Category: Product Photography

Professional product photography – studio and location based photoshoots

Professional product photography can be the difference between someone purchasing your product or choosing a competitor’s instead. Your product photos play a key role in your business, providing important buying information. They convey brand values and create a sense of desire amongst consumers. They also maximise visual appeal, which helps to attract customers and ultimately boost sales. Excellent product photography is not to be underestimated.

Professional product photography is one of the many services we offer here at Spencer Cobby Photography. We specialise in crafting images to accentuate the quality, purpose and key features of your product. We know just how crucial product photography is for your business. And we understand the huge impact it can have on sales. We pride ourselves on shooting vibrant, high-resolution images that will catch the attention of your customers. They will be able to get up-close and personal with your products. Our service is carefully tailored to successfully connect with your target audience and we’re confident that our meticulous approach will deliver professional results to give your business a boost to the next level.

Develop a strategy – understanding vision and brand

If you’re launching a new product, or even looking to revitalise existing products with new photos, we’ll work together with you to develop a photography strategy. We’ll first delve into your brand identity and get an idea of how you want your brand and products to be portrayed. It’s important we gain a clear understanding of your business vision so that we can tailor our service accordingly. With a clear goal in mind, together we’ll consider which style of photography is best. We can then decide between a location or studio shoot, both of which can be adapted depending on your needs.

Let’s take a look at the two different types of product photoshoots in more detail…

Studio based photoshoots

In our local Exeter studio, situated conveniently close to the M5, we offer a wide range of product photography services to our clients. We use state-of-the-art equipment such as the latest high-resolution camera systems and advanced flash apparatus.

FORMAL CUT-OUT PHOTOGRAPHY

We recognise the huge growth there’s been in internet sales during recent years, and understand the importance of strong visuals for ecommerce businesses in particular. Formal cut-out photography is one of the most common ways to shoot a product for a website, forming the basis for many of the projects we take on here at Spencer Cobby Photography. Take a look on almost any ecommerce site and you’ll find these classic white-background cut-out shots. These sorts of images are a simple, yet professional way of showcasing your product. Produced to the highest quality, we guarantee crisp edges and clear shots to convey every key detail about your product. Turnaround of studio ecommerce photography is generally much quicker than images shot on location.

These cut-out shots of Newey & Bloomer kettles for their ecommerce web shop form just one example of the many studio product photography projects we’ve undertaken. This shoot took a day and a half of meticulous photography to reach the desired results. The lighting, photography and editing were very carefully considered. We didn’t want to produce shots that compromised the shiny exteriors of the kettles or that showed reflections of our equipment. 

LIFESTYLE SETS

Lifestyle images are a clever way of connecting with your customers’ emotions and creating a sense of desire. By showing your products being used and enjoyed by a typical consumer, you are selling a way of life. Good quality lifestyle photos can convert interest into a sale, so they’re important to get right. A lot of people assume lifestyle photography takes place on location, but we offer lifestyle set-building in our studio if preferred. Turnaround can be longer than studio-produced cut-out shots, due to experimentation with sets, props and editing.

Location based photoshoots

Of course, not every business is looking for formal studio shots to display their products. This is why we also offer professional product photography on location. We can bring top-of-the-range lighting and backdrops to use on-site, subject to your needs.

Depending on the type of product photos you desire, shooting on location can be a great way of capturing emotive images that really tell your products’ story. Getting out of the studio opens up a plethora of choices for background options and often provides more room for creativity. Product photos shot on location often create a greater sense of desire amongst consumers than corporate cut-out shots. They help reflect your brand’s values and offer the audience a tangible lifestyle ideal to connect with.

Our product photography project with Eyewear Accessories is an example of how shooting on location can capture images that reflect brand values and communicate important product details. We were commissioned to create a set of lifestyle product images that show Eyewear’s sunglasses used in a various environments typically frequented by the target consumer. We decided to shoot the images in and around the Exeter University, to give a professional yet youthful look to the finished photos.

