There have been a couple of coincidental shifts in the economic landscape of Zimbabwe that have lead to rather fortuitous circumstances for the right entrepreneurs. Firstly, as the Zimbabwean job front has become an increasingly difficult battlefield many have turned to start small businesses to make things work. Secondly, the need for eCommerce was also given a shot in the arm by the coronavirus and lockdown. And now we find ourselves here. For those selling online the visuals of the products they sell are very important, they can make or break your business. So for someone with photography skills, equipment and passion a product photography business could just the thing.
Product photography is taking pictures using specific techniques to accurately and attractively represent products. Great product photography increases conversions by enticing shoppers to purchase your product. Product photographers work with many things from food, clothing, cosmetics, dry goods, household items, appliances and so much more. What separates product photographers from ordinary photographers of their use of technology and tools to bring out the best in products. Clients engage them to get the best possible imagery of their products.
In theory, the customers for this business are everyone who has products to sell but the reality is not so fortunate. Not everybody appreciates the importance of high-quality photography for their products and it may require a little customer education on your part to get customers over the line. You will also have to contend with the fact that it is difficult to persuade someone to switch from a behaviour that is currently working for them. That said you need to communicate to clients the why, how and what of product photography. It would serve you best to have specific messaging or campaigns that communicate what makes it better to have their products shot by you than just their phone camera.
By now you’ve gathered that a camera is necessary for this business. A professional DSLR camera for that matter. But before you go camera crazy, the lenses are actually a more important matter. Depending on the various types of products and shots you will need to consider a wide array of specialised lenses for the model of camera you choose. For examp[le good food photography will require to close up shots at sometimes unconventional angles. Smartphone cameras and other digital cameras are not entirely out of the question here.
Other equipments you will need are things like tripod stands. A tripod is essential regardless of your camera choice. Another very important thing in product photography is lighting and you will need to make a considerable investment in lighting equipment. You will need softbox lighting setups. You may have seen this in studios before. You may need a 1, 2 or 3 light setup depending on the product and the conditions. You will also need to invest in backdrops and stands for them. If you are not familiar with product photography I would recommend watching a few behind the scenes videos online to see why these things are essential. Finally, you will need some decent computing power and editing software to put finishing touches to your great product photography.
A camera, lighting equipment, a computer and software do not make a good product photographer. Rather they are the tools that a good product photographer uses. This is a skill-based business. You can find lots of product photography classes online or in-class education. If you are new to photography as a whole I would recommend you go through a place like Youtube and have a look at some of the free to watch product photography education that is there. This will give you an idea of what the business entails without breaking the bank and before you commit. Education is a continuous process and skills are continually developed.
Smart business is setting yourself up for the direction that people are going in. While we can debate the degree and extent of success of the many small businesses that are being started in Zimbabwe what we cannot deny is that these businesses require professional and competent service providers. One area they require such services in is product photography and as more businesses start they will need the same services. Specialising or starting in product photography right now is getting ahead of the curve.