Styling For Product Photography

When you think of product photography, you’re probably imagining a boring image of an object in front of a white backdrop, the kind every company uses on their website. Don’t get me wrong, those images are great and absolutely necessary…once you’ve gotten a potential customer’s attention.

Once they think they want or need the product, they want to see it up close and personal and inspect all its details to affirm their purchasing decision. But before that happens, you have the create the desire…and that’s what a beautifully styled photo can do. Read on to hear my thoughts on how to create images that connect with your audience.

Connecting With The Viewer

When creating an image, I try to imagine what feeling the audience might have when they see the it. If I'm creating with intention, those feelings can be targeted by emphasizing certain elements of the image.

Composition for example...Is the scene is very controlled and buttoned up or are the elements arranged in a loose, more natural way? 

What about the lighting...Is it flat and even or are there shadows at play? 

Each element will trigger different emotions from your audience, either drawing them in or pushing them away. If they connect to an image, they may start to imagine how the objects featured might fit into their lives.


Visual storytelling is an art. Like a good book, the best images can transport your audience to another place and time. Have you ever stopped in your tracks when you saw a beautiful image on Pinterest? Why was it so beautiful? What was it that moved you? 

Most likely the image told a story about a place you want to go, a vision you have for yourself or made you nostalgic for place or time in your past.

When it comes to shooting product, I like to imagine a scene and build elements into the set that would naturally be there, supporting the character as they move through their story. I choose appropriate props that give subtle visual clues to the viewer, adding layers of interest within the scene.

Where To Begin

Once you’ve determined the direction of your image based on the criteria mentioned above, I like to start with a blank slate and add in each element until I achieve a pleasing composition. Most of the time this process starts out with a pretty minimal image and then progresses to something a bit too much…then it falls back to a sweet spot where the elements come together in harmony. That final image can take an hour to get to but you’ll definitely have some keepers along the way.

The important thing is to keep experimenting, moving things around and changing the light until you hit that balance.

Let's Recap

A beautifully styled product photo has the potential to create desire in your audience and help them imagine how those products would fit into their home or their lives.

Storytelling is a powerful tool, tap into the creative flow and imagine a scene layered with props that help visually tell a story that transports your audience.

Be intentional with your choices in lighting and compostion. Each should align with the story you're telling.

Keep experimenting. That perfect balance is out there, you just have to find it.

Ready to invest in some professional photos?

I'm Here To Help!

Hi, I'm Lauren! I'm a San Diego based photographer specializing in product and interior photography and I would love to learn more about your photography needs!

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