 

Professional care and precision

When it comes to product photography, there’s no room for error. Your products are the backbone of your business. If they don’t look good in images, they’re less likely to sell. With this in mind, we strive to offer true and accurate colour to images, whether captured in the studio or on location. Every photograph is edited to specification and delivered ready-for-use as a full resolution digital image.
To find out more about the product photography services we offer, and to see some more examples of our work, visit our website. And please do contact us if you’d like to discuss a project or have any questions about how product photography can help your business.

Why your ecommerce business needs product photography

The power of an image is hard to ignore. Research shows that people remember 80% of what they see, and just 20% of what they read. Plus, a staggering 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. How you showcase your products online can be the difference between a sale and no sale. The better your products look on your website, the more you will sell. Join us as we take a closer look at the crucial role of product photography for your ecommerce business.

Make up for a lack of physical interaction

When shopping on the high street, consumers get to experience a product before making a purchasing decision. They can physically touch it, pick it up, try it on. As an online retailer, you need to provide a strong visual representation of the product to make up for this lack of physical interaction.

Your ecommerce site needs product photography that shows each item from a variety of angles. Include close-ups of important features and any unique selling points. If your website sells handbags for instance, consider the key angles and shots required to help the customer build up a strong mental image of the product. You should include close-ups of any buckles or fastenings, shots of the inside, front, back and sides.

Options and angles

If a product is available in a range of colours or sizes, your site needs to show a photo of each option – don’t leave your customers guessing. Offering multiple angles and options demonstrates that you understand a customer’s need for strong visuals. It shows that you are making every effort to simplify their buying decision. If your customers are satisfied, they’re more likely to return to your site.

Nike

The Nike website has some great examples of multi-angle product photography. Each pair of shoes is photographed from a variety of perspectives, enhancing the visual representation of the product. The consumer can consequently make an informed purchasing decision.

image showing example of product photography with Nike trainersImage from www.nike.com

Bill Blight Bags

Similarly, the product photos we took for Bill Blight Bags make up for a lack of physical product interaction by showing each item from a range of angles. When it came to photographing the Buffer camera bags, we wanted potential buyers to feel like they had experienced the product just by looking at the images. To achieve this, we shot the bags with camera equipment inside, giving consumers an idea of how much they can hold and how the special-feature Velcro dividers can be used.

Convey brand values

Product photography communicates your brand values. As well as giving the consumer essential details about an individual item, strong product photography has the ability to convey the spirit of a brand. Your photos are your brand ambassadors! They can build trust in both your products and your business as a whole.

Bang and Olufsen

Take Bang & Olufsen for instance, whose close-up detail shots reflect the company’s commitment to slick simplicity, quality and innovation. The full-screen images they use on their website draw attention to the tiny finishing details that give Bang & Olufsen products that next level of quality. These immaculate product shots with their clever lighting and consistent colouring, portray the company’s brand and values. You expect exceptional products with exceptional customer service – perfect for driving sales and customer loyalty.

example of product photography with Bang and Olufsen speaker

Maureen Carr

The product photos we shot for local Devon knitwear producer Maureen Carr are another example of how ecommerce website images can express the essence of a brand. The crisp, clean, vivid photos highlight the fluidity and elegance of the garments Maureen creates. And, by featuring the knitwear on vintage-style tailor’s dummies, the business’ dedication to bespoke, luxury style is conveyed.

Maureen Carr purple shawl product shot

 

Create desire

Product photography can help to create a sense of desire. By featuring lifestyle shots on your site (people using your products in their natural environment) you are selling a way of life and giving consumers something to aspire to. These sorts of photographs connect with your customers’ emotions and are an effective way of converting interest into a sale.

ObBabee

These lifestyle shots from our ObBabee children’s cutlery photoshoot demonstrate how images of a product being used can connect with consumers’ emotions and give them something to desire. By showing children mastering the hold of the training cutlery whilst having fun, parents are given an ‘ideal’ to aspire to. Plus, the light, airy kitchen setting, which looks like a homely, family space, helps tell the story of the brand. It all helps appeal to the business’ target market.

Obbabee product photography by Spencer Cobby

Product photography impacts Social Media

With the boom in visual social networks like Pinterest and Instagram over recent years, it’s also worth mentioning how photographs can significantly raise awareness of your ecommerce business across social media. Attractive, professional photos that appeal to your target market are more likely to be shared by customers across these visual networks. These platforms can create a buzz around your products and ultimately drive traffic to your website.

