Lifestyle Composite VS In-Use Product Photography

Last Updated: 2021-06-15
HomeLifestyle Composite VS In-Use Product Photography

Check Out Our Stock Composite Photo Alternative to In-Use Images

Protein Drink Is Base Of My Nutrition - Lifestyle Composite Vs In-Use Product Photography -

Note: This image is licensed from iStockphoto to demonstrate lifestyle services. We did not photograph this picture.

We Don't Do Lifestyle Shoots; Instead, We Create Lifestyle Composites

We currently do not offer shoots of models physically using your product. We do create quality, realistic lifestyle composites with a stock photo of your choice; learn more about our stock composite service here.

We are product photography specialists and do not specialize in photography with models or elaborate sets. On-set live model photography requires different equipment, experience and resources.  Whenever you involve a model and location, the production becomes large and complicated when done at a professional level.


Professional model fees range from $300 to $3000 for the day and are typically based on a day rate. This may involve some sort of casting day to pick the right talent. A professional hair and makeup artist is a standard expense when working with models. If there's a model involved you'll probably need to hire a clothing stylist to pick out clothing and prepare it to make sure everything fits and looks nice.


Shooting on-location at a private residence usually requires a property release. A nice location to make your product look good can range between $400 - $2000 for the day. Sometimes, a production will bring in a prop stylist to stage the location. Days to acquire and return the props are usually paid in addition to the shoot day.

If you're shooting on location, the photographer may require special equipment and a photo-assistant to help set everything up and speed up the shoot. Post-production and special retouching may be required in complicated lighting situation. Food for cast and crew is usually a required expense.

Total Costs

A full day of professional-level lifestyle photography can result in around 5 - 10 final looks in a day, can involve between 5-6 different parties and cost between $2000 - $10,000 for the day depending on the level of production and experience of the creatives, stylist, models & locations involved.

If You Need On-Set, In-Use Photography, Hire A Lifestyle Photographer

Lifestyle photographers are experts at shooting lifestyle photography - not weddings or product or whatever... As discussed above, there are a lot of people & production involved (models, stylists, locations) and knowing the right people is key.

  • Find a photographer whose portfolio meets your brand style. Every photographer's style is different. A photographer who takes dark edgy photos of people outside may not be a good fit for a bright, fun indoor children's business photoshoot.
  • Try and get 3 or more estimates to compare. This is standard and it's the only way to get a sense of what is reasonable and required to make your expectations a success.
  • Keep your expectations reasonable. A normal lifestyle shoot is around 5 - 10 looks in a day with 1 model. Think of a look as a scene or setup. If you want an estimate for 100 looks, then expect crazy numbers.
  • Pay attention to their portfolio. Anyone with a camera can call themselves a photographer these days and it's really disappointing to spend a lot of money and get poor results. The more you compare the better you'll get at spotting good and bad photos.


Search Google For "Lifestyle Photographer"

I know - crazy, right? But it really is the best place to start.

Search Professional Photographer Directories

Workbook (My Favorite)
This is a free open directory with a long history. There's a lot of real photographers on this list. It's a great place to start.

Wonderful Machine Listings
Photographers on this list have to be vetted and then pay a lot of money to be a part of it. This is a top tier list and probably the priciest.

Search Commercial Photographer Organizations

After film went out of style, trade organizations became a thing of the past. However, the communities that remain are a tight-knit group of industry veterans.

American Society Of Media Photographers has a strong west coast presence.

American Photograph Artists has a very strong midwest rep and presence.

The Dangers Of Low Cost In-Use Photographers (Buyer Beware)

Just like with anything, you get what you pay for and there is always going to be someone who will sell you something cheap.

People who offer lifestyle at a discount are usually cutting a lot of corners. They are usually taking photos of their friends or family in their own homes or workplace or someone is not getting paid for their time. This may even pose legal issues as photographing models and on private property usually require releases for commercial use. We've heard mixed results from our customers on these discount lifestyle services ranging from "ok results" to "some guy took a photo of himself with my product in his messy apartment with a selfie stick". The results that I've seen are no better than what a regular person could do themselves.

It's my opinion that it's better to have no lifestyle photos than bad ones. Bad photos can make a business look low quality and un-trustworthy. I don't know about you, but when I see a business with a poorly designed website and bad photos, I don't have a great impression of them.

In-Use Photography Alternatives For Amazon Sellers and Businesses

If you can't afford a big photoshoot then there are other alternatives. Most experienced sellers, unless they are gigantic companies, do not produce lifestyle photoshoots. Instead they typically do one of the following below.

If you can't afford a big photoshoot then there are other alternatives. Most experienced sellers, unless they are gigantic companies, do not produce lifestyle photoshoots. Instead they typically do one of the following below.

  • We Can Photograph & Photoshop Your Product Into A Stock Photo
    This is what most Amazon sellers do and we can do it at a really high level. We basically photograph the product with the same lighting & angles as a stock image & Photoshop it expertly into that pre-created stock scene. You can even chose stock photos with models or include props with your product photo.
    Learn More
  • Trade With An Instagram Influencer
    If you have a fun lifestyle brand that instagram Influencers will love, then you might be able to get someone to do it for trade. Learn how Mamoo Kids trades her cute bags with "Mom Photographers" in exchange for in-use on model photos & followers.
    Learn More
  • DIY With Window-Light
    If you don't have the budget to hire a professional, it's typically better to DIY your lifestyle photos yourself as opposed to doing it on the cheap. The results will probably be similar to a low production shoot.

Produce Your Own Photoshoot

As a small business owner myself, I've DIY'ed things in the past. There's nothing wrong with that, and you should go for it. Below is a list of elements to consider when putting it together.

  • Photographer
  • Model
  • Clothing
  • Hair/Makeup
  • Location
  • Props
  • Retouching/Image Processing

Treat each role and requirement as important and look for new and enthusiastic talent to fill the roles. You may need to dig deep into the internet to find people to fill these roles at a high level of quality but at a discount, but you can do it.

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