You have a great product; you are bringing it to market and you know you need some stand-out images. But there are different styles of product photography and you need to know about each of them and when to use them.
We have already discussed elsewhere why product photography is so important to any business – even service companies. People trust their eyes more than any other information source – the camera never lies, right?
Getting your product photography right is crucial to your business success, for if you don’t, you will find it very hard to generate sales or even customer interest
While it seems relatively simple at first glance, (ie. take a photo of your product) there are different styles of product photography and they are all important and all serve a different purpose.
If you want to learn more about why this is so vital for eCommerce, then read this article about why product photographs are so important.
Product photography achieves many different purposes, including:
- Showing off your items
- Highlighting details
- Demonstrating scale and use
- Displaying variations and alternatives
- Presentation and packaging
- Promoting the benefits of your product
Here, we will take a look at the 6 main styles of product photography and how they are used; to demonstrate the differences, we are focussing on just one product – watches.
The studio product photograph
This is what most people think of when discussing product photography. A selection of images against a plain, often white, background, perhaps with some close-ups of any particular details that are worth extra attention.
These are the key shots for showing off the quality and look of your product. There should be product photographs from several different angles if relevant, and close-ups of any details that you want to highlight and draw particular attention to.
While these are often shot against a white or light grey background, it is important to match the background to the item; in the image above, the strong materials and ruggedness of the watch are emphasised by the slightly textured surface and reflection, but they do not detract from the product itself.
If you are not selling through your own website, it is worth noting that some web platforms insist on a plain white background for studio product photographs.
The in-context product photograph
Sometimes referred to as a lifestyle shot, the in-context photo shows your product being used in its normal, everyday surroundings.
In-context product photos are important because they help your customer to visualise how the item would look if they were to buy it. It makes it easier for them to imagine owning it and using it, which is an important step in the purchasing decision process.
These images need to be in a context that adds value to the product, or at the very least does not remove or lower the perceived value. Models, if used, need to look stylish and confident, settings and locations need to look desirable.
Everything about the surrounding information in the photo must display quality as much as the product itself – without overshadowing it. The in-context photo can be a tricky one to get just right with so many elements to balance, so care must be taken when planning this shot.
These images are also great for displaying the scale of your product, as it allows it to be seen in context against other backgrounds, people or products.
The product photography group shot
Group shots are needed when you have a range of products available. For example, this could be variations of colour or flavour of the same item.
Alternatively, it can be an opportunity to show that you have other complementary products within the same range, but which can be purchased separately.
If you are selling face cream, then you would also want to display any hand soap, shampoo or other personal care product with a complementary fragrance.
This image demonstrates a range of bezel and bracelet options both in style and colour – and does it all in one group shot photo.
Group shots are important because they not only offer customers choice, they also lead to increased order size as additional complementary purchases are made which would otherwise not be.
Product photography packaging shot
Packaging images are often the forgotten-about product photograph, so when making a shot list, remember to add this on to it.
Great packaging adds to the perception of quality so showing it is important. Depending on the product, it can also give more information to the customer, as often the packaging will have additional detail on it (images or text) that you may not otherwise have space to mention.
If style is one of your product’s selling points, then make sure the packaging matches!
A packaging shot is also great as it clearly shows how the customer can expect the item to arrive when delivered.
We all know the disappointment of ordering something online, only for it to arrive stuffed into a plain brown jiffy bag. The item itself may be perfect, but something of the magic is missing because the presentation ‘wow-factor’ has been lost. This can affect our opinion of the product itself – even though rationally we know it shouldn’t.
Presentation is important. If you have great packaging, show it off with a photo.
Infographic product photographs
This style of photograph doesn’t apply to all products, so use it wisely, but many goods benefit enormously from an infographic photo.
However, if your product has a lot of features, and the text describing them is quite long, then an infographic will be an essential shot. Many customers don’t want to sit and wade through a page or more of text, looking for the key features of your product, they want that information served up to them simply and quickly.
This is where the infographic comes in.
You will still want to describe all your product features in detail, of course, but in one simple image, you can highlight several of the most important features, which customers will read. If they then want further detail on a particular feature, then they will take the time to find it in your text.
They are also great if space is limited and you have a lot of information to put across.
The ‘service as a product’ photograph
Your product may not even be a tangible item – what if it is a service?
Well, photographs are still vitally important, perhaps more so, as to describe a service simply can be a challenge.
‘Product’ photographs for services work really well, they just need more thought and planning, but as is so often the case, a lot can be explained in a single image.
For example, without any other context or information, this photo clearly explains it is about repair or replacement of watch straps. It’s not appropriate as a group shot (see above) for strap options, but as a demonstration of a service, it’s perfect.
You may even have use of a service photo if you sell product and carry out follow up services.
Want to know more about product photography?
At Splento, we have professional photographers who specialise in product photography around the world. We can handle any size and scale of catalogue, large or small, and can produce the final, retouched images within 24 hours (guaranteed). And for a fixed rate from just £99 an hour, we can guarantee our services will fit your budget too.
And if we can’t come to you, we also work remotely.
Simply send your products to us and we will photograph them in the studio. Your quality product, our quality photos.
If you need help with your product photography – contact us today, we’ll be happy to help answer any questions you have.
Finally, what if you already have your photos taken and they just need a retouch to bring them up to the high standard you need? Easy – take a look at the Splento retouch service, which will give you product quality photographs that make the difference, with editing for just 49p per photo.