Product Photography and 360 Spins — Software and Solutions
Iconasys is made up of a team of Photographers, Developers and eCommerce professionals who understand the importance of high quality product photography. We also understand not everyone is a professional photographer and achieving desired image quality is often a challenging and time consuming task. In 2013, Iconasys set out to deliver product photography software that enabled users to create better quality product images while streamlining and automating the product photography process. Our product range has evolved to include the industries most professional and advanced DIY product photography lighting, 360 product photography software & 360 photography turntables. To date, over 4,500 customers trust Iconasys for their in-house still and 360 product photography requirements (see 360 product view examples) – including some of the worlds biggest brands, retailers and professional studios. No matter what your photography skill level, Iconasys has solutions that will enable you to create better quality images while saving time, money and effort.
Elizabeth: This is Elizabeth Gearhart. I’m here with Darian Muresan. Darian has a company called Iconasys, specifically directed to people who are trying to do their own marketing and need tools that they can use themselves to get high quality still photos and 360 photos of their products so that they can post on social media, et cetera. So hi, Darian, tell us a little more.
Darian: Hi. Hi. Yeah, so Iconasys is a product photography software company. We help you automate the process of capturing high-quality images, still images, and both 360s, something that you see often these days when you buy a shoe, for example. You have to, you know, you rotate the shoe or things like that. We automate that whole process by providing the software, the hardware, and the lighting solution. We automate that process all the way from the capture, to the creation of the final product. So in capture, your camera is connected to your computer, and then we connect your camera and provide a live view of what the camera sees. It allows you to automatically adjust the camera settings. And then through batch editing processes we can remove backgrounds. We can sharpen up your images and output images of different sizes.
So that whole process is automated to the point that you can have a very average person, not a photographer, quickly become very efficient in the process and be able to produce your images, or you can produce your own images, but at a much lower cost than if you had to hire a photographer and have them charge you on a per product image, which can be $2 to $3 per image, high quality images, background removed images. With our solutions, we’ve had feedback where photographers have said, or companies have said that our products paid for themselves within a week, in some cases and then a month or two in other cases. So the benefits of using our tools are tremendous if you build your own products and you also need to update your pictures on a continuous basis.
Elizabeth: Right, and it’s not just that I think. So one of the problems that’s happening with Pinterest and Instagram, and you’re hearing a lot about it is copyright violation. So…
Darian: Oh yes.
Elizabeth: Right. So if you want to post something on Instagram, you can’t just steal somebody else’s picture, but with this software, you can get a real high-quality picture. You can go take a picture of your garden, of a flower and put some text on it, and make that your Instagram picture instead of pulling one off of somebody else’s site, right? And then you don’t have a copyright violation.
Darian: Yeah. Yeah. True. And then if you create your own images, you can add watermarks through our software and you can also keep track, you can add Google tracking. So you for example, could track how many visitors you had to the website, or how many people you would see for example. So there’s a multitude…the software I would say is primarily for product photography. So you said the garden. Yeah, you can turn your camera and point it to the garden, but then it’s just, more or less a camera. But if you want to take a product and take a picture of it and then remove the background, for example. So you take a bag and let’s say you sell bags or shoes, you don’t want to see the background behind the shoe. You just want to have a transparent shoe. That’s the process that we automate for you. When you do a 360, if you have to do that background removal on every single frame, that would be an enormous amount of time. We batch process all of that. So we automate that whole, yeah.
Elizabeth: I see what you’re doing now. That is very cool. It’s not only a money saver, but a time-saver. So you sell the software, but you’re also selling the hardware to go along with it. What are you actually selling people right now?
Darian: Yes, exactly. So there are three components. There is a software, there is a hardware. The hardware is a turntable, and this turntable goes all the way from jewelry size and we have all the way to car sizes. So anything in between, different weights, and categories and these are computer controlled by the software. So the turntable connects via USB cable to your computer, and then the software takes over and then turns the turntable. It stops it while you take the picture, then it turns it again, stops, turns again and stops. You can use the turntable in two modes too. You can have things that hang. So for example, people that sell jewelry or things like that, that need hanging like necklaces or earrings, you can hang them and have them hung and the turntable turns and takes pictures and then you remove the background.
If you go to www.iconasys.com to our webpage and then you go to 360 Photography, there’s a link there that has 360 examples. You can click on those and there we show you exactly how…we show you the setup and also the final result for that 360. So it’s a really nice automated solution. Once you get the hang of it, you can be extremely efficient and you know, what can take hours, especially if you use a manual turntable for example, that’s very common. Where you have a turntable, but then you manually rotate and take a picture. I mean, this saves you an enormous amount of time. You can do the capturing for example, within less than five minutes for like a 72 frame 360 and then editing quickly as well.
