With product photography playing an increasingly critical role for brands, our UK team decided to share their collective point of view on its importance in allowing brands to stand out.
As explorers, inquisitors and general foodies, we are completely passionate about food photography and its importance in creating memorable brand stand out.
In the context of the supermarket, we’ve found that product photography—in particular good food photography—is becoming increasingly over shadowed by brand recognition and brand shout out. The visual jungle of the supermarket can sometimes hide beautiful food photography, leaving a constant struggle for brands to ‘show off its product.' But brands have the power to change this… ‘if a brand uses poor or unappetising food photography, the consumer will associate it with the brand,’ even if this conflicts against the brands values.
Customers' exposure to visual stimulus through Instagram, Pinterest and numerous social media channels has lead to enhanced expectation in photography; no longer are rich, dark indulgence shots exclusively used to emphasise ‘premium foody.’ Softer tones, more confidence, and sympathetic styling can all convey a similar message of lovely, yummy food—‘after all we eat with our eyes’—and the ever decreasing amount of time customers spend at fixture means brands need to create stand out and desire quickly.
The use of colour in photography is ever changing, the primary (clean) colours we associate with most food photography are moving on, associative category tones are also changing, for example traditional light and bright (historically used in slim world) are now rich and indulgent.
So what are our top tips?
• Keep it simple, don’t over style — there should be an element of 'food realism’ — be truthful and honest.
• Colours are usually very deliberately set as either contrasting or complementary. Both can work very effectively. Softer pastel tones offer a subtle background for the food to do the talking and give a fresh and modern feel.
• Light sets the mood of the story. It is the single most important element of a great photo. It can be rich and warm and also light and bright.
• Negative space gives a shot real confidence, and this is true of any kind of imagery from advertising to packaging. This is similarly true in the world of food photography. Having the confidence not to fill a space with type or imagery allows the consumer to really focus on what is important (i.e. the product or ingredients and can create something unexpected and exciting).
• The context of the image doesn’t need to try too hard; it should be complementary and not distract from the main event. The context can provide a visual stimulus of a thought or a moment, a hearty soup, with rich warming propping and colours can convey the singular moment of you eating that hearty soup.
• We have seen that consumers are looking beyond the plate; they want the brand's story. Atmospheric, overhead food scenes help support the overall theme of storytelling. A thoughtfully placed prop can help tell the story and convey an experience to all consumers.
• The most commonly used angle now is overhead. This may be partly down to the camera phone and with people increasingly photographing their own food/creations, we have all become food photographers and more discerning customers.
We’ve put together a series of images with our photographer John Eckart, which incorporates some of our top tips that we believe create stunning, appetising and crucially differentiating photography.