Have you ever felt inspired to buy a product you saw online to make it part of your lifestyle?
Without a doubt, your answer is ‘yes!’
Lifestyle product photography has the power to tell a narrative about a product and its brand, making it relatable to the lifestyle of the consumers. According to a study by BigCommerce, 78% of online buyers prefer product images that are shown off in real life settings and appear to be a part of their daily lives.
This article shares some amazing tips and ideas for creating engaging, intriguing, and realistic lifestyle product images that will boost your online sales.
What is lifestyle product photography?
Lifestyle photography is a genre of photography where products are highlighted in a social context while conveying a story. It is also known as "in-context photography" because it depicts how a product might look and feel when used in a real-life setting.
The purpose of lifestyle photography is to try to persuade customers that a product is worth buying and help them visualize using it in their daily lives. Therefore, models, nature, and location play a vital role in forming the aesthetics of this type of photography.
The most common types of lifestyle product photography that you can use
The popularity of lifestyle product photography has skyrocketed within a short period of time due to its creative way of showing off your products to customers in the most realistic way. You might believe that adding people to the images is the only thing that lifestyle photography involves. This type of photography, however, goes beyond that.
Composing lifestyle shots is primarily concerned with creating a storyline that relates to the product so that viewers feel attracted to the products just upon seeing the images and become consumed by the urge to buy the products.
To create striking, story-telling lifestyle product images, you can use the following photography techniques:
1. Flat-lay photography
Flat-lay photography is a popular photography technique that significantly affects social media marketing, particularly on Instagram. Without using words, it highlights and presents the product, drawing customers' attention and also telling stories about your brand.
In this style of photography, the products are placed on a flat surface, and the camera is held or mounted 90 degrees above the products to take the shot. This technique's composition style provides enough room to include the lifestyle element of photography including props and objects to bring it to life.
Products can be arranged in an attractive way against different colored pastel backgrounds to provide a soothing effect to the composition. Furthermore, the use of various lighting setups and distinctive props aids in creating a narrative around the product and helps it stand out.
2. Tabletop product photos
Another creative lifestyle product photography technique that is simple yet effective is tabletop photography. Even though the composition style is quite simple, this style of photography has grown in popularity while more and more people are creating their own photo studio at home!
A significant element in this kind of shot is the table. You can try flat lays and stylized photography at various angles, like front angles, 90 degrees, 45 degrees, 75 degrees, etc. For flat lays, you can set the table with colorful backdrops and props to complement the product's appearance and enhance your brand image.
Additionally, stylized tabletop compositions work well in both indoor and outdoor settings. For instance, finding a flat surface outdoors such as placing skincare products on the sandy beach, using the ocean waves as a background will effectively create the composition's mood and convey a story.
3. Model product photography
Whether you are planning to shoot lifestyle images for apparel photography, skincare products, or accessory items, using models can be a great way to showcase your products across your marketing materials.
Customers can identify with situations that they commonly take part in to provide context and relatability. For instance, using sunscreen on the skin while lying on the beach, applying serum or other skin care products on the face, or even wearing fashionable clothes, accessories, bags, and shoes while crossing the street, and so on.
However, perfect and evocative lifestyle product photography with models can often require a skilled director and photographer to guide the models through poses and create an engaging composition.
Hiring models for photoshoots can be expensive. To save some money, more inexpensive models can be hired to work as a parts model, using only specific body parts as needed for the product. Better yet, sometimes friends or family can be a right option if they match your brand’s look and feel.
Why is lifestyle product photography significant in ecommerce?
If you didn’t know it already, ecommerce purchases made up 14.1% of global retail sales in 2019. To make it more impressive, ecommerce will grow to 22% of global retail sales by 2023. The significance of ecommerce growth is clear.
Present the products so your customers can get the convenience of shopping at home with the ability to check out the product to its finest details as if they’re in store, viewing the product. What better marketing strategy could there be if you could only use images to help customers envision themselves using your products?
