For an e-commerce website, the price for apparel photography with models usually starts from Rs 350 and can range up to Rs. 1,500 on an average. This amount is allocated to about 100 items with one model. Our company is specialized in model shoots from India and across the globe. This is the standardized pricing of most of the e-commerce plans in terms of apparel photography. It may vary sometimes according to the budget portfolio assigned or the type of product you are shooting for.
Let's take a simple example, to bring forth a clear picture of it. One pair of regular jeans cost Rupees 1,500 minimum, and you spend Rupees 500 for just an individual shoot of it. For you, this entire exercise with spending just 500 bucks might not be costly but ponder on it for a second, and you will surely think to improvise your business strategy for better productivity.
With the correct business strategy, if you have 50 pairs of same denim then you will think to spend just Rs.10 per jeans. Note the variations in numbers and you will surely understand the concept.
Over time, with the development and growth of our website, this has led to a good SEO (search engine optimization) ranking of the company. In the process, from establishment to recognition of our e-commerce company, I have gained an innumerable amount of experiences to share with the startups just out in the market. I receive lots of calls from budding e-commerce startups, pertaining to apparel photography and mainly the budgeting aspect.
In the beginning, everyone is trying to figure out their way of how things actually work. First, they handle the photography stuff on their own; it's not that simple. Then they try for professional photography studio, for stand out picture qualities. This is the biggest problem, as in this process, they try to mimic, the styles of already established people, like Rohit Bal. This makes them lose their own identity, and eventually, they are just lost in the crowd of several startups.
I meet several types of clients in product photography, who have a demand for photographs with a complete resemblance to those of celebrity shoots. They try to match everything from their Makeup to hairstyle etc. These clients have just stylized their ideas and concepts, but don't exactly know, how it works! Then here you must clarify your platform and requirements precisely.
In this reference, the startups must make their e-commerce catalog, consisting of photographs and the kind of services your company offers in this field. The catalog just not gives a glimpse of the work you do but also helps to carve a niche of your company. It highlights your style, technique, area of expertise etc.
Irrespective of your work, many will still consider that you are charging extra. For say, Rupees 400 per stock keeping unit is a reasonable offer as it costs rupees 100, an image. On the other hand, if you take 4 passport photographs with different angles; it will cost you Rs.80/- per set. If you do some math, multiply it with four, it will cost you Rs. 320, that too with no modeling fees, no makeup, no assistant, no ironing/pressmen, no full frame DSLR of 3 lakh with backups, no chrome lights, no AC studio, no Photoshop for hours, etc.
Now, you have an idea, compare it with the proper e-commerce photography. It costs one image for Rs.100, which includes, different pose angles, international model, modeling agency commission, High-quality imaging, expensive equipment like camera, years of training, trained makeup artist. Moreover, on the backhand work, Image management, handling the clothes, ironing your 100 dresses, accuracy and color management etc.
Nowadays, startups keep one piece of one style, but this theory does not work anymore and cannot be fruitful for your company in many ways. Therefore, plan to change your strategy.
1) BOUNCE THE LIGHT TO WIN THE FIGHT
Beginners should use only bounce lightings, for they are easiest to use and very flattering to the human body. In contrast, direct lightings bring in far too much of the ugliness factor, unless one is expert at using them. This is because they create sharp edged shadows, which can make bodies look hacked up, ill-proportioned and stuck together with joints in wrong places. This is all illusional, ofcourse, but the magic is so strong that it can lead to very ugly pictures. Well just to see for yourself you should try some direct lightings anyway. But if your models comes out looking like dead meat, don't be surprised.
2) USE SIDE BOUNCE LIGHTING
Fairly contrasty side bounce lighting gives body a very sculptural feeling, that is, roundness, solidity, and realness. And it may actually make them look like sculptures. At the same time it creates very soft edged form shadows on figures, gently bringing out all beauty of the human form. The darker shadows (in prints) obscure certain areas, so that an element of mystery is added. Surely, one should approach human beings as mysterious, for that is the only intelligent thing to do.
For figure studies, side bounce light works best with the medium grey no-seam paper background. Using bounce lights from both sides of model also works well, especially if the light from one side is slightly stronger. With the double bounce lighting you get highlights on both sides of figure and very intresting and handsome shadow in middle. You will surely see curves that you have been unaware of before and increase your awareness of what figure photography can teach you.
Side bounce can also be good with white no-seam, though grey is much easier to work with. However, you may have trouble in making your prints if the highlights on your model match the background in tone. Then parts of the figure will simply disappear into the background tones of the prints. The way around this is to position the model far in front of the vertical part of the white no-seam; about seven or eight feet is far enough.
3) DISTANCE ALWAYS COUNTS
With this distance to work with you can use your lighting to control the brightness relationship of model and white background and make them sufficiently different in tone so that they will not blend together in prints. This is called "getting enough separations." If you use overhead bounce light you will usually not have as great a separation problem with a white no-seam, but you will probably have printing problems, anyway. Your preconceptions will undoubtedly get in your way.
You see, many people think that white backgrounds should "logically" come out white in prints, because white is always white. So they print them white, but the pictures just don't look right. They simply "fall apart," the tones looking disconnected and shattered. Even so, white is always white --- but only as an abstract concept.
Specially if you want to begin with fashion photography in India USA UK Canada as your carrier you should always experiment with different lighting techniques to see the