With the power to maximise visual appeal, attract customers and increase sales, high-quality product photography is not to be underestimated. After all, your products are the backbone of your ecommerce site. If you don’t prioritise how they appear online, overall perceptions of your business could be damaged.

To find out more about the services we offer, and to see some recent examples of our work, visit our website. And please do contact us if you have any questions about how product photography can help your business.

 

Water Babies Branding and Product Photography

As an experienced underwater photographer I’ve worked with Water Babies for a number of years. Water Babies are a great organisation and it’s a real privilege to work with parents, children and across the country. The premise is very simple: I photograph children as they swim underwater and parents have an opportunity to purchase a memorable and unique image. As a parent myself I know how valuable these photos can be.

More recently I’ve been doing some rather different work with WaterBabies. Instead of photographing the children swimming, I’ve been doing some work for Water Babies themselves as they needed updated branding and product photography for their range of Water Babies towels and ponchos.

In this blog post I’ll be sharing how I went about the photoshoot and some of the things that I have to consider when doing a branding and product photography photoshoot.

 

 

Water Babies Towel - Photos By Spencer Cobby Photography

 

Branding and Product Photography: The Brief

If I’m honest, much of the time clients don’t really know what they want until they have got it in front of them. This is particularly true when I’m working with a client for the first time – or it’s the first time that they’ve commissioned a photographer. As a photographer I am always looking to to understand what a client is looking for and ask them as many questions as I can. These questions then inform me when I approach the brief.
In the case of Water Babies they mostly know what they wanted as they have produced many product images before. I had a lot of direction on the day and days prior to the shoot but still I had to go through my usual line of questioning to make sure I provided them with the images they needed.
Another important feature of this photoshoot is that I wasn’t necessarily being commissioned to be completely creative. This is an important part of commercial photography that is often overlooked. Water Babies have a huge range of stock images that have been produced by multiple photographers. It’s very important that these images have a degree of conformity and aren’t all completely different in style and theme. I therefore needed to produce photographs which mimic some of the key features of other Water Babies photographers’ work. The photos needed to fit in with the current Water Babies branding but also complement their new product.

Water Babies asked me to photograph their range of towels and ponchos. They wanted warm, cosy images of children wrapped up in the products and interacting with one another. The images needed to be clean, striking and set against a white background.

 

Water Babies Toddler Poncho - Photos By Spencer Cobby Photography

 

Water Babies Photoshoot: On The Day

They say that you should never work with children or animals (!) but the reality is that you just need to be well prepared and ready for the unexpected. When you’re working with children you need to be very patient and understand that things don’t always go exactly as you’ve planned – but that you’ll almost certainly find that you’ve got the shots that you need at the end of the day.
Here are some of the key things that I was focused on during the photoshoot:
  • The children needed to look both cute and approachable. We wanted the children to be relaxed but it was also important that they were positioned correctly – either looking into the camera or looking in a particular direction – to fit the requirements that Waterbabies had of the images.
  • We needed to ensure that we had equally strong images of each of the different products in order to cover the whole range. Sometimes it’s tempting when doing product photography to focus on what’s working well, but we needed to ensure that all of the products were covered.
  • Variety was also very important. You’ll see that the children are doing different things in different images – sitting, standing, crawling etc – because we didn’t just want replicas of the same image. There is always a balance to be had between variety and consistency of branding.
  • I was very conscious that the ponchos and towels – which parents can also sew their children’s swimming badges onto – are primarily designed to keep children warm after they’ve been swimming. As a parent I wanted the images to make it very clear exactly how the products make a difference – keeping chills away and keeping babies cosy. I was keen to make sure that the photos showed this.

Technical Considerations

I knew that the images were going to be photoshopped onto a white background so that they would fit the overall feel of the Water Babies store. This meant that I needed to get the exposure and aperture right – and ensure that there is enough space around the children to crop out the background whilst retaining the natural feel of the shoot that was so important.

After the shoot I worked hard to edit and process the images and get them into a format that Water Babies could use ‘out of the box’. I pride myself in being much quicker than the industry average when it comes to post production work – commercial clients always appreciate this as they want to take advantage of the momentum that a photoshoot generates.

