THIS IS A GUEST POST COURTESY OF KRISTA WALTERS OF COPY CRUNCHER
In business and branding, storytelling is important—especially in product photography. Having a story in mind is one thing. However, capturing it in an image of a product and creating an expressive connection or emotional impact is key.
Here’s how you can tell a story in every product photograph.
What Is Storytelling In Product Photography?
In photography, storytelling is the art of using images to convey a message and evoke a feeling. This same principle applies to product photography.
Rather than just looking at a product, you want to form a connection of what it can do, how it can solve a problem, or even enhance a lifestyle. If you can capture all this in a static image, you’ll not only create a memorable photo, but you’ll increase your marketability as a photographer too.
Why is Storytelling Important for Product Photography?
Storytelling in product photography is about creating a context, a mood, and a personality for your product and your brand. And with that, there are two main reasons why storytelling is essential for product photography:
1. Show, don’t tell. There’s so much power in first impressions and the feelings that an image can evoke with just a quick glance. Imagination needs to always come before the words.
This moment can allow you to visually explain what your product is like before a customer reads further into any information about the product—quickly highlighting your product’s features, benefits, and unique selling points without using words.
2. Building trust. Customers are more likely to invest in brands they trust and relate to. Depending on your product and how you visually display its story, you can create a connection with your customers and show them that you understand them and their needs. These critical points can also show them you care about quality, creativity, and authenticity.
How to Create a Story Using Product Photography
There are three elements of must-knows and five techniques that you should consider using when telling a story through product photography.
Let’s start with the three things every photographer should know when it comes to capturing their product:
1. Know your audience. The first step in telling a story is to know who you’re talking to. You’ll need to understand:
- Your target market
- Their demographics
- Pain points
This will help you to capture your message and style to suit their needs and expectations.
2. Know your purpose. Define the goal of your product photography, whether it’s to inform, persuade, entertain, or even inspire. What you want to achieve goes hand-in-hand with getting to know your audience.
If you can, jot down reviews about your product or talk to your buyers to find out what attracts them to the product. It may surprise you how much inspiration you can draw from them to get you started. You’ll snuff out a significant lead in choosing your story’s tone, mood, and angle.
3. Know your product. What are you selling? Answering this question can start opening up the right doors to constructing your story. So, get familiar with your product, its features, benefits, and value proposition. This also includes its unique selling points and competitive advantages—which, of course, will help you master your camera focus and capture those stylish features.
Depending on the product, you want to show how it solves a problem or even fulfills a desire, highlighting the notable vital features.
With knowing your audience, purpose, and product, you’re now that much closer to capturing and highlighting what boosts the product’s identity. Once you’ve done all your homework and checked all the must-knows, you can start climbing into some creativity.
How To Shoot Product Photographs That Tell A Story
You can use the following five techniques to your advantage when creating a story and adding a splash personality to your product:
1. Use color. One of the most powerful tools in storytelling, color can generate so much contrast, harmony, emphasis, and emotion in your images. Use color to attract attention, convey meaning, set the mood, or develop familiarity with your brand or niche while also grabbing attention.
2. Use composition. The composition is how the elements in your picture are arranged, including the subject, background, foreground, props, lighting, and more. Play around with ideas, especially with all the information you have gathered.
Use all sorts of designs to create balance, symmetry, asymmetry, rule of thirds, leading lines, negative space, etc., all fixing on interest, focus, and direction in your images.
3. Use lighting. Lighting is crucial for every photographer as it can capture stories that words alone cannot explain. Playing on the viewer’s imagination and acting as the spotlight, you can create depth, texture, shadow, and highlight in your images.
Like color, you can use it to create drama, mystery, warmth, or energy in your photographs. The idea is to enhance your image’s color, as well as its mood and atmosphere.
4. Use styling. A great place to start with style is by picking and placing the props, or even apparel and accessories, as well as other aspects that match your product and its narrative. Context, contrast, significance, or personality are its main aims. Additionally, you may employ style to demonstrate how your product can be used, worn, or shown in various scenarios or settings.
5. Use editing. Editing is the ultimate touch that can make or break your product photography, helping to improve your photos’ caliber, consistency, and clarity. The overall exposure, contrast, color, sharpness, and other properties can all be tweaked or perfectly touched up. It also helps to balance out any areas the above four techniques lack.
There are plenty of innovative software and apps that can help you edit your product photographs to perfection. A great example is the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom app. Using this app, you can customize your photos by removing or adding elements, applying filters, or even enhancing effects.
Taking product photographs is more complex than just shooting a static image. If you’re building your portfolio and want to showcase your storytelling abilities, adding product photographs is a great idea. It will highlight your skill in this niche and show people that you can create a narrative behind every image, no matter what it is.