Shannon: All right. Here we go. Well, I want to thank you for joining me. My name is Shannon. I am the founder of Marketplace Seller Courses. And we’ve got our Facebook Live webinar today. Thank you for everybody who’s able to join us now or after the fact. I have with me Ken Greenlee. He is the owner of Upgraded Images and he specializes on Amazon product photography, over a dozen years experience doing that with some really incredible results.
So a couple of housekeeping tips real quick. First of all, if you’re not able to make the whole webinar, we will record it. It will be live on Facebook and remain as a video in Facebook but we’ll also add it to the website. We’ll send a recap, follow-up with some links and everything, all the information that you need in the follow-up email. So, don’t feel like if you’re unable to stay for the whole time you’re going to miss out, we’ll make sure that you get all that information. So, Ken, thank you so much for joining me and I’m really excited to have you here today.
Ken: Yeah, my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.
How Ken Got Started
Shannon: So, let’s go ahead and dive right in. One of the things I learned about Ken, when we first met, he told me a story that when you were doing e-commerce, you, at one point, clear out the furniture in your living room and dining room I think and put it on the lawn and cover it with tarps and turn it into a distribution center. Tell me a little bit about that because that’s such a fascinating story and it will play in to where we’re going today.
Ken: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. In late 1999, I started a company called Bath-and-Body.com selling personal care products, shower gels, gift baskets, launched it about a couple of months before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving hits, I was out of town at my mom’s house watching orders come in at first with excitements then with sheer panic.
So, we cut Thanksgiving short, raced back down to San Diego where I lived at that time, got friends and neighbors cleared– it was literally like you said, all the furniture in the house except for the bedroom into the backyard, covered it with tarps and just had family and friends as a makeshift distribution center for the demand that we just had– just weren’t expecting.
Shannon: That’s– well, and that’s how Amazon started, if only you had to pick books instead of bath and body.
Shannon: Now, the reason I found you– I think I’m– we met about five or six years ago was because I encountered the same problem you did and you were looking for a solution and because you could not find the solution you created it. Talk about why you created Upgraded Images, because that’s so important for this whole conversation.
Ken: Oh, absolutely. Well, I ended up selling Bath-and-Body.com while I owned it I was contacted a few times by potential photographers to assist with taking of the photos of the products for the e-commerce site. After speaking with pretty much every single person who called, I felt just weird after the phone call. I felt like they were just really trying to get a sense for what my budget was so that their invoice could be exactly that much or a little more. Pricing was so hidden, the process was also hidden and it just became very clear that there was an opportunity to come in back in the early 2000s to launch something with absolutely transparent pricing regardless of the difficulty of the product. And just putting it all up there with the process and make it as easy as possible because a lot of people are doing this for the first time and they don’t need the intimidation. So that was the goal.
Benefits of Flat-Rate Product Photography
Shannon: Yeah. It is really confusing and so, the reason I found you was because I was in LA at that time working for company that was selling iPhone cables, really unique innovative product and I’d contact like a buddy of mine and his brother was a photographer and he’s like kind of like a jerry-rig kind of thing and he’s like, “I don’t really feel comfortable doing that.” And all the sites I found, it was “Call for pricing”, “Fill out this form for pricing” like nobody had pricing and a lot of times they wouldn’t get back to you.
And all of sudden I found Upgraded Images in Pasadena which was only a few miles away from where I was at that time. And it was like there was a pricing right there on the page and I now exactly how much it was going to cost per photos. There were like six variations of the product, we wanted all the variations to look the same, we wanted a bundle pack photo. And so, for me, it was like oh my gosh, this huge breath of fresh of air that finally the solution that you don’t have to worry about trying to schedule this whole shoot, trying to… trying to schedule this whole shoot or figure out the photography side of things. So, that’s really the start of it.
Let’s talk about Amazon Product Photography. And I want to start with what are some of the biggest mistakes that you see a lot of sellers make with their primary product photography on Amazon.
