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7 Tips for Marketing with Product Photography

March 6, 2020

Product photography services a dual purpose. It shows customers what you have to offer while providing an avenue to display your brand.

In other words, stunning images are the way you develop and maintain a customer base.

Keep reading to find out exactly how to market your business through product photography with these 7 tips.

1. Thorough Planning Is a Must

Before you hire a photographer or try to get captures yourself, you should plan out every detail possible.

For the photos themselves, this includes thinking about things like:

  • Products you want to be featured
  • Distances between the background, camera, and product
  • Models and additional props
  • Styling of models
  • Location and background
  • Color palette
  • Scale
  • Types of shots you want

If you have specific requests for shadows, saturation, and other photography details, you should write these down. Otherwise, your photographer will follow what's standard.

When using product photos for marketing purposes, you'll also want to create a list of:

  • Where you'll use the photos (e.g. on social media, on printed flyers, etc.)
  • What type of cropping and orientation you'll need (e.g. square for Instagram or landscape for banner advertisements)
  • The message you want to portray (e.g. to buy products or to browse your store)

Thinking about the use of the photos ahead of time will guide the photographer in taking and editing the shots.

2. Mixing Styles of Product Photography

There are basically two types of product photography you can utilize: white background and lifestyle.

Each type has its place. Depending on where your business sells things, you may need a mix of both.

White Background

Featuring products on a white or plain background allows buyers to see the product for what it is.

Because it's used for online shopping, it emulates the experience the buyer would have in the store. This means you should have multiple angles and high-quality shots that are clear when zooming in.

White background shots create authenticity surrounding what you have for sale. Buyers can see exactly what they're purchasing, and this type of authenticity is extremely important when they choose a product.

For marketing, you may choose to photoshop the product on its own into a scene. Alternatively, you can use lifestyle photos.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle shots essentially build the context around the product for sale.

For example, a lifestyle photo of a water bottle could be of a person with the bottle on the go. This allows the buyer to imagine themselves using the product and, depending on the environment you choose, shares your brand's voice.

This creates trust, interest, and emotional bonds.

Lifestyle photos are a go-to for product marketing, as they are visually appealing while showcasing what you have to offer.

3. Utilize User-Generated Photography

If consumers like your product, they may post pictures to show others how much they value it.

With permission, you can use these photos on your business media pages to build trust with future customers.

This works for organic user-generated photographs as well as ones from influencers. Either way, you can sprinkle these into your feed to show people that others support your products, increasing your chance of sales.

4. Consistency Is Key

Unless you majorly change your brand, website, and so on, you'll want to keep your photos consistent.

This means using similar or the same background, lighting, scales, and distances between the camera, products, and backgrounds.  We'll break down what this looks like.

Background

In terms of white background product photos, you'll want to use the same white for all stand-alone shots.

If you choose a different color, stick with those to make your website and shop look clean.

For lifestyle photos, the background may change with each shot. You can still create consistency through color choices, editing, and the types of locations the shots are taken in.

Lighting

We'll dive more into lighting options next, but for consistency, you'll want to continuously use the same light sources.

This means shooting photos at the same time of day and in the same weather conditions. Otherwise, there may be slight differences that will be noticeable in your marketing materials.

Scales

When shopping online, you have to rely on measurements and added details to know the size of the product.

This is why it's important to use the same scale throughout all of your photos. For example, you wouldn't want to make an 8-ounce bottle look bigger than a 32-ounce bottle when the pictures are next to each other.

Product photography can get a little tricky when it comes to accurate representation. It's important to get it right, as misleading photographs are an aspect of false advertisement.

If you're unsure of how to keep your photographs looking accurate while staying consistent, stay with the same photographer as long as you can. They will be able to guide the process and keep everything similar.

5. Choosing the Right Lighting

Your choices for lighting include natural and artificial light. In general, it's always best to go natural. We'll explain why.

Natural Lighting

In lifestyle shots, natural lighting mimics the effect of being in person with the product. It tends to be more versatile for marketing needs too.

Also, it tends to be softer and more forgiving in the morning or late afternoon. This is because direct sunlight causes glares and shadows to appear.

This isn't to say all lifestyle photos should be taken outside. It might not make sense to capture a blender outdoors, after all.

Instead, it's to say that using natural lighting (even from a window inside) tends to be more realistic.

Artificial Lighting

Artificial or studio lighting is used to achieve white background product photos.

It's also beneficial for products that are for indoor use or that have tiny, intricate details.

6. Editing to Fit Your Needs

Professional photographers are equipped to make edits as needed. This includes brightening backgrounds, balancing colors, and so on.

Still, if you need specific edits for marketing products, such as a change in dimensions, cropping, or transparent backgrounds, you'll want to let your photographer know ahead of time.

Outlining editing needs helps you get the photos you want for marketing.

7. Optimize Images for SEO

Aside from using product photography on your website, social media, and paid advertisements, you can make the most of your photos by keeping SEO (search engine optimization) in mind.

This means downsizing images so you keep online webpage loading time below 3 seconds. If your photos take any longer to load, you may lose potential buyers.

You can express this concern to photographers ahead of time (if you're using photos for your website) and they may be able to assist you with this.

SEO also means properly naming your images with keywords and alternative text. Keywords on photos contribute to your search engine ranking and alternative text does the same, while also allowing for visually impaired people to identify your products.

The SEO realm can get a little tricky, but these recommendations are simple with a few video tutorials online.

Showcase Your Business

With these 7 tips in mind, you can utilize product photography for all marketing purposes.

Once you have your vision in mind and your shots planned, we can help you capture the rest. Contact us for all of your photography needs.

Kyle Nelson

About the Author

Kyle Nelson, CEO of Results Imagery has a background in media, branding and marketing. With past start-up success and noticing an emerging need in premium eCommerce media services, he co-founded Results Imagery; allowing the industry to have a full-service studio option serving national clientele ranging from fortune 500 companies to small mom-and-pop boutiques.