More Worth Than Thousand Words: The Makings of Good In-Context Product Photos

A picture isn’t only worth a thousand words. It may have some real, monetary worth in the case of online marketing, as it can turn website visits to sales. Especially the use of contextual photos, images that show how a product can be used, precisely because it highlights the very purpose and promise of the item. It gives people a glimpse as to how they can benefit from the product, at the same time, feeding customer’s emotions, desires, even life aspirations.

If you want to bring out the best in your contextual product photos, these are the elements you need to focus on:

Human touch

Literally, the human touch. Believe it or not, the simple addition of a model’s hand in a picture can make so much visual and emotional impact on customers. For one, it provides information as to the scale of the product. At the same time, it shows how the item can be used, especially when the purpose isn’t that obvious. Most importantly, it allows people to imagine themselves using the product with their own hands.

If you’re able to put them in that headspace, then you’ve already crossed half the battle of convincing them to buy. Add the human touch to your photos: a hand reaching out to a necklace from the jewelry box or to a perfume bottle at the vanity table. It will do so much good to the aesthetic and emotional appeal of your photos, for sure. If you’re unsure how to retouch jewelry and other products, consult professional editors for better results.

Flat lay

This is one of the popular photo compositions recently, and it’s not surprising that it has gotten trendy. It’s a visual feast for the eyes. For brands, it’s a good opportunity to build on your branding, as you can play with the colors of other elements in the flat lay. Of course, it also serves the very purpose of contextual photos: telling a story of how and where the products can be used.

While it looks like it’s easy to pull off a flat lay, in real life, it’s not that straightforward. You need to keep in mind some important things.

First up is the background. It needs to be simple, solid, and neat. Next is the lighting. It’s always best to shoot in natural light because it doesn’t create shadows that could mess up the whole thing. Then you also have to take note of the space between objects. Keep it uncluttered. Maintain the negative space. Of course, don’t forget the story. What are you trying to evoke in your flat lay? A bride’s jewelry and accessories essentials? A woman’s beauty prep routine? Your story should be aligned with your brand promise.

On location

girl showing off her necklace

To provide better context (and story) to your photos, choose to shoot on different locations. Promoting jewelry? Place the rings at the soft, white sands at the shoreline, reminiscent of beach weddings. Adventure travel bags? Shoot at the top of a mountain or in the middle of a jungle for that rugged, rough feel. Men’s wallets? Capture them at the counter of a pub where it’s almost always seen.

Of course, you can also shoot indoors if that’s what your brand identity calls for. The bottom line is you can opt for various sceneries to convey different ways your product can be used.

Again, pictures are powerful tools for your marketing campaign. Take a moment to strategize and plan how you’re going to use them to your advantage. As you deliberate with your team, don’t forget about awesome contextual product photos.

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