Some of the most captivating product images and marketing campaigns have included black and white shots. However, when you remove the colour from a photograph, it can be difficult for a commercial photographer to add a voice and story in the same way. As a result, we believe anyone working in product photography needs to understand the fundamental factors that help to deliver the very best photographs.
In the absence of colour, contrast comes to the fore, playing one of the most important roles in product photography. Utilising contrast allows a commercial photographer to use shadows and highlights to focus the attention on a particular point, or to make the product stand out from props around it. Whilst you always want to create attractive, interesting photographs you should never lose sight that the king of the photo should be the product or brand.
Next on our guide to black and white product photography is the use of light. If you imagine some of the most vivid outdoor product photographs you’ve created, they often show light streaming through trees or from behind a particular product. You can draw on the direction and intensity of the light to transform your product photography into dramatic stories that customers will be drawn to.
The use of texture really does show you what can be achieved with black and white product photography. In outdoor shots and lifestyle shots, a commercial photographer will likely have experience in using the world around them. When you take away colour, this ability to use texture to make a particular product stand out or story leap off the page will help your clients stand out from the crowd.
The composition of a shot will always be important in professional photography, particularly when it comes to product and packshot services. No matter how creative, busy or surreal you make the shot, the composition should never draw attention away from the product or story you are trying to tell. When it comes to black and white product photography, composition and the various techniques involved become an effective weapon in a commercial photographers armoury.
The final entry on this initial guide to black and white product photography is the idea of shape within an image. This is particularly useful when working on commercial photoshoots on the beach or by the river, as water creates many intriguing shapes. If you can set up your photograph to use unique shapes, whether that is water flowing or buildings around you then you can tell a fantastic story without the use of colour.
We’ve included five of the most useful photography concepts that we believe will deliver excellent results for black and white product photographs. With many clients searching for that unique edge to their marketing campaigns, being able to offer this alternative will be incredibly useful. Take some time to do your research, explore locations around you that suit this type of photography and take some practice shots.