For all product based business with an online retail presence, creating imagery falls into three broad categories: the packshot, the still life, & the lifestyle shots.  This general rule applies to established brands as well as startups.

At Kalory Photo & Video we have had the chance of working with both these type of clients.  Each has their own set of needs and particularities and we have become very experienced at adapting our services to achieve a brand’s visual goals. 

We don’t just slot a client into a pre-conceived pricing structure that offers zero flexibility or scope of reduction or expansion. This is an important factor as to why we have a high ratio of return clients who experience a consistent level of service and quality regardless of what type of photography they want to commission with us.

Typically with any online business, the product needs to be presented in a variety of situations so that the final buyer is able to establish a strong “want” towards it and hence make the final purchase. All the selling has to be done through the images, as, in general, there is no human interaction to help close the sale.  This is where a variety of image styles come into play.  You have to take your customers through a visual journey and show them the product in multiple situations that will give them the confidence to make the final purchase.   

As a large part of our client base is in the jewellery and watch industry, we are going to use a couple of client case studies to walk you through the three different forms of images which has helped our clients build a strong online retail presence and also explain how the three together can help an on-line shopper make the final decision to purchase a product.

Packshots:

Packshot photography is the quintessential photographic style since the dawn of online retail.  The jewellery or the watch is photographed and placed on a clean white background, with shadow and or reflection of your choice which we offer at no additional charge.  There is nothing else but the product.  This can be just a single image or multiples, depending on the complexity, price and design details that you want to show off on your web pages.

These product images are key as they are the ones featured in the e-commerce section of your website.  They need to be of good quality, as at that moment in the shopping experience of an online client, doubts about the product and the purchase often occur: these packshot images needs to reassure the client that the product is perfect and meet their needs in terms of quality, designs, colours, sizes, etc.  It is a crucial set of images in order to close an online sale.

The examples below are of pack shots we have shot for startups as well as established brands. They are all on a crisp white backdrop.

Pros:

Pack shots can be quick and inexpensive.

They require minimal planning and can be commissioned with us at short notice.

Professional qualitative packshots will beat any iphone or home studio photography and will instantly give your e-commerce platform a professional look and build up your credibility as a serious e-retailer. 

The focus is purely on the product, there are no other distractions.

Cons:

A single image might fail to communicate a special design or usability feature of the product.

For high value items, it is likely not to help if only one image is shot.  Multiple images can help with this, especially for sculptural jewellery pieces or special edition watches.

Being on a plain white background, some clients might need more help in making a decision as they are not able to see it beyond this, and how it might look on them.

Still life:

Still life images are a considerable jump above packshots, however, they do not replace a pack shot, but they work hand in hand with them.

The still life is a broad category and can range from very simple spontaneous images to more complex setups that need a lot of pre-planning and a little more financial commitment. There are props involved, but again they can be as simple as a coloured tile or a feather to more complex and more expensive items such as the image of the beautiful pocket watch we photographed for our clients Breguet, which involved an antique desk and books as well as complex lighting.

Pros:

Still life image bring a creative feel to your product

They allow you to communicate a wider narrative behind the product such as its inspiration.

They immediately differentiate your products away from your competition as you are creating unique photography suited to the specifics of your products.

They are a lot more fun for you as the process is about creating visual stories that will help the final buyer make the purchase decision.

Cons:

It needs planning, but if you are too busy juggling too many things, we, here at Kalory, have over a decade worth of experience between us to help you plan almost any type of shoot.

You will need to have a little more financial commitment to the project for props, but a clever way to handle this, is to borrow from your own home and from friends and/or from our extensive collection of props to create your set of images.

Life style:

Creating lifestyle images for your products will allow your final customer to see how the products look like in “real life” situation.  How it looks on a wrist for a watch or a finger or a neck for a piece of jewellery.   Lifestyle images almost always have a human presence, be it in the direct way of a model wearing your products or closeup shots just showing your products on a model hand, neck etc.

Like still life, the variety and scope of these types of images is infinite and this means you can really create something unique, and bespoke for your product photography.

Pros:

Bringing a model is a way of showing to your final buyer what the product looks like when worn.  This is a huge help for most people in deciding how a piece of jewellery or a watch will look on them.

You are creating a statement about your brand, and making it stand out from the competitors in the market place.

Cons:

It needs planning on all levels to ensure that the final images are exactly what you want. This is again something we are very experienced and we can help at every stage of the planning process.

There is the additional cost of the model that needs to be considered, however asking your friends and family to see if there are any aspiring models that would be suitable for the type of images you need can help reduce pressure on the budget.  We can also put you in touch with suitable freelance models who are available at a more reasonable rate than the ones charged by a modelling agency.

Conclusion:

So if you are now completely confused, don’t panic.  Give us a call and we will walk you through the process and help you make a decision based on your budget and your needs.  We often find out that our clients want to create a lot of images, for which they have not a  clear planned usage. We can help you bring some focus on this, so that you are only creating and paying for photography that will have a direct benefit and impact on your e-commerce website.

Keep in mind that all three types of photography are complementing each other, and will allow your product to be presented in a variety of situations to help your final customer make a purchase decision.  One is not better than the other, but depending on what your product is, one or more styles might be more effective than the other. This is where our expertise can make a big difference, so that you can make the best choice and allocate your budget towards the right images to maximise your visual impact and ultimately your sales.