Exeter Antique Photography: A Case Study

In September 2014 Paul Fitzsimmons, the owner of Marhamchurch Antiques, discovered my services after entering a Google search for “commercial photographer Exeter.

Having clicked on a number of photographers, he saw my product photography for Lana Home and decided to give me a call. Paul was looking for an Exeter antique photographer and wondered if I’d be able to help.

One of the perks of working as a commercial photographer is that you get to work with such a diverse range of clients. In this article I’ll be sharing how Paul and I have worked together in order to create a new portfolio of antique photographs for his business.

Exeter Antique Photography: The Brief

In our first conversation Paul explained that his previous dedicated photographer was no longer available to photograph his work. The antiques date from the medieval period through to the early 18th Century, and he wanted to increase the quality of his images to demonstrate the authenticity and quality of his early oak antique furniture.

Paul’s home is a medieval house that dates back to around 1400. He has been restoring the property back to its original state. The first brief was to rephotograph his current stock of antiques against the backdrop of his home. We agreed that this would be the best way to breathe new life into his products and achieve the kind of antique photography that Paul needed.

This first set of photos has very much had the desired effect, helping Paul to sell more of his current stock and older stock from his website. Without this important update to his antique photography he suggested that he wouldn’t have made these sales.

Paul’s customers are private collectors, other antique dealers and curators of museums and galleries; it’s therefore very important to have high quality antique photography that demonstrates the quality of his products.

Exeter Antique Photography Shot on Location

Ongoing Antique Photography Projects

Since Christmas I have continued to work regularly with Paul, typically shooting new images every 3 weeks. We have been photographing new acquisitions and recently restored projects for uploading to his website and emailing to his mailing list.

Over many discussions with Paul we have changed and adapted the images that we’re capturing in order to best suit the products. Antique photography, like most disciplines, requires ongoing collaboration between the photographer and the client to ensure that the images we’re capturing are the very best that they can possibly be.

You’ll notice that we have photographed the antiques in a number of different locations and styles. These include white and black backgrounds and capturing images of the furniture in its original, contemporary location.

It’s also interesting how E-Commerce is changing antique photography. We’re not interested in a grainy photo that simply confirms the existence of a product; the goal is to show the product at its very best and give the customer an idea of how it would look in a natural environment.

Exeter Antique Furniture Photography White Background

My Antique Photography Setup

The variety of products that I’ve been photographing for Paul really is tremendous. This has typically involved working within small, tight spaces. In other words, antique photography involving large items of furniture is a very different discipline from working in a studio!

Paul and I spent a lot of our time working on lighting, with different amounts and types of light required for different products. I achieved this by using portable photographic lighting with softboxes and reflectors that help to soften the light and make each product stand out from the background. You should be able to see this in the images above and below.

I typically use 4-6 lights at a time in order to create the appearance of daylight in dark rooms within an old house. This was challenging but absolutely necessary. The contrast between seeing a piece of antique furniture in a 400 year old home and seeing it on a website cannot be understated! Each lighting setup needs to show the product in the most helpful way possible, whether it’s a candle stock or 16th Century wardrobe.

I use a Canon 5D Mark II with the Bowens Ikelite portable lighting unit, along with a few Canon speedlights. I tether the 5D to my laptop, allowing the client to see the images we’re capturing in full screen. This helps us to make immediate decisions on lighting compositions and style. I am then guided by the client’s ideas and can craft the lighting and composition of the images accordingly.

In a typical day’s shoot we normally end up with 10-15 images depending on the complexity of the work we’re doing. When working with Paul I post process all images on-site, providing him with both website-ready and high resolution images upon completion.

Working with Paul has been a very rewarding and challenging experience, but we’re really pleased with the kinds of image that we’re able to produce. It’s been a real pleasure working in such an authentic environment in order to create images that bring the products to life. This blend of product photography, antique photography and E-Commerce photography has been a lot of fun and made a huge different to my client’s business.

If you’d like to commission me for your Exeter antique photography project or would like to speak to an antique photographer then please don’t hesitate to contact me for more information.

Exeter Antique Photography Black Background

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