Product Photography: The Whys, The Wheres and The Whats

hair-product-styling-shout-and-co

If you’re using social media and other digital platforms to build your business, the captions, copy and hashtags are just a very small part of what your current and potential clients see when they come across your brand online.

Snappy captions that are grammatically correct, have CTA’s in all the right places and links will only get you so far with your ideal target market.

What’s really going to set their pants of fire is your imagery, because the long and the short of is that pretty pictures sell products. (They also happen to sell services, but for the purposes of this exercise I’m just referring to anything that businesses sell as “products”.)

What is it about a perfectly arranged product grid or seamlessly executed lifestyle shot that just reels people in?

Well, it’s got a lot to do with the following:

  • Shopping in a brick and mortar store is very different to shopping online. With the former, you have the opportunity to touch, feel, smell and interact with a product in a way that you simply can’t online. Good product photography bridges that gap and gives the shopper an opportunity to see the product in action

  • Great imagery also adds a certain level of authority and expertise because it elevates the overall perceived value of the brand. Poorly executed product shots can do more harm than good in this regard, because perceived value is VERY closely linked to brand / customer trust

  • Visual collateral these days is seen as a social currency - which is especially important if you’re in a design-led industry


I find the best way to illustrate the importance of great product photography is to put yourself into the story: Say for example there are 2 businesses selling the exact same product - a product you just happen to be in the market to buy.

Website A has great photography, website B doesn’t. The price points are exactly the same, as are the product size, colours, brands, etc.

Which website do you go with to finalise your purchase? The one with inspiring photography that makes you want it yesterday, or the website with the dark, blurry, low-res images taken in a poorly lit environment at a weird angle?

Even though the products are the same, your perceived value is higher for A than it is for B. You’d probably even be happier to pay a bit more to buy from A than you would for B. And that’s an important distinction, especially for small business owners who are pegging themselves at the higher end of the spectrum. Charging a premium is totally fine - but your photography and overall website aesthetics need to match it.

product-styling-eczema-shout-and-co

So what makes for good product photography? These are some of the elements that, when multiplied together, make for a pretty sweet visual treat:

  • Good light: showcasing a bit of depth and texture through ample lighting and clever use of shadows

  • Angles: pitched too high or low and the product looks misshapen and cheap.

  • Props: knowing when to stop piling props into an image is an art form in itself. Also using the correct type of props that add to the story instead of taking away requires a bit of lateral thinking

  • Texture: bringing it through the background, linens, wooden bowl, flora or fauna

  • Colour: clashing colours have a time and a place and certainly can work should the brand and product call for it. Monochromatic and subdued hues might sound boring, but they can be incredibly rich and sophisticated. At the very other end of the spectrum, moody / dark colours create mystery and intrigue but need to be used wisely and carefully

  • Context: showcasing the product in it’s logical environment / context is key

I happen to have just launched a product photography retainer - it’s ongoing, monthly, styled lifestyle and product shots of your brand and offer giving you fresh new imagery on a regular basis. Keen to know more? Head over here.

Have you invested in product photography for your brand?

What’s holding you back from getting it done? Being able to let go and entrust your brand with someone else? Budget? Time?

Get in touch and let’s make it happen despite all of these things. Join the hundreds of brands that have recognised the importance of product photography and entrusted their products with Shout & Co.

Images shot & styled for Tigs & Boo