request a quote and check the pricing of the product photography vendor before you decide to do business with them. So, how much to charge for product photography? It’s important to understand that different businesses will have different product photography pricing structures, so don’t expect all product photography vendors to be the same.

Photography Pricing Guide

There are three main ways that a photography vendor charge for their product photography services.

By the Hour or Day

The first and most common product photography pricing structure you’ll see is charging per hour or day. This is essentially paying the photography vendor for their time and it’s an easy way for the vendor to calculate their estimated profits and also give you a seemingly simple product photography rate. However, do keep in mind that the amount of time it takes to complete a set of photographs can vary depending on the skill of the photography vendor and also the product that you’ve requested. In short, there’s no ceiling on the cost you should expect to pay and it’s difficult to budget for this type of pricing structure.

By the Product

Paying by the product is also another common product photography pricing structure. You’ll typically be charged based on the complexity of the product that you’re photographing and you may be able to request different types of photographs that will be used in different situations. Sadly, this also comes with a number of different disadvantages.

Firstly, you lose control of how many photos you can request. This means that you’ve got no control over how many you receive and you may end up getting fewer photographs than you expect for the price you pay. On the other hand, the photography vendor might take more photos than they initially planned to, and this can cause issues for the vendor themselves. While paying per-product seems like a great deal because it’s easier to budget for, the lack of time constraints does mean that the results can be inconsistent in quality.

By the Photo

Paying by the photo is, as the name suggests, paying for the photos that the buyer wants. Photography vendors will typically snap up a bunch of different photographs in different lighting conditions and backgrounds, and you can place an order having them only take the photos you need. This is an excellent way to control the number of photos that you’re purchasing since you can set your own budget. It’s easy to manage this product photography pricing structure financially and you have the opportunity to pay for more photos if you think the photographer has done a good job.

Special Price Plans

However, getting quality product photos is more involved and complicated than just picking one of three simple product photography pricing structures. As you might expect, there are different situations that will favor one pricing structure over another, and that’s when you should look at special product photography pricing plans and structures that are formed specifically for a use case.

The main advantage of using a special photography rates plan is that you’re typically going to get a much better product photography services since it’s clear what you’re looking for. When it comes to explaining what you need to a photography vendor that is selling their services by time, by the product or by the number of photos, you always run the risk of the photographer performing poorly due to a lack of communication.

Instead, a special photography rates plan will ensure that there is constant dialogue between you and the photographer. This means you both get the most out of your time and money and there’s fewer wasted photographs and rejections. A good photography rates plan ensures that you and the photographer are on the same wavelength, meaning there’s less time wasted, more efficient processes and you ultimately get things done faster at a reduced cost.

In most cases, you’ll outsource the photography by speaking with a vendor and letting them know about your project. Based on your business, the worth of the photos to your company and the estimated time to complete the project, the vendor will return with a set price or a product photography pricing structure that matches your needs. This is highly customizable, meaning you can negotiate the terms and conditions to make it fit perfectly with your needs.

Understanding Communication Cost

We briefly mentioned communication cost in the last section and in this one, we’re going to expand on it. As you may expect, photography vendors can’t read your mind and there will likely be disagreements and rejections in photographs if you can’t get your message across correctly. This results in a lot of wasted time and effort by both parties and creates a frustrating experience for everyone.

Communication cost is a term given to capital that is wasted due to a lack of communication. This could be because there’s no dedicated point of contact for you to get in touch with, it could be ineffective tracking of the project’s process or it could be because there’s no dedicated cloud storage for the project which means it takes far too long to see results.

That’s why communication should be included in the price that you pay, and it’s also why many sellers value good communication and are willing to pay extra for it. Here are some of the advantages you can expect when dealing with a professional photography vendor and how they minimize the effect of communication cost.

Dedicated Client Liaison

One of the most important components in reducing communication cost is to have a dedicated point of contact. In most cases, this will be a dedicated client liaison that will relay your requirements to the photography team and also help explain what’s going on, what to expect and also let you know if there are any issues with your order.

