FAQ

/FAQ

“I don’t see very many photos of ” and “Can I see more photos of ” are questions we’re asked from time to time.

Having completed hundreds of projects, chances are we have likely photographed something similar to your project, but unfortunately it’s impossible to have a photo of every type of object.
The good news though is that unless we’re talking something incredibly unique/difficult like a dress made out of tiny mirrors, almost every particular type of product is ‘just another product’ and likely doesn’t require a special skill or experience to shoot successfully.

We maintain a very large portfolio of images on our website, with enough variety that we feel our overall quality and skillset is well represented. It would be too difficult to create custom galleries or portfolios for each client, unless there’s merit to do so (such as a very large project with a unique type of product).

There are times where it isn’t feasible to move products or food from their location and bring them to our studio for photography. Depending on your products and as long as your location has adequate space, we can certainly bring our studio to you. For small products, we require an unobstructed space that is at least 15′ x 15′ to allow room to set up our product table, light stands and lighting. For food photography, we only require roughly 10′ x 10′, as our lighting and cameras are usually much closer to the food.

If your space is smaller, then there may not be adequate room for the light from our strobes to properly propagate.

We do not photograph jewelry on location, however. Professional jewelry photography is a very slow and painstaking process, involving a great deal of lighting adjustments and we cannot do our best work under a time or space constraint.

For larger products, please let us know how big your products are and the approximate size of the space we’ll be shooting in. We have backdrops that we can bring, as well as other equipment, provided the space is sufficient.

Our rates for location product or food photography is $1500 per day. In an eight hour day, we can usually photograph around 40-50 standard products on location. Setting up our product table, lighting and background takes approximately 1 hour and breaking our equipment down takes approximately 20 minutes.

For restaurant food photography, we strongly suggest shooting when your restaurant is closed. Light stands in traffic areas present a hazard for both your staff and your patrons and in general, it creates a spectacle.

You most definitely can! Once your contract is signed, just give us a call at (213) 453-6991, or send an email to schedule a time to bring your products over. We’re looking forward to meeting you!

While we may be reached during standard business hours at (213) 453-6991, the best way to reach us and obtain the most accurate quotation is via the email form on our contact us page. Often, things get left out or unmentioned over the phone, or we may already be occupied in a shoot. By having all of the information about your project in front of us, in writing, it allows us the time and space to draw up a more accurate, more detailed quotation.

It’s never a bad idea for us to arrange a phone call after sending over a proposal or estimate, in order to go over the finer details and answer any questions you may have about the estimate though!

We try to avoid reshoots by ensuring that we have good creative direction from all of our clients before we begin work, but if we discover that we’ve made a mistake interpreting your direction (if we photograph a product backwards / upside down / inside out), then we will gladly reshoot your product according to your specification at no charge to you. Along with our apologies, of course!

On the other hand, if you decide after viewing your photos that you’d like to have a different angle, prop, or other creative change that wasn’t previously discussed, then we would charge you a reduced rate for additional photos.

Food photography is one of the most challenging genres to quote for, unless we understand a great deal about your project.

For restaurant photography, our quotation is based solely on a creative day rate plus stylist fees (when applicable), however cookbook photography is a combination of creative day rate, plus food stylist, plus expenses (food).

The best way to obtain a quotation is to reach out to us via our contact page and provide as much information as you’re able to. If your project involves ‘secret recipes’ or other sensitive information, you are more than welcome to send over a non-disclosure agreement as well, so that we can discuss the project openly.

Depending on the day, between 2 and 6. We have part time assistants and interns that are in on a semi regular basis.

While we don’t offer free trial or sample photos, we maintain an extensive photography ortfolio, separated into categories for you to view before deciding to book.

It all depends on the type of shoot. Simple product photos on white are shot in the order that we receive them, so while it’s definitely fine to drop off your products at our studio, they likely will not be photographed right away.

On the other hand, if we’re shooting lookbook or lifestyle photography and you would like to be on set to provide direction to ensure the photos we take fit your vision, we feel that this is a very good idea!

