How I Got Started in Product Photography
Updated: Jun 30
I'm going to be honest...I'm not ready to give advice on “How to Start a Photography Business”, because I probably did it all wrong - lol. Instead… you get my story on how I got into product photography. I hope my story might inspire and/or motivate others to explore new things.
Long story *kind of* short… I started my family + Portrait photography business in 2016, when I offered a free Maternity Photography session to my pregnant friend. We drove to a local lake, and we spent the day taking photos around the lake. We had so much fun splashing in the water, sitting on the dock, and those images turned out great! After that, I dove straight into photographing a couple who were getting married in Myrtle Beach, SC. It was truly special to photograph their elopement. I was so excited, and I absolutely loved doing both of these photography sessions, that is how I knew - this is what I wanted to do. The next couple of years, I have had over a dozen of family, engagement, and "mommy & me" sessions at the beach.
In 2017, I learned of a group called 'Let's Collab - Professional Photos for Small Shops’. It introduced me to commercial photography, specifically product. I started doing collaborations that involved items for my kids - clothes, toys, jewelry, etc. When I started this, I had no idea what a huge impact this group was going to have on me and my photography business.
As my children started getting older, they didn’t really want to model for me as often. So, I started to branch out into candles, beauty, health, & hygiene products. It was a game changer for me, because I discovered that I really love it! I learned how to style flatlays, how to plan for the detailed shots. However, I did not have a ton of money to spend on props or a beautifully decorated home to stage products in... so I had to get a little crafty. I created my own backdrops using foam boards and contact paper. I also purchased large dry erase boards or large tiles from Lowe's. From 2018 until the end of 2019, I did hundreds of collaborations. I worked hard to build my portfolio, my brand, and my skill for all my clients.
In December 2019, I ultimately decided to completely switch gears and went from being a Family Photographer to a Product & Brand Photographer. I started utilizing the Let's Collab’s MarketMonday and booked a couple Shop Owners looking for monthly photography subscriptions.
Although Covid affected many businesses, in 2020 Images By Kelli, LLC was formed. I'm absolutely grateful for not only every single client, but for the fantastic friends I've made in the whole process of collaborating and being a business owner.
To say, “I love photography!” is an understatement, but I have loved capturing beautiful moments for families to reflect on later. Now, I love getting creative taking commercial images for business owners and I love seeing them use my images on their website and/or social media platforms.
What am I up to now? Well, now I am an Admin in the Let's Collab group making sure other photographers and business owners have the same amazing experiences I had. Offering advice to photographers who are wanting to branch out into commercial/product photography and helping to ensure that shop owners are getting quality images from their collab partners.
Professionally, I am continuously trying new styles, upgrading props/backdrops, getting new equipment, learning new techniques (like videos), etc… So that I can give my clients the very best experience I can offer. I love what I do, and I will never stop trying to improve at doing what I love.
And that is how Images by Kelli was born and how I started my product and branding photography business. I am absolutely an open book, please feel free to comment and ask me any questions. I will share all the knowledge I have with you.
Images By Kelli is a product photographer located near Myrtle Beach,SC. Her specialty is creative flatlays and artful lighting that brings products up close and in focus for various brands.