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When a Phone Won’t Cut It, Now You Can Hire a Robot Photographer

The rise of online shopping has uncovered an unexpected problem: Taking good pictures of products isn’t easy.

The robot shoots a ball cap at the Square Photo Studio.
Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg

Carolyn Bessette is good at making soap. So good that people pay $8 for a bar of Farm to Shower Peppermint Watermelon or Hopi Blue Corn handmade soap through her website. What she’s not good at, however, is photographing soap. “I tried doing it myself, and it was just awful,” she said.

The 52-year-old entrepreneur and her husband run Dr. Bessette Naturals. In addition to their online store, they have a location at a farmer’s market in Boston, where customers can browse all-natural skincare products. In March, the company that makes their cash register, Square Inc., approached the couple asking if they’d like to try a new product-photography service the company was testing. The cameraman, they learned, was a robot.