Along with consistent product photography, one key factor that can help your eCommerce brand stand out is product styling.
Today, art directors and creative directors are putting a lot of effort into creating a compelling branding strategy. Then why hold back on styling product photography? After all, you are presenting your products to the people who are right there on your site to buy them.
You can use product styling to market your products, show them off on your site, or present them in a regular environment to show how they look in real life.
They are an amazing way to capture the attention of the audience and give them a good reason to learn more about the product.
Here, I am sharing a complete guide of product styling for eCommerce product photography. Without taking any more time, let us dive right into it.
What is product styling?
Product styling is different ways you can use to style your product photos and videos, to use them on your eCommerce, social media, ads, or banners. Unlike regular product photography, the goal of product styling photography is to capture attention and share information about the product.
Here, you can use different props, graphics, and animation to go along with your products to achieve your marketing goals. But still, the main focus should be around presenting your product.
Your product is always the center of attention while other elements of the image are used to complement your product in the frame.
Why is product styling important?
Styling product photography is important because of its ability to easily capture attention and give key information about the product visually. It allows your customer to connect with the product instantly, because of the extra information that they get when compared to regular product photography.
Product styling becomes much more important in today’s world where most of the audience is interacting with the brand through social media and online advertising but has a little attention span.
Styling product photography allows you to grab attention quickly, share information on the go. and build strong brand awareness across the marketing channel.
How to style your product photos?
Every product and every brand are different. So, your role as a photographer expands beyond just capturing the product. Here, you have to share a message and build a connection with the audience.
Understand the brand connection
Before you get started with creating a concept idea, you first need to understand what is the end goal of your customer. What are they looking for, when they contact you.
Learn about the product, the target market, and their common habits that can help you understand their connection with the brand better.
Styling product photography is different because of its ability to present the product in a creative way. At the same time, it allows you to share some information about the product as well.
You have to make sure that people can recognize the brand even if you have no logo or name mentioned in the image.
The best way to do so is by following the eCommerces’ style guide. It will help you learn a lot about the specifications that the brand follows in all its photography. For example, have look at the France clothing brand Sezane.
Be it their Instagram feed, their banner image, or even the product images; they all stand out and align with each other very swiftly.
Plan your shoot
Planning will be a crucial part of product styling, as it is always around a concept. Planning out the whole shoot will help you be better prepared with the gear.
It will help you decide what kind of lens you will use, the lighting equipment that you’ll need, the props or the model that’ll be involved in the whole process, and everything else depending on the shoot.
Having a clean-clever plan will help you at a great scale in achieving the goal and avoiding going blank on the day of the shoot.
Create a mood board
Coming up with great ideas isn’t always easy. But there is always a great scope of inspiration. So it would be a great idea to integrate Pinterest into your research phase. Learn about categories, the current trends, and styles that other people and professionals are using.
It will help you learn a lot about what you can do with the product to get the best possible result. Create a mood board of props, composition, styling, and everything that you think can help you come up with a great product styling idea.
In addition to that, you can even get the client’s idea on your concept to get their opinion and work together to come up with the best possible results.
Choose your color scheme
Colors will determine the overall vibe and the messaging of your product styling photography. That is why choosing the right color scheme is really important.
In most cases, the color scheme will be mentioned in the client’s style guide that you can follow. But in case this is just a start, you must choose a color scheme that aligns with the messaging.
For example, bright colors like yellow are great for making bold statements, whereas pastel colors are commonly used to create a sense of relaxation. White indicates purity, & simplicity, whereas green is the color of health and generosity.
Learning about the color scheme will give you a great advantage in creating meaningful product styling photography for your clients and their products.
Choosing the right background
In PixelPhant’s previous guides, we have already shared the importance of choosing the right background for your product images. It helps you in creating a good contrast and helps you to make the product stand out.
The aim is still the same. Choose a background that makes the product stand out and doesn’t grab any extra attention. But since we are styling the product images, you can go with something more than just a plain background.
It can be ceramic tiles, painted wood, color papers, and various other types of DIY photography backdrops.
Choosing the props
Props are an essential part of product styling in photography. They differentiate your work and also fulfill the need for styling product photography for eCommerce.
But what props should you use? More importantly, what is the props that you must avoid?
You must avoid two types of props in your product images. One that doesn’t steal attention and the other that doesn’t share false information about the brand, or the product.
The props in the styling product photography are used to share information about the product. One example here would be the Bananaboat product styling photography.
They are a sunscreen brand for all ages with products that also have cooling effects. How did they decide to show this in the image? Like this 👇
They used a muffler, and snow in their styling their product photography.
Show off the scale
While choosing the props, there is one thing that you need to keep in mind. That is the size of your product. You must make sure that the props give a good idea about the actual size of the product.
In case you fail to do so, it will result in the spread of a lot of misinformation about the product which is not good for the brand.
The best props will be the ones that people commonly see in their day-to-day lives. This will help people connect with the product better and give them a good understanding of the product.
Here you can see an example of The Body Shop. A skincare brand whose products are 100% natural.
Now, because the products will normally be found in the bathrooms of their customers or around similar toiletries, their product styling is mostly around the same.
Choosing the model
Models do play a huge role in presenting your products in the most natural way. They are commonly used to catch the viewer’s attention and give them a good idea about the fit and the looks.
But it is very important that you choose the right model for your shoot. The one that compliments the product and aligns with your photography concept.
If you want to showcase the traditions and authenticity of a regional fashion design, a model who belongs to that same region or culture will really be a great fit. If you have various sizes available in a product, multiple models with different sizes and fit will be better than just the one.
Understand the concept, and finalize the model that you think will reflect the messaging that you are looking for.
Choosing Lighting showcasing details
This point is really very important in product styling for eCommerce photography. Lighting is one very special medium that helps us bring focus on the product.
It also helps in making the mood energetic, dull, natural, or dark. Choosing the lighting is really important for the product as well. It helps in showcasing the details more efficiently without stressing about it.
Good lighting feels natural and that is why it is highly recommended that you avoid ring lights. Illuminate the product and make sure you don’t hide the details in the darkness.
Creating a Composition
You have the product, you have the backdrop, you have the prop, and most importantly, you know what you want. With all these factors at play, your next step is to ensure the good composition of your image.
The easier it is to spot your product is, the better it is for the brand. So you can start by placing your product in the center of your frame. Doing this will give you a lot of space for adding props in the frame.
You can start introducing different props to try and fit in with your competition that complements the product. Again, make sure there is enough space around the actual product itself to differentiate it from the props.
Editing is and will be a major part of your product styling photography. After all, it helps you take your raw images and remove every visible flaw to match your expectations.
If you have used supporting props like threads, pins, or glue, editing will allow you to get rid of it and give you professional results in the end.
But we can’t ignore that editing takes a lot of your time. Specially editorial and product photo editing. And even if you squeeze in some free time, the result will be compromising on quality.
In order to avoid this, you can always outsource your images to PixelPhant. A professional photo editing service that helps you create perfect images for your customers.
Styling product photography is a very important part of branding and eCommerce marketing. Moreover, it is a continuous process that goes on in order to make sure people connect with the brand.
This can be for social media, upcoming or growing trends, or a particular event like Christmas. When getting started product styling will really be a very important part of making your brand and brand products stand out.
If you are looking to get your product styling images edited by experts, try PixelPhant for free and get an image editing trial now.