The responsibility of a product photographer is to tell a story through photographs, whether for an individual product, range of products or marketing campaign. When working in jewellery photography, fashion or food photography, it follows a simple structure that mirrors story writing: Character, Setting and Plot. We’ve put together a brief summary below of each of these components to help you understand why they are important and how to deliver results.
It is easier said than done to create a character in a selection of still photographs but without it, a brand story will never connect with a company’s followers or customers. A product photographer is able to create a character by following a process. Firstly, you need to research the demographic of the brand’s customers, to understand the profile of the customer that is being targeted.
Once you have this, you can then think about the wardrobe for the character. If you want to tell a story that includes your brand, then they have to look the part. If you’re advertising a jewellery brand, then you will likely want more elegant, smarter outfits. This could be a romantic setting with one person giving their loved one a gift for example.
Next up is the setting and it should be at the top of any product photographers list to get right, alongside the character and plot. If we use the example of a jewellery brand to tell our story, then a person is more likely to relate to a brand and product if the setting makes sense. You are unlikely to give jewellery as a present whilst at the gym, but finding a luxurious apartment, restaurant or outdoor experience instantly creates emotion.
This idea transcends jewellery photography and makes sense when creating a brand story for products in other markets. When deciding on a setting, use the storyboards, brainstorming sessions and existing brand materials to create a plan. From here, you need to start looking for the right setting within your budget and location that is also available.
The last part of this brand story triangle is the plot for your series of images. A product photographer will understand the difference between a simple product image that might be attractive or high-quality and creative images that tell a story as well as show off the products in all their glory.
Looking at jewellery photography for a moment, the plot of a special occasion such as an anniversary offers the potential to create a range of brand images that draw the customer into this special occasion. All the time, they are looking at the products thinking how wonderful they look, how they would feel being in the character’s shoes giving or receiving the item of jewellery.
The ability to tell a story with a brand is what separates the majority of companies in a particular industry, with truly successful companies with loyal customers. You can use this concept for social media campaigns, commercial campaigns and e-commerce stores. This ability allows a product photographer to deliver a service that transcends platforms and creates success across the board.