What Is Packshot Photography?
Within the business world there are various terms mentioned relating to photography, including packshot photography, advertising photography and commercial photography, and often people use these terms interchangeably. However, this is in many cases incorrect, and there is a world of difference between commercial or advertising photography, and packshot photography. To appreciate this it’s important first of all to understand and recognise what we mean by a packshot photograph or image, and then understand the importance and benefit of this type of image.
What Is A Packshot Photograph?
A packshot is a high definition photograph of a product or package, usually taken within a professional photographic studio, and with a seamless white background that is entirely devoid of distractions. Often this white background is digitally removed, leaving a clean, simple image of the package or product. This could be anything from a ring to a DVD, from a child’s toy to a motorbike.
The seamless background is usually achieved by having a gently curved wall, called an infinity curve, which enables the product to be integrated into web pages, brochures, catalogues and flyers easily. Packshot photography provides convenience and versatility, but what’s the real purpose in creating this kind of image?
What’s The Point Of Packshot Photography?
The primary aim of this type of image is to encourage visual recognition of the product. By conveying clearly and simply what the product looks like, without any distractions, consumers are more likely to be able to recognise the product when they see it on the shelf for sale. There is a clear relationship between product image familiarity, and product sales, particularly incidental sales, casual sales or sales in situations where many competing products may exist.
If a consumer has seen a product image showing clearly what the packaging looks like, perhaps as part of a flyer, mail shot, online advertisement or catalogue promotion, they are more likely to have this image in the back of their mind when browsing the shelves at the shops, increasing the likelihood of them catching sight of the real product, which in turn increases the probability of a sale.
So the real aim of packshot photography is to increase the conversion rate by increasing brand visibility and brand recognisability. In essence, it’s about psychology and visual memory, and for this reason packshot images are quite different, and have quite different aims, from advertising photography or commercial photography in general.
Why Packshot Photography Should Be Treated Differently
Increasingly today businesses of all sizes are under immense pressure to reduce costs, and this has been evident in the world of advertising photography. Images sell, and no one would deny the importance of imagery and photographic advertising in an increasingly competitive commercial environment. But with the ever wider availability of increasingly sophisticated, high quality digital cameras, complete with inexpensive graphic suites capable of a staggering range of manipulation tools, many businesses have been tempted to switch to producing advertising photography in house.
In some cases this has worked, although invariably the results lack the imaginative, creative flair which allows an image to stand out from other images, but when it comes to packshot images, there’s simply no substitute for using a professional studio. Packshot photos have to be high quality, crisp, expertly lit, and shot against a background which is perfectly uniform and without any distractions or points of focus.
Lighting is one of the hardest aspects of photography, and often the one element which is lacking in those instances where businesses have attempted to carry out their packshot photography in house. Boosting brand visibility is critical, but it’s important to make sure that along with that high visibility is a clear message of accuracy, quality and crisp definition. High visibility which carries messages of amateur approaches to business, a lack of detail or hidden aspects of the product can be as counterproductive as professional packshot photos can be productive.