What is Lifestyle Product Photography?

When you are responsible for marketing a product, it is highly likely you will at some point arrive at needing to decide upon doing lifestyle product photography photos. These photos have many uses and are also sometime easily confused for other types of photo categories, such as editorial photography. So, what is the deal with lifestyle product photography?

There are many categories of product photos. Ones not covered here include still-life and basic white-background product photos, among others. Within lifestyle, there are usually three variations.

Lifestyle Product Photography

The focus of this article, the main goal of the photos you get out of this category of shoot is centered around the product in its environment. A good way to better explain this is to provide a few random examples of lifestyle product photography.

Lifestyle Product Photography
A Lifestyle Product Photo Might Center Around One Product – Tequila – and one Core Message to Push – Perhaps That the Best Ones Come from Mexico

Imagine a cup of coffee, filled to the top sitting on a clean kitchen counter with the morning light flooding into the windows. If this scene – or photo – were to be used for an ad or messaging, it might say something like “have a vibrant morning with ACME coffee.”

Another example might be a pair of cross trainer shoes sitting on the floor next to a locker room in the gym. This might be accompanied with a message about getting into the gym with good shoes. A third example might be a set of headphones with a smartphone and studio monitors next to them. The message here might be about connectivity options for however you might want to listen.

In all these photo examples, the focal point of the shot was the main product with a unique selling point as the message behind it. Such shots are often uncluttered, and so is the messaging. They are ideal to drive home a single point.

Lifestyle Photography

This category of photo often blends the use of a product and a model with a scene. The goal of the photo is to sell one or two specific attributes about the product’s experience. Let us look at the previous examples again to illustrate how planning for this category might differ.

We have a cup of coffee again, this time in a large stainless-steel mug being sipped on by a brawny bearded man. The message might be about the strength of the caffeine jolt being capable of waking up even the toughest of sleepers.

For the cross-training shoes, you might feature a female model on a hike, the shot is close up and focuses on one shoe – the next step she takes up the hill. The message hear might be about conquering anything with confidence. For the headphones, you might feature a person with the headphones on, sitting in a studio setting. The message here might be about the audio quality being production-grade.

In this shot, you are using the model to sell to someone that the product fits their life’s need. You are helping them visualize how they too can use the product. The messaging that goes with it is the secondary hook to make the sale.

Modeled Photography

Choosing modeled photography usually means choosing not to do flat lay or invisible mannequin photography. Opting for ghost mannequin or flat lay is usually done because of concern that a model is expense or might detract from the product by taking focus away from it and to the model.

Modeling photography is when you hire a model to interact with the product. This might be a model wearing and posing with a clothing line or clothing accessories. It might be a model interacting with a food or beverage item. They are usually done on against a solid-colored background, a variation of gray or white.

So, for the coffee, it might be a model holding the coffee bag to the camera or perhaps pouring some of the coffee beans out. For the shoes it might be the model wearing and posing with them against a white background. For the headphones, you might have the model photographed close up with them on to show how they fit.

Which is Right for You?

Each of these have advantages and if you can employ all of them, you will have an opportunity to convey distinct product attribute messaging with each one. This is a good strategy because one category might be the convincing photo for one sale while another category might work with a different customer demographic.

So, if you cannot do all of them, there is no right or wrong with which one you opt to do. It is more about using the right one for the task – right tool, right job. You probably cannot over-do it either. With so many social media channels to market on, good photos hardly go to waste.

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