Imagine you’re the events manager for a large automotive dealership, responsible for organizing openings and events at branches nationwide. You’re tasked with finding photographers to capture the excitement of each event, but the process is tedious and time-consuming.
For each new city, it feels like you’re starting from scratch, conducting a blind search for an event photographer, and coming up with a wide range of experience, pricing and availability. Once you’ve narrowed it down, you spend hours negotiating — only to do it again in the next city.
Then there’s the photo management after the event. It’s like pulling teeth to get images uploaded, platforms vary, and you can’t figure out if you’re allowed to post on social media or use in marketing campaigns because each photographer has a different usage rights agreement.
Sounds exhausting, because it is!
Commercial photography needs are changing, and the industry needs to adapt. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the current state of commercial photography and show you how to simplify the process and get the photos you need without the headaches.
What Is Commercial Photography?
Commercial photography is any photo used for commercial (or money-making) purposes. That can run the gamut from a high-end fashion shoot to a proof of placement snapshot.
A business or individual usually commissions commercial photographs for a specific purpose, often for use in promotional materials, websites, social media or other marketing campaigns.
Traditionally, if a customer wants a commercial photo, they’ll find a photographer via word of mouth or a search and start shopping around. They’ll negotiate on price, schedules, and usage rights. This process can be time-consuming and inconsistent, especially if you’re sourcing photos from around North America.
The industry is ready for a change. Companies like FotoFetch have flipped the script, defining commercial photography based on customers’ needs and matching them with the appropriate photographer.
“Customers don’t want to go shopping for photographers,” says Gary Bamesberger, FotoFetch’s Chief Operating Officer. “All that’s important is to get your picture.”
What Customers Want
As commercial photography evolves, it’s essential to understand what customers want. Today’s customers — especially those in markets like real estate, cost seg and events planning — have specific expectations regarding commercial photography. Chief among them: consistency in pricing and quality, and ease of use.
“Customers don’t want to go shopping for photographers,” says Bamesberger. “They just want to get the pictures. Quality and pricing consistency, along with deliverability, are the top priorities. That’s the transition people are going through.”
Consistency: The Key to Commercial Photography
Consistency is a top priority for customers sourcing commercial photography all over North America. Whether they’re looking to purchase a photo in New York City, Toledo, or the rural Midwest, customers want to know they’ll get the same level of quality and pricing.
“Customers are looking for consistency throughout the United States on pricing and quality,” Bamesberger says.
Take for instance a dealership events manager, who is trying to find photographers to shoot dealership openings in Los Angeles to Terre Haute. They scour the web only to find vast inconsistencies in price, availability, and quality.
Companies like FotoFetch are redefining commercial photography by creating a standardized process for customers across the U.S. based on the customer’s needs and the job’s requirements.
Quality: The Cornerstone of Commercial Photography
Quality images are in high demand. With most companies using images across social media to promote their brand, it’s essential to have ready access to a steady stream of quality images.
Of course, not every customer needs a high-resolution image. Sometimes you just need a quick cell phone image — like a proof of placement. In these cases, hiring a commercial photographer can get even trickier. Many pros won’t leave the house for the rate you’re willing to pay for a quick snap.
“We define commercial photography based on time, skill level and equipment, and then match it to our customer’s needs,” says Bamesberger. “For instance, a customer may need a cell phone photo showing that the work is done, which is only worth so much to them. It’s not worth hiring a professional photographer to go out there and shoot it and charge $150 for it. Customers want to match the price of the photo based on their need.”
Ease of Use: Simplifying Commercial Photography
Customers, especially those who need commercial photos in volume and in different locations across the country, value ease of use. They want a simplified process that makes it easy for them to source photographers, manage photo usage rights and get access to their images.
Let’s check in with the events manager. He’s managed to hire some photographers and now needs to cull together images from each event to use for corporate promotion. The problem is, each photographer has a different method of getting images to the local client. Some of his local branch managers can’t figure out how to upload the content to a shared drive. Some photographers restrict usage rights, so even if they can get the images, he won’t be allowed to publish certain shots on social media or elsewhere.
Today’s commercial photography customers want a simplified process that removes these headaches and allows them to order the exact images they need when needed.
Companies like FotoFetch make this streamlined, simplified dream a reality. They’re leading the way in redefining commercial photography by creating a standardized process that meets the needs of today’s customers. As the industry evolves, photographers and businesses must stay ahead of the curve and adapt to these changing trends.