Common Product Photography Mistakes by Amazon Sellers
Ken: Well, as you know there are a couple of things to talk about here really. First of all, Amazon does have a lot of specifications for what they will allow and what they won’t allow. You will see a lot of samples up there where the photos in fact don’t meet those specifications and so we get a lot of phone calls from people saying. “Well, I hear I need a pure white background” or we’ll tell people that they need a pure white background and they’ll say, “Well, I see it all the time that people don’t do it” and so everyone thinks that that’s OK.
Ken: Know the specifications as well the as the Amazon people in their designed departments. So, the problems that we run into that we see are two-fold. First of all, you keep about meeting those specifications and giving themselves kind of this vulnerability to having their images yanked by Amazon. It doesn’t happen terribly frequently because of the sheer number of images. The second thing is of course is just images that don’t look awesome. And you get that from people just using natural household lighting, they’ll have a fluorescent light up on one side, light coming through the window on the other side, they don’t really fully get that even though all white kind of looks– all light kind of looks white, it’s in fact not. There’s color temperature…
Ken: …your incandescent light. So you’ll have a product. We see this all the time. A product which is blue on one side and yellow on the other side when in fact it’s a uniform color.
Shannon: Right. And there’s not a poster for one identity will be where they want it to look like that.
Ken: Exactly. Exactly. Right. Yeah, lighting is a huge issue, you know, removing all the backgrounds. But primarily, what we really excel at is– my background is really marketing and so I’ve instilled this on all the photographers who are part of our team now. We look at each product with an eye for– and we ask ourselves, what does client really need to see about this? What is this, you know, what are the unique selling points about this item and how do we really highlight those in the photos?
Shannon: And that really takes it beyond I just want to take a picture of the product.
Ken: That’s right.
Shannon: Because I think that’s where a lot of people start with. It’s like we just need a picture of the product and don’t think about all those in-depth things that are really going to actually sell the product because it’s not just information, it’s going beyond that and taking it to a marketing level.
Ken: Exactly. Exactly.
Shannon: So, I mean to give an example of this, I think this goes back to the first example with cables. We had sent you the cables, you had them, you did the first shoot and you ask, you said, there was I think the black tips, there was a sort of a black plastic coating and you said, “Do you want us to add a little highlight to that, a little white glint and sort of shimmer off a bit?” because that’s what a lot of big companies do. And there’s a selling point that I never would have considered what was going to be added and post– talk about something as minute as that and what that can do for product to change a customer’s perception.
Ken: OK. Now, you’re asking me to go into a database of just about every…
Shannon: Just a 30 second version.
Ken: The 30 second version. Well… oh my goodness, that’s a really tough one. My mind gets flat just a little. But we have now photographed hundreds of thousands of paid photos here. So examples are I think a lot of what we’re able to do that people can’t do on their own too is the way we stage products on a pure white background and suspends them in such a way that they truly look like they are floating and we hide every little prop that holds them exactly into place so if something screws into something, you kind of– we can kind of break it apart, show it’s you know so it’s not touching anything just floating on pure white background just like pre-final assembly stage. That’s something that we do quite commonly that’s people really just aren’t able to stage on their own.
Shannon: Let’s talk about the white background real quick. So here’s the Amazon specifications, the longest side has to be at least 1000 pixels and the shortest side has to be at least 500 but typically you want at least 1000. Now, your initial package starts at 1200 by 1200, and we’ll get into the packages a little later, but that provides you a really good resolution. It also provides a really good zoom because as the customer hovers their mouse over the photo, it’s actually going to zoom in. And so, we always let people know based on the detail of your product, you might actually want to use a different resolution, some products you don’t need as much detail and you can stick with 1200.
Sometimes maybe there’s a lot of intricacy in the product that you really want people to see so you actually want to go with a much bigger size. And that’s actually really important to know as you’re prepping up the product photography. But the pure white background is important. It doesn’t mean photograph of product on a white sheet and you know use Photoshop with it. Talk about how you get that pure white background because it really is the cleanest outline of the product and puts it on that according to Amazon specs.