Here are a few justifications for why lifestyle product photography is significant for your ecommerce business:
- effectively increases brand recognition
- highly conceptual and encourages greater creative ideas to present the products to the customers
- enables the consumer to visualize themselves living the desired lifestyle
- gives the products a sense of scale i.e. size, length, and proportion
- brings the products to life
- stimulates action and increases engagement
- helps to stand out in the competition
- makes the products look authentic
- boosts consumer confidence in the product and brand
- results in a generous conversion into sales
Benefits of lifestyle product photography for ecommerce
There are a seemingly infinite number of online retailers offering comparable goods. The question of which brand or item should be trusted is still up for debate. Therefore, lifestyle photography can be a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition and build trust in the brand and its offerings.
Some great reasons why lifestyle product photography is valued in the eCommerce sector are:
1. Grab your customer's attention
The product image is the first and most important factor in the eCommerce industry that determines whether a customer will check out a product or swipe to another product. So, using compelling and full-of-life lifestyle images works effectively to grab the customer's attention right away because of their ability to demonstrate the natural state of the product.
2. Encourage more sales and profit
Customers tend to prefer natural product images as they convey a sense of authenticity and reliability. When a customer sees someone wearing a dress or using makeup products in creative product lifestyle photography, they can relate to the product, imagining themselves using it and feel compelled to purchase it to use it in real life.
3. Better engagement
Expect sales to rise with more engagement from potential and current customers. Engaging with customers like showcasing products in lifestyle product photos will keep your brand front of mind to retain and capture new customers!
4. Tell a visual story
87.6% of consumers reported in 2018 that clear and engaging product photos are what first entices them to make the purchase. The technical details and specifications laid out in the product descriptions are an after-thought. Lifestyle images are a useful tool to tell a visual story of your product. After all, what they say is true! A picture is worth a thousand words.
5. Create an emotional connection
The emotional response of the human brain has a major impact on the purchasing decision, which causes people to purchase items that are not absolutely necessary for them, but rather they feel compelled by their emotional reaction to purchasing. In light of this, lifestyle photography's capacity to arouse potent feelings in viewers is by far its most admirable quality.
6. Showcase texture
The capability of touching and feeling the texture of a product is one of the key differences between offline and online shopping. However, it is possible to convey a product's texture to customers through detailed lifestyle product images. Images can highlight textures such as a moisturizer's thickness or runniness, a face wash's foaminess, or the flow or bulk of a dress.
7. Boosts social media presence
Brands must increase their social media presence to connect with their target market since most people spend most of their time on social media platforms. Moreover, consumers today are more interested in purchasing lifestyles than products.
So, the most effective way to build an emotional connection with customers as well as increase social media visibility is to use vibrant lifestyle images rather than typically boring product images with white backgrounds.
8. Influences consumer behavior
In the world of ecommerce, visuals are the key component. The visual appeal of a product determines whether or not it is worth buying. So, if lifestyle photos can demonstrate how a product looks or feels and create an urge of need within the customer, then it can definitely influence a customer’s purchasing decision.
9. Advantage over competitors
Why do only a few brands that advertise comparable products join the trend or receive more attention?
One of the reasons is using provocative and creative product images for marketing.
High-quality lifestyle product images allow you to demonstrate that your products are superior to those of your rivals and more detail-oriented, providing you an advantage over your competitors.
10. Reflect your brand
Customers recognize a brand through the products they offer. Due to the fact that product images reflect the reliability of a brand's reputation, investing in product photography ultimately benefits the branding of a business. Also, professional-quality lifestyle product photos can create an impression among the customers that a brand is of high quality and provides good-quality products that are worth the purchase.
Lifestyle product photography tips
Are you interested in mastering the art of professional lifestyle product photography? The following lifestyle product photography tips will assist you in coming up with creative photo composition ideas that will astound your audience.
1. Invest in a great camera or a smartphone
High-resolution images are the first requirement for any kind of product photography, including lifestyle photography. Therefore, it is mandatory to use a good-quality camera to capture high-quality product images. On that note, you should use a mirrorless or DSLR camera because of the amazing benefits it offers, which include:
- Larger sensors allow more light into the camera, which results in higher-quality images
- Manual camera settings allow adjusting the settings depending on different lighting conditions
- Different lenses, such as prime, wide-angle, telephoto, macro, etc., can be used interchangeably.
