In the last article on our series; A complete guide to e-commerce photography that converts, we have an in-depth discussion with James Bukusi, one half of Tidy.co.ke.
James is a time tested entrepreneur having started and still managing, 2 other e-commerce businesses, Mother & Baby + Toys Kenya. As an entrepreneur, a lot of the times, resources are stretched so it may not always be possible to invest in everything you want. That’s why Jamo (as we like to call him) decided to learn some basic photography skills to capture some of the primary products he sells.
We are really glad we get to sit with him and learn how he gets to capture some of his most frequent images, plus how he engages photographers & videographers for more intermediate photography & content.
Through this article, we hope other entrepreneurs are able to pick some photography hacks for their businesses. The full video interview is below.
**All images courtesy of Tidy
Tidy in detail
1. Hi James, tell us a bit more about Tidy.
Tidy.co.ke sells products to help you organize your life. We cater to the people who want to bring order to their homes.
2. Before you started tidy, you were running other businesses, can you tell us more about them & when you exactly got into the e-commerce space?
I got into e-commerce after a closing a farming business. The maths was not adding up. You would farm for one season and calculate what your profit was and divide it by the three months to do a season and it was not worth it.
3. How has it been running 3 e-commerce businesses?
It’s quite a lot of work. But it gets easier as I understand the customers better. It involves learning many new skills on the job, and improving all the time.
DIY Product Photography
4. What motivated you to start capturing images for your products?
The speed at which you need to get new content that Changes is what led to this decision. Using a professional would be way too expensive. This is also because the range of products increases very often so to keep up, we had to lean how to do it in-house.
5. For a lot of businesses starting out, photography can be expensive, what are some photography tips you can share with fellow entrepreneurs?
A good phone, and understanding of lighting will take you far. Basic photos editing and video skills will also take your content to the next level.
6. Have you invested in equipment? What kind of equipment have you invested in?
Fortunately from a previous business venture of a photography studio, we had equipment left over from that business. We have DSLR cameras, backgrounds, stands, lights, flashguns, diffusers. So it really is a short cut that may not be available to everyone.
So having a phone with a good camera and understanding lighting will go a long way.
You may also like our interview with another e-commerce entrepreneur, Jason: A complete Guide to E-commerce Photography that Converts: part 2
Managing Photography while in business
7. How do you manage your time to run the business and make time to capture the images?
Schedule activities. Does it help to generate sales for the business? If it is a yes, you have to prioritize it.
8. What challenges have you encountered while capturing e-commerce images?
Lighting + equipment . These are often expensive. The technique to get the images exactly as you want them is a challenge.
The Kaching! E-commerce photography & videography that Converts
9. How do you go about selecting the right photographer for your business needs?
Looking at the portfolio is the first way. You can determine the photographer’s style and if it fits what you want. Second is the budget. You can try negotiate, but often photograhers have put time and effort into perfecting their craft and more often than not, you get what you pay for ( but get a range of quotes before you decide, of course).
10. You have commissioned videographers to shoot videos for your businesses, what was the briefing process like?
I have. We have got a videographer to get video for ads we wanted. The process takes a while because the videographer has to understand your vision. You have to get examples of what you want because you do not have the same experiences. Once you are in agreement, it makes sense to have a script/story board.
This will guide on the kind of shots you are going to get.( this will prevent you going to edit and find there are important parts missing). Schedule a full day of shooting and start early. It seems easy until you are shooting, and it is taking longer than expected. Discuss in detail what the aesthetic of the images should be and how they align to your brand so that the customers can visualize your vision to them.
Don’t miss part 1: A Complete Guide to E-commerce Photography that Converts: Part 1
11. How do the images and videos bring in new business, how is conversion like?
Images are good for the website and social media but can have limitations in communicating some features for the product. Through video, the potential customer can see something familiar and your solution to their problem. With data and WiFi being more widespread, video becomes your go-to.
12. Any additional tips you would like to share?
My advice to photographers & Videographers is if they are able create images or videos that help entrepreneurs make money, that is, increase their sales, then budget stops being an issue. If there’s a way to demonstrate the value that an entrepreneur can get, then it becomes easier to meet whatever budget is fronted.
Many thanks to James Bukusi for agreeing to share with us insights on his e-commerce business.
Shop Tidy here: https://tidy.co.ke/