Ken: Well, there are a couple of things that we do. Of course, we use very bright lighting. We shoot on white seamless background paper. So we’ve got a white-ish background to begin with. Now, obviously we can’t pump up the lighting so high that the background just blows out in terms of pure in the camera. We do that in higher lights of the product itself are actually going to also blow out. And certainly we shoot a lot of things that are white, a lot of things that are highly reflective so we can’t just set our exposure and just blow out the background. So there is a lot of post production that goes into that as well, kind of really hands tracing out the product image just knocking out the background digitally to appear white.
Shannon: Yeah. And one of the things, the side benefits that I love about that is a lot of photos when you get them back, it could be a commercial or photo shoot for example, the image size, the megabytes per image is usually just exorbitant and it takes up tons of space on your computer, if you’re having to transfer files Dropbox and stuff. I was looking at some of the images that we got from you again, 1200 by 1200 pixels, perfect resolution, 250 Kilobytes. I mean it’s like nothing. So there’s a huge benefit actually photographing at that resolution and then removing all those extraneous background which also equates to removing data from the photo to make it a smaller file size without decreasing resolution at all.
Ken: Exactly. Right. JPEG does optimize the images and it has a very easy time if we’re having huge sections of images. And again, the products that you sent most recently like the whisk part in the cables, there’s a tremendous amount of white space in there, a very, very skinny products and that can be optimized like crazy with JPEGs.
Product Photography Options
Shannon: Yeah. So let’s talk about the three scenarios that most whether it’s a brand, manufacturer, it could be an inventor, you know it could be even a reseller who’s putting together a bundle. You can do it yourself. You can go the full studio route, hire a whole full studio production or you know they can use a company like Upgraded Images. Let’s just kind of walk through each of those because there are pros and cons to each in my personal opinion the pros for it seems a company like Upgraded Images far outrace everything else. But let’s talk about the individual shoot in terms of quality, time, investment, what you’re going to get out of it. And what that final photo is typically going to look like.
Ken: OK, sure. Well, option one, doing it yourself. Obviously, people are attracted to that one because once you own the equipments, once you have the knowledge to actually do the shoots, at that point, once you’ve made that initial expenditure then essentially, your images are only cost you your time. And if you can get up the speed, if you have some good camera knowledge, that could be an OK– well, it could certainly work for some people who have time available, who have the finances to go out and purchase decent equipment including decent lighting. You would be amazed how many people come in and bring us their product and say, “By the way, would you like to buy some lighting?” we tried it ourselves. It’s a pain. We can’t do it.” It is really surprising how many people we shoot for who have given it that shot on their own.
Shannon: And it can be pretty expensive, I imagine, even just buying some of the cameras, lighting. If you have some of that, there’s still a pretty significant financial investment plus you still have to do it every time and you got to cut off the background. So there’s a lot of manual process that goes into that.
Ken: Right. And certainly, there is software, in fact, I think the Amazon integrate something now that really helps you knock out the background. So what it does it’s– it does it the dirty way. It– again, it kind of bumps up those white areas which can grab the shines and grab the white areas of your product and blow those out to complete white as well. So yeah, it’s correct.
Shannon: Now, let’s talk about the second option which is studio. I think sometimes people have the mindset that “If I spend more, I’m going to get more.” So we’re a big brand, we’ve got million dollar marketing budgets and stuff. We want a full studio photo shoot that’s going to cost us 10 grand because we’re going to get 10 grand out of it. Let’s break that down and talk about again, the expense and the value and what you’re going to get versus again what you could get at some, you know a company like Upgrade Images.
Ken: I don’t have a lot of familiarity with some of the organizations that do that scale of imagery. We don’t really speak with them or speak too much with clients about their experiences about them. But, essentially what they are doing is what we do here everyday. We’re just insanely efficient at it. We have studio booths and you can see just a little portion of our studio here, it’s a 4500 square foot studio. We’ve got booths permanently setup for different types of products, large products, table top products that kind of need to be a little suspended. So, we’ve got this stuff ready to go all the time and we’re here all the time.
Ken: I asked everyone to come in a little late so I can finish this. But, so we’re already ready already. So, that’s a huge part of really what allows us to have our pricing just tremendously lower from some of these companies that will first consult with you, then setup specifically for your shoots probably with or without your presence. We have just a tremendous amount of experience shooting every single type of product there is. So we can shave that time and just jump in and start.
