March 12, 2014
In my first post in this series, “Lifestyle Story Presentation,” I highlighted sock mavericks Stance for their ability to create a sense of lifestyle around their product with fantastic imagery that shows customers how Stance’s socks fit into their lives. Consumers are responding extremely well to this lifestyle imagery and retailers seem well aware of the trend because they are loading their sites with pictures. The Magento Marketing team tells me that Radware’s Tammy Everts reported that over half the growth in the average webpage size, 151% over the past three years, is attributable in large part to the explosion of high quality image use.
So what sets your images apart? How do you take your images from mere product shots to lifestyle shots? Start with the photographer.
2. Get a Photographer Who Can Tell Stories
This seems trickier than it really is. There are two basic routes to go and both are good. The first is to ask for a referral. This can be from people you know and trust (check out my über talented colleague Laurel Dailey, featured above), or if you see a site with imagery you really like, reach out to them and ask who shot their images. The second can also be combined with the first: use the Internet. There are tons of photography blogs out there, portfolio sites like Behance, and of course there's Model Mayhem. Sifting through so many choices can get a little daunting, but if you're going to hire someone, a little homework can pay off in spades.
The easiest approach to narrowing your search is definitely to look for photographers who show a similar style to your brand or interest in your product, but here are some tips to make sure they’re truly aligned with your brand and budget:
Talk About Your Product and Ask How They Would Tell a Story Around It
What kind of environment would they shoot in? How would they show people using it? I wouldn't necessarily expect someone to have an answer off the cuff, but they should be able to come back with ideas about a story, location, props, styling and themes. With this, you’ll know pretty quickly if they got your vision or not.
Ask Them to Put Together Some Examples of a Style to Fit the Story
This is sometimes called a "mood board" or "pre-visualization." It helps to ensure that you and your photographer are in agreement about what you want your images to look like before you go about the business of location scouting, finding models, picking product, and getting props.
This is the second blog in a five-part series. Stay Tuned for Part 3: Energy Makes the Model
KellisLandrum is an Art Center College of Design Alumni, a member of the Art Center Legacy Circle, and Art Center Instructor. Kellis is Co-Founder and Editor In Chief of online style and culture magazine, NeuBlack.com, and he has designed, developed and directed award winning projects for a variety of clients including NBC, Scion Motors, Kia Motors, American Apparel, Guess Clothing, Symantec, and Aiwa. View Kellis' portfolio.