We’ve all heard of the saying ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ but when it comes to business, a well-crafted image can also help to potentially generate thousands of pounds worth of revenue too.
So why is it that so many businesses underestimate the importance of good quality lifestyle photography? Home interiors businesses should take note as the right image can mean the difference between gaining new business and strengthening the brand, or losing out to one of their competitors.
As a brand, a photo of your product is often the first thing the consumer will see and interact with, meaning it’s one of your prime tools of communication. To appeal to your target audience your lifestyle images should give your brand personality, an identity and showcase your products in a relevant setting, leaving them hungry for more – not an easy feat to do. A simple cut out shot with no props on a plain background has its purpose, but this should be secondary to stylish lifestyle imagery.
So, what are the basic rules you should follow for creating standout lifestyle photography that can be used across a range of platforms such as PR, marketing and social media?
· Identify a good stylist who can help you create the right lifestyle imagery for your brand. They will guide you through the process, from agreeing concepts through to helping you find a venue. Your PR agency should have a roster of stylists they use and will be able to find the one that’s right for you. If you’re doing the shoot on your own, then look through some home interest magazines and make a note of the stylists who have created looks you like. You’ll often find many freelance and have their own websites where they showcase work they’ve done for brands.
· Your choice in photographer can make or break your set of images. Pick someone experienced in interior and lifestyle imagery as they possess a very different skillset to a press or PR photographer. Your stylist will often have experience of working with photographers and will be able to make recommendations, as will your PR agency. Look through magazines to see who the photographers are and who you might be able to work with. A good lifestyle photographer will be able to create a specific mood through lighting and know the best angles and shots to showcase your product.
Research, research, research …
· Take time to get under the skin of your audience. Why not hold focus groups where you can hear their feedback and understand their aspirations? Knowing what appeals to them can mean the difference between a good image and a stunning one which grabs their attention, resulting in sales.
· Have a nosey at your competitors. Consider what they’re up to and how they’re representing themselves but don’t copy them. You need to create images that make your product and brand stand out from the crowd.
· Take inspiration from magazines. If you want images that will generate column inches then you’ll need to create shots that are taken in the style of the magazine you want to appear in.
It’s all about the style…
· It’s important to define how you want to come across in your images. Are you after a slick, luxurious style, or something altogether more relaxed and paired back? Once you’ve drilled down on the theme, it will help you to pick a stylist who will carefully craft the look of each shot, as well as helping to advise you on great locations to shoot in.
· Choose your location and setting very carefully. You need to create images that are aspirational but also realistic and attention grabbing. Your PR team, stylist and photographer will advise on this.
· More often than not lifestyle photography is shot at a location house and there are an array of websites and agencies that offer these type of locations, such as Shoot Factory. Shooting in a location house often produces the best results but photos can also be taken by building sets at specialist warehouse locations.
· Make the photo shoot and images work hard for you. While a pulled back shot, showing a whole room set will be perfect for the media, make sure you incorporate a variety of other shots into your photo shoot. Close up detailed shots make nice snippets for brochures, leaflets and to show off your product in more detail on your website. They will also create strong content for social media, especially Facebook and Instagram.
A stylish, well-shot image of your product enhances its quality and aspirational imagery such as this can help to change buying behaviours and increase sales. So the big question is, can you afford not to invest in lifestyle photography?