Is Your Product Photography Consistent?
In previous posts we’ve considered the role that photography can play in fortifying your brand. It can be a powerful way of enhancing your brand’s story. You can set an anticipation of value in the potential buyer’s mind by making your products and services look high end. In this post, we’ll look at keeping product photography consistent to avoid weaknesses in your brand.
Once you’ve decided on a look for your products it is important to keep it consistent. When the imagery looks like it belongs together, it is easier on the eye and makes the browsing experience more pleasant for visitors to your site. If the lighting or finish varies too much, then it makes the brain work harder when trying to make sense of the whole. So, it is worth considering if your shots are repeatable or not. For a one-off advert it might be fine to do something really different. In fact, that might be beneficial. However, if you are putting together a well-designed catalogue or online shop, it is worth taking the time to get all the images to sit well together.
The first step to decide can be quite simple. What will the background to each image be? In many cases, white is ideal for e-commerce or catalogues. However, you may wish to have a particular colour or background that gives more of a unique feel to your brand. Then, it is important to think what kind of impression the images are to give. Should they look clinical? Should they look a little unreachable or exclusive? This will help finalise the background choice and also inform the lighting setup to be used.
In the sample images shown on this page you can see that I’ve gone for a bright, clinical, catalogue style. All the products have been shot on white. They have all been taken using the same lighting setup. This helps them feel like they belong together. Clearly they are also linked by subject matter. What do you do, though, if you sell a wide range of products? You could have a different setup for each main section, or you can keep the product photography consistent across the board. Even though the items might be from different categories, their presentation can help make them feel as though they belong on the same website.
This is the type of thing that you will see on major retail websites such as Amazon. They sell a wide variety of products, but somehow the site does not look dissonant. The consistent level of presentation is one element that helps to make it feel as though each item somehow belongs. Adding an image that is very different will draw attention to it. This can be very helpful if you want to draw customers to a special offer or a particular product you want to focus on for a while. But, this trick should be used relatively sparingly so that the pages don’t look chaotic.
The image above will stand out when you scroll through. So, be careful which images are drawing attention and which you want to simply sit nicely on the page. Only change the look if there is a real reason to do so. It can be a powerful device, but only if used deliberately and carefully.
Other colour schemes and post-production can of course play a part. For example, here are 2 shots from a case study I did on Argan Oil products:
The presentation is almost identical. There are some differences in the lighting, but the overall feel keeps everything feeling securely within the branding. For another example, you might like to look at this post exploring a look for cosmetic product photography.
Sometimes I act as a consultant for businesses looking to do their own product photography due to regular high turnaround in stock. I always advise them of ways to keep the process as simple and repeatable as possible. There is no point in me showing them something that only works for one product and not the rest. No matter what size your business is, you can always benefit from keeping your product photography consistent. Think of it as an investment in keeping your brand strong.
© Joe Lenton, August 2017