Product Photoshoots - Some Helpful Hints and Recommendations

Intro

There's a lot of useful advice out there for entrepreneurs trying to bring a new product to market. There's even a lot of great advice on how to do so through crowd-funding in particular. But when I was searching for information and tips on how to put together a great photo and video shoot that would produce slick, awesome, on-brand collateral, I came up blank. In an effort to redress that situation I've written this article with some pointers and recommendations that I hope are helpful to any entrepreneur who comes across it. 

Getting Started 

First things first. Images (and video in the case of crowd-funding) are critical to the marketing and therefore to the success of your product. Do not think you can get away without some kind of capital investment in a shoot. The money you spend here is worth it. Expect to spend at least $1000 on a video and probably another $1000 on photography and models. And that is really the skimpiest budget I can imagine. Realistically, you'll likely spend close to $4000 total. That being said, there is no need to wildly overspend either. Know your budget and stick to it. (I'll list some ideas on how to get creative on stretching your budget later in the article.) Additionally, know what you need. For me, it was a video for the Indiegogo campaign, some great shots of pretty people wearing my glasses for marketing materials, and then shots of the glasses themselves to use in selling them. I'll use my experience as a template.

The Video

Without a great video, your product is a non-starter for crowd-funding, so if that is the way you are going, this is a pretty critical step. Here are some basic things you can expect:

  • Expect to be the screenwriter and director of your small film. You're going to need a vision for how you want to explain your product. Make sure to take a look at successful campaigns for products similar to yours to gather good idea. 
  • Unless you've got some professional video-editing skills, don't expect to be able to shoot and edit this thing yourself. Find a videographer to do this for you.
  • Finding a great videographer you can trust isn't always easy, but you can use websites like videobrewery.com to post a description of what you're looking for and a budget and receive back a ton of proposals. Sifting through them can be tricky but the best advice I have there is look at their past work and then go with your gut (or in my case my wife's).

I ended up doing two videos and using two different studios, both of whom I highly recommend. One is Shuffle Box Productions near Allentown, PA. The other is Drive-In Productions, who did a terrific job on a tight budget and is based in NYC.

The Photoshoot

Photos are incredibly important for the marketing of any product, whether you are crowdfunding or not. The first decision you want to make when considering photography is what style of photography fits your brand. Take some time to think about the brands you like and if any of them match the vibe you are going for. That will give you a great jumping off point. Then come the mechanics of actually making this thing happen. 

Choosing the Photographer:

  • There are tons of sites you can use to get matched with a great photographer, but I've found that there are enough good ones out there that it's not difficult to get a recommendation from someone you trust. Try posting a request on Facebook and see what you get. 
  • Try using more than one photographer. I worried initially that this might annoy the photographer I hired, but no one seemed to mind. Make sure if you are doing this that each photographer brings something unique to the table. For me, one was great at portrait work and the other was a photoshop wizard.
  • When choosing a photographer, I've found it to be relatively unimportant whether or not they have done commercial work before. As long as they have an artistic eye and can work with people, it should be fine.  

I worked with two amazing photographers, one Abbie from Abbie Sophia Photography as well as an incredibly talented amateur photographer, Michaela Katz. 

Finding the Models:

  • Believe it or not, modeling is a skill. Your good looking friend may do in a pinch, but someone who has modeled before brings something to the camera that a typical person does not. 
  • Finding a model does not have to be particularly difficult though, especially if you live in a big city. I used a Facebook group called NYC Casting Calls to post a casting call for young models, promising nothing more than breakfast and offers to model came rolling in. 
  • Attitude matters as much as looks to the success of your shoot so make sure to get on the phone with your models as well as some sample pictures of them. 
  • Hire more models than you think you need. People are liable to cancel last minute and you don't want to be stuck with no models on the day of your shoot.

