The product photography industry has been subject to far-reaching changes in recent years. The rapid pace of this change is evident in every aspect of photography; just look at the number of startups offering innovative solutions for previously unrecognized problems in the fashion industry. Online retailers have access to diverse technology that is designed to automate different processes within the e-commerce chain. While all of this evokes nostalgia for the old days in many photographers, it also leads to higher productivity.
But let’s look at the specific changes that have occurred in the product photography chain for online retailers.
Smaller teams of in-house photographers
In previous years, companies hired larger teams of in-house photographers to do everything from editorial work to cataloging pictures to product photography. The introduction of new technology, however, causes companies to dismiss many photographers. This has pushed many industry representatives into becoming freelancers. The modern photographer is faced with a new challenge – to become more adept, to become nimbler, and to reinvent his role.
Focus on digital technology and automation
Advances in technology have been tremendous; there is no doubt about that. The in-house photography industry has benefited considerably from turning tables and robotic arms, for example. Other innovations that have modified the work of a typical studio manager include Virtual Catwalks, Mannequins for a 3D spin, services for outsourcing editing and retouching of product photography to name a few.
The reason for all of this is simple: providing higher efficiency for retailers. Considering the competitiveness of the industry, we can hardly blame them. Being successful in the marketplace requires being as swift and efficient as possible when it comes to the post-production and sales enablement process.
The speed of launching a product online is vital for a fashion player to have success in the marketplace.
Redefining of the role of the product photographer
As previously mentioned, technology enables automation, which in turn leads to a more marginal role of the product photographer. To cope with the new reality, photographers ought to broaden their skills. For example, additional work in editorial and cataloging photography or social media can provide a much-needed advantage.
Brands and retailers are likely to have fewer fixed employees due to the abundance of technological solutions available.
The trend for in-house studio brands is leaning towards relying on digital technicians with a keen eye for photography.
Digital technicians are likely to be under the supervision of photographers who possess an inherent understanding of lighting, colors, etc. However, in areas such as editorial photography and cataloging, photographers and art directors are indispensable as there is no realistic automated alternative on the market.
To Sum Up
As technology advances and, with it, higher levels of efficiency are brought into the marketplace, photographers and creatives will most likely have to reinvent the way they work.
If you are an e-commerce or a photography professional in the fashion industry, in your opinion, which types of newer technologies have the biggest impact on the fashion and e-commerce industry?
How do you see the future for creatives and photographers in the fashion industry?