The quick answer is “as much as possible”. Before sending out a contract, there’s a number of things we need to know:

  1. The exact number of shots you’re ordering
  2. Description of your product(s).
  3. How you would like them shot. Knowing the angles, the props, locations, etc is critical to ensuring that the photos we take will fit your vision.

Without that information, we execute our ‘best judgment’ for photos and creative direction. Granted, after hundreds of clients and hundreds of shoots, our instincts are very good, but there’s always a chance that a product will either be photographed incorrectly or the results may not fit what you had in mind.

<h3>What if I’m not sure how I’d like my products photographed? Can’t you figure that out for me?”</h3>

Absolutely! We offer creative director services starting at $500. We draw up a complete shot plan for your product based on research into your competitors’ advertising, your budget and our experience.

As many of our product photography clients are small businesses without legal teams and ad agencies, we’ve made our standard usage license extremely generous, to allow you to use them in any normal business capacity.

Each image is licensed exclusively to your company and may be used for any web advertising purpose (eCommerce sales, website, social media, etc), as well as internal print usage (product packaging, instruction booklets, brochures).

Extended licensing is also available for editorial and large print use (magazine or billboard advertising, as well as television and print displays as well. All extended licenses are billed at market rates (which is far too extensive to explain in full here, but drop us a line and we can put together a quotation for you!)

Can I have the full photo copyrights?

Photography copyrights and usage licenses are a hot button issue with many clients. In truth, photography usage licenses and copyrights work exactly the same as copyright and usage laws for movies and music.

When you purchase a Taylor Swift CD from the store, do you now own the copyrights to her music? Of course not. Likewise, if you purchase a Star Wars Blu Ray, do you now expect to own the copyright for Star Wars? Again, of course not.

When you purchase a CD, a DVD or hire a photographer to make images, what you are actually purchasing is a license to use that media in very specific ways. You can enjoy Taylor Swift in your CD player, but you wouldn’t expect to be able to use her music in a movie without paying for a new license, correct? In fact, you likely could not even use the music in a Youtube video.

If you read the usage licenses for movies, you technically cannot even display the movie for an audience without paying royalties (which is why you almost never see restaurants playing DVD or Blue Ray movies).

The same holds true for photography. A fact that most (even many photographers) do not realize is that, unless otherwise indicated, every photo is instantly copyrighted to the person who took the photo and protected by U.S. Copyright law, regardless of who or what the photo is of and whose camera took the photo.

If we hand you one of our cameras and you press the shutter release button, that photo is copyrighted to you, despite the camera and memory card belonging to us. A photo does not even require special paperwork or registration with the U.S. Copyright office.

Transferring copyright to a client means that we relinquish all rights to the photos, including our right to display the photos on our website. If we transfer our copyright via what’s known as a ‘copyright buyout’, we would need to remove them from our own portfolio as well.

A distinct advantage to us maintaining the copyright is that, when and if your images are stolen by another website or company (which happens very often), we can perform a DMCA takedown and have resources in place to see the images removed within hours or, at most, a couple of days. Pretty cool, right?

This would be against Amazon’s terms of use. There have been a few times in which we’ve been so taken aback by a product that one of us feels compelled to log in and leave a glowing review, but it wouldn’t be ethical to offer this as a service or favor.

You can, but we strongly recommend against blind drop shipping your products to us.

Product photography should always be a cherry picked perfect representation of your products. Often, products have minor manufacturer flaws and while these would not affect the enjoyment of a purchaser, they create a significant challenge for photography, as even minor scratches or flaws are very evident on camera. Many of our clients are Amazon or Shopify sellers looking to obtain product photography for Amazon listings or Shopify storefronts and a situation that we run into often is that Amazon FBA or another distribution center has placed cardboard packaged products in a small padded envelope and the packaging arrives crushed. While this wouldn’t be a problem for most consumers, as the packaging is the first thing to be discarded, it’s a fairly large issue when you’re hired to photograph the packaging.

