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The Importance of Turnaround Time in Product Photography

The fast-paced world of fashion e-commerce can be hectic and stressful – particularly regarding deadlines. Unfortunately, this often leads to rushed product photography- which can ultimately result in poorer quality photos, quickly outdated images, and photo editing nightmare situations. To meet the high demand and still keep a fast turnaround time, many fashion brands turn to product photography companies that specialize in professional product photography.

Turnaround time is the amount of time it takes for a product photographer or service to produce images ready to be used on a website or print. Remember that this turnaround time is not just for photographing products; it includes all aspects of the photographic process, from pre-visualization to final delivery.

A fast turnaround time is a must for fashion e-commerce, especially if you have an extensive product line and multiple collections throughout the year. Whether you are shooting your products in-house or outsourcing your product photography, it is essential to maintain fast turnaround times. 

There are a few factors to consider when determining turnaround time for product photography. Obviously, the closer you are to your products, the faster turnaround you’ll want. However, you also need to factor in the complexity of the shots and how much time it will take you to get them done.

Considering how vital product photography can be, beginning to plan for a fast turnaround time is worthwhile. This way, you can focus on more important things like sales growth instead of timelines for photos.

A fast turnaround time translates into speedier production, time-to-market, and less waiting for customers. On the other hand, a long turnaround time could mean delays in publication or, worse yet, loss of revenue. 

How fast should you get an image taken for your e-commerce website or social media?

Rapid turnaround times ensure customers have the best possible experience when viewing and purchasing products online. Creating fully optimized images for web pages and social media platforms helps drive conversions and increase sales. Delivering high-quality, engaging imagery can also strengthen brand loyalty and encourage customers to return to your website and stay hooked to your feed.

The key to achieving fast turnaround times is to plan your shots carefully. It is essential to consider the type of photo you want to take, as well as the layout and design of your site or story. Try to avoid taking multiple pictures of the same product or scene – streamline your workflow by shooting different angles, settings, and backgrounds for each shot.

Lastly, keep in mind that image compression can have a significant impact on turnaround time. Always use the highest quality images possible while meeting your desired file size constraints. Increasing file size without compromising image quality can result in faster upload times, helping to meet your deadlines and keeping your site loading time in check.

When should you start thinking about outsourcing your e-commerce photography?

If you’re trying to sell something quickly (which is often the case for e-commerce stores), you need to be able to show off your product as soon as possible across platforms. Especially with today’s fast shipping times, buyers demand a detailed and high-quality view of all products.

There’s also something called “buyer fatigue”. When customers see the same product on different websites and feel they are not getting the complete picture, they might be less likely to buy it. If you can keep things fresh and new for your buyers, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase. But when should you start thinking about outsourcing product photography to optimize your turnaround times? 

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Quality is critical when it comes to e-commerce photography. You want the professional studio or service to be able to produce high-quality images within a short timeframe. It means that even when you have a massive product line to shoot, you can rely on professionals to deliver stunning product imagery at impressive speeds. It can be a boon during periods of high production and busy seasons.
  • Price – You should not spend a fortune to get good product photography results. Although some photographers and studios charge more than others, there are affordable options. The rise of AI-generated images and professional photo editing services proves this. 
  • Location – Ultimately, the photographer’s location will impact their speed (and, therefore, quality). If you can find someone who works out of your store or nearby, that’s ideal; but if not, ensure that the photographer has enough resources to send files quickly. If you outsource your product photography to a professional studio, the turnaround time can be as low as 48 hours.

How to improve turnaround times when you can’t outsource your product photography?

There’s no question that turnaround time is essential to product photography. When your product images take longer than you need, it can damper your entire marketing and selling efforts. 

However, there are a few things you can do to speed up the process:

  • By organizing your shots in advance, you can make sure that everything flows smoothly during the shoot. Divide your product into sections, and create rough drafts of each image so you know what you want to capture. It will also save you time later on when it comes to editing images.
  • If you’re shooting with a DSLR, avoid using high-speed shooting modes. Instead, try setting the camera to auto exposure and shutter priority mode. It will ensure that the images are quality controlled without excess time spent fussing with settings.
  • Use natural light whenever possible. If conditions are not suitable for using lighting equipment, try taking photos outside in natural light. It will give them a more “photographic” look instead of just looking digital.
  • Utilize still cameras and point-and-shoot cameras with low resolutions if possible. These devices can capture sufficient detail for many products without producing large files that will slow down your production line. Make sure you have an HD camera or backup plan in case you need high-resolution images.
  • Use automated photo capturing software such as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom or Capture One Pro to speed up the process of retouching and post-production work. This software lets you batch process numerous images quickly, reducing the need for individual image reviews.
  • The RAW format captures more information than the JPEG format. It can be processed in post-processing software to make the image look better. It means you won’t have to worry as much about the quality of your pictures since they can be edited later on.

What are the benefits of faster timelines in product photography?

The benefits of faster timelines in product photography can be summed up in one word: efficiency. By reducing the time it takes to produce a photo, you’re able to spend more time focusing on creative ideas and creating engaging imagery. In addition, fast turnaround times can improve the overall customer experience by ensuring that photos are available quickly and consistently. 

Here are some of the ways your brand can benefit from optimized photography turnaround times:

  • Increased Sales

A great photo complementing your online fashion launch will increase its sell-through rate on your site. Plus, customers will love feeling like they’re getting a deal by buying apparel before it goes out of style.

  • Faster Valuation

Faster turnaround times lead to images with more consistency and quality. Well-executed photos are likely to look more expensive than photos that are not. High-quality images can convince clients to buy products before seeing them in person, reducing return rates. Moreover, buyers will pay more for a garment with impeccable photography.  

  • Error-Free Images

Mistakes happen in any type of photography but often occur when taking shots of clothes on tight timelines. Faster turnaround times also lead to greater efficiency in photo editing and styling. By quickly comparing and contrasting different products, e-commerce fashion brands can make better decisions about which photos to use and how to frame them for the best overall visual impact. This increased efficiency can decrease overall product development time and lower operational costs..

  • Reduces Costs

Fast turnaround times can help to reduce costs associated with product photography, such as hiring a professional photographer or purchasing photo- quality software. By investing in speedier photo processing times, e-commerce fashion brands can save money on the upfront cost of photography and ongoing expenses associated with photo processing and storage.

Conclusion – Fast turnaround time translates into higher profits.

In today’s digital age, customers expect quick and easy access to products they are interested in purchasing. It means that high-quality and timely product photography is non-negotiable. A fast turnaround time enables a seamless customer experience so that your website visitors and returning customers can easily access your latest product launches.

In addition to saving time and money, fast turnaround times often translate into higher profits for e-commerce businesses. A brilliant way to achieve this is by outsourcing your product photography to professional studios. 

Platforms like FlixStudio are pioneering e-commerce product photography with the help of technology. FlixStudio delivers stunning AI-generated on-model imagery at turnaround times as fast as 48 hours.

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Arunava Acharjee

(Product Marketing Manager)