Every brand needs professional quality photography, but not every brand has that kind of budget right now. It can cost anywhere from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars for a single photoshoot, and you may only get a handful of great photo options. That doesn’t mean professional photoshoots aren’t profitable or worthwhile in the end—they absolutely are—but they aren’t necessary in every instance. Sometimes, an in-house photoshoot plan is perfectly fine.
When should you plan a low-budget in-house photoshoot? It depends on how you plan to use the photos and how confident you are in your own creativity.
If you are developing visuals for your own short-term digital use (i.e. social, an online store, a blog, etc.) and you can create the content in your own office, go for it. If you are developing visuals for print or long-term use, especially if it’s for someone else, I strongly suggest hiring a professional photographer. Plus, specialty photography, such as outdoor shots and portraits of pets and kids, always calls for a professional.
You should also keep in mind your own skill level and creativity. Do you have a good eye for composition and contrast? Do you know how to work your camera? If there’s any doubt whatsoever, don’t waste your time.
You have creative confidence and you only need digital shots for short-term use, so you decide to do your own photoshoot. Great! But wait, there are some tips and tricks you need to know first before you click that shutter.
You don’t need a $2,000 Nikon for a successful photoshoot if all you need is fast social media content or blog images. Most modern camera phones are pretty impressive. I love my Pixel 3. Its portrait mode, which is also available on Samsung Galaxy S9, the iPhone and others, is a godsend. (I took this image of the podcast mic with my Pixel.)
Photography is the process of capturing images using light, so lighting is literally the most important thing to keep in mind—especially in a low-budget shoot. If you want to host photoshoots on a dime on the regular, get some studio lights. You can literally purchase an entire portrait photography kit for as little as $120 on Amazon. Or, if you’re outdoors, you can take the sun reflector out of your car for an inexpensive lighting hack.
Props are the unsung heroes of a photoshoot, but fortunately you can find great options all around you. Check the cabinets, search the shelves, and empty your pockets. We recently did a DIY photoshoot in-house for a beverage brand, and we put together pebbles, planters and two stemmed glasses we had in the office, and it was fantastic.
Unless you want simple product shots or fast-and-easy flatlays, you will need a model. The secret? You don’t need a million-dollar smile or six-pack abs—anyone can be a model. You don’t even need to show the whole person; a hand or torso will do. Besides, you can blur out the person to focus on the product if the model isn’t super comfortable being the focus.
A white wall or white tabletop is perfect for an in-house photoshoot, but there are probably way more interesting backgrounds nearby. Does the store next door have a graffiti wall? Are you a block away from a fabulous view of the valley? If you’re creative enough, you probably don’t need a studio or a pull-up backdrop.
At Elevate My Brand, we know a thing or two about photoshoots. We work with several teams of photographers that range in budget. And from time to time, we need to develop photo content fast for social media, so we go super scrappy and create content in-house. Basically, whatever your needs and wherever you are, we can elevate you to the next level. Contact us today to learn about our content marketing expertise.
Cody H. Owens, Account Executive
Elevate My Brand