While repairing boxes, packaging and slight cosmetic damage in Photoshop is certainly possible, there is a cost associated for doing so. Advanced retouching starts at $30 per photo and can almost always be avoided by taking the following steps:

  1. Always inspect your products by hand whenever possible. Look at them closely and check to make sure they’re operable and that there’s no tears / dents / scratches.
  2. Send us more than one product whenever possible, to reduce turnaround time. In the event that one is damaged in shipping, the other likely will not be. On the same token, if your product is to be photographed alone (standard product photography) and then also on a model, sending at least two samples ensures that we can schedule the modeled shoot immediately, rather than waiting until the standard product shots are complete.
  3. Pack your products well!
  4. Send us ‘flat’ versions of the packaging, without the products inside.

In general, our turnaround time for white background product photography orders consisting of less than 100 shots is around seven days. It’s always in our best interest to complete projects as soon as possible, to avoid our studio shelves filling up with orders.

If your project has staged lifestyle shots, this is likely going to be a few days longer, as we’ll need to first clear out our queue of white background product shots in order to begin staging and styling for lifestyle photography. For efficiency, we try to schedule as many lifestyle shoots for the same day as we can, as many of them have similar requirements.

If your shoot requires a model, we need to align our schedules with that of a model or models, as well as our makeup artist / stylist, which may increase turnaround time by a few days as well.

While it’s not always possible to provide an accurate turnaround time for complex lifestyle projects ahead of time, once we receive your products, we will usually have a better idea of our current workload and can pass that information along to you.

If quicker turnaround time is needed, we offer 3 day rush processing (white background projects only) for an additional 25%.

Absolutely! If return shipping is required, simply include a prepaid UPS or Fedex shipping label in the package, or email the digital label to us ahead of time.

If you’re local to Los Angeles, you may arrange to pick up your products at our downtown L.A. studio within 5 days of project completion. Please note that we will not purchase shipping labels. In the event of shipping damage or a lost package, UPS and Fedex will only accept claims from the shipper. Damage and loss claims are often a long and involved process that we would prefer to stay out of.

Please do not send prepaid USPS (post office) labels, as we have no way of scheduling a pickup and rarely see the mail carrier for our building.

Danger, Will Robinson! All humor aside, the answer is an emphatic ‘no’, as this has caused significant problems in the past. Our studio receives shipments from clients almost every day and the first thing we do is to match them up with contracts, to ensure that all of the items arrived.

Several times a month, we receive ‘mystery boxes’ that have no contracts. We have no idea where they came from or who they belong to. When this happened in the past, we would place these products on a shelf, in the hopes that their owners would come forward. Some of them reached out within a day or two, but many wouldn’t reach out for weeks.

We were surprised to learn that the majority of the people that came forward had assumed that they were already booked for product photography – even though no contract had been signed!

Remember that ‘mystery box’ shelf I mentioned? Soon it grew to two shelves, then an entire shelving system, then the hallway. We filled large plastic bins with unclaimed and unknown products and when (if) a client did sign a contract with us, we then had to search for their products. Things reached a boiling point when we began considering a larger studio space, only to realize that much of our studio was being take up by mystery boxes.

Which brings us to the present. When a shipment comes in, we give our due diligence to uncover who shipped them (we keep extremely detailed online records of clients and their products, so if a client has signed a contract with us, we will assuredly match their contract with their products). If a shipment comes in that we have not been contracted to shoot, it is discarded or donated to charity within 24 hours.

It’s not something we enjoy doing, but it ensures our studio will always remain tidy!

F-Sequence Studio offers lucrative quantity based discounts on larger product photography orders, but as a general rule we do not offer additional discounts, as it would not be fair to our other clients. When building a long term relationship with a new client, the first project always sets the stage for successive projects. The value for potential future work does not exist until we have completed at least one project and should never be used as a bargaining chip to negotiate a lower rate.

If the first project goes well and has great communication, then the next project likely will as well. If the first project is steeply discounted, then the next project will probably have to be discounted as well. We then end up charging all of our clients different amounts, which doesn’t seem very fair to our other clients, especially considering that many of them have been with us for years.

We receive this question often, but there is just no compelling reason to charge a new client a lower rate than our long term clients. If, after several shoots, you discovered that we were performing the same service to a brand new client for a lower rate, you would be understandably upset.

By charging the same quantity based rates and offering the same great service to all of our clients, it ensures consistency and fairness with all of our clients.

Besides, you can always take advantage of our quantity based discounts by placing a larger product photography order!