If you’re looking for a creative and exciting career, the product photography may be the perfect choice for you.
In this blog post, I will outline 9 reasons why product photography is a great career to pursue.
I will also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the product photography career so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not this is the right career for you.
Product Photography Career: 9 Reasons Why You Should Consider It
1. High Demand for Product Photography Services
In the wake of the pandemic, digital shopping and meal delivery services have skyrocketed in popularity which has led to an increased demand for commercial and product photography.
Brands are now relying on high-quality visuals to promote their products through eCommerce websites and mobile applications.
According to research conducted by Fact.Mr, a world-renowned market analysis firm, the global commercial photography industry size is poised to grow from $5.2 billion in 2022 to an estimated $6.4 billion over the next decade.
Product photography makes up a remarkable 45% of the entire commercial photography market worldwide and is estimated to reach a staggering $2.88 billion by 2032.
Furthermore, according to the advertising firm Justuno, 93% of consumers consider the quality of visual content to be a key factor in their purchasing decisions. This further underlines the importance of product photography in today’s digital-first world and suggests that product photographers will be in high demand for years to come.
2. Rewarding Financial Benefits
Product photographers can easily make a great living by building a successful product photography business.
An average salary of a product photographer in the United States is $96,000 per year.
However, product photographers can easily earn upwards of $150,000 annually by building up a portfolio of clients and offering high-value product photography services.
For example, top product photographers, such as Jonathan Knowles, and Peter Lippmann can charge more than $4,000 a day + additional commercial photography licensing.
Recommended reading: How Much to Charge for Product Photography? (Calculator)
Product photographers can also take advantage of stock product photography websites like Getty Images or Shutterstock where they can sell their product images on a royalty basis. This is another great way product photographers can make a passive revenue stream.
In addition, product photographers can also sell their own creative product photography work in a form of framed prints or other types of merchandise. Check out the video below to learn how Peter Andrew Lusztyk has managed to earn six figures from photographing a… PENNY.
3. Flexible Working Hours
Product photography is a flexible career and product photographers can create their own working hours.
This is due to the fact that product photographers are often self-employed, meaning they are not bound by the typical 9am-5pm work schedule of traditional office jobs.
Instead, product photographers can create a flexible schedule that fits into their own lifestyle and day-to-day commitments.
This makes product photography an ideal career for those who are looking for a job that provides them with the flexibility to work when it suits them and spend more time with their family or working on other projects.
4. Ability to Work Remotely
This point is somewhat similar to the previous one, however, I decided to divide it into two separate ones as remote work is becoming increasingly popular, especially after Covid-19.
Product photographers have the advantage of being able to work remotely, from the comfort of their homes or their own product photography studios.
This is also a huge advantage for introverts who don’t like to go to the office and interact with a large number of people.
In addition, product photographers can work with clients from all over the globe and don’t need to be restricted by geographical boundaries.
5. Diverse & Interesting Assignments
Product photography is a creative profession that allows product photographers to express their creativity and explore new ideas.
Product photographers are presented with unique challenges on each job which allows them to come up with new and creative solutions every time.
Product photography also involves shooting different product categories such as beauty, clothing, tech, food, home accessories, etc. This allows product photographers to stay fresh and excited about their work by constantly exploring new product categories and new challenges.
For instance, last month, my wife Alina, who is a professional product photographer was approached by The Conqueror brand to shoot a very interesting and uncommon product: custom-made medals that people receive for achieving unique virtual challenges.
As product photographers, it is our job to come up with creative solutions that showcase the product in its best light and create an emotional connection between the product and potential buyers. This type of creative problem-solving is what makes product photography such an exciting career choice.
6. Career Advancement Opportunities
Product photography can become a long-term career for product photographers as it provides an opportunity for product photographers to progress and advance within the profession.
Product photographers can start off by working on small product photography projects, build up their portfolio and eventually move on to bigger product photography jobs such as shooting product campaigns or working with large brands.
Product photographers can also progress and advance their product photography career by diversifying their product photography skills by exploring product video, product animation, product modeling, or product styling.
