Anton Aarse:

“Products sell better with good photos”

A professional photography studio is not essential in order to take good product photos, but it can be useful, according to Anton Aarse from lisianthus nursery Floralis in Honselersdijk.

Anton runs the business with his brother, Jan Willem. Their parents founded the business in 1966 and they still lend a helping hand from time to time. During a tour of the hothouse, Anton proudly announced that they had received the Master Grower Award at the annual National Summer Flowers Exhibition in Naaldwijk this year for the double-flowered lisianthus 'Arosa Red'.

How do you take the product photos?
Anton opened a closet containing a single-lens reflex camera, two studio lights, a grey background, a monitor (attached to the ceiling of the closet) and a computer. "Look, this is our 'photography closet'. The equipment stays clean, there is a neat background in the corner, and you can consistently take the same types of photos. Royal FloraHolland advised us on how to set up the photography studio. We made the closet ourselves and Ruud Hamel installed the equipment."

What happens after you take a photo?
"Once I have taken the product photos, they are saved on my hard drive. I then edit the photos a little. The inset can be problematic, but the software supplier has ensured that my logo is automatically superimposed on the pictures. They are then placed in the image bank. This way I don't need to give it a second thought."

What do you think about the photography guidelines?
"The new photography guidelines ensure greater uniformity. I think it is good for the trade if comparable photos are displayed next to one another." According to Anton, "the greatest challenge in taking good product photos is finding a clean container and a clean rack."  He explains, laughing, "The photos now have such a high resolution, that you can see everything."

Did you change anything about the photos?
"With a bit of help, I adjusted the camera settings slightly in terms of lighting, exposure time and so on. I didn't look into the subject in great depth; it's not really my thing. I already used to take the pictures from above, at an angle, but I now make sure you cannot see the whole bucket. The inset at the bottom right is also new, but we have had that now for two years."

Do you get any feedback from customers?
"The customers are satisfied with the photos. In any case, I don't receive any complaints. We have six different lithiantus colors, primarily in lengths of 75, 65, and some shorter 45 cm stems. We always supply them to the clock in 997. The shorter ones go in 577. Customers sometimes have special requests, such as, 'Can I have it like that? What would that look like?' For instance, 6 bunches in a 544 with a collar. I then take a new photo and just send it to the customer via WhatsApp." 

Are growers very interested in the subject of product photos?
"My colleagues who supply all year round do everything themselves. I presume that they are properly organized. However, the seasonal growers who only have a certain product for a few months probably do things differently."

Is a professional photography studio feasible for everyone?
"I am not aware of the financial situation of other businesses, but I should think so. A good product photo leads to better sales, through the clock presales, for instance. In the past, customers used to inspect the products physically. Only by feeling and touching something do you know exactly what you are buying. Of course, that is becoming less common, and we have to move with the times as far as digitization is concerned."

Source: Royal FloraHolland

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