We live in a time when businesses have access to the entire globe to increase awareness of their brand. However, consumers are also afloat on a sea of images from the moment they wake up in the morning until they put their smartphones down at night. They’ve learned to filter out a lot of the noise and pay little attention to ads online, on television and on billboards. If you want to attract their interest, you must come up with unique photoshoot ideas that stand out from what your competitors put out there.
It can be a creative challenge to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack. While it’s impossible to say how many photos get taken every year, some people put the estimate in the ballpark of 14 trillion. With numbers like that, you can be confident someone else has probably already thought of your concept. Don’t give up, though: You can still make your photoshoot ideas different by focusing on what is unique about your brand and telling a story with your images.
Here are 12 photoshoot ideas you can put your spin on. These should draw in viewers and make them think about your brand more carefully, as well as show off your company’s personality.
1. Take Your Product to the Streets
If your product is something people can take along with them, think about photoshoot ideas that show the item in everyday use. For example, if you sell a backpack for dogs, arrange a session with a dog and human model where they are walking through the city streets with the product strapped to the canine’s back. Place your photoshoot the way people would use the item in real life, and you’ll have instant recognition of its practical value.
2. Freeze the Motion
If you want to take your commercial photo session to another level, figure out how to freeze a moment in time. For example, if you sell water pitchers, can you capture a single drop of water falling from the jug? Even if your item itself isn’t prone to motion, you might be able to freeze the actions of the user and apply that to your photoshoot ideas. Try to think out of the box and slow down the use of your product. You’ll capture a millisecond in time and make your image more memorable.
3. Zoom in Close
Macro photography captures things you otherwise might not see. A butterfly landing on the product makes an enticing image. Consider the different features of an item and any details that might be more interesting if you zoom in. What are the tiny things people don’t see at first glance that you could turn into photoshoot ideas? Try coming up with something so unique that it will not only draw your audience’s attention, but also might win awards.
4. Know Your Goal
Before you start the session, you should have a clear goal for what you want to accomplish. Do you need product photos for social media? You may not need as high of a resolution as if you’re creating images for a magazine. Do you want to focus on your product with no other distractions? Perhaps you’d prefer to show the item in action. Understanding your goal allows you to be much more creative with your photoshoot ideas, but still accomplish the task.
5. Reflect on the Subject
Other interesting photoshoot ideas involve using a body of water to create a reflection. Let’s say you sell a beauty product, and you want to show a young girl looking at her reflection in a lake. Perhaps the reflection has dramatic makeup to highlight the possibilities of what you’re selling. You can use reflective qualities for any business category, though. The key is finding the right time of day, such as daybreak or dusk, and shooting the image. You can also add elements during the editing process with software such as Photoshop.
6. Use Urban Backdrops
Urban settings add texture and interest to any photo session. For example, you can lean an organizational planner against a brick building or shoot a photo of a model carrying a briefcase with the city in the background. Urban backdrops are perfect for tools busy executives use or that you’re marketing to other businesses. However, urban settings can also provide some contrast for household products or country-themed items to make them stand out and place them in an unexpected setting.
7. Tell a Story
Some commercial photographers take a series of photoshoot ideas and map out a story for viewers, showing the people getting ready for the shoot, explaining why they chose the location and then highlighting the finished shots. You could also tell a story with the photos themselves. Reynolds cleverly did this on their Instagram account by taking photos on what they call the “endless table.” It highlights different dishes you could make using their aluminum foil products, but it uses Instagram’s grid layout to stitch a series of photos together.
8. Set the Aperture Wide
Using a wide aperture gives you a dreamlike look to your photos and a bokeh effect. This technique can work well when you want a very subtle background, such as a city block at night, but want the focus on the subject. You can add bokeh effects in your editing software, but something about throwing the aperture wide and taking the image gives it a distinctive look.
9. Add Some Bubbles
Many new photoshoot ideas emerge every day, but one tried-and-true technique is adding some bubbles to your image. Bubbles highlight things such as a new lipstick color, or you can float them over the product to add a bit of whimsy. They work particularly well for a lighthearted tone or to position a new product as being young and fresh.
10. Still the Noise
When you take your photography outdoors, there is a lot of environmental noise to contend with. If you take a photo on a sidewalk, people walk past and may get in the frame. A leaf blows by or a bee lands on the model and makes her run for safety. Moving the photoshoot indoors and taking it still-life style gets rid of all the distractions and puts the focus solely on what you’re capturing. Indoor photo sessions work well when you want to highlight a straightforward product.
11. Backlight the Subject
Use a dark setting and add some backlighting to the subject. Doing so gives your image a halo effect that works especially well in commercial photos of beverages. However, you can also use the technique for any product where you want the focus on the front more than the sides.
12. Steam Things Up
If you’re selling food, coffee or anything hot, adding a steam effect captures the temperature and sends a message to the viewer. You can achieve steam with devices or you can use dry ice to create the same look. Again, you can add steam later via photo-editing software, but the look isn’t nearly as impactful as when you use it within the photoshoot itself.
You can plan your photoshoot carefully months ahead of time, but something will still go wrong. Be prepared to roll with any last-minute changes, have fun and be flexible. The furry dog jumping up and knocking down your child subject might turn into the perfect shot when the child laughs as the dog steals an ice cream cone. Be open to changes you never expected to happen, and keep snapping throughout the event. You can always set the scene up again and take more photos, but you can never recapture those candid moments unless you’re ready for them before they happen.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dog, Bear.