These additional skill sets will open up new opportunities for product photographers as more and more brands are now investing in product-driven content to showcase their products on social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok.
7. University Degree Isn’t Mandatory
Unlike other professions such as medicine or engineering, product photography does not require to hold a formal university degree.
Product photographers can learn the basics of product photography and develop their skills through online courses and workshops.
When my wife decided to learn product photography, she didn’t have any prior experience in photography at all. She literally didn’t know how to switch on my Sony A7III mirrorless camera, and I am not exaggerating.
After enrolling in Anastasija Maximova’s Product Photography for Beginners course, she quickly gained proficiency with the manual mode on my Sony A7 III mirrorless camera and obtained a basic understanding of photography composition, color psychology, and other important elements necessary to pursue product photography professionally — all within three months’ time!
Just a year later, she’s now an accomplished product photographer who works with a lot of different clients ranging from small e-commerce and Amazon stores to the fastest-growing startup in all of Europe — Bolt. You can check her product photography portfolio by visiting her website: alinakareva.lv.
So if product photography is something you are passionate about, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t pursue a product photography career regardless of your educational background.
If you’d like to master product photography, I recommend you to check out online courses by Karl Taylor Education. Karl Taylor is a professional commercial photographer with a passion for education. I personally learned a great deal about photography from Karl Taylor and I highly recommend his online education platform for anyone interested in product photography and photography in general.
8. Satisfaction From Seeing Your Work
Unlike many other professions where you don’t see the tangible results of your hard work, product photography offers the immense satisfaction of seeing your work in e-commerce stores, magazines, and even on product packaging.
The joy on my wife’s face when she saw her product photos in the Lavidoux brand brochure for their exhibition in Dubai was unforgettable.
This aspect of a product photographer’s career is highly undervalued yet so important.
Achieving satisfaction and recognition from your work will give you the motivation to keep going, while positively affecting your mental health – particularly in this present day where stress levels are higher than ever before. It’ll also energize you and make it easier for you to tackle whatever challenges come your way.
9. Freebies and Discounts
Product photography brings a lot of perks with it, one of which is the ability to get product discounts and free products after the photo shoot.
This is a great way for product photographers to save money and try out products completely free of charge.
A few weeks ago my wife was doing a relatively big photo shoot (over 500 products) for one of the local companies in Latvia that distribute different beauty products (shampoos, face masks, face creams, etc.).
Apart from packshots she also had to do detailed photos of cream smears to show potential clients cream texture and consistency.
At the end of the photo shoot, she was given a basket full of products for free! This allowed her to try out products from different brands that she wasn’t familiar with before.
Frequently Asked Questions About Product Photography Career
What Is the Difference Between Product, Commercial, and Still-Life Photography?
Product photographers specialize in product photography and focus on product images for e-commerce, advertising, and product packaging.
Commercial photographers are more generalists who can photograph events, people, product shots, interiors, landscapes, and much more.
Still-life photography is essentially the same thing as product photography, except that product photographers usually photograph product shots for commercial purposes, while still-life photographers focus more on the creative side of capturing still objects.
How Much Can You Earn From Product Photography?
An average salary of a product photographer in the United States is $96,000 per year.
The exact amount of money you can earn from product photography depends on your skill level, experience, the quality of the product images you produce, the client, and your marketing skills.
Rates vary greatly, and different product photographers use different pricing strategies. For instance, some novice product photographers charge per image, while others bill hourly, and others opt for a project-based rate.
From a few dollars to thousands, the cost of product photography varies depending on how experienced and renowned the product photographer is, as well as which brand they are shooting for. Leading product photographers behind big brand names in marketing campaigns can charge up to several thousand dollars per photo plus commercial photography licensing.
As a product photographer, you can have additional income streams by selling your photos to photo stock websites such as Shutterstock, Getty Images, Adobe Stock, and others. In addition, you can always utilize your skillset and create a product photography online course and sell it through your own website, generating an additional monthly income.
How Long Does It Take To Learn Product Photography
You can learn the basics of product photography in about 3 to 6 months’ time. Of course, it depends on your background, motivation, dedication, and whether you have any experience in photography.
