Interview with Christian Chambenoit
Photographer, videographer & owner of www.thecompany-studio.com
Creating a new brand goes well beyond just producing something in a factory. To stand out on the market, and stay different through all the 'noise' you need to present your brand in the best possible light (literally). Christian is an experienced photographer who can certainly help you with just that and even more!
Originally from France, he landed in Taipei in 1995, fell in love with Asia and never turned back. Christian resides in glorious Shanghai, a city that never stops. He runs his company called The Company-Studio as well as teaches visual communication at the famous WPP school of Shanghai. He worked for the well-known Marie Claire Magazine in Taiwan, as well as for various agencies doing commercial, fashion, celebrity photography, and architectural brand building too.
We asked him what are the essential details creators need to understand before they start their product photography and branding.
How do you approach a new project?
A good photographer is dedicated to making things look beautiful beyond their original look. I do this through using various techniques, applying colors, textures, and creating an ambiance. It is vital to find the balance between the requirements of the client and the creativity of the art director or photographer.
For example, when I work with products that are not particularly beautiful, I need to re-create a scene beyond the product and place it in an environment that makes it more appealing. Through this fabricated lifestyle scene, I can connect the product with the customers and create higher engagement.
What challenges you face when photographing products?
Sometimes the customer has very specific ideas. However, according to my experience, those won't necessarily do the best for the product. For example, they want something sharp like a catalog shoot while I would go for something more balanced and softer display. I enjoy working with beauty products or even olive oil because the nature of these products, their packaging, and branding gives a more natural start for creating something inspiring.
What mistakes brands do when representing their brand?
Most customers don't realize how crucial their visual identity is: the colors, the elements, personality, design. These are all parts where potential customers can engage - or not. The right approach is to create an identity and character for your brand where all details are aligned with what you want to communicate. You need a budget to be able to do that.
I can compare this to how people dress up when they go out on the streets. They want to look attractive; they want to impress others. A good logo, a beautiful name card, a well-designed Wechat account (or any other social media account) reflect what you are selling and how you do it. That is how you can deliver your (most important) first impression.
What budget creators should have for branding and product photography?
It is not possible to stick the same price tag on to every product. The budget depends on the client, their expectations, and of course on the product. Some products are easier to work with, and some need more background work to make them look much better. Here are some basic guidelines:
Portrait of people: 5,000RMB
Commercial photography: around 80K or over
Product shoot in a studio: 5,000-200,000RMB depending on needing an art director, team...etc.
Video production: starts at 60-80,000RMB (depending on after editing, effects, music)
Do you have some suggestions to Hubbe.rs inventors about product branding?
- Have a plan, and allow some flexibility in it. Most likely photographers, artistic directors, have more experience in visual presentation then you.
- If you do a video, you must aim for good sound, high-quality details.
- Choose specific music for your video, instead of just picking something generic, uninspiring, or too trendy.
- Don't try to save money on branding, but instead consciously do your research, and allocate a suitable budget. Later you will appreciate the difference this preparation makes.
Style, design, fashion are like languages, everything you create represents you as well. Branding works the same way. I judge the quality of someone's work how visually they express themselves. There is an excellent example to understand how you can make a difference: when you enter a bookstore, you see a lot of books. How you start to browse is that you go for the books that attract you for the first sight. With your brand, you have to be able to draw people's attention the same way.
There is fierce competition out there, and you can equip yourself the best way by standing out.
Christian is an expert in photography, branding, visual identity, video production, and art direction.