Quality photographs are key to a successful product listing on any online store or marketplace. To learn more about product photography and what goes into it, I sat down with the Creative Director of Full Vine Studios. Matt Sanasac runs Full Vine Studios here in Philadelphia and does photos for us from time to time. I asked him to take a few minutes out of his day to answer a few questions. I hope we can all learn something new about product photography.
Bill: Hello Matt, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to do this interview. We are excited to hear your insights on product photography and exactly why it is so important in today’s e-commerce environment.
Matt: It’s a pleasure to be talking to you Bill. In today’s e-commerce environment a picture speaks 1000 words so it’s important for an online retailer to make everyone of them count.
Bill: Absolutely I couldn’t agree more. Photos are the first impression that most potential customers have of your brand. So tell us a bit about your company Full Vine Studios and what exactly you do there.
Matt: Well Bill, I am the Creative Director at Full Vine Studios. I stage, photograph, and edit all the products that come into our studio. We photograph everything from toothpick holders to furniture and try to create high quality affordable images for our clients. What we do is fill the gap between taking your own pictures and hiring an expensive photographer. We offer a simple, and streamlined process at an extremely affordable price that results in six high quality on white backgrounds that are policy compliant with all the major retailers.
Bill: Sounds like you have your hands full there, Matt. So what are some of the common mistakes you see in product photography that you see in your everyday life?
Matt: I notice that many online sellers are still using their phone cameras to photograph the products they are listing for sale. Phone cameras are great, and they keep getting better, but they are designed to maximize their memory capacity. You may not be getting the quality that you think you’re getting. Investing in a good quality camera can make a huge difference in image quality. There is more to photography than just the camera. Sometimes I see that photos are lacking the white background we mentioned above and instead have a cream color look to them.
Bill: We keep mentioning the importance of this white background. That's because this is a requirement on virtually all online sales channels. What is the best way to insure a perfectly white background?
Matt: The best way to insure a consistent pure white background is to isolate the product and remove the background completely like you would in photoshop. That’s what is delivered from Full Vine Studios. We also offer png images with a transparent background as an add on. Even pure white sheets or photography backgrounds sometimes are not enough. There is a little more work in removing the image from the background, but it is worth it and really makes the product stand out.
Bill: In your experience running the studio here, what would you say is the most difficult part of that goes into product photography?
Matt: The most difficult part can be the editing, especially when the conditions of the original photo are imperfect. Proper staging can help to reduce the time spent editing and make the overall process easier. After some trial and error, you’ll find ways to make your staging of the product more effective. The more time you spend setting up the photo the less time you’ll spend editing.
Bill: I know from time to time you get some interesting items into the studio, but how do you take a mundane object and get such an amazing set of images?
Matt: Just because the product might not be exciting, doesn’t mean that the photographs have to be boring. To you it’s just a pack of wash clothes or an extension cord, but to the customer it’s their immediate need, and it maybe their first introduction to your company. Imagine meeting a client, do you just roll out of bed or do you put your best you in front of them? I try to have fun with every product I shoot. Sometimes I might shoot 10 images and send a client the best six. To me it's all about experimentation and expressing your creativity and style!
Bill: If somebody isn’t ready to make the jump to professional photography quite yet, what are some tips that can use to get started taking some of their own photos?
Matt: Play, and have fun! Play with lighting. Play with camera angles, play with positioning, and play with the editing programs. Photography is a wonderful form of expression that we take for granted, but if you don’t have time or the desire familiarize yourself with all of those aspects of it, then that's what I'm here for.
Bill: Cool, thank you Matt for your time. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you. I hope our readers were able to take something away from this interview. Is there anything else you want to share with our readers before we rap up?
Matt: More than anything I just want to express my gratitude to you and your readers for this interview, and I hope that my insights and philosophies were helpful in some way to someone. Photography is supposed to be fun so experiment and express yourself.
To see some of Matt's work, or if you have any questions or inquiries, please visit www.fullvinestudios.com