As I mentioned previously, it took my wife roughly three months to learn the basics of product photography without any prior experience in photography whatsoever.
In just three months she learned how to use the manual mode on her camera, the basics of photography composition, the basics of color psychology, and the basics of photo editing and retouching in Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop.
Due to her enthusiasm and dedication, it didn’t take long for her to acquire the necessary skills to start her product photography career. Furthermore, I have a comprehensive knowledge of the subject matter which allowed me to explain many concepts through simple examples and exercises. This all contributed to shortening her product photography learning curve.
If you don’t have any previous experience in photography, but you feel like you want to pursue a product photography career, I’d say that you could acquire all the necessary skills within six months’ time. You’ll need to fully commit to it, but it is definitely possible to learn the basics of product photography in six months and start getting your first paid product photography gigs.
Sidenote: If you are thinking of pursuing a product photography career, you might want to save the article I wrote on how to get product photography clients.
Where to Learn Product Photography?
If you’d like to learn product photography I would highly recommend you to check out Karl Taylor Education.
I personally have acquired most of my photography skills from the Karl Taylor Education platform and I would highly recommend their online photography courses to anyone who is serious about learning photography. The subscription to the Karl Taylor Education platform costs $19 per month (if you pay monthly) and if you are willing to pay annually, the price is only $14 per month.
Sidenote: I wasn’t paid to advertise Karl Taylor’s Education platform, I just genuinely think that it is the best place to learn about photography I have learned a lot from Karl Taylor and I just want to share that with others.
What Equipment Is Required for Product Photography?
You can start your product photography career with a relatively basic set of gear consisting of:
- Digital camera
- External flash or speedlight
- Light stand
- Photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or Abode Lightroom
- A graphics tablet (not required, but speeds up the workflow by a lot)
This basic set of photography gear won’t allow you to create complex product photography setups, but it will be enough to shoot simple packshots on a white background that are in high demand.
If you want to take product photography to the next level and create more complex product shots you’ll need a wide range of additional photo gear. If you’re eager to find out more about product photography gear, I composed a comprehensive blog post that delves into the essential product photography gear.
What Type of Products Product Do Photographers Take Photos Of?
Among the most frequently photographed product photography categories are:
- Beauty products (shampoos, creams, lotions, face masks, etc.)
- Jewelry and luxury accessories (earrings, luxury watches, cufflinks, luxury pens, etc.)
- Small gadgets and electronics (headphones, smart watches, fitness trackers, etc.)
- Fashion garments (tops, pants, dresses, skirts, etc.)
- Footwear (shoes and boots)
- Home decor items (pictures frames, lamps, candles, vases, etc.)
What Type of Skills Do Product Photographers Need?
Product photography is a great career choice for those who have an eye for detail, creativity, patience, and good communication skills. If you possess all of these qualities I’m sure product photography will be a great career choice for you.
They also need to be very patient as product photography involves taking dozens of product shots, editing them, and retouching them until they are flawless. If you don’t have the patience to spend hours meticulously crafting a single image’s composition and lighting, the product photography may not be an ideal career option for you.
Additionally, if you have a knack for product styling (placing the product in such a way that it looks aesthetically pleasing) product photography may be the career for you.
How Big Is the Product Photography Industry?
According to a recent study by Fact.Mr, product photography accounts for 45% of the entire commercial photography market and was equal to $2.34 billion in 2021.
In this blog post, I discussed 9 reasons why product photography is a great career choice. I also answered some of the most frequently asked questions about product photography.
If you have an eye for detail, creativity, patience, and good communication skills product photography may be the perfect career option for you. Additionally, product photography is a rapidly growing industry that is expected to reach $6.4 billion by 2032.
I hope this blog post has been helpful in providing a better understanding of product photography and inspired you to pursue this career.
As always, if you have any questions, or you feel like I’ve missed something in this post, feel free to email me at: hi [at] ohmycamera.com.
P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe to my email newsletter where I share photography tips, photography gear reviews, photography tutorials, and more. Good luck!