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Product Photography: Seven Essential Shots

Product Photography: Seven Essential Shots

When composing shots for product photography, ask yourself what needs to be communicated. What info would a customer be able to gather by engaging with the product in a physical store space? How can you communicate that using the photos and the product description? If you can say it with a photo or image, do it.

The story you’re communicating will always be product specific. With some products, customers might benefit from using all 7 shots. With others, it might be more info than is needed. And in many cases,you’ll find that you can accomplish the objective of multiple shots in a single photo. This is only good, though, if you don’t compromise the effectiveness of any one shot by doing so.

Lifestyle Shot

This is an example of a product in action in its intended environment. This will be your most exciting shot. While the rest of the shots will communicate the more technical aspects, this shot illustrates the experience of using the product.

Scale Shot

This is a shot that compares your product to another object that viewers can reference for size. Use an object that is universally familiar to the consumer. That could be an every day object, like a penny or a standard size coffee mug, or it could be an object that is common within that product’s field.

You might be able to combine this shot with a lifestyle shot. Be wary of using people for reference objects. A handheld object, for example, could look quite comfortable in the hand of a model. But the viewer has no way of telling if the model in the picture is much larger or smaller than them.

Detail or Feature Shot

Use closeups to to show all the features and details that are important to the consumer. In some cases, you might need multiple closeups from different distances to show how an intricate feature fits into its place or how it functions. Don’t overlook the power of detail. For example, consumers care about indicators of quality and workmanship, like fine stitching on apparel. You also might want to do a close up that indicates the quality of materials used.

Packaging Shot

The packaging may be relevant to the consumer for multiple reasons. With some products, one might keep the packaging to store parts, or for return purposes. Or, if a product is fragile, the purchaser wants to know that the packaging is sufficient to keep their product safe during shipping. Laying the product out in its packaging can also be a good way to display all the parts in an organized fashion.

Individual vs Group Shot

Some products are next to useless without their counterparts. Think of a pack of colored pastel markers. Being artistically minded, the consumer wants to see what all the colors look like when neatly ordered in the package. This will make your shot deliver some sort of emotional payoff. However, group shots might make it difficult to see the full character of the individual pieces. Use them both as needed to convey the necessary information.

You might be able to combine an individual shot with a detail shot, if all the important details can be seen from a full shot of the individual piece.

You might be able to combine a group shot with a packaging shot. Going back to the colored pastels example, an individual shot will likely cover all the details, so the group shot can probably be done in the package.

Instructional Shot

This could be done with photos and/or videos. Again, the consumer wants to know what the experience of using the product is like -- how effective the product is, how difficult it is to use. This particular type of shot is more technical than a lifestyle shot, but you could combine the two if the nature of the product allows it.

If it’s not 100% obvious how a product works to everybody who might be interested in the product, include instructions.