In a competitive market, if you want to stand out as a luxury brand it is important to use creative approaches to chocolate photography to push your brand forward. Some treat it simply as another e-commerce product and post images featuring their chocolates and truffles on a white background. If done well, this can look ok. However, we need to remember that it is essentially food that we are selling so it needs to look appealing. This includes the styling and lighting for the photo, not just the chocolates themselves looking nice.
As with other types of product photography, there are a few angles that we can try. Firstly, think about using a different coloured background. Colours carry strong messages within cultures so can have positive (or negative) psychological effects on the viewer. Black and dark blue is often used to promote the idea of sophistication. Black can make something look smart, expensive and is often used for advertising luxury goods. The right lighting can help to lift that effect to an even higher level.
Secondly, we can incorporate aspects of the packaging and ingredients into the images. For a particularly eye-catching effect, splashes can be a fun, playful addition. If you pride yourself on using particular ingredients then why not showcase aspects of this in your photos? If you have a special presentation box for your product, show that off too.
As with other types of food photography, creative chocolate photography is all about finding ways to make people want the product. We want them to desire the chocolates and to want to try them. So, it can help if the images are interesting and not just on a rather sterile flat white background.
Consider showing the inside of your chocolates as well. A little teaser of a vibrant coloured filling or a layered truffle can add an extra element to your product photos.
We can also borrow from other genres such as fashion photography and product advertising by creating styled scenes. This is a good way to show the product in context and to set a sense of lifestyle to go with it. For example, here are a couple of images with coffee alongside the chocolates. They are often natural partners and images like this can create a scene that the viewer can more easily imagine themselves into. If they can relate easily, they are more likely to want to buy.
Special effects and composites can provide opportunities for creative imagery. This next image is a composite of a photo of a chocolate bar, a photo of a splash and a background with a slight glow created in Photoshop:
As an alternative to traditional photography, I also offer CGI. This can be used for fantastical or realistic scenes depending on your requirements. The image below of 3 stacked truffles is CGI.
CGI can also be used to create complex 3d compositions such as the one below. Having multiple floating objects with a sense of depth is often easier to achieve using CGI. It makes it possible to build and tweak 3d scenes with realistic lighting and precise control over the positioning of each element. Find out more about CGI product images here.
The image below shows an advertising image produced for Artisan Chocolates by Saffire. The dark background adds a sense of sophistication as well as helping the vibrantly coloured chocolates to stand out. It also goes with the feel of the box, complementing the branding. A cocktail glass with drink in it has been added to the scene to suggest a lifestyle association of something more high end and luxurious. The box, chocolates and menu have all been featured to show the smart design and branding, adding to the overall feel.
The final image below was created for Booja-Booja to be used for their Christmas advert. It has an organic, playful feel to it. The image features some of their vegan chocolate truffles and ingredients found in their vegan truffles and ice creams.
Text & images © Joe Lenton, January 2020 updated with Booja-Booja ad Nov 2020
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