Images are a key deciding factor for consumers in a purchasing decision. Thus, if your product is not selling, you may need to rethink your product photography.
High-quality compelling product photographs are a must for your online store, website, and social media. There is no way around it. You need to showcase different product perspectives and ways of using the items. Mostly, you need to think that potential buyers can’t see your products in reality and assess their quality this way. So your images play a crucial role in conveying the most important characteristics of your product and what differentiates it.
But how to get them? What exactly should you be looking for?
There are so many questions, but the Cherrydeck Editorial Team has 11 product photography tips to help you create images that sell your products like warm bread.
1. Determine your style of photography
This will depend largely on the product you want to photograph and your brand’s photography style. All of your images should be visually cohesive with your branding and aesthetic. If you have no idea what we are talking about, make sure to check out how to develop your brand’s photography style.
2. Decide what to portray and how
Up next in our list of product photography tips, is to decide whether you are taking product-only, lifestyle, or still life shots. Or a mix of all those. This is also a crucial step after determining your style of photography.
This type of photograph will help depict your product in a clear straightforward way. Usually, the product is placed in a neutral or matching background, and thus, it is the focal point of attention. There are no other distractions. Different angles and closeups (for details) are welcomed depending on the product you are selling.
These photos work great on brand websites but are particularly useful on platforms like eBay or Amazon.
Generally, this type of shot features people using or consuming your products in different scenarios and settings. Photographing your products this way allows potential customers to imagine themselves with your items and get a feeling for their usability.
Lifestyle photography helps people to form a personal connection with brands. Remember the saying: “Don’t sell the mattress, sell a good night’s sleep.”
The more scenarios and personas you use, the larger the audience you cover. These pictures are ideal for sharing via social media, blog posts, or email.
Still Life or Contextualized
This type of photography shows your product(s) alongside complementary subjects. Of course, in order to avoid driving attention away from what you are trying to sell, make sure you are aware of balancing dimensions and colors accordingly.
These photographs work great in showcasing your product beautifully, and are very visually attractive, especially for social media.
Mix it all
Until a customer has your product in hand, all they have to rely on are the pictures on your website or social media. Therefore, a good combination can consist of product-only or still life shots and lifestyle photos.
This way you give your customer a sense of what the product looks like, the feeling of it, and how you can use it. This method is used by several companies – especially on their websites – such as & Other Stories, Ippolita, and more.
3. Plan ahead
You have to decide which products you are shooting, whether just one of your products or multiple or all your line of products together.
Then, you have to think about when, where, and with whom you will be photographing. Whether you are doing it all by yourself or hiring a photographer, you have to schedule a time and secure a fitting place.
If you are opting to apply the DIY approach to your product photography, you must check out our step-by-step guide here.
It gives you all the tips and tricks for a successful product photography session. From the planning step to getting the awaited optimal results – including why you don’t need a professional camera to get those professional-looking pictures.
4. Maintain the brand’s aesthetic
All of your product photography should work towards building and strengthening your brand. Ideally, the color palette, saturation, shadows, and composition you opt for in your product photography should go hand in hand with the pictures and features on your website and social media.
People remember pictures more easily, therefore by being consistent in your branding they will remember your products and recognize them anywhere on the internet.
5. Be aware of lighting
Creating good light will make a huge difference in the quality and mood of your images, but also in the work you’ll have to put in post-production. You can use natural light or artificial light, both having their pros and cons. It will depend on whether you are shooting the product in a studio, indoors, or outdoors.
On the one hand, natural light is cheaper without a quality trade-off and is available every day. On the other hand, artificial light allows you to shoot any time of the day and you can control or play around with it more.
6. Pick a background wisely
For this to be done effectively and be visually appealing you have to keep in mind the purpose of the images and the product itself. If they will be used on your brand’s website, the photograph’s background color should differ from the website’s for better visualization. In addition, you have to make sure the background color or pattern matches the product accordingly.
Especially on lifestyle or contextualized pictures, make sure to show the product in the environment that it is intended to be used in. You would never photograph a beer with a kindergarten background.
Some brands, like Neighborhood Botanicals, use gradient backgrounds that match their overall aesthetic and packaging. While other brands, like Glossier, use a grey background to display their products on their fully-white website.
A useful tip if you are taking product-only shots with a solid background is to opt for a sweep instead of a plain white wall. Check out tips on how and why to use a sweep here.
7. Let room to breathe
At all times there should be space around your product, but not so much that your product appears too small or is hard to see. This space allowance also enables you to change the size or orientation of your image to fit with your website, social media, or other promotional material.
8. Embrace editing
Editing can do wonders: from removing background stains or shadows to giving your images a completely new look. Of course, you have to remember the purpose of the image and make sure you are always following your brand’s aesthetic. Nonetheless, editing can improve your image greatly by fixing pretty much anything.
P.S: Never delete the original versions though, in case something goes wrong or you need to make completely different edits!
9. Try some variety
Your images should satisfy your customer’s eye by imitating a real-life experience. Remind yourself that you are trying to visually convince them to buy your product without even seeing it in real life.
Whether you are doing product-only or lifestyle shots, never stop at one photo per product and always shoot in more than one scenario. Furthermore, using different atmospheres and settings will give you more options to choose from and to stand out from the crowd.
For instance, a beverage brand may shoot its lifestyle shots at the beach, in a party atmosphere, at a bar, at a football game, and it may shoot a medium to a large group of different people to showcase the feeling of community, happiness, and entertainment. This will also allow them to target different customer segments.
10. Don’t be afraid of close ups and angles
The purpose of having images of your product is to give your customers a real-life sense of it. In a store, people look, hold, bend, try, and emulate the use of your product. Therefore, a valuable product photography tip is to present you are “doing” that for them through the pictures you are showcasing.
Most product photography is shot at eye level; another approach is shooting from above. Both of these work great, but make sure you are covering multiple angles too!
The more angles and closeups, the better immersive experience you can give your consumers.
11. Optimize your Images
An often overlooked aspect is one’s page loading time. The larger the image on your website, the slower the page load speed. Therefore, among our product photography tips is to always make sure you optimize the size of your images – of course, without losing quality.
People will not wait more than one minute for your website to load, strive to find the right balance.
Bonus: Cherrydeck Branded Stock
Although having all these product photography tips is useful, creating product photography for your brand by hiring someone is an investment.
With Cherrydeck’s Branded Stock, your brand can get hundreds of product images from multiple photographers featuring your very own products in different settings and surroundings, all in accordance with your brand guidelines and needs. It is applicable to a variety of industries within consumer brands.
Yes, brands are able to obtain high-quality custom visual content that they can use at scale in their marketing activities. It’s an easy, stress-free, cost and time-effective process. Explore our success stories or talk to an account manager.
Let’s sum it up!
Here are our 11 insightful tips to create product photography that sells:
- Determine your style of photography
- Decide what to portray and how
- Plan ahead
- Maintain the brand’s aesthetic
- Be aware of lighting
- Pick your background wisely
- Let room to breathe
- Embrace editing
- Try some variety
- Don’t be afraid of closeups and angles
- Optimize your images
Bonus: Try Cherrydeck Branded Stock!
Need inspiration for your product photography? Check out our 17 product photography ideas for your brand, with examples!
Do you want more tips and insights on photography and brands? If you have an e-commerce store, we have got you covered with an article on all you need to know about product photography for eCommerce.
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