What is Packshot Photography

Photography plays an important role in the world of advertising.  That’s because having attractive and attention-grabbing photographs is essential for selling products and services to consumers.

Packshot photography is a specialised form of photography that involves taking highly detailed images of products.  These images are often presented in a very creative manner to make the product seem more appealing.  This article explains why packshot photography is so useful and what characteristics these kinds of photos have.


Why is packshot photography important?

Most consumers shop with their eyes.  They will scan shelves and choose products that look visually attractive.  Consumers will also evaluate the products that they see in magazines and on websites by how they look.  If a product image grabs their attention and resonates with them in some ways, they will be drawn towards it.

Packshot photography uses a variety of techniques to showcase a product or service in the most attractive way possible with the primary goal of increasing sales.

Packshot photography is important because it:

Helps consumers learn what a product looks like

A well-shot packshot photograph will clearly display the logo of the product, the shape of its packaging, its colours and any other important design elements.   By isolating the product in an image, consumers will be able to memorise what it looks like and locate it more easily when they go shopping.  Familiarity with a product can also increase its attractiveness to a consumer.

Makes the product look desirable as possible

Another important goal of packshot photography is to make the product look extremely attractive.  The photographer will attempt to make the product look like the sleekest, sexiest, and most valuable product on the market.

A packshot image of cake

Helps consumers learn more about the brand

A brand is much more than a label or logo.  It is the perception of a company and its products in the mind of consumers.  One of the reasons why brands like BMW and Rolex are synonymous with luxury is that these companies have used packshot photography to attach the idea of luxury to their brands.

Provides product differentiation

Packshot photography can also be used to highlight the uniqueness of a product and its packaging.  This can give consumers more incentive to track down the product and purchase it.

Triggers an emotional response

Packshot photos can be very artistic.  They are often designed this way to convey certain emotions or sensations to the viewer.  For example, a shampoo product might use textures and colours in the image that convey cleanliness and shiny hair.  Some images will also contain items or backdrops that trigger certain types of memories like returning home after a trip or being greeted by loved ones.  Once an emotional response, sensation or memory is associated with a product, the consumer is more likely to purchase it