The secrets of success: Cosmetic product photography

At Blend, we’ve produced compelling cosmetic product photography for big brands such as The Body Shop and Dove.  Our experienced photographers understand the requirements for a successful cosmetic photography shoot – creating images that sell straight off the page.  Do you want to know their secrets about cosmetic photography lighting?

Why you need cosmetic photography that delivers

People don’t seem to read as much as they used toThat means that they might not read all of your 500-word description on an innovative new lipstick.  They’re browsing for a new cosmetic product, and they’re scanning pictures on social media to help inspire their purchase.  They might read about the scientific benefits once they’ve identified a potential purchase but until then, they’re browsing at super-fast speed.

Those people rely on imagery to obtain a one-second dose of information about the product that you’ve taken months to develop.

This means that your cosmetic photography is more important than ever.  What does it take to create a successful cosmetic product shot?

The very best pictures are inspiring and informative.  They tell the customer why they need this product in their life and how it will perform when they use it.  And all in just one shot?  Cosmetic product photography isn’t as straightforward as it first seems… let’s dive in.

Blend’s Top Tips for cosmetic photography

  1. 1. Saving money on your cosmetic product photography probably isn’t a wise idea.  Given that our culture has become heavily visual and impulsive, your ecommerce shots will be worth their weight in gold.  Investing in this aspect of your brand creates a professional, quality perception right from the outset.  If you want to save money, we think there are better places to save it.
  2. Search for a cosmetic photographer with experience. In cosmetic product photography, lighting is absolutely crucial. Only professionally lit and staged photographs will meet the high standard that exists among cosmetic brands.  The basics must be top-notch if you want your cosmetic products to rank in the market.  Lighting can be very difficult because cosmetic products are often high-shine with small details.  Natural light, which is often great for product shots, is probably best substituted with artificial light to get the exact effect that you want.  If you aren’t using a professional photographer then search for online video tutorials which will show you the basics of cosmetic photography lighting.
  3. Think creatively – think, “why not?” Cosmetic still life photography has become an art form. Consider using an unusual backdrop or creating a sense of movement – both of which have been used with great success by some of the top cosmetic brands.  A ribbon of liquid foundation, a splash of sparkling water, or a puddle of glossy varnish: all of these props don’t just look good.  They also show off key benefits, which surreptitiously help to sell your product.  What’s the product’s best feature?  Its rich colour range, its long-lasting effect, or its brilliant sparkle?  Highlight it using a photo effect. (The now-famous ‘water splash’ evokes an irresistibly vivid impression of moisture.)
  4. Show details. Your customer is dependent on the photos to learn about your product. Don’t be restricted to cosmetic still life photography; try showing how your products work.  A loaded brush or a sparkling spray pump showing your product in action helps to convert your customer.  It can be useful to show all colour options in one shot.  How will their new makeup arrive?  If your packaging is luxurious then don’t forget to bring it to the makeup product photography shoot.
  5. Be consistent. Colour palette, lighting style, shadows and contrast levels in post-production editing: make sure that these remain the same across your cosmetic photography. It will give the website a professional and cohesive image which, in turn, enhances the quality perception – and encourages people to buy.
  6. If you’re producing a fashion shoot for your cosmetic line, it can help if you build it around a story. Use characters that your customers can identify with, pick an aspirational setting, bring some props, and have fun with it. These are shots that can be used on social media as well as your website’s landing pages.
  7. Social media – don’t follow the crowd. Successful social media campaigns depend on originality. We’re all swamped with updates and new pictures, in their thousands, every day.  Yours has to stand out.  But here’s some good news: makeup product photography has a vast scope for inventiveness. So do something fun or ask us for something that we haven’t seen before: animate your product shots, choose a unique model, use a striking backdrop, make a rainbow of colour.  Start a trend!

Looking for an experienced cosmetic product photographer?

At Blend we have photographed cosmetic products for Dove, The Body Shop and Aromachologies.  Our prices are realistic and our experienced photographers are ready to provide guidance and inspiration.  For professional cosmetic photography with imaginative vision, give us a call.