A Style Guide for Product Photographers

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In the ever-changing and incredibly competitive world of e-commerce, the job of a product photographer is to deliver images that tell a story, pack a punch and persuade customers to buy that product. A massive part of this process, particularly in the world of fashion photography is making sure you get the style of your photos exactly right. This is done through careful research and making the correct decisions for the photoshoot, as detailed below.

Brand Research

You simply cannot prepare or undertake any kind of photoshoot as a product photographer unless you understand the brand you are working for and the story you need to tell. This is why it is important to complete brand research and build a creative brief.

 

Working with the client, learn about their vision, mission and values, understanding how all of this fits into the products they sell. All of these answers will feed into a creative brief completed by the client, helping you to ask more pertinent questions and drill down into the fundamental requirements for the brand. This will make the client feel more part of the process, show you understand who they are and ultimately deliver images that are on-point and on-brand.

 

This is a great time to get the client to share images and products that inspire them, perhaps creating a mood board that you can all add ideas to, narrowing down colours, moods and details until you get what you need.

Target Market Research

Some people can get so caught up in the excitement of creating new product images for their brand, that they forget who they are targeting. No matter how great the photographs are, if a product photographer doesn’t understand the target market, then they won’t have the desired impact.

 

If we take fashion photography as an example, you need to understand who the client’s target market is, what the key demographics are. This can be as simplistic as understanding whether the product is aimed at men or women and planning the designs accordingly or going into more detail about who the ideal customer is, their likes and dislikes, attitudes and values etc.

The Photoshoot

Now that you have done some of the initial research, its time to plan the photoshoot itself. There are some key aspects of the shoot that relate to style, separate from the technical points such as lighting and equipment. We’ve listed some of the main style-centred points to think about below.

Props

It is highly likely that you will be using props as part of your photoshoot, whether they are models for fashion photography or supporting products from the same client. As a product photographer, you should have an array of props at your disposal and it’s all about finding the one that matches the style in question.

Colours

If you have done your research on brand and target market, then you are likely to have a good grasp of the key colours and backgrounds that work for your product. If you have created a mood board, then you will have some ideas already on whether you’re going for bright and vibrant colours, or quieter, lighter tones.

Backgrounds

Backgrounds can also be a challenge, as you want to make sure the style and tone match your requirements, but you don’t want it to detract from the product the focus should be on. In most cases, simple backgrounds allow you to be creative with colours and props, which are much easier to add/remove to get the desired effect.