Simplified photo-shoot processes: the EPHOTO experience

Interview with Priscilla Foschi, CEO&Co-founder of EPHOTO

This post was originally published on January 8, 2020 and updated on May 28, 2020

In recent weeks, the latest Gucci and Zara photo shoots have made headlines, as they were taken entirely by the models themselves. They received the clothes and directions and then took pictures of themselves, producing images that were considered stylistically perfect even by professional photographers.

Whether it's a marketing stunt or a necessity caused by COVID-19, they were the test bench of a revolution in business processes that might be difficult to reverse.

Less cost, more simplicity. But, while it is true that on the one hand the organizational machine has been streamlined, on the other, the need to control processes (even remote ones) increases.

We know that centralizing processes on a single tool allows us to control them, while saving time and money.


THRON Photo Shoot

This is why THRON Photo Shoot was developed, a part of our software used to organize and manage the entire workflow of photo shoot. The various phases and the images produced can intersect with all other  marketing, communication and product workflows, as they all take place on the same content platform.

THRON Photo Shoot allows you to manage the entire process.

1. BRIEF - The initial phase of assigning work and briefing. From the platform you can also consult the model books, to choose who best fits the service. You can find here all the information on sizes and measurements as well, in order to provide them with the right clothes.

2. SHOOTING - The photographers (or maybe the models themselves, in the future?) receive the guidelines on how to set up the photo shoot, and once they have taken the shots they upload them to the platform.

3. APPROVAL - The manager (or the person in charge of the project) can view and validate these shots on the platform. This streamlines the process greatly, as there is no exchange of files across different pieces of software, nor risk of working on non-approved versions.

4. POST-PRODUCTION - The selected shots can be post-produced by opening them directly in Adobe Photoshop, so they are not downloaded locally, creating unnecessary copies.

5. ENRICHMENT - The shots are then enriched with all the information of the product they represent. This way, you can retrieve the photos very quickly.

6. PUBLICATION - In addition, if you need the media files to create a product page, you can search them by product code in just a second! This action can also be automated.


EPHOTO use case

Companies often entrust the shooting and careful arrangement of this visual material to professionals. However, the collaboration between the parties involved does not follow standardized processes and may be punctuated with delays and inefficiencies.

Let's find out more with Priscilla Foschi, CEO and Co-founder of EPHOTO, a photo agency specializing in product shots for e-commerce in the fashion industry. She will explain how they solved the critical issues related to photo-shoot processes with a shared work platform.

Q: What steps usually occur between the photo agency and the client company in the realization of the product shots? How are the files shared, and who is involved in their approval?

A: The sharing between the client, intended as the corporate department, and the production staff must be thorough and constant. From the desired requirements, to creativity guidelines, from product availability to the final output, many elements must be considered and monitored.

It is estimated that on average the process involves eight departments, which must provide information and be updated on the production progress, in order to plan their activities. Think not only about e-commerce, but also marketing, social media management, customer service, sales, logistics, etc.

The time spent on data transmission, but also the dependability and consistency of the information conveyed are strictly dependent on the tool used. In an unstructured flow, the man-hours spent in planning, organizing and updating lists, sharing updates, take up 80% of the time.

 Unfortunately, many organizations still entrust huge content flows to tools such as Dropbox, WeTransfer, Google Drive and email exchanges. Human error, which normally settles around 5%, cannot be intercepted and corrected, neither at a management level nor at a quality level.

For a reality like EPHOTO, which organizes and takes about 2000 photo shoots per year, such an approach is unthinkable. Therefore, the first service we offer our customers is a support in studying and establishing efficient procedures, the second is to implement them within the DAM.

The possibility of centralizing content in a single container - the DAM - allows us to offer to all the parties involved constantly updated and approved shots, as well as real-time monitoring of the production progress, thanks to specific interfaces designed for the purpose.

Q: According to your personal experience, what are the advantages of centralizing processes on a single platform?

A: We can measure the advantages in man-hours saved, efficiency of processes, unambiguousness and incontestability of the data, that unifies both process management and invoicing criteria.

Another great benefit is the extreme usability by all the roles involved in the process, without any criticality or misunderstanding to affect its progress. In fact, the platform offers features following as much as possible the "dexterity" that professionals have already experienced and acquired (like research and drag&drop).


Q: Can you tell us how a standard approval process occurs in EPHOTO, thanks to the application developed in partnership with THRON? What KPIs have you achieved compared to the procedures you used before?

A: The introduction of the software app developed with THRON to manage photo shoots finally made it possible to standardize processes in accordance with the flow procedures that have always been our strong point. 

With it, our customers have full visibility of the production progresses, and we can clearly define the responsibilities in the approval flows. This means a 25% time optimization.

Besides, the history of each order is archived and visible to both the customer and the producer, and once the processes have been simplified, they can focus on more relevant aspects of the project (if the customer is collaborative, of course!)

 Also, the percentage of human error, regarding quality checks, the renaming and sorting of the shots has been decreased to 0.2%. These technical aspects have a qualitative impact on the perception of an online catalog, so any improvement in this respect is relevant. 

The interface of the application has been designed to allow a quality control of the content that is oriented to the specific business involved. For example, you can see the color variants of an article of clothing side by side or filter all the articles of a specific color to check their consistency. 

In this way, quality control can really become effective!