- Supports a wide range of accessories, such as a filter to regulate the amount of light entering the camera
- Supports stable mounting on a tripod or a c stand to guarantee sharp images
If you're on a tight budget, you can also shoot with your smartphone instead of spending money on expensive cameras. For instance, the camera quality of iPhones is quite admirable. The most recent iPhone models have software and camera lenses that are incredibly powerful and offer features that are comparable to those found in DSLR cameras. You can take high-resolution photos with them, film in 4K, and more!
2. Use props to emphasize quality
Props are often considered an extraneous or distracting aspect of a photograph. However, they serve a great purpose in product photography, especially in lifestyle product photoshoots. Carefully chosen complementary props help with visual storytelling by adding context and mood to the products, turning an abstract concept into a fascinating idea.
Moreover, props can be used to emphasize key features, show the use of a product or its ingredients, or convey other significant visual messages. They can also add energy, emotion, and life to the products. Take Blanka’s lifestyle photo for example, we utilized deep, rich colors of a vase to contrast with the rouge shade of a popular product - the liquid lipstick.
3. Hire a model
The best strategy for helping the target clients connect with the product is to include a human element. Besides, the use of models can add a sense of practicality. In other words, if customers see a person using cosmetics, wearing clothing, or walking around in a pair of shoes, they will certainly believe that the products are safe, of high quality, and comfortable.
Using models doesn't necessarily mean paying for high-end professional models. You can ask your family members or friends to be models for your product. However, if they feel uncomfortable showing their face on camera, you can use them as a parts model and only show off certain body parts, such as their hands, feet, or neck.
4. Shoot from unique angles
Unique and uncommon sights stick in people's memories for a very long time. Why not use this to your advantage and show your products from unusual perspectives that your customers don’t usually see in real life?
Experiment with your products to find unique perspectives from which your products can be shot to enhance the visual appeal of your products. Nevertheless, be careful not to distort the appearance of your product while conducting the experiment.
5. Choose the right backdrop
A visually appealing background has the power to make your products stand out. Therefore, most lifestyle shoots take place in eye-catching, exotic natural locations that influence the product's appearance and grab the customer's attention more easily.
However, using white or neutral backgrounds is a safe choice for indoor photo shoots as products pop out best in them as well as look aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. Also, textured backgrounds can be used to enhance your products.
6. Use natural lighting
Natural lighting is the best technique to make the products appear authentic and trustworthy. The soft, subtle sunlight in the morning and evening increases the beauty of the products and makes them look aesthetically pretty. Additionally, make sure to use diffusers like sheer white curtains and reflectors like white cardboard to balance the intensity of the light.
However, avoid taking photos in the bright sun because its harsh light casts dark shadows that can detract from the image's aesthetic appeal.
7. Use color psychology
Different colors evoke different moods within the human mind, proving that there are certain connections between color and human behavior. While complementary colors combine a product with other elements in the composition, contrasting colors make the product distinctive from the props, background, or other components. So, choose the colors that work best for the story you want to tell using color psychology.
8. Retouch lifestyle product photos
No matter how high-quality your camera, lens, or lighting setup is, photos must be edited before posting online. Adjusting white balance, color correction, and erasing blemishes, wrinkles, and other imperfections are among the most frequent retouching tasks needed for product photos.
You can certainly handle the retouching on your own if you have expertise in using photo editing software, for instance, Photoshop, Lightroom, Pixlr, GIMP, etc. However, it is better to have the retouching done by a professional photo editor to get professional-quality lifestyle product photos.
Lifestyle product photography is a boon for ecommerce business owners. This social media-friendly photography strategy draws customers more quickly than other product photography styles. Therefore, selling customers a lifestyle is the best way to grow sales in the eCommerce industry rather than focusing only on promoting products with uninteresting images.
Amy Grace is a freelance article writer for photography, photo editing, and ecommerce niches. Working in commercial photography for some years has made her experienced in this field. And now, she is utilizing her learned skills through writing. Already, she has collaborated with some renowned websites. Apart from these, Amy loves traveling. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram.