Blog and photos courtesy of Lauren Pusateri
How I Make Product Photography Fun
First of all, why shouldn’t product photography be fun? I swear, behind every image of mine is a team crawling on the floor to wrangle dogs, stuffed animals, and the occasional loose bone but it’s also a team of bad ass creatives bumping 80’s hits and creating cool content for brands. You may not have the team of creatives but you can still make cool content with a little bit of imagination and a colorful seamless paper backdrop, of course. My portfolio is full of fun, colorful work so I love getting to play it up for clients. I’ve also been lucky to work with clients who have fun products (you’ve seen the dogs, right?) but fun content is the goal with any client.
Side note for all the photography fans: I recommend a seamless backdrop because it makes my life easier in the post-production game. Sure, there is the topic of color-correcting but when you have a static backdrop and a continuous light source, you can knock out editing like that. (Insert finger snap.) Natural light definitely has its place in my portfolio but natural light can be much more inconsistent and if you’re shooting on location, there are a lot of variables that could affect your images. Plus, I love a good in-studio shadow drag.
Create a Beautiful Photo Set
Despite the name, when it comes to product photography, you’re not just selling a product. In my product photography portfolio, you will rarely see a single product all by itself on a backdrop. It can be found on a model, on top of layers of seamless, mixed up with jumbo confetti and balloons, or artfully arranged around a dog. When it comes to product photography, you’re selling so much more than a product. Regardless of application, the images should speak for themselves because who wants to look at a product photo and immediately wonder what that product is for? Whatever image you create should be tailored to the audience and the client alike.
So, create a set (like an indoor pool party or an adorable tower of mail packages) to better tell the story of the product. Lay out a colorful seamless to make the product pop or break out your scissors for imaginative props. Take the product out of its metaphorical packaging and deliver it to the audience in different ways, but make sure it’s still the star of the show. I’ve found playing around with seamless backdrops gives depth to the image without distracting from the product. Even layering the seamless gives a pop of color and some interest for the eye. My indoor pool party was taken inside due to crappy outside weather but ended up for the better. I chose the bright, poppy colors to communicate summer vibes and stayed away from over styling to bring the focus to the swimwear. You can see my first foray into making backdrops pop with that extra roll at the floor.
And who says seamless backdrops need to be hung up? Let a shorter roll relax on the floor and curl it around to make some cool shapes instead. My blue and yellow shot with Aspen and FOMO Bones was leveled up with the shape and shadow in the background. While we’re here, I recommend playing around with how color relates to your product. The FOMO Bones shoot uses blue and yellow accents to parallel the packaging while the monochromatic swimsuit image with the flamingo floatie really sells the tropical vibe.
Tell a Story
The ultimate goal (in my opinion) in creating product photography is to create thumb-stopping content. Millions (yeah, literally millions) of images are posted to social media every day so you want to create the thing people stop for. Just think about how quickly you scroll through social media and what kind of content makes you pause. I like dogs and hard shadows but that’s not for everyone. Have fun with colorful backdrops (seamless recommended) and tell the product story that you want to tell. Take your product out of its metaphorical packaging to deliver it in a more imaginative way. Don’t let your styling, or your backdrop for that matter, distract from your product. Create the kind of content you want to see out in the world. And most importantly, always have the 80’s hits bumping in the background.
If you want to see more of Lauren’s work, check out her Instagram!