Shannon: Mm-hmm. So, let’s talk a little bit about the process. One of the things that I love, again, if you were to schedule, say a huge photo shoot. And then you get all the images and prose back few days or a week later and you realize you’re missing some or there was a slightly different angle you want to get. You got to go back to square one and you got to reschedule everything. And with Upgraded Images, the process is so simple. So let’s walk people through the process. If I’ve got product that I want to photograph for 10 to 15 different variations or handful of different products, let’s go ahead and just walk them through the process of how we get that started, what that looks like and then I’ve got some tips as well for that from my own experience with using you guys.
Ken: Certainly. Well, the first process is to get your products to us. And if you’re– if clients are local, they’ll bring them. If they’re across the country, across the world, we have a lot of international clients, they’ll ship them to us. We have an order form where they can, in fact, put their instructions but you can also supplement that with a phone call. We’re always welcome to speak with the clients. What we tell people about with regards to how– what level of instructions they should provide, we say we have some clients who take camera phone shots and shoot little samples of every angle, send those to us. Then we have clients who say, “Here’s my stuff. Go for it.”
Ken: And everything in between and we’re comfortable with that entire spectrum.
Shannon: Right. Because you’ve done it before, no product is going to be completely new for you. You understand the basics of what’s going to look best. I want to read this real quick from your bio. The whole idea is you understand the importance of communicating value to the customer and use that knowledge to ensure that every photograph taken at Upgraded Images highlights the most important aspect of the product while representing it accurately and attractively.
And I love that because it really does a good job of summing up. It’s not just about shooting the product. It’s about understanding the best way. And I think we even went through this with a handful of companies where we thought of certain way it would look good and then we came back several months later and go, “OK, that’s really not actually going to be the best option. Let’s reshoot it this way.” And it was just a matter of resending the products back and letting you know what we wanted.
So, I would say the two pieces of advice that I think I found it really helpful. One is if you’re an Amazon seller, go on Amazon and look at other best seller products in your category or maybe someone on the top five, best seller Amazon to each product, that sort of thing. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to replicate that but use it for inspiration. So if you have no idea where to start, that could be a really good way to look at it. And I think that would have saved us a lot of time if we had done that because again, we were paying for shots that we wound up not even using at all just as we hadn’t thought it through.
And then the second thing I always do is if we know there’s a shot that we really want, I set that shot up exactly how I want, in office, living room, kitchen, wherever we can, want to show it. Setup with exactly the props and exactly that angle, shoot it on my phone, add that to the email and then you know exactly what we’re going for and you go don’t have to do a lot of back and forth or miscommunications. It’s very efficient way to say, “These are the three shots I want for this product.” You bang them out and then we get those back. Talk about the follow-up process once you get the shot, about how long it takes typically and then what’s the process from there. Once you finished that initial shoot where do we go from there.
Ken: Well, let me step back and one– say one thing about people sending sample photos and having them not quite replicate. That is something really to say a second time because we do have a lot of clients who will show us photos and say “I want exactly this.” And you should all know that we have the trained eye similar to the company that took original shot that you’re looking at.
Ken: And we can come up with something a little bit different. I mean if your goal really is to just look identical to your competitors, certainly that’s your choice. But we are able to come up with really amazing hero shots. So now, getting back, the process, after we shoot everything, first of all, our mantra here is you don’t pay for any images that you don’t love. So after we shoot everything, we do go through some editing. We post all the images in the client directory and send an email with a link to it.
So at that point, you review everything and we invite your harshest criticism. Take a look at everything. You have something missed the mark even a little, let us know, reshoots are free. It’s just part of the cost of doing business and we wouldn’t do it any other way. So, images you don’t care for, there are certainly no obligation to purchase. Something like a little bit of tweaking, just let us know, we’ll reshoot it. And only then do you consider actually paying the invoice.
