Using a professional Photography Studio for the first time – A definitive guide.

If you’re considering using a photo studio in the heart of London, you might have a few questions racketing around in the old grey matter.  So this blog post is just for you.

So who are we exactly? Blend is a commercial photographic studio in London.  Our friendly and accomplished in-house team specialises in creative and professional product photography. We’ve photographed practically everything – from ballroom gowns to bottles of gin.

Why use a photo studio in London?

If you want top-end product photography, you won’t get it from a fancy smartphone.  The scope of photography may have changed drastically, but the skill of creating a layout, lighting it professionally and retouching it to a high standard distinguishes a studio product shot from a quick snap on an iPhone.

If your business is in e-commerce then essentially, your website is your shop window.  It’s the only place that customers get to examine your product before committing to a purchase. With this in mind the content uploaded should always be of the highest quality. Images should be crystal clear (with a high resolution allowing customers to zoom in on details) and the lighting should bring the products to life through shadows and highlights. At Blend, you can choose between simple shots where your product is placed on a white background, or something more creative – where props and styling come into play. This can be styled at your discretion and in keeping with your trademark aesthetic, in order to allow your content to carry a narrative for your brand. Our photographers can work with you through this process and are more than happy to advise on what shots would be advantageous for your website, and ultimately how to achieve them. With our wide range of state of the art equipment and talented creatives we can guarantee you’ll walk away with shots that will bring attention to your products and drive sales.

Do you need a photographer?

To hire a studio in London means finding a photographer, equipment, assistant, retoucher, the list goes on…  At Blend, we do things differently.  Our service includes all photo studio equipment plus a skilled photographer and retoucher – because we place enormous value on producing work that is of a consistent high quality. From the first phone call to final retouch, our team work closely together to deliver a premium service.

And while you could pay less for no-frills, photo studio hire, the Blend team adds a lot to the proposition:

  • Generating ideas and bringing in stylists or models – Our industry network enables us to bring in additional team members, as required by each job. We have close connections with modelling agencies, makeup artists, stylists, set designers and other freelance creatives who we have worked with before.
  • Directing your shoot – The day will run a lot more smoothly with an experienced photographer in attendance. Your Blend photographer will design a bespoke lighting set-up, tailored exactly to your product and the imagery you want to attain. With a keen attention to detail they’ll ensure your images are reflective of your brand and fit your brands vision. You can come into the studio to work with them on the day, or they’ll liase with you over email to ensure you have the right shots by the end of the shoot.
  • Retouching shots – Whether it’s just to adjust the colour, or add a graphic element to your images: we edit all our photographs in-house. Our retouchers have years of experience in both fashion and product retouching so are fully equipped with the skills to perfect your shots. This means the images come to you sharp, professional, and ready to use in any format. 

How to book a photo studio shoot

To book your shoot send us an email or give us a call and let us know a bit about your brand and what you’re looking for! The length of your shoot will depend on the level of photography (creative shoots typically take longer) and the number of products you want to photograph – once this is determined we can book you into our calendar at the most convenient date for you! If you’re planning ahead, that’s great. In the instance you’ve left it last minute however, we do offer an express service where your photography can be delivered within a 24 hour time frame (so no need to panic)!

Once your photo studio session is booked, it’s time to do some preparation. 

If you’re sticking with simple packshot photography there isn’t necessarily that much planning required, something that can’t be said for creative shoots. In this case a Pinterest board, or selection of reference images, can be a huge help.  You may want to collaborate with your team to build a board of images that reflect factors such as your target audience; your brand style; photography layouts; the colour palette you use on packaging or web design and other products in the market that you’re competing with.  It helps us to understand your brand’s vision and values. This collection of ‘mood boards’ (click to learn more) will help your photographer to understand the creative direction of your brand – which will always give you a better end result.

You’ll also need to brief us on the purpose of your photographs, whether it is a new collection for an online store, an editorial feature in a magazine, or a social media campaign – or it may be a combination of these. Different formats and crops may be required which the photographer will need to take into account on the day.

Finally, you need to be really thorough in assessing the shots needed for each product.  Make a shoot list that includes an itinerary of the angles needed for each product as well as any features that should be highlighted (lids, laces, latches and labels).

It’s great if you can attend your first studio shoot but you don’t have to; many clients despatch their products to us by courier, which we then photograph and return.  If you cannot make it then it’s important to brief us as thoroughly as possible for the best possible end result.

We look forward to seeing you on your first photo studio shoot!

Make sure you check out our Photography Studio Hire page for information on dry hire too!