Advertising photography can mean setting up a miniature studio and lighting grid to take spectacular pictures of small diamond jewellery items, or it can mean taking product images for companies manufacturing items quite a lot larger, such as cars. But whilst it is often possible for advertising photography studios to take images of items such as beds, motorbikes and three piece suites in a studio, there are times when it just doesn’t work. One such example is garden sheds and outdoor storage in general.
These days many people purchase garden sheds online and through catalogues rather than going to garden centres. Often purchasing sheds and outdoor garden storage this way can be much quicker, and much cheaper too. But there’s a problem with this because if you were to look at the sheds as they are kept in the warehouse all you’d see would be a rather drab flat pack wrapped in plastic.
This clearly won’t do, and so for this reason online merchants and retailers as well as high street catalogue stores will ask advertising photography specialists to take photographs of the garden sheds and storage buildings in ways which will make them much more appealing to prospective customers.
This generates a number of problems and challenges which often prevent small businesses from making any progress. In fact many small businesses either don’t sell items like this for the simple reason that they’re unable to take good quality images of fully built sheds, or they don’t include images of the shed at all. Sometimes they’ll try to get away with an artist’s impression or plain diagram with measurements, but this doesn’t really stand out.
Most customers want to be able to see what the shed will look like since it will inevitably become one of the most dominant features in their garden. It’s important for advertising photographers to be able to help customers accurately visualise what the shed is likely to look like in their own garden. So what are the individual challenges which face these photographers when it comes to producing product images of sheds and garden storage units?
The first challenge is of course to build it. This means having a couple of people armed with the right tools and plenty of space to assemble the shed completely. This means getting everything right and making it look strong, sturdy and attractive. It isn’t important particularly to make sure it’s strong because it won’t be up for long, and will usually be disassembled and packed away for sale again afterwards, perhaps as an ex display model. But assembling products this size takes time and it has to be done correctly.
Although assembling the shed will make a big difference in helping customers see what it will actually look like, it still doesn’t really help entirely. A photograph of a shed lacks scale, and it’s hard for people to visualise just whether they’ll be able to fit their lawnmower along the back wall or not. You’ll often notice that most advertising images of sheds show them with typical household products in them, such as garden tools, children’s toys and even ladders. This helps give the shed scale and allows customers to see them being used.
But doing all this in a studio still doesn’t look quite right, which is why the best advertising photographers will do all this outdoors, on a green lawn so that the shed looks as though it is in the right place, and being used too. All of this takes time, and requires a number of contacts, such as a supplier of products that can be placed in the shed, and a location for the construction and photographing of the shed.
This is why small businesses often forget even trying to compete, and why big businesses often gain the monopoly. The reality though is that if small businesses tried, they could actually find that the cost of having a photo shoot like this would be more than paid for through the sales of the shed as a result, since there are fewer small businesses competing in this market.