Keeping it in Budget

I do not claim to be the master at finding creative ways to stay under budget but I have come across some useful tips that I have used and are worth sharing:

  • Don't work with established agencies. Freelancers are generally cheaper because their overhead is lower. And negotiation is also usually easier.
  • Negotiate. A freelancer might have a list price, but ultimately they want to make a deal. Pick a number you feel you can afford and don't be a afraid to share that number with a photographer or videographer. If they won't do the shoot for that number, move on. But often enough, people will try and accommodate. 
  • Hire talented students. Especially in the world of photography, I have found that an amateur eager to build a portfolio may have exceptional talent and come at a fraction of the cost of a professional. The risks here are that they are less accountable as they don't have a professional reputation to protect. But you can hedge that risk by hiring more than one. 

That is it for this article. Hopefully you've found some of it helpful. Check back for upcoming articles on launch parties and crowd funding in general! Make sure to check out our upcoming launch party on August 24 at Visana NYC.

Eventbrite - Peeq Launch Party

 

 

Peeq: Design for Reversibility

In my last note, I said that the next stage in bringing Peeq to market would involve hiring a mechanical engineer to create a prototype that would more closely resemble a final manufactured product. Well we did it! But it wasn’t easy. How come? Read on.

What’s so hard about reversibility?

Flat double-hinged prototype

Flat double-hinged prototype

At first I thought creating reversible glasses would be really simple. A double hinge like the one I created in the prototype to the right was all that was needed. The thing was, as people tried these glasses on, I realized they didn’t hold to your face. Most glasses arms don’t swing freely, they press against your temples. These glasses did not. And it turns out that creating a hinge that did that, and all the other things we wanted wasn’t so simple.

Our Requirements

We needed a hinge that would make the arms stick to your temples, fold up flat, and rotate horizontally around the frames rather than over them so you could show off different sides of the arms as well as different sides of the glasses body.

We came up with 4 different options.

Four Possible Mechanical Designs

Four Possible Mechanical Designs

The drawings above show how complex simple reversibility can get. Each option had pros and cons and we worked on each for a while. In the end though, we went with (drumroll please...) option #2! Option 2 has an amazing new patent-pending mechanism that allows us to achieve all the functionality we needed with no springs or other delicate pieces. It’s also got a really cool look. And while how it works exactly might be a little tough to glean from a still image, you’ll get to see how impressive it really is in an upcoming video.

If you have any questions about these designs or any thoughts on colors and shapes you’d like to see in our coming collection, email raffi@peeqglasses.com and let me know. And please, sign up at peeqglasses.com to receive regular updates on Peeq’s progress!

Welcome to Peeq

Hi All,

This is my very first peeq post. As such, I’d like to start by getting you all caught up or acquainted with how peeq came to be.

Peeq: Stage 1

Our first, somewhat gnarly prototype.

Our first, somewhat gnarly prototype.

Peeq is an idea I’ve been working on for a while. It grew out of a product design project in grad school. Our task was to design a product that would be desirable to our fellow classmates. I came up with the idea to have a pair of sunglasses that you could reverse or wear two ways. I thought it would be really cool if both sides of the frame could have different designs and you could flip them around to expose either side whenever you wanted. My teammates (Spencer Penn, Ed Lando, and Elan Kiderman) and I prototyped and iterated and came up with the glasses above.

Our 3d model

Our 3d model

We continued working on the frames and managed to create a flat 3d model of the glasses. Our classmates loved our final design but other than filing for a provisional patent, we decided not to pursue it after the class finished.

 

Peeq: Stage 2

Some time after I graduated, I was showing my designs to my girlfriend (now wife) and her family. They loved the concept and my now father-in-law even offerered to help with the patent expenses. Their enthusiasm reignited my passion for the project and I began working on it again.

After working with a friend (many thanks to Ilana Teicher) on improving the design we already had, we managed to create these:

Prototyping a few tries later.

The next goal is to take these guys to market. Over the next few weeks I will be working with an industrial designer to create a ready-to-manufacture prototype and I will be readying an indiegogo campaign to raise funds for manufacture. If you’d like to get involved or just want updates on our progress, please visit peeqglasses.com and sign up.

Thanks for reading!