Studio Photography – It’s benefits, pitfalls and better alternatives

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It will come as no surprise that Oh Tilly Brand Photography is a great fit for many different brands with many different aesthetics. Tilly has been shooting since 2004 and has photographed in thousands of buildings, parks, beaches and homes. How does this differ from studio photography and which is best? Read on to find out….

The Benefits of Studio Photography

Shooting in a dedicated studio has definitely got it’s advantages (especially for the photographer). We can access all of our props immediately and can leave our studio lighting set up indefinitely. This can mean consistent results time and time again for even the most inexperienced photographer. And yes, a great photographer will be able to capture beautiful and inviting images in the most clinical studio settings.
With a simple window light setup, single light setup or even multiple light set ups a photographer can walk into their studio and begin shooting any day with little thought given to lighting or time to set up.
How can this benefit you? Cost of course is a huge factor, shooting day-in, day-out in a studio should mean that a photographer is able to charge less. There is no travel cost and time, no set up time and they have a much easier job to do. This cost saving should be passed onto you, the client.

To recap. the benefits of studio photography are: 
1. Cheaper for the client.
2. Easier for any experience level of photographer.
3. The same images every time.
4. Available in all weather conditions.

The Downsides of Studio Photography

Shooting in a studio limits a photographer in many ways. A studio only has so many backdrops. A studio only has so many props. Many studio photographers have limited skills when shooting in natural or unpredictable lighting situations.
Many photography studios pump out the same images again and again and every client’s images end up looking the same. This is a huge no no for brands that want to stand out from their competition.
A great example here would be real estate agents. There are thousands of agents who all have the same branding images, a sharp white background, a suit and tie and bright, front-lit faces. Do these images look good? Yes they do. But do they stand out from all of the other corflute signs you see in front of houses all over town? Not really. 
Some of the more boutique agencies in my home town, agencies that many would associate with luxury and class, have captured their images with a neutral office background, or beautiful lifestyle type images as well as a few simple headshots for use on cards and realtor website profiles. 
Oh Tilly often gets requests for ‘headshots that don’t look like realtor headshots’ (word for word), meaning they don’t want the clinical, unnaproachable white background images they see so much of.

To recap. the downsides of studio photography are:
1. Limitations to backdrops.
2. Limitations to props.
3. The same images every time (this is a downside and a benefit depending on whether you want your brand to stand out).
4. Clinical and sometimes unapproachable images that look the same as everyone else’s.

So What is the Best Option?

For brands that need white background images (something some people need to integrate into website backgrounds and flyers/business cards etc) it’s important to find a photographer that understands how to create those images. Does this mean you need a dedicated studio photographer? Absolutely not.
Many excellent photographers can create a studio setting on location, they can come to your office and set up so that all of your staff can pop in one-after-the-other and have their headshots captured. They can then pack up and leave and your team has been productive the entire time.
Oh Tilly has worked with on location lighting set ups for decades (hey, weddings totally require them and I shot weddings for 15 years). Each lighting recipe is different and provides different results, but can be recreated for your brand if you need the same results next time.
But with this option, you can also have the photographer capture lifestyle images of your team working in their natural environment. You at your desk, with a client, at the door welcoming a client through the doors, outside in front of your building etc.
For a home based office all of that plus working in the kitchen, sitting on your sofa with your laptop, with your dog on the porch.
All of those options are not available when you drive to a studio and shoot there. This severely limits the possibilities of brand photography.

Branding sessions shot on location also have incredibly varied and dynamic lighting and backdrops. In a ten metre space you can create hundreds of different looks, simply by turning around and facing a different direction. Adding a reflector. Adding a light blocker. Adding a very portable studio flash (mine fit into a little bag I take to every shoot).
Locations are a literal smorgasboard of dynamic images and backgrounds. If you need a lot of content then on location is your best option, hands down, every time.

 

What to do if you don’t have an office but want office style images?

A great photographer has connections. There are most likely many places in your town that your photographer can take you to create office style images that look realistic, natural and most-of-all, believable. This is also a great solution for shooting when the weather takes a turn for the worst.

So here are the benefits to choosing to shoot on location over a studio: 
1. Unlimited range of backgrounds.
2. Unlimited dynamic lighting possibilites.
3. Significantly less loss of productivity for companies with a busy office/workshop as the photographer can set up there and staff are not taken from their work for long at all.
4. Lifestyle and working images are easy to capture while the photographer is in your environment. This is excellent for a relatable and transparent brand and your audience will love the behind-the-scenes images.
5. Your images are unique to YOUR brand and YOUR story. They don’t look the same as everyone else’s who has stepped onto a white seamless backdrop with two flashes pointed the exact same way every time.
6. Much more suitable for authentic and relatable brands. Brands that want human connection and approachability benefit from real life settings in their images.
7. You can tell a story about your product or service that shows your audience exactly what to expect.

Oh Tilly Brand Photography can offer you all the benefits of a studio photoshoot without the downsides. If you need help finding a location please remember that studios are not your only option and there are far more convenient and fun places to have your next brand photoshoot. It’s time to really dive deep into your brand story and capture it in the best way possible, regardless of where that might be.

 

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