Production companies, like briefs come in all ‘shapes and sizes’…knowing what to look for will save you time, money and a possible headache further down the line.
Here’s our checklist of the top 8 considerations to make when choosing a production studio:
1. They have commercial expertise
Does the studio take the time to understand your customers and your brand as well as your products? Do they have experience in working to link photography and/or video to commercial outcomes like sales or number of product returns? If you’re in the business of retail or manufacturing, you’ll want to ensure your photography and video assets aren’t just sitting pretty but driving sales and improving customer experience.
2. They have creative expertise
Whatever your photographic or video requirements, you’ll need to know that the studio you work with have the creative expertise you specifically need. Photographers and videographers (editors, makeup artists, models, stylists too) will have had varying professional experiences and a unique set of skills. Make sure the creatives that will be working on your shoot can demonstrate that they have experience delivering what you need to the standard you need it. Don’t be afraid to ask for examples of their work.
3. They create economies of scale
Any studio worth their salt will look to find the most economical way to get your photographic and video requirements completed in the most efficient way possible. This is especially relevant if you are a business with a large number of brands/lines/products. For example, economies of scale can be created by combining a photographic shoot with a video shoot, by building sets that can be used multiple times and overall by timing and scheduling the shoot so that they make best use of resources like makeup artists, models and presenters to minimise the time they need to be booked for.
4. They have the space you need
Again, this is relevant if you need to shoot a large number of products (or if the products themselves are large). Does the studio have the square footage you need to get the shoot completed in the shortest time possible? If you have very large products like vehicles or machinery, is it possible to even get them through the door!? Adequate studio space may be the difference between needing to shoot for a day or for one week (or whether you can shoot at all). A studio fully equipped to store and shoot your products won’t need to go to great lengths to accommodate you and therefore charge you for complicated or lengthy studio shoots.
5. They have quality equipment and they know how to use it
What kind of equipment do they shoot on? What kind of technology do they edit on? What kind of resources are available to the set build team? Whilst it’s true that “a good workman doesn’t blame their tools”, an inadequate editing suite or camera can be the difference between a good and a great image or video!
6. You know where you stand (T&Cs, SLAs etc)
A good studio, will understand the importance of formal agreements on both sides. Whether these cover legal issues relating to your brand, expectations on timings or what would happen in the event of a disagreement, you’ll want to know you’re covered. SLAs agreed early can eliminate any awkwardness, loss of money or time wasting that might occur. If the studio are smart, they will understand the importance of these for both parties. Run them by your procurement/legal department and make sure that there’s nothing unfair in there. SLAs should be a fair set of guidelines that help everyone know where they stand.
7. They have adequate sample storage space and slick sample storage processes
The studio will need samples of your products and may need to store them for any length of time depending on the details of the shoot. Make sure you understand the processes for getting these to the studio and getting them back again. At Bradwell Media we receive your samples and track them all the way through storage and shoot until they arrive back with you, massively reducing the chances of them getting lost or broken.
8. They’re on your side!
Studios that want to have a long-term relationship with you (rather than charge you the earth and under-deliver in order to make ‘quick money’) will be on your side. They will want to ensure you get the most ‘bang for your buck’, that your experience with them is as seamless as possible and they will want to make sure you‘re informed and ultimately, happy. Make sure you’re assigned an effective Account Manager that takes you through the process in this way.