As a product placement PR agency we rely on clients having good images to promote their products. Be it a lifestyle product or a beauty product a great image sells.
Your products may be great but does your photography reflect their quality? As many as 67% of consumers consider image quality to be ‘very important’ and when it comes to product placement PR, journalists are looking for eye-catching and engaging images to grab the attention of their readers.
High-quality product photography is important, whether you’re looking to improve sales from your website or heighten engagement in your business, products and brand through a PR campaign.
Many PR campaigns fail due to poor photography - unclear images, poor lighting and backgrounds and a lack of imagination lead to many journalists skipping over your press release and on to the next.
Product photography uses specific techniques to showcase products in an attractive way and the right picture can set you apart from your competitors and deliver you those all-important sales leads. It’s an essential part of both online and offline materials for catalogues, brochures, press releases and company websites.
Product photography is one way to strengthen your brand identity and by creating strong imagery across your web site, press releases and publicity materials you’ll be adding to your brand’s credibility. Keeping your photography consistent in style ensures that your brand develops its own digital persona.
Different types of photography
Aequill candles (above) show some of the different product images you could use.
It is worth thinking about what you are trying to convey to your potential buyers – be they trade or the public - when photographing your products. Below are some of the types of photography you need to consider – you may need some or all of them to best showcase your products.
Individual cut-out shots: A simple well-lit shot of your product on a white background. If you do nothing else these are usually essential – the press can easily use them on their product pages.
Lifestyle shots: Shots of your product being used in situ or placed with some props to tell the story of your brand.
Scale shots: Helps users get a better idea of the size of the product.
Detailed shots: A close up view to highlight specific product features.
Group shots: Groups of products showcased together.
Packaging shots: An image of the product’s packaging – a good way to show your company’s logo and brand identity – particularly useful for customers going to look for it on the shelves of a store.
One of the challenges of shopping online is that consumers can’t pick up the product, so they must rely on visuals. As they won’t be able to fully experience the product, your images need to do everything they possibly can to capture the physical benefits and convince buyers that your products are high quality and authentic.
Rotating 360° product images adds a new dimension to online shopping as it allows browsers to take a ‘virtual tour’ of your product, simulating an in-store buying experience.
Cinemagraphs are quite new, they allow you to add looping video elements to your photography (like an animated gif). Cinemagraphs are an artistic way to bring your brand to life and set your brand apart from competitors. This barbers shop rotating pole shows how this type of photo image can add another eye catching dimension.
The professional’s view
We asked still life product photographer Richard Jackson of Forever Creative Photography & Design for his professional view.
Richard has worked with our client Helen Russell Creations and Helen comments:
“Richard offers a specialist service for product photography which is hard to find at an affordable rate. He approaches the task professionally and obviously has a good understanding of creative industries. I am thrilled with the images I’ve had back so far and am looking forward to exploring more options in the future.”
Richard Jackson - Forever Creative Photography & Design
Why is professional photography an asset to you and your brand?
Look at things from your customer’s point of view, they can’t physically see your product in front of them, they can’t feel it, turn it or touch it. The photograph is one of the most important selling aids you have at your disposal.
The primary goal of the image is to accurately describe the product and convey the tangible elements of it. This forms the initial part of the story, which is created in the mind’s eye of the consumer. It’s about communicating the feel of the product, does it have a smooth or course texture, is it glossy or matte? This also applies to products created by surface pattern designers and greetings card designers. Yes, it may be a greeting card, the product really is much more about the artwork, not the card, but the customer still needs to be able to see any special finishes and the texture of the card.
The secondary goal is to place the product within a context, to help the consumer visualise your product or design in its natural environment. This image can be used to promote a lifestyle
promise to the consumer.
Should you take your own or use a professional?
Having established the importance of product photography for your business to succeed, it then comes down to whether to have the photographs produced professionally, or to take them yourself. This will depend on several factors, including the type of products you create, how difficult they are to photograph, how often you create new products, the lifetime of the product and your available budget. There’s also time to factor in, and whether you believe you can achieve a consistent enough quality.
It’s worth bearing in mind that any PR campaign can be damaged having inferior quality images. Having said this there’s still the matter of your budget to consider. I recommend a pragmatic approach, such as taking some images yourself, and leaving the important ones that will be used in advertising, and primary points on your website to a professional.
Some images are easier to create than others, certain product types are easier to photograph than others. For example, ceramics and glassware generally need a higher level of technical skill, than some other products without reflective surfaces.
Watch this space
We are grateful to Richard Jackson for his contribution to our product photography blog and in a future blog he gives helpful hints on doing your own photo-shoots
For further information on:
Aequill candles - https://aequill.com/
Helen Russell Creations - https://helenrussellcreations.com/
Richard Jackson Forever Creative Photography & Design