Shannon: And it’s basically going up there and saying, “I want these three shots. This one, can you do it from a slightly different angle?” And again, I think, I think– going back to earlier point, somebody can say, “Hey, this is kind of what I want.” And you’re going to be able to say, “Let’s take that one better” and maybe offer suggestion or an option and maybe even do both options and suggestions so they can see that “Yeah, actually that is going to be better. It actually differentiates you from your competition and so forth.” But you know, say, “OK, I want these three shots. This one can you redo.” And once that fourth image is redone, basically, you resend that, I select the images. And then it’s a really simple PayPal link from that point to basically pay for the images and then get a zip file you can download to be able to have access to your images.
Ken: Sure. PayPal and we also have merchant’s account as well for those who don’t have PayPal.
Ken: But yes, correct.
Shannon: So, just the seamless process, like I said, you can be anywhere in the world. I happen to be in California, not far from Pasadena when we first reached out. But people can literally be anywhere and as long as they have the ability to ship the products to you and then get them back, the cost is minimal. It really is.
So, I want to talk a little bit about because you know a handful of companies that I worked with the difference that a primary product shot makes. And so, I think for example, one of the clients that I referred to you early on was a guy Philip Mazzolini who had the Mazzolini Record Clamp on Amazon. He had it for an entire year and had never had a single sale. So he was paying something like central fees and he was just trying some different marketing, just nothing. And I think the images were actually renderings which you’re not supposed to use on Amazon. Again, they had a suppressed a listing but it wasn’t doing anything. And we sent the product into you, that’s a really clean shots in different angles you know above and below and we also updated the copy, added some SEO and then immediately it started selling. But how important is that primary image for making a sale, just in your opinion even as a customer of Amazon.
Ken: Sure. Well, you absolutely you mentioned changing the copy as well and that definitely had something to do with it so it changes your ranking and the thumbnails. But when you’re in the thumbnail view, the image is all you see really. That’s it. So the first thing you see you’re not reading the descriptions, you’re seeing a rating of course which is also important but the image is the thing that really jumps out and let’s you know that you found what you’re looking for. So, it’s incredibly important.
Shannon: Well, and similarly, if you’re running Amazon campaign for which I think almost, you know, most successful sellers that I know are running Amazon campaigns and now you have the ability to headline that with brand registry. All people are seeing as just that little what– they’re not even seeing the whole title. They’re not seeing all the information. They’re just seeing like you said that thumbnail of that product. If that first image doesn’t grab their attention enough to get that click through, they’re never going to see the product. And so, again, when you land on the detail page, I know the first thing people see is the image, you see the ratings and reviews, you see the price and then you start to look at the content beyond that. But it typically takes customers only a matter of seconds to decide if they even want to continue looking at this product or going to the reviews in terms of buying. And the primary product image can be a huge swaying factor to either continue investigate or to go back.
One of the clients that I have they said “Well, you know we’ve got a lot of different products. We’re just going to cut and set it up and do it ourselves.” But looking at the starting cost of a photo, you know kind of looking at the average numbers you know an average product is somewhere between $12 and $25. And I think the– for you guys if you’re just doing say five images, one to five images, the product cost is it 25?
Ken: It’s 25 per photo and then if you get that sixth photo, it drops down to 21 so in fact, if you do the math, it will cost additional dollar to get the sixth photo.
Shannon: Yeah, so… So, and most people have more than one product, you’re going to get at least that much. So you know going down to $21, in my estimation, you only need to sell two or three more products over the course of that product’s life on Amazon to pay for it, if you included shipping, maybe three to four. But I’ve seen people who kind of shoot their own stuff, it’s– in fact, I think I sent you one of their products just sort of as it occurred to you, it’s just swag at the point. And I think you were so embarrassed by the photography on Amazon that you shot it for free and gave us an upgraded image because it really made a huge difference. It wasn’t ironed, it wasn’t straight, it wasn’t laid out.
So the cost to do that is so minimal and the time investment is so minimal. Because again, once you have that process you fill out the order form, it’s a PDF order form that you could download to fill in, print, put in with your package, ship it and then get back and everything else is done online virtually. The cost is so minimal. And it’s almost a guarantee that unless you are a professional product photographer and had all the equipments setup that you are going to sell more using a higher quality Amazon photography service.
