If you want to sell a product and sell it well, it’s important that you create product photos that stand out from the competition. Setting yourself apart from your competitors—especially in this age of modern online marketing—is critical for winning the sale. The BEST way to stand out is with really great captures of your products.
The reason for this is actually more significant than you think. While memorable product photos are obviously meant to showcase your offerings, they also represent your brand and build brand awareness. Your product images—whether regular images, gifs, or stop motion animation—tell a story about who you are and all the great things you have to offer.
So you can’t just take a snap of your products with your iPhone and throw them up on your website and social media channels. You have to create product imagery that captures and keeps attention, sparks interest, and—ultimately—is more memorable than your competition.
And, admittedly, there’s a lot of good product photography out there. What you need, if you really want to elevate yourself above the other businesses in your industry, is a strong brand identity stemming from great product photography.
So what’s the difference between good and great product photography?
That’s exactly what I’m sharing today: My top tips to make your product photography stand out. But before we get to that let’s cover the basics, including a deeper dive into why product images are so important and what you need to have before you get started.
Looking for a professional photographer to make your product photos stand out? Let’s put together a creative strategy to help you meet your business goals. Connect with me today.
Why is Creating Product Photos that Stand Out Important?
Is a picture really worth a thousand words? When well-executed, most certainly.
There is so much you can say with a simple image, including speaking to the perceived value of your goods. The more captivating and professional your product photos are, the more people are likely to buy into your brand story and believe your products have something to offer.
This is especially important for products with a higher price point.
Obviously, the success of your business doesn’t hinge entirely on your product photos, but high-quality, compelling product images are known to correlate to higher conversion rates. And, higher conversions mean an increase in revenue.
So it stands to reason that showcasing how great your products are through incredible branding photography will make your business more money. Sounds great, right?
There are a lot of techniques that can help you execute the perfect photoshoot that will showcase your brand and build awareness of your brand identity.. But before we jump into what you’ll need to do, let’s go over a bit of the pre-work and planning process.
What You Need Before You Get Started Creating Stand-out Product Imagery.
It can be tempting to jump right into taking branding photos, especially if you’re excited about what you’re shooting. However, there are a few things you’ll need before you get started, which are:
A Shot List. Does every brand shoot require a shot list? If you want to set yourself up for success, then yes. There are so many benefits to using a shot list. First, it’s a great place to organize your thoughts and ideas for an upcoming shoot. Second, you can use it as a tool to make sure you snap all of the images you intended to on the day of the shoot.
A Camera. A bit of a no-brainer, but you do want to think this one through. The camera you use may change the type of shots you can get, so keep that in mind. Make sure you have sufficiently charged batteries and empty memory cards to go along with it.
A Tripod. If you’ve ever taken photos and looked back on them with a pang of blurry disappointment, then you know how important it is to use a tripod. A tripod ensures stability and consistency across your product photos.
White foam board. A white foam board works effectively as a backdrop for photos, and it’s always a good idea to use one to get at least a few simple product captures, even if it’s just a few before you start adding props and layers.
A Shooting Table. Getting your shooting table ready will help you work out all the other fine elements of your upcoming shoot. What table will you use, and where is it located? You’ll also want to consider the type of light you are using and situate your light accordingly.
Tape. You’d be surprised how much tape can come in handy when you’re photographing goods of any kind. Sometimes you may need to tape down a product, a backdrop, or a prop to hold it in place. Plus, it’s always better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.
How to Take Product Images that Set You Apart
The photos you take can do so much for your brand identity and brand awareness, so you really want to get them right. So, you now know why it’s important and you also know the tools that you’ll need.
Now, it’s time to get to the fun part, which are the tips that are going to help you create stunning and dynamic product photos that will make customers want to click the “Buy Now” button, and fast.
Lighting Setup for Strong Product Images
There is a heavy back-and-forth discussion on the right kind of lighting to use in your product and branding photography. Should you go with natural or artificial? I’d say that there is truly no right answer here. Most photographers who become familiar with studio lights never look back because they offer a higher degree of control.
What’s most important is that you work with the light you feel most comfortable with, because this will be the best way to guarantee that the lighting reflects the way you see your products and adds an element of you into them. If you’re comfortable with both, it may be less about what kind of light you feel best using and more about the look or vibe you’re going for.
Props to Use When Creating Branded Photos
Using props is a must if you want to take great product photos for your business. Props can do a lot to add visual interest, even when they are simple and understated. When adding props, one thing to remember is that they should always make sense for the product that you’re shooting.
For example, if you’re capturing a skincare product with aloe in it, include an aloe leaf—that makes sense. But if the product is a jar of peanut butter and you add an aloe for visual interest, that makes no sense (unless there is aloe in the peanut butter, but I’m sure you’re picking up what I’m putting down here).
Take product photos in context
Giving context to photos helps sell products. It’s natural for consumers to want to see potential items for purchase in the environment they would actually be used. If your business sells food products, capture them “fresh out of the oven” or wherever else in the kitchen makes sense. If you have a stationery business, be sure to get some captures in an office setting. You don’t have to provide context for all of your shots, but be sure to capture a few.
Use Models if it makes sense with your products
Speaking of taking photos in context, there are some products that benefit from lifestyle shots with a model. Think apparel, accessories, and jewelry. If you’ve never hired models before, you’ll want to read 5 Mistakes You’re Making when Hiring Models for Your Photoshoots so you can go about it the right way.
Create stop motion animations
Stop motion video is increasing in popularity, and for good reason. Stop motion gives brands the opportunity to show their products in action. It also makes space for a higher level of creativity and playfulness. You can use your stop motion ideas to ignite the imagination of the viewer in so many different ways, so don’t forget to include this on your shot list.
Add points of visual interest
There are so many different ways you can add different points of interest to a photo, and what you choose really depends on your branding. If your brand is minimal and simplistic, try using shadows and textures as points of visual interest. If your brand is a little more out-of-the-box, choose bolder, quirkier items or bright colors.
Get all the angles
You don’t want to miss a single angle during your shoot. Once you get all of the shots on your list that make sense and showcase the product well, try taking some at awkward and unique angles. Sometimes these photos turn out to be a great surprise and result in visually intriguing images that capture attention from the get-go.
Use a complementary background
If you’re a bold business with bold branding, you’re going to want a background (or backgrounds) that complement your products. This usually looks like fun patterns and more vibrant colors. If your branding is more soft and muted, find a background that looks great but still allows your product to stand out. When in doubt, a little contrast is always helpful.
Try hanging it
There are so many ways you can go about setting your product display, but have you ever tried hanging your product and taking images of it? You’ll need wires or ropes to suspend the product, and there will be a little extra work in the editing process. The payoff is often worth the extra work, though. When done well, this can come off as both unexpected and intriguing. With the right props, it can also be a great way to tell a story.
Go for macro
Images that illustrate texture are pleasing to the eye. Texture has a way of bringing vibrance and life to even the most simple images. Getting a close up also provides a detail that many consumers are looking for: for example, the extra-soft inside sleeve of a sweater, or the small texture beads in a skincare product. These are the kind of photos that make people linger longer, so don’t forget to snap plenty during your shoot.
Investing in Stand Out Product Images
The tips found in this post are the perfect place to start, but if you want images of your products that pack a visual punch, you have to understand that it’s going to take time, effort, and investment. .
If you’re able to channel more energy into the planning process and you can put some intention into executing unique shots, you’ll be well on your way to snapping memorable product photos.
If you’re looking for a product photographer who can help you create stunning, stand apart visuals for your products, reach out to me.