As brands and retailers are shortening their supply chains and embracing omnichannel retailing and marketing, the demand for product photography and visual content is exponentially growing. Today creative production and marketing teams are constantly facing the challenges of producing more visual content (e.g. product photography, editorial), for a larger number of on- and offline channels, and in a shorter period of time. Finding technological solutions to these growing pressures has become critical for creative production professionals and their companies in a highly visually competitive market. Scale & agility are key in this new creative production environment.
During a DAM Meetup about “Product Photography & DAM”, Deanna Bedoya (Lafayette 148 NY), Sara Mitzner (swimsuitsforall), Nikki Schiwal (J.Crew), and Jim Zdancewicz (eBay Enterprise) shared their creative production volume and process, as well as the solutions they are using or considering to produce more content better, cheaper, and faster.
More visual content than ever before
Top brands and retailers like J. Crew, Lafayette 148 NY, swimsuitsforall, and eBay Enterprise capture more products and lifestyle photography than ever before: J.Crew shoots around 10-15 different looks a day, 50 to 300 images for each look; Lafayette 148 NY shoots 1,500 images per month; swimsuitsforall produces approximately 2,500 images month per month; and eBay Enterprise shoots from 3 to 4,000 images for their clients from different sets all across different locations.
That’s just the beginning. Once photographed, in-house creative production teams have to review each individual shot and make their selects for eCommerce websites, catalogs, social media, and a myriad of other channels. As Jim Zdancewicz from eBay Enterprise put it: “I don’t envy being an art director these days when you’re looking at three or four times the images they used to, a couple of years ago, because the content channels are so immense (…)”. At Lafayette 148 New York, Deanna Bedoya mentioned shooting “about 1,500 images per month… we make 150 selects per web shoot (that’s 50 SKUs 3-ways), for catalog shoots it’s usually 120”.
Sounds like a lot? It is. Some creative production professionals estimate that 10 times more visual content is being produced today when compared to five years ago.
Why visual content is crucial to brands and retailers
There are more products to sell. Sara Mitzner, Content Director at swimsuitsforall, mentioned: “the biggest change for us has been volume because we’ve grown so much as a business. When the company started out, they only had about 10 styles. Now we have close to 1,100 styles per season”.
Customers are requesting more details about those products. For Deanna Bedoya from Lafayette 148 NY, “the expectations for eCommerce are only getting larger, not smaller”. As eCommerce is maturing and eCommerce customers are becoming more sophisticated, they tend to have higher expectations when it comes to the products featured online. In the past, companies used to shoot front and back of the product featured online, and that was it. Today, customers are looking for detailed photography for each individual item (zipper, buttons etc.), videos for each product, and more. To appeal to their online customers, more and more brands and eCommerce websites are now shooting each product from every angle, and zoom in on small details.
The rapid growth of consumer channels. The proliferation of social media has encouraged brands to create dedicated imagery and campaigns for these platforms. According to Nikki Schiwal, J. Crew now does about 25 shoots per month for social media only – that cover everything from J.Crew, Madewell, and Factory. Deanna Bedoya from Lafayette 148 NY mentioned creating dedicated images for each social channel, such as original imagery for Facebook ”because it is not as cut and dry as eCommerce”.
Technology solutions to produce more, faster, cheaper
To increase their efficiency and productivity, brands and retailers are looking to leverage technology solutions to scale their creative production. A digital asset management software or a workflow platform is typically the first step to keeping media assets organized and the process flowing. Teams can store and distribute files quickly, track and control access and usages of each of their assets. Swimsuitsforall currently uses globaledit as their DAM system: “[We] have the image database on globaledit. That’s where all the final imagery lives (…). We actually have two offices as well, so using globaledit really helps in that regard”.
Outside of digital asset management systems, brands are increasingly looking for cost-efficiency. At Lafayette 148 NY, Deanna Bedoya mentioned eying technology solutions to cut the production load and lower its costs. This leads brands to explore platforms like Looklet, for example, where you can “shoot all of your clothing on mannequins and have the company clone it on to models”. While these solutions are not quite there yet, brands are keeping an eye out for the latest and greatest technology to improve their processes in a very competitive world.
These quotes were taken out of the NY DAM Meetup about Product Photography & DAM that was hosted by globaledit on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. Watch the full recording to learn more about product photography & DAM.