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  • kellihiser

How I Got Started in Product Photography

Updated: Mar 31, 2022

I'm going to be honest...I'm not ready to give advice on “How to Start a Photography Business”, because I did it totally wrong. Instead… you get my story on how I got into product photography. It may not be interesting, but it might inspire and/or motivate someone else to explore new things.

Long story *kind of* short… I started my family photography business in 2016, when I offered a free Maternity Photography session to my pregnant friend. We drove to a local lake, and I took her maternity photos. We had so much fun splashing in the water, sitting on the dock, and those images turned out great! After that, my first paying client was 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 those photography sessions, that is how I knew - this is what I wanted to do. The next couple of years, I 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 product photography. I started doing collaborations that involved items for my kids - clothes, toys, jewelry, etc. 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 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, but I did not have much 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, I help out with 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.

Kelli is a brand & product photographer located in South Carolina. Her specialty is creative flatlays and artful lighting that brings products up close and in focus for various brands.

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