How to Sell a Cactus (or Any Product) Through Killer Styling
Ok, so cacti are definitely cute in their own green and spiky way. But sometimes a few simple styling tips can transform this lovely looking succulent into a must-have home accessory.
Have you ever wondered what is it in a product photograph that compels customers to grab their purses and invest in your brand? Well, there's a knack to product styling photography that some people (like myself) have a bit of an eye for. Over the years I've spent behind a camera, I've learnt a thing or two about how styled photography shoots can be utilised to best showcase your product, and what you can use in an image to reach out and connect with your customers.
Today I'm going to share with you a few simple tips for styling your lovely products using examples from shoots I've styled and shot for my clients. As selling enters an increasingly visual and fast paced environment, it's important to capture your brand at every opportunity.
If after reading you decide you want more photography help from me say hello here.
So, here are my top 5 tips for styling a product:
1. Choose a background that will make your product pop.
There's no point standing something white against an equally neutral background and expecting your product to shine; it will just be left looking drowned out, maybe even invisible. As people scroll through your Instagram feed or have a browse of your website, you need to catch their attention straight away. Use something contrasting in colour to make your product stand out from the rest.
This example is from a shoot for Pop and Punch, an independent brand based in Bristol selling Children's furniture, decor and lifestyle products. I used B & Q's colour match service to paint a backdrop to exactly match Pop and Punch's brand colours. Don't the colourful products look fantastic against this blue colour?
2. Remove any pictures from their frames.
If you want to use a picture as the background, I'd definitely advise removing the print, image or painting out from under its glass frame. Otherwise, when you come to shoot, the glass will reflect light into the camera lens and spoil your lovely image. Preventing these things before they happen saves you time to get styling your product properly.
This example is from a shoot for Illustrate My Name/Jodie Gaul who create beautiful unique gifts and special personalised gifts. I removed the glass from the frame to capture this otherwise you'd see a reflection of my studio lights, but you'd never know would you?
3. Use different sized props.
Props can bring depth to an image, especially if you use a range of different sizes and proportions. I'd suggest using a mixture of small and large, especially if you're shooting with a small aperture, and play around with the arrangement until you're happy. Get creative, but keep in mind that your product should be the main focal point.
This example is from a shoot for Charlotte Argyrou, an extremely talented botanical illustrator in South East London. This is a voucher for her bespoke wedding bouquet illustration service and I brought it alive using real flowers and foliage of different sizes alongside complimentary props such as glass bottles.
4. Use complimentary colours.
The colour scheme doesn't just stop once you've chosen your background. Props should also compliment any colours in your product, no matter how subtle or nuanced they might appear. If you've got a speckle of pastel green in your plant pot or some purple stones in your latest jewellery collection, then using props of the same colour will help to bring this out.
This example is from a shoot for Tom & Teddy who create matching swimwear for men and boys. Their fun and colourful designs need to be reflected in their product photos. For each of their different shorts I worked to find props that complimented the design and brought it alive whilst also selling that summer, beach-side lifestyle.
5. Make sure your products looks at home.
Probably the most important tip I can give you is to set up an environment where your products look comfortable. Take the time to channel your imagination and create a lifestyle set up that will help your customers envision how your product is going to slot into their day to day life. If it's a notebook, photograph it on a desk; if you're selling candles, shoot them next to a bed for ambience. You're not just selling a product, you're selling the experience that comes with it, so make this clear to your customers from the outset.
This example is from a shoot for Stupid Egg who sell houseplants, planters and homeware. I wanted to show the plant and planter combo in an environment that felt natural and that people would want in their own home. Who wouldn't want an on-trend Monstera plant by their bed? Look for a way to present your product that your target audience want to achieve and it'll help persuade them to buy your item.
That's all for now. If you've enjoyed receiving tips and advice from me, then I've got lots more blog posts planned in the coming months! Make sure to be following me on Instagram to get the latest updates.
If you'd like to use my 'You're looking sharp!' image, it's now available to download with free commercial use over on Unsplash, find it here.