Taking high-quality product photographs with the right background is e-commerce marketing 101.
With an appealing, high-resolution image, you can draw consumers in and lead them to want to buy your product. But setting up the perfect shot isn’t always easy, especially with the high levels of competition online.
Furthermore, choosing the right background can make things even more complicated. How do you select one that enhances the image without distracting from the product?
A good background should be like the supporting cast of a famous actor. It should complement, not overwhelm. Next to the product itself, the background is the most important component of a great photo—and we’re going to teach you how to pick the best possible ones for your brand.
Consider your distribution channels
It’s important to understand the context within which your product photos are going to live. For instance, website product photos are generally expected to be more clear and straightforward, while social media platforms allow for a little more creativity and variety.
Bearing that in mind, use the platform destination of your product photos as a guide for selecting backgrounds. You can also look at what other brands are doing on that platform as motivation for industry benchmarks.
Be consistent in your choice of background
While a little variety now and then is a good thing, what you don’t want is for every single product photograph to look like it’s from a different planet. Use the same or similar background for each shoot that you do and don’t divert too much in terms of color or texture.
Consistency is important for a number of reasons. Not only is it crucial for visual cohesion, but it’s also necessary for brand messaging.
If you use a different background for every second product, people might get confused about whether they are from the same brand. Use consistent backgrounds to show consumers that all of your items stem from the same wonderful business.
Get creative with different elements
There are a variety of different elements you can use to add a creative twist to your product photoshoots. And the best part? Because they’re natural, many of them are free, or extremely affordable to buy.
Some of the most popular elements to use as enhancements for your photo backgrounds include:
Water – promoting some suntan lotion or a refreshing drink? Use water to add flow, motion, and intrigue to your product. You can lay your product over a clear basin with water underneath for a quick and easy reference to flowing oceans, lakes, or puddles.
Light – a dappled sunlight background looks very appealing when framed in the right way. Use the combined effects of light and shadow to create contrast in your backgrounds.
Smoke – smoke adds a sense of mystery and intrigue to any background. Just make sure you don’t let it cloud up the camera.
Mirrors – while somewhat complex to set up, mirrors can be used to create dynamic reflective backgrounds for website-ready product photography. Just make sure you don’t capture yourself or the camera in the reflection!
Movement – falling objects such as flower petals, raindrops, or even snowflakes add an interesting element of motion to product photography.
These are just a few examples of natural elements you can use to create interesting backgrounds for your products. In reality, there are many more potential backgrounds to explore. Keep your eyes peeled for inspiration. You can find it just about anywhere.
Black is the new black
Before we dive into this section, it’s important to note that black should only be used as a product background in very specific situations. Behind the wrong product, this dark color will simply wash out whatever object you are trying to advertise.
However, when it comes to certain colors and textures, black makes a powerful and hugely modern-feeling background, especially for reflective metals such as gold or silver.
Black is an extremely deep and sophisticated color that creates instant magnetism and mystique in product photography. If it aligns with your brand and product color or texture, give it a try.
Avoid cluttered backgrounds
The last thing you want to do is detract from the main focus of the photo: your product. An overcrowded background is only going to pull the attention away from what you’re selling, and possibly turn people off from wanting to buy it.
Whether you’re shooting photos for social media or a website, cluttered backgrounds should be avoided at all costs. If you’re going to incorporate a textural or moving element, make sure it’s still compositionally balanced enough that the product remains the unequivocal star of the show.
Incorporate interesting textures
While plain color backgrounds are a popular and very effective background choice, incorporating some unique textures can help make your products pop even more. These simplistic textures are the perfect balance of subtle yet intriguing:
Raw wood – warm and grounding, raw wood makes an excellent background for natural or eco-friendly products, as well as leather items or even certain types of jewelry.
Beach sand – soft, earthy, and ideal for tropical or beach-related products, and should not be left out of the background rotation if it works with your brand messaging.
Fabric – there are plenty of textured fabrics out there that make great backgrounds for products. You can also tease it into soft shapes for a more dynamic, three-dimensional look.
Glitter – if you’re selling something in the party lane, a glittery background can have a great visual impact. Sequins will also work in certain contexts.
Basically, don’t limit yourself to plain backgrounds. While they’re important as bread-and-butter product photography basics, you can make your wares look more appealing by introducing some interesting textures.
Don’t Underestimate The Importance Of A Background
The background you choose for your product photos plays a key role in the success of the shot. These tips should help you select photography backgrounds that enhance the natural appeal of each product, rather than drown them out.
Ready, set, shoot!