Elizabeth: Editing quickly as well. So then, what do you use to take the pictures, your phone, or do you sell a camera with it?
Darian: No. So we are compatible with the most common cameras which are the Nikon and the Canon DSLR. So the professional high-end cameras, and then we are also compatible with Sony. Then if you want to use shutter release, then we’re compatible with any camera that supports shutter release. But that’s just a little bit of a different integration. With a USB cable where you connect the camera to your computer via the USB, the advantage of that is that you can set the camera parameters from inside the software. With a shutter release cable you can only trigger the camera to take the picture, but you have to set the settings for the camera on the camera.
It’s compatible. The other thing too is, for professional photographers out there, you can use our hardware, our turntables with existing solutions like Capture One and Adobe Lightroom. Those are two other common solutions that people use for capturing images. Our hardware will integrate via shutter release with those solutions. So if you are a professional photography shop and you want to provide the services for 360, because you already have your stills in that case, but just want to add a turntable. Well, we have the turntables that can trigger your camera and integrate that into your current workflow.
Elizabeth: So who is your target customer for this?
Darian: So we kind of have two targets. One I would say is the professional photographer that doesn’t do 360 right now and they want to get into 360s. We’ve had a customer, for example, that took our turntable, bought our like 3,000-4,000 solutions. This was with a turntable, a heavy-duty turntable, and they were shooting Mercedes parts and in a month or so they shot over 30,000 parts, Mercedes. They said that the solution paid for itself within one week. So for solution providers, 360 product photography studios, they want to provide solutions all the way from jewelry to cars. That’s one customer.
Then the second one is, I call it more moms and pops, where it’s a smallest shop. They don’t necessarily want to spend a lot of their money on a photographer where they’d get charged on it per product. Like I said, I’ve heard all the way, you know quotes from $3 per product to $7 per product Photoshop. So like for example, a shop that sells sunglasses had that issue. Then instead of them paying a photographer, they do their own photography. So they buy our turntable and then they have a 360 of their product or just a still image.
But 360 is the up-and-coming solution and Amazon is starting to allow 360s on their website. They already have some 360s, but they will soon open it to everyone. Once that happens, then really the flood gates open for the small e-commerce shops that would want to have something that…and then 360s, people have done studies where it increases your sales by about 20% or so. Then it also minimizes returns because now people have a better idea of what the actual product is. So all in all having a good visual of your product and 360 in particular can really improve the bottom line for your business.
Elizabeth: Right and everybody is starting to expect those now, 360s.
Darian: That’s the other thing, too, right? People start expecting it now. Then once that expectation kind of goes over, then everyone wants to see it.
Darian: I know myself, if I buy a laptop, for example, or any electronics, I’m more into the electronics let’s say than shoes, but every time I want to see the back of it. I want to see all the ports. That feeling of the need to rotate, now because I’ve used it all the time, it’s like I have to see it. Where is it?
Darian: So once you expect it then you will really miss it if you don’t have it.
Elizabeth: So how long have you been in business with this?
Darian: We started in earnest in 2016. We initially had the prototyping phase, the software development around 2013 is when we started. For a long time we had like dual jobs, where we had a regular job and we did this on the side. Then in 2016 we kind of took it more full speed. Now we have over 7,000 customers worldwide.
Elizabeth: Wow. That’s great. I think what’s really powerful, a couple of things, is your turntable, your automatic turntable. But the other thing is that you can do most of the programming in the software instead of on the camera, because I hate fooling around with the camera.
Darian: Most of the editing. Yes, exactly. Oh yeah and you get a big screen too, and you can zoom in and set your focus. We have controls that will allow you to adjust your focus. So if it’s a really important part of your object…I’ve had that happen all the time. You think something is in focus, but it’s on a small screen. because it looks in focus on a small screen. You only take the picture and then when you zoom in, you’re like, Oh no, it’s just a little bit out of focus. Then what do you do retake right? With our software, you get the full screen and then you can zoom one to one. So you can see the object one-to-one and then make small adjustment to adjust the focus so that the point that you really want to be in focus, will really be in focus. That’s a huge benefit. Yes.
Elizabeth: Sounds wonderful. Well, I think we’re out of time, unfortunately. So this has been Darian…
Darian: Darian Muresan.
Elizabeth: Darian Muresan with Iconasys. So photographers out there and consumer product owners, and business people check this out because this will make your life so much easier and make you more competitive in the marketplace as well. So thank you. Is there anything else that we need to say about this?