Here is my original product photography post from back in 2011 http://starzyia.wordpress.com/2011/07/30/creating-artistic-product-photographs-for-online-selling/ I still stand by my advice of analyzing photographs that grab your attention online, and of exploring your home, don’t rely on your memory alone at this point, really look through your belongings with a new pair of eyes and make a list of everything that can potentially be used in a photo shoot. Then you need to think about each individual product you want to photograph, remember this isn’t going to be a K-mart pamphlet this should be somewhat artful and emotional – your best photographs are ones that show your product in the best light and that includes evoking feeling, you know how you want your customer feel when using your product, so let’s try and create that feeling in them right here and now just by looking at the photograph.
I thought I’d show you some of my thought process for my photography, not because I am under the illusion that I’m the best in the world at photography (of course not!) but it is much easier for me to use my photographs and share what I was trying to achieve, you can be your own judge of the photographs and the statement they make.
With the running hare brooch, my original thought was that it is symbolic jewelry, a wild animal, with leaves and natural epidote beads so I thought: woodland, nature, freedom, and of course… grass! So I went and snipped some of the long grass we have in the backyard and attempted to artfully arrange it on the neutral silver grey fabric I use in many of my photo shoots. The first photograph is usually my lead photograph, it is like an eye, and draws your eye to the brooch and I can tell you it is very effective on my shop pages even though other jewellery on my page is brightly coloured. But I always include the second photograph with the grass opened, this is much freer, and gives the hare room to run, which hopefully is joyful and liberating to the soul.
What do you think, do you like the association of the grass, do you like the feeling that the hare is running and possibly leaping over the leaf and bead, clearing all obstacles in its way?
Can you brainstorm a similar process using different props for your own unique product – what do you associate with each of your creations? How can you depict that?
With these pendants, one using chiyogami paper, the other a popular altered art image of a kokeshi doll, I decided to use a small doll prop that I had, with this kind of thing you do need to be careful about whether the prop enhances the product, or steals affection away from the product – the last thing you want is someone contacting you to ask where they can buy the doll from, while ignoring your hard work creating your product! You can probably tell I have been much more successful with the first image, with the chiyogami paper pendant, and the second photograph is also over exposed and not flattering shot of the actual pendant art. In both photographs though, it has been the right decision to have the pendant in front of the doll.
In the first image, I like the simplicity, there is a simple expanse of my regularly featured light silver grey fabric, with just two sources of colour – the pendant and the doll. In the second photograph, although I had to reshoot, I liked the cascade of scarf fringing like cherry blossom.
This also shows you how it is worth having the right prop for your product – although I collect matryoshka dolls, I definitely wouldn’t team the Japanese pendants with them, like goes with like in the mind of the customer. The doll definitely indicates the world region and style of the jewellery and has a cuteness to it that grabs a customer who may be looking at an entire page (or pages) of search results – not always looking just at a page of your own products – you want to stand out from the other product images from the competition.
You’ve probably also been advised to show how your customers would hold or touch your product, since an online shopper cannot physically do this for themselves. I started photographing my jewellery in my hand to try and achieve this and also help show the size of each piece visually.
In the first photograph, I have the item flat on my hand, with my fingers stretched out and away from me, like I’m offering the piece to someone.
In the next photograph, I had started to show how it looks to hold the item in your own hand like you had just received it, or love it so much you just had to stop and look at it again and again.
In the last photograph I had started to think that holding it with my fingers curled around it made it look more treasured, held safe and fast in your hand like you are hugging it.
Do the three different photographs of me holding my jewellery make you feel differently? Can you see what I mean about the moods created just by the way you hold something in your hand?
So you can see how much I am continuing to grow, since all these photographs were taken this year, I went from focusing on props used, to composition of the shots, to even including body language in my photographs, and you can imagine what an impact all three elements would have for other types of products especially in fashion photography, children’s toys, and home decor – really you can spend the rest of your life growing the way you think about and execute your product photography and I hope you will do that and find it increasingly enjoyable rather than a stressful and difficult feat to achieve. I know so many people who have transitioned from a negative mindset about the demands of photographing their work to now enjoying it almost as much as they do creating their product to begin with.
How do you feel about your product photography? Is the way you feel about it different now than before you read this post?