Inconsistent product photos, time-consuming processes
Like many retailers in the home furnishings industry, Seldens receives a mix of product photos from their vendors that don’t match from brand to brand or represent the level of refinement that Seldens puts into their own visual merchandising and branding.
According to Seldens’ General Manager Jacob Cross, they are often provided with images of furniture in fabrics and/or finishes that typically don’t sell well in the Pacific Northwest. For Cross, his biggest goal is to create clarity for Seldens’ clients with currently available products. Having a disconnect between what is shown online versus what is on showroom floors was an issue, said Cross. “If clients don’t see items that resonate with them on the website, they are less likely to visit a showroom.”
To help with this, the Seldens management team, including Cross and Marketing Manager Kim Fuller, invested a significant amount of time, effort, and money into creating an in-house photo studio. The goal was to capture visual content to replicate their desired brand aesthetic across all media channels, including their website, catalogs, and other marketing collateral.
While experimenting with their studio configuration, Fuller explained it could take weeks for images to move from shoot to ready-to-publish. Furthermore, the studio setup required more hands-on employee assistance with staging and production; plus, it was nearly impossible to produce shots with consistent angles from shoot to shoot. “It was like moving mountains to get pictures onto our website,” Cross said.
The long lines of large items, such as sectional sofas, were also challenging to capture. The images appeared skewed, causing time-consuming edits in post-production. Cross and the team knew there had to be a better, faster way to create on-brand, consistent product images.
The answer was the Aperture Platform.
The Aperture difference
Shaving weeks off production time
Seldens turned to the Aperture Platform to take control and simplify their product photography workflow, which has finally given their creative team the in-house content production capabilities they needed from the start, with significant savings in both time to complete an image and the number of employees involved in the process.
“It could take weeks to get an image from the initial shoot to a finished product, depending on editing needs. We can now go from photo to publish in less than a day thanks to Aperture,” said Fuller. “One employee can now shoot product photographs. Previously, it would take several team members,” she added.
Making consistency in product shots simple to achieve
Prior to using Aperture, Fuller found it extremely difficult to achieve consistency in product shots. “No matter how hard we tried and how many pieces of blue tape we laid down and how much the person shooting wasn’t moving, the photos were never consistent. The angles weren’t consistent and the aesthetic just wasn’t there,” Fuller said. Now, Aperture’s live viewfinder and item placement templates help Seldens get the consistent shots that had previously been a time-consuming effort to try to capture.
Opening up new content and selling opportunities
Fuller’s team produces two catalogs a year, with Aperture significantly decreasing production time while allowing them to add more of their overall product catalog in addition to new products they had never marketed previously.
Cross said that as a retailer in the high-fashion space, they carry a lot of one-off showcase and inspiration pieces, which previously they wouldn’t bother to photograph on a regular basis due to the amount of work for something they could only use once.
“Aperture gives us the flexibility and freedom to photograph more of our inventory, and we can showcase those ‘wow’ pieces as they come in because it takes hardly any time at all.”
Creating beautiful, on-demand images in a fraction of the time
Faster time to market, only one employee needed for shoots
Since making the switch to Aperture, Seldens has shaved weeks off of their time to market, oftentimes getting photos up on their website within the same day they were taken. The rig and editing software are so intuitive that only one employee is needed to move most furniture in and out of the rig for photos and to handle photo editing. This has freed up hours for the team to be able to work on other projects that they didn’t have as much time to dedicate to in the past.
Additionally, Seldens is able to better serve their customer base now that they can photograph the items they actually carry, in the colors and fabrics they have in stock, rather than having to rely on manufacturer photos that showed color and fabric combinations that didn’t resonate with shoppers in the Pacific Northwest.
Seldens has always aimed to provide their customers with the best service and product offerings. Now with Aperture, they’ve been able to streamline their workflows to get products online faster, reflecting the fabrics and colors their customers want, to make the shopping experience even easier.