E-commerce is a big business in today’s economy, and automation is playing a significant part, from chatbots to delivery tools. With such a growing number of e-commerce stores, there is an increasing reliance on product photography to showcase a brand in its best light. From perfect pictures to product descriptions and technical information, a lot of time goes into bringing brands to life through their online catalogs and that’s where photography automation can help.
Many companies hire professional photographers to take care of their promotional shots, but that can be time-consuming. Given that some e-commerce companies would process thousands of products per day for their online stores if they could, finding time to streamline the process can make a world of difference. Photography automation and other image-based automation services can help in the fight for e-commerce efficiency, so let’s take a look at why.
What is Photography Automation?
Rather than relying on a human setting up a product to be taken from multiple angles, photography automation can do this automatically. This can help reduce the time it takes to get a product from the photography studio to a webpage from days to minutes. Image capture is done in a booth with 360° angles, ensuring your products can be viewed at all angles by online customers to boost conversions.
Post-production for manually-taken images can be the most time-consuming element of the process but automated photography reduces this time considerably. This allows companies to get products onto their websites faster, letting them dedicate more time to selling rather than processing them.
Benefits of Using Photography Automation
More than simply taking pictures of products, photography automation integrates hardware and cloud-based software for each stage of content production. This starts with 360° image capture and continues with post-production editing and touch-ups before publishing and going live on an e-commerce store.
Photography automation removes several stages and is fully equipped to deliver high-quality images. The hardware can be controlled by an app or dedicated software which gives the user choice of lighting, camera setup, positioning, and whether to include the background or not.
Rather than the skills of a professional photographer, this equipment can be used by trained operators with limited photo-taking knowledge or understanding. This can also help to reduce costs, as one person can do the work of many, and increase the speed at which you can use your images and add them to your website.
Capturing 360° Images in Minutes
Perhaps the best example of the time automated photography can save is in its 360° image production. While having a professional photographer on hand can ensure flexibility and the highest quality images, there is a payoff and that is the time it takes to set those shots up. Companies that need to process thousands of quality images in a short time frame can find things slowing down due to the human element of capturing each angle manually.
Photographers can become fatigued, but an automated system does not. Productivity is increased through automated photography but without a drop off in quality thanks to the photo studio booth it comes in. With ultra-bright lighting and all angles covered, there are no mistakes.
Furthermore, with integrated software, your company workflow can be streamlined and automated to ensure that images go live in a fraction of the time they take with manual processes. With descriptions and pages already formatted and ready to go live, once your images have been captured, predetermined parameters can select the appropriate angles for uploading.
No Expert Photography Skills Needed
The whole image-capturing process can be performed by someone with a limited understanding of the technical application of what makes a good picture. Instead, a trained operator can use an automated photography station as they would various other types of production equipment.
The process is a straightforward one that seamlessly integrates often isolated parts of image creation for e-commerce stores.
- Begin by placing your product on the turntable in the photo booth.
- A barcode is scanned that relates to the image and decides its name, creating an automatic inventory simultaneously.
- The operator then chooses an image-taking template that suits the product type in the booth. Lighting, camera, and turntable position are changed according to these presets.
- Once the process begins, the software controls the camera, taking a predetermined number of images while removing the background.
- Typical post-production touch-ups such as contrast, color correction, etc., are applied instantly.
- Operators can add 360° spins or 3D imagery for products that may benefit from this feature.
- Once complete, the operator will verify that the images comply with their company’s standards and fine-tune them as necessary.
- Images are then ready to be published on the company’s e-commerce site or saved locally. Image formatting and cropping are done automatically for the various final image types, e.g., for web, print, social media, or marketing purposes.
Scalability to Match Company Growth
The beauty of photography automation is that when your business grows, it can match your demands without the need for further investment. E-commerce companies that use a professional photographer may find themselves having to hire extra people as they grow to cover the entire process, from image capture to post-production. With the ability to process thousands of images per day, large volumes can be achieved in a short time frame versus traditional product image capture techniques. Furthermore, demand for e-commerce photographers is swelling and an automation tool can prevent any downtime as you seek to find new staff.
Consistent Images and Cost-Effectiveness
With the ability to line up your products the same way, every time, you can produce consistent shots across your entire e-commerce store and product range. This means there are no errors or missed angles, saving time and money by avoiding reshoots and additional post-production fixes. With automated background removal and replacement, the tedious nature of creating a vector is also removed, allowing you to place your product wherever you would like within an image.
Other Automation Tools that Benefit Photographers
Besides automating the physical act of taking pictures, you can still streamline your business operations using automation tools designed to improve efficiency and to support visual content and photography. For starters, social media automation tools like Hootsuite or Buffer can take the hassle out of posting content around the clock.
Scheduling posts is made easy with social media marketing tools that let you choose the time, date, and regularity with which you make posts. This is perfect for posting outside of work hours to ensure that someone doesn’t have to manually log in and spend time adding the finishing touches when they should be at home relaxing.
With more and more sophisticated social media automation tools becoming available to photographers, another time-saving piece of equipment is shooting automation. This allows photographers to try out different lighting settings or change their field depth to remove some of the tedious tasks that can take too long to play around with for the right results.
Automatic photo editing tools are a great way for some companies that are trying to do their product photography in-house to elevate their brand presence — from brightening images to reducing grain. The cleaner and more visually impressive your product images look, the more potential customers will trust the quality of your brand.
No-Code Image and Video Automation Tools
No-code automation tools are helping companies make visual content they could once only dream of doing without the support of a professional photographer, videographer, or graphic designer. From auto-generating social media posts to video creation by typing text, no-code tools are helping us be more creative than ever while reducing the time spent on the technical side.
Tools like Photoroom can take your images and automatically place them into any of its library of images, from swapping the background to applying the right filters. With batch editing capabilities, you can enjoy creative control over all of your brand's imagery, even without the technical skills.
Is Photography Automation for You?
For some, there can be no substitute for the image quality that a professional photographer brings to the table. However, photography automation allows for creating and uploading professional standard product images in a fraction of the time.
It also doesn't require a professional photographer to operate or use their post-production skills, as everything is seamlessly integrated. With the sheer volume of product images this automation innovation can offer, e-commerce companies that deal in large stock levels can completely transform their workflows.