In Los Angeles there is a lot more E-commerce fashion photography than fashion photography!
What is “E-commerce” fashion photography? basically its serialized photos of similarly grouped apparel so the viewer can pick a style and color out of many, and the apparel designer does not have to spend so much money styling each piece in each photograph as a unique shot like a magazine print ad. Thanks to hundreds of startup fashion design houses in downtown Los Angeles, a lot of E-commerce fashion photography is happening daily at white cyc rental studios.
A lot of fashion photographers in Los Angeles have learned how to take advantage of this seasonal repeat customer base by offering cheap E-commerce photography packages which has started a price war.
Because of intense competition from weekend and wannabe photographers, the real professional photographers have cut their E-commerce fashion photography prices in Los Angeles to the bone,
Recently I got a call late in the evening from an apparel manufacturer in Shanghai asking if I could shoot 10 women’s outfits for $15 each, including studio, model, makeup and hair!! this lady went on to explain that they shoot upwards of 3000 pieces each month but for now she wants 10 pieces shot tomorrow at this impossible price.
Impossible because the studio rental alone starts at $20 per hour at the worst industrial zone 2 wall tiny white cyc studio in downtown LA, and no decent model is getting out of the house for less than $150 for half a day, combine that with hair and makeup artist costs and I had to basically pay everyone out of pocket to shoot this set for the Chinese client. I refused and now have second thoughts, what if I had lost $500 on this deal but gained a high volume client? well logic says that if this client was true they would have paid me, one of the busiest E-commerce fashion photographers in Los Angeles a fair price, perhaps she was just lying.
I personally have taken the artistic license to vary from the 255 RGB level background white which amazon dictates as the “E-commerce” look, many times I shoot on gray and silver backdrops to create a stylized E-commerce shot for my clients, like this pair of legs for Sockbin.com in New York
Variety is good, viewers eyes get jaded and weary after looking at hundreds of similar images where none leaves an impression, they all have the same boring white background look. In fact my fashion business clients stand to benefit from having a variety of “E-commerce” looks on their website, the viewer also has a chance to spot something they liked easily.
Where I stop competing for E-commerce fashion photography in Los Angeles is shooting apparel as flat lay on white or apparel on mannequins, that is not fashion photography. There is no art in systematic shots of fashion apparel just to save money for a high volume client, I happily refuse those jobs and let others take them.