Lifestyle Photography

How to Find the Right Studio for Commercial Product Photography

Handing off products to be photographed by an outside source can be risky. Having someone else carry out creative direction or brand strategy is nerve wracking- especially when the outcome is dependent on several variables.


Knowing the importance of lifestyle product photography and other commercial content, brands will often seek out professional studios to bring their creative concepts to life. Many studios out there are able to shoot basic on-white images or standard PDP. However, when it comes to more conceptual photography, such as lifestyle shoots, finding a quality studio is a must- because these studios aren't exactly “one size fits all.” Choosing the right team to work with matters just as much as deciding to invest in photography in the first place. Sorting out details such as the type of shoot, the shot list, locations, and more, are all necessary to choose the right professional product photography for you.

1. What Type of Photography Do You Need?

The wide range that encompases lifestyle product photography and creative commercial photography means more opportunity, but also more complexity. The saturation of media today has made most target audiences, no matter their demographics, very aware of the media that they are consuming- meaning that they know low quality when they see it.

When looking into studios, make sure to check out their portfolio or ask about their specialties. While it seems obvious, some studios are better than others for different types of photography. The increase of “burn and churn” studios have also increased, meaning that these studios specialize in quick-fixes for eCommerce brands, essentially placing your product down, taking a picture, and uploading it online. These studios have automated the process behind retail photography, but are extremely limiting in terms of creative options and specialized services.

These studios may be the perfect solution for some brands. However, if in need of a studio that can fulfill more complicated concepts and create realistic photos, it is a good idea to keep searching. Photograph capabilities vary from studio to studio, so pay attention to their abilities. While some studios may have mastered website content, others may be better at conceptual social media. Knowing the goal of the images and what deliverables needed will be a great first step in finding the right studio.

2. What Is On Your Shot List?

The complicated elements of product photography mean that there are more variables to worry about. Whether the shot list includes sets, props, or models, the experience levels and network of a studio will vary. Without resources such as model contacts, professional connections, or past project partners

In a tangible sense as well, prop inventory, wardrobe on hand, set materials, and technical equipment can make or break the success of a photoshoot. While some studios may have a large amount of material and backgrounds, others may have more access to props and wardrobe. Similarly, some studios may be able to shoot elsewhere for location shots or travel to a brand’s headquarters for the photography, but some may reside only in-studio. Figuring out the specific images included on a shot list and feeling out a studio's ability to meet the need will encourage a better outcome.

3. Where Is Everyone?

While many companies will send their product directly to studios, others may preferepare to hand deliver their items. Shipping costs or the fragility of product is often an afterthought. However, these are important to consider when choosing a studio, especially since product policies can vary as well. Some may allow for product drop-off, while others may require shipment. If it is pertinent that the brand is on-set for the photoshoot, the location can be another determining factor.

Location can also matter in terms of their building or surrounding. While it may be easy for some to find an urban background for a shoot right outside or inside of their building. However, others may be in a more corporate area, lacking easy access to shoot locations. If there is a certain need for a special background, double check the studio location, or costs could increase.

4. What Type of Service Do You Want?

While cost is always an important factor in any company decision, there are a few other aspects that may be involved with a higher or lower cost. Oftentimes, lower priced studios may lack in creative capabilities, equipment, or overall flexibility. However, large, pricey photography entities can also be frustrating for a brand. They may seem impersonal, strict, and unreachable. These are the extremes of the photography industry, but there are a wide array of other options. Look out for studios that are very communicative, easy to collaborate with, and have a great reputation.These studios are often catered to any brand, large or small, and have a variety of resources that they can cater exclusively to the needs of each brand.


While there is always more to consider, choosing the right studio is make-or-break for any brand out there looking for commercial photography.The studio’s specialties, resources, expertise, and pricing can all determine how right their services are for a particular brand or project. For an elevated product experience, personalized just for your brand, checkout NDStudios services here

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