What Is Product Photography?

Oct 31, 2019

Inspiring product photography can completely alter our perceptions of almost any everyday object. For the product photographer, the challenge lies in transforming what could be a relatively simple subject into a truly irresistible prospect for the buyer.

It’s often said that a picture is worth a thousand words – it’s a closer to a million where quality product photography is concerned.

The vast majority of the combined information we absorb on a daily basis is visual.  Hence, it takes something special to grab our attention and engage our interests. It’s the job of the product photographer to make this happen, communicating key information such as the following in one immersive product showcase:

  • How the product addresses the customer’s needs
  • What the product will look like in the buyer’s home
  • An implied level of quality and value
  • The most desirable and unique aspects of the product
  • What makes the brand responsible and special
  • Why the buyer needs it in their life

From the simplest packshot to the most advanced 360 product photography, the aim is always the same. The product must be presented in a way that makes it impossible for the viewer to walk away, without at least considering hitting the ‘buy’ button.

The Secret to the Perfect Product Photograph

Working in professional photography, you tend to encounter the same question on a regular basis:

What’s the secret to a great product photograph?

Whether it’s fashion photography, furniture photography or food photography, the answer is pretty much the same. In order to come up with a fantastic product shot, you have to start out by focusing on the end result.

Roughly translated, it’s a case of seeing every product image not as a simple visual representation of the product, but more a direct and clear answer to the customer’s problem or question. You have to assume that by finding your product page in the first place, they already have a vested interest in whatever it is you’re selling. Not only this, but they’ve also expressed their intention to purchase a product like yours, by taking an interest in it.

From there on in, it’s simply a case of showing how the product you’re selling meets their needs and does so better than available elsewhere. Telling a story with a simple product image isn’t easy, but it’s perfectly possible. Particularly where the latest 360 photography and stunning HD imagery is concerned, you’ve everything you need to showcase your products in a way that works…and keeps on working.

To Photoshop or Not to Photoshop?

More than ever before, product photographers worldwide are enhancing and editing their images with a whole range of software packages, some with great success.  On the other hand, some compromise the quality and indeed, the honesty of the original image.

A certain amount of editing is almost always necessary to create the perfect product photograph. Nevertheless, one of the keys to successful photography in general, is to know where to draw the line. When the edits start diluting the original result, you’ve gone too far.

An Investment in Professional Product Photography

Think of it this way – an investment in professional product photography is an investment in the perceived quality and desirability of your products.

On one hand, you could argue that even a basic smartphone is enough to take decent product photographs these days. But when showcasing your products to your target audience, is ‘decent’ really enough?

There’s no such thing as ‘expensive’ or otherwise when it comes to quality product imagery. Instead, it’s all about value for money – showcasing the quality and value of your products in a way that ultimately makes you more money.

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