Creative product photography | a case study
Creative product photography? Isn’t all photography creative?
The phrase ‘product photography’ usually suggests photos of a product shot in a studio against a plain white background – “think eBay” is what I say to people when they want to understand the concept. In fact, ‘ecommerce photography’ has become another accepted phrase to describe the style. But sometimes a client comes to me that wants product photography that’s a bit different to that. That’s where the ‘creative’ part comes in.
Winding River Liqueurs is a small business based in Sandbach, who were looking to build a new website. They already had a nice range of products, labelling designed and printed and wanted product shots to populate a website that matched with that branding i.e. dark! There were also practical considerations to bear in mind for the photos – principally, leaving a lot of dead space (that’s empty areas of the photo for a designer to drop in text and logos). The photos I would make were therefore serving two functions. Firstly, to act as attractive and eye-catching images on the website; and secondly as product shots to show the different flavours of liqueur available.
After a chat with owner Matthew and a couple of test shots to see if we were in the ball park, I spent a day in the studio creating shots of the complete range of flavours, along with some combination shots of multiple bottles. I’ve included a few examples below.
I don’t normally talk about photographic technique on my blog posts, but I think it’s worth making this an exception. Here are a couple of things to consider. Photographing glass is tricky. It has two qualities that are especially difficult to deal with; it’s transparent and also reflective! Which makes lighting it …….. interesting. The secret is to use the reflection caused by studio lights to create outlines that define the bottle shape, while also illuminating the different coloured liquids inside. Of course, that sounds simple, but in practice it means getting everything aligned perfectly and lots of trial and error. Then throw in the need to light the label sufficiently so that it stands out enough …….. without upsetting the delicate balance of lights that are showing the bottle outline … another problem to solve! You’ll also notice, hopefully, that the background isn’t a perfect black, but actually a textured piece of grey slate; this was used to add depth to the images, rather than the bottles ‘floating’ in space.
If you’d like to see the finished shots on Winding River’s website, you can click through to it here.
So there you have it. A bit of an insight into the thought process behind a creative product photography shoot. I hope that’s useful in helping you understand what goes into a branding shoot, and the amount of work involved!