Since the rise of the internet, photographs have become truly ubiquitous to the point that every business needs them. There are no exceptions. While some industries rely on them more than others to communicate their brand, ideas, intentions and products, all of them need some kind of strategy–even just a smartphone strategy might do.
As technology has become better and more affordable the cost of outsourcing photography, for some companies, outweighs the cost of producing their needed images in-house. It’s my intention here to discuss what you’ll need to consider if you think this might be an option for you.
If you intend to meet your image needs in-house, you must either hire someone with experience, or the process must be systematized well enough that a novice can use it. If your business must produce images multiple times a week, then hiring someone is likely to be more affordable than outsourcing the work, and in many cases, the person doing the job doesn’t need much in the way of existing skills and experience.
So, its important to question whether you can systemize the creation of the images you need. In general, images that must portray something literal–depict something exactly as it really is–are good candidates for systemization. They generally require very little stylization, and when they do, the style is often consistent. With the right system, a total novice can create these them.
However, images that must be interpretive–such as headshots, photographs of a space, images of products in use by customers–are not good candidates. They will require a varied skill set and experience to know how to best approach their creation.
Existing Employees & New Hires
If you intend to give the task of image creation to an existing employee, you can hire a professional (that’s us) to help you design the system first. This is very important–don’t try to design the system yourself. It’s very easy to codify bad habits which will make life harder later. If one of your existing employees creates images on the side, apart from their work with you, you might be tempted to just assign this work to them and forget about it–don’t! It is inappropriate and sometimes exploitative to assign them this task without a compensatory increase in salary.
On the other hand, If you’re thinking of hiring a new employee for the task, someone without experience with professional photography will also require you develop a system. However, if you hire someone with past experience, you’ll pay them a little more, but require less systemization.
Examples of image creation brought in-house
The best opportunities to bring image creation in house are those that are literal. photographing products, such as home goods, electronics, antiques, tools, and clothing, are all good candidates. Image logging inventory for clients is another example that can be systemized with relative ease..
Another consideration is what you want the aggregate of all your images to say about your business. When blended with a system, it’s possible for employees to provide consistent images, at a lower quality with simple smartphones. A system using smartphones can be applied to a very wide range of situations. For example, you could systemize when and where and under what situations employees pull out their phones and take a picture. For social media purposes, this can go a very long way.
Examples of specialized need
Interpretive images are those that require a certain transience, from one image to the next. They may all be images of your products or employees, but for example, one of your customer demographics may respond well to one photographic style, but poorly to another. In this case, you’d need a professional to help you understand how images for each demographic should be created.
Some examples of these interpretive kinds of images are portraits of almost any kind (save for a driver’s license, or passport photo), images of locations and communities, real estate photography, and nearly any kind of event photography.
Interpretive images can still be created in-house, if you need for them is frequent enough. However, you’ll want to hire or promote someone with experience and a good portfolio.
We can help with your system
Petruzzo Photography has been creating images and teaching for individuals and businesses for more than 10 years. We know how to get the right images created, and we can help you determine whether this is a cost-effective route for your business.
Once you have decided, we can help you design a system that will work for your business and employees. We can help you determine image creation timelines, buy equipment, and choose good candidates to hire for a photography position. If it’s not a cost-effective option for your business, we can even help talk you out of it.
We will be happy to discuss your photography needs with you. Please feel free to reach out for a free, no obligation, consultation.