Clear, Effective and Standardized Shooting Process

Transparency is important when it comes to photography. The processes that a vendor uses should be transparent, it should be clear for you to understand and it needs to be efficient. That’s why many photography vendors use the same standardized shooting process to ensure that you know what to expect.

Software-Based Workflows

All professional product photography vendors understand the value of being punctual. In order to complete projects on time, they’ll use software-based workflows to ensure that they’re on track and able to follow your exact requirements.

Tracking and Monitoring Systems

Whenever you outsource a service, it’s vital that you’re fully aware of what’s going on, when something is happening and how long it will take to finish a project. Thankfully, there are plenty of photography vendors that understand this all too well and have integrated tracking and monitoring systems that allow you to keep up with the project’s progress. This means that you’re able to see how far the project has come, what the team is currently working on and when you can expect the project to be finished.

Fast and Effective Dropbox

Sharing the photos needs to be quick and instant, which is why many photography vendors are switching to cloud-based solutions such as Dropbox. As soon as the pictures are taken, they can quickly be uploaded to a shared cloud storage solution that you have access to so you can examine the photographs and use them how you see fit. This drastically speeds up delivery time and can make it easier on both you and the photography vendor.

Assessing Their Services

A good product photography vendor will always have a huge list of services that they provide, but it will be displayed in a brief and concise manner that makes it simple for you to understand.

Service Scope

First, check what the photography vendor offers. They should have the basics, such as white background photographs for products, creative photographs that may include touching-up or editing, lifestyle photographs that usually involve a model using your products or acting as a backdrop, and so on. The more services that the photography vendor offers, the more choices you’ll have to choose from.

Service Quality

You’ll also want to assess the quality of their services. This includes the quality of the photos produced, the turnaround time and how efficiently they work, the way they communicate with their clients and also how consistent their photographs are. Much of this will be left in the dark unless there are reviews from other companies that have worked with them, or if they have a portfolio that they’re willing to publicly display.

The prouder the photography vendor is of their work, the easier it will be to determine the quality of their products. Here are a couple of things to check for when looking at their work:

  1. Ensure that the photography vendor produces high-quality photographs. You can examine their portfolio to get a rough idea of how good their photo quality is, but do keep in mind that some of the shots may be reduced in quality for web use, so you may need to contact them for samples.
  2. Turnaround time is important as well, so get in touch with the vendor and question them about how long it takes to complete a project of various sizes. You might also get more information on this by looking at reviews or speaking to other companies that have worked with the photography vendor.
  3. Communication is vital because it can speed up the project, reduce bottlenecks and also increase the quality of the end result, so make sure they at least provide a dedicated client liaison to make it easier to relay requests

Checking Their Resources

Large professional photography vendors understand the importance of having many resources at their disposal. This ensures that the end result will be high-quality and also guarantees that the project will be finished quickly and efficiently.


A photography vendor is nothing without a team of skilled photographers. While it’s difficult to gauge their skill without seeing their results, it’s always a good idea to check out the photographers working for the vendor to see if they have portfolios or recommendations on other websites.

Pre-Production Resources

Skilled photography vendors understand the importance of setting the scene. Whether it’s preparing the product to look its best or changing the environment to enhance the scene and make the product stand out, you’ll want to ask a couple of questions regarding how they prepare for a shot and what they do to ensure the product is the highlight of each shot.


While highly subjective, each photography vendor has its own unique style of photography and this is usually evident in their portfolio. While many vendors can also create very generic and simple photographs, you’ll be underutilizing their skills if they have master photographers that are capable of mixing different aesthetics and styles into each shot that could help your product and brand stand out.


Photography teams should also be more than capable of using digital technology to edit photographs in order to balance colors, highlight certain elements and generally enhance good photos. Of course, digital technology can’t cover up fundamental problems in one’s photography skill, but knowing that the vendor is capable of using software for post-production is a great sign of an experienced team.


Hopefully, this article has helped you pick out the right product photography vendor for your needs. To summarize, the four most important components to consider are pricing structure, evaluating communication cost, assessing the services the vendor offers, checking what resources the vendor has at their disposal. By examining these four points, you’ll be able to find the perfect product photography vendor for your business’s exact needs.

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