White Backgrounds vs. Contextual Shots for Lifestyle Product Photography

Aug 1, 2019

White Backgrounds vs. Contextual Shots for Lifestyle Product Photography

One of the most important questions to ask yourself when preparing your product photography is whether to go with a plain white background or provide some context. You may have heard that a clean, white background is the only way to go with product shots, in particular fashion photography, and this can be true for some brands. On the other hand, lifestyle shots can be very important and valuable in bringing products to life and helping viewers to imagine how they might use them.

It is more the idea of keeping things uncluttered that you should be thinking about and this can be achieved with both contextual and white background shots when done by a professional product photographer. The short answer is that both options can work depending on the type of product, i.e. how they will be used, the number of products in your collections and your brand image. A combination of the two is also often effective.

The Beauty of White Backgrounds

First, let’s consider the benefits of the white background. It’s an easy way to achieve consistency, which is the first essential for all product photography in order to create a pleasing, easily accessible aesthetic for potential customers. It also allows the product space to shine and avoids the risk of the consumer being distracted by something else in the shot.

That being said, when we consider contextual product photography,  it can be just as effective and distraction-free when done right. There are many benefits, too, including the option for more exciting, engaging and captivating shots that draw the reader in and help to tell a brand or product story, which can be a crucial part of the customer journey.

Using props and backgrounds also means using every opportunity to engage with your target audience and enhance the opportunity of your shots to communicate with your buyers and connect with all their emotional touchpoints.

Getting Creative with Lifestyle Photography

For many brands and especially if you have larger collections, lifestyle shots are an easier way to add interest and enhance the USPs of every product in the best possible light. Think beautiful beachwear modelled on gorgeous sands with an ocean backdrop or glittering high-end jewellery surrounded by an opulent background with luxurious elements. You can also use lifestyle and contextual photography to upsell your collections by showing how products can complement one another.

When it comes to certain types of products and brands, the choice between white or lifestyle backgrounds is a no-brainer because the product answers the question. For example, if a product is more intricately detailed or patterned, a white background will provide necessary relief.

Other products such as home furnishings will need an appropriate background to create a sense of desire and context but a collection of T-shirts for a casual lifestyle brand will do just fine with a plain white backdrop.

For more details on how to utilise both white background and contextual lifestyle shots using elements such as rollover images, collages and still life layouts, contact our professional product photography team today.

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