So, it– and that may, you know, I want to jump in and talk a little bit of what are some of the products that you photographed or I should say specialize in? And I’m just curious, what’s the like the smallest thing you’ve ever shot, the biggest thing you’ve ever shot and then like the weirdest thing you’ve ever shot? Just out of morbid curiosity.
Ken: Well, we have been elect– one of our clients is a company called Amphenol RF they make small connectors for just little RF pieces, some of them I would– I’m ready to describe the size less then 2 millimeters, certainly. And of course, keep in mind that the smaller the product the more perfect condition it has to be because when you zoom it up to the Amazon zoom, every little blemish is going to show and we certainly do some basic retouching to try to hide that. But it’s about 2 millimeters which is the smallest. We’ve shot carpets from over head that were at least 20 feet diagonal. And then the strangest, well, see now, I don’t want to offend anyone whose product it might be could potentially be in the listing.
Shannon: Just bizarre, just strange.
Ken: Well, just strange, just strange.
Shannon: Unique. Let’s call it unique.
Ken: Very unique. Questionable and seem to…
Amazon Clothing Product Photography
Shannon: Yeah. We could leave that one. So, I know that in addition to product photography, you guys also have a special invasion in clothing and apparel photography, in fact, let’s give the websites for both of these actions, I don’t think we’ve done that. Can you give the websites for both of them and talk about a little bit about the clothing photography side?
Ken: Certainly, Upgraded Images is our product photography portal that is where we shoot everything except clothing. And Upgraded Images also includes the clothing accessories socks, hats, the clothing photography website and this one is real difficult to remember so you might want to write it down, it’s ClothingPhotography.com.
Shannon: Nailed it.
Ken: They nailed it. So, that one is for actual garments. Shirts, pants, dresses, jackets, etcetera. That one is slightly different pricing we’re just– we’re in the works of a new website for that one right now, in fact. And the clothing is very different. We receive everything. You can wad everything up n a box ad ship it to us. We have Jiffy upright steamers. We’re steaming all day long, getting out all the wrinkles, styling everything nicely and styling is a bit different with clothing. It’s soft. It’s fabric. It doesn’t just hold its shape. It takes the shape that you make it hold.
So, we have a lot of experience styling nicely on mannequins, primarily the ghost mannequin is really the most popular way to shoot clothing right now. And by that for those of you who are familiar, that’s where you shoot something. There actually is a mannequin inside but you would absolute all traces combination of Photoshopping in and out, or actually just modifying the mannequin so that it’s hidden by the clothing. So those are the two websites, slightly different pricing, same contacts and really looking the same mantra behind both of them.
Shannon: Yeah, one of the things I was looking at with the Clothing Photography is I mean it’s to shoot like a strap, you know like a tank top for example, with really thin straps and you get this full 3D body model of it and it just looks like, like you said its empty. It seems that would be incredibly difficult if not impossible to get on your own. And again, to get that sort of level were you almost get sort of a single snapshot of a virtual 3D, a 360 view of a product.
Is there any sort of best practices in terms of how many photos that you would, that most sellers get or need for an Amazon listing? Because you guys focus and I want to specify this– you guys focus on the product photography, you don’t do lifestyle photography in terms of the backgrounds, in terms of you know, people using it but specify that a little bit in a minute. But you don’t do lifestyle photography. How many product photos is good? Or, does it just totally depend on the product?
Ken: It definitely does depend on the product. Four or five solid pure white background photos, again, depending on the product. If your product is a ball, shooting multiple angle of the ball just really doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Ken: You know, zoom-ins, certainly there’s room at least pretty much always for at least two or three. But at some point, certain products, you’ve told the story of really what it is and what it does and what separates it from the others. So, supplementing definitely with lifestyle photography is of huge benefit but it is not something we do here simply because of the amazing variety of items that we shoot here. We have to scout out scenes and props and everything. It’s just a little beyond the scope of what we do, we like to stay focused.
Ken: But on average, I’d say about 4, 5– 4, 5, 6 photos on a pure white background depending on what the product is.
Shannon: Yeah. And the benefit is not only can you use it on Amazon. But you, you know, as a seller, if I pay to have images shot I own, I just mean I own the copyright, I own the photos and I can then use those anywhere. I can use them on my website, you know if they go on magazines, if they go on print ads, online ads. The benefit is I get to use those for anything, any use that I might– and not just on Amazon. So there’s actually a ton of variety of uses that I can use that beyond just the Amazon or e-commerce listing.
Ken: Correct. Absolutely.
Shannon: I want to talk a little bit about some of the different things that we’ve done and there’s another product that I’ll mention RoboSnail, which is an automatic aquarium cleaner which just blew me away the first time I saw it, really cool product. And– but again, the photos on Amazon were not good. They were very low resolution. They only shared one angle of it. And again, optimizing the listing, putting the correct parent and child variations together, putting products in the FPA, end up with an image that whole package makes a huge difference and all of a sudden and you know, your sales are coming through.
I think some of the unique things that we did with that is one, we wanted to show it in a couple of different angles. So I think the first time you came back, the guys was you know “Oh, well, it actually needs to be this way.” And it was something that nobody could tell unless the inventor themselves knew exactly how it’s supposed to be positioned but we came back with a couple of changes and couple requests. You guys reshot those and we pick them including one thing that I think is really helpful which is unboxing. And so, that was a sort of like because of like because there’s a lot of different components, it wasn’t just, here’s the product. Here’s everything you get in the box and in the product that comes with it. And it’s– again, it’s just a really helpful photo to show everything on a real clean white background, everything that they’re getting beyond that initial primary product image.
Ken: Oh, absolutely. The more you can help the customer understand exactly what they’re going to receive the better and showing everything that’s included is definitely the key part of that.
Shannon: Now, we’ve even have you guys do a couple of assembly photo shoots which was really powerful. Again, we looked at the best sellers on Amazon and we saw what people were doing and we realized for a product that requires some assembly, actually shooting that at each stage putting it together is really helpful and then we created our own graphic with text as an additional photo on that listing. But, basically said, “Here are the four steps that you need to assemble the product.” and then you get that really clean white background for each step of the assembly. Do you guys charge extra for hand models to do that or how does that work?
Ken: We don’t charge extra for hand models. We have a lot of hands here and we try to keep them in a reasonably good condition.
Shannon: That’s good.
Ken: I think we’re dong an OK job.
Shannon: I hadn’t thought about that but it’s a good point. Yeah, so again, if there’s a news product that there’s a certain way of holding it or handling it, in one case, one of the comments that we kept getting back was it’s so small, it’s too small. And so, we sent the product back, I think it costs $5 in shipping. We had to shoot a couple of different shots. We now use that as the primary and secondary photo for all of our listing because it shows the size of the product relative to somebody’s hands and nobody has come back since then and go “Oh, it’s too small.” I think we had one customer that didn’t see that for whatever reason. But the customer reviews change and then negative reviews decreased to be able to show people instead of having to describe it. We had an inches, how big the product was but people don’t think in terms of inches. And so, that little extra made a huge difference. So…
Ken: And sorry to in– we received products– sorry to interrupt but we receive products that sometimes where we think this product is a different size than we were expecting based on the description given by the client. And so, even when clients don’t ask for it, sometimes well just throw in one with the hands just because we feel it adds value.
Shannon: Yeah. So, the last thing that I think that is so important in value about the services, we had a situation with one of our clients, we got him the basic package, just the take me online package 1200 by 1200. It worked for all of our e-commerce. And all of a sudden, we had a listing that was going on that and beyond and they required a 3000 or 2500 pixel image and we didn’t have it. And we needed it in like three days. And it was crunch time so we’re trying to figure out how to go back, get the products reshot all that stuff. I contacted you and you came back and said, “No problem, we’ve got the original image and all you have to do was pay the difference.” and we were able to upgrade. that was lifesaver. Is that something that’s actually available everybody that gets their products photographed with you?
Ken: It is. In fact, we archive every photo we’ve taken in the history of the company including the original sizes. And the reason there is a price difference is larger because for those larger sizes, we go in deeper and we edit out little blemishes that just tend to disappear when you shrink them down to the smaller size.
Ken: So, we do in fact have every image including the largest size. So, you’re exactly right. We get that fairly often. I think that picked up in a magazine. I need a larger version of this. OK. Well, give us about an hour, we’ll work n the image and clean it up real nice and pay the difference and here you go.
Shannon: And the difference we’re talking about is like a handful of dollars. I mean again, if you were in that same situation and had to go back to photo shoot where you had to reshoot everything or did a different angle, the thousands of dollars I don’t even want to add it up. But the simplicity of it, the ease of use, it’s unbelievable in terms of how much sense it makes. Let’s talk a little but about your private eBay collection. For people who don’t pick up their products or don’t pay to have them ship back, talk about that return aspect of if I ship you my product, you photograph it I’m happy with the product, what’s that return process? What does that look like?
Ken: Well, the return process is we always ask people if they have UPS or FedEx account that we can use to return their product. If they have a prepaid label that they’d like us to use. Or, if they like us to add the cost of return shipping to our UPS account. So, it’s all we can do part of email as well. So we can just add it to the invoice if they want. Obviously, there’s no obligation to have your product returned. If the cost of returning is more than your actual manufacture cost of the item itself, we can find a home for it. We have a goodwill two blocks away from here.
Ken: And you know sort of a house and backyard filled with items.
Shannon: I could tell you having worked with Amazon clients for half a decade now the cool stuff that you get as part of your agreement is like I’m going to need some samples of that in order to test the product out. So you get to take home some real cool stuff. Ken, we’re about wrapping up. I want to talk about a special offer that you’ve created for people who viewed this webinar and that is basically if they mention Marketplace Seller Courses, you’ll do a free Upgrade from 1200 to 1500 by 1500 in pixels. And they can just put that on the order form or in the initial email contact and basically just request that upgrade.
Ken: That’s correct. That’s correct. We’re also eliminating our highest price of $25 a photo for one to five photos and just dropping it straight into the $21 even if you don’t have six photos.
Shannon: That’s incredible. So, if you’re ready to get product photography make sure to mention Marketplace Seller Courses. Ken, for people to go ahead and reach you again, we’ve mentioned a couple times and I’ll put it in the notes. What is the best ways to contact Upgraded Images? What are the best ways to contact you in the company whether it’s a website, phone or email and then what other steps, if any, do they need to take to get started.
Ken: Well, I would recommend taking a quick peak at the website first because it really is information rich. And just like the strategy for our entire company, we like to make things simple. Any information that you’re looking for should be very easy to find quickly on the website. And we are always available to understand that you still probably have some questions or just need a little bit more information, we’re always here to answer the phones and reply by email. We have a feedback form on the website, probably the best way because then whoever is available can get to it immediately, but yeah, website, phone and email, all three.
Shannon: OK. And the website again is UpgradedImages.com so UpgradedImages.com, if you Google it, it will be the first thing that pops up. Ken, thank you again so much for being on. Any last thoughts as we wrap this up in terms of product photography?
Ken: Turn around time? I think that’s a question that a lot of people have probably one of the most asked ones. From the point that I sent you my product, how long does it takes actually receive them? We’re generally look at about four to seven business day turn around time.
Shannon: OK. So within a week and a half– so if I’m launching a new product on Amazon, I want to give it at least three weeks to get my products to you, go through the first round, maybe provide some feedback, ask for a couple of different angles, get those redone to make sure I got margin and time. And as soon as I’m ready, I can make that payment and I get the sip file. It’s one of my favorite things is getting that zip file download, always excited to get those images and seeing them.
Ken, thank you so much for joining and being a part of it, the webinar. Again, if you want t take advantage of that special offer, make sure to mention Marketplace Seller Courses in your order request and they’ll grant you drop down that initial price as well as upgrade your image side. And again, if you want to learn more great information on optimizing your listings, you can visit s at MarketpPlaceSellercourses.com, on Facebook, Market Places Seller Courses or seller courses on Twitter. So thanks again. Ken, thanks again for joining us and hope you have a great day.
Ken: Thank you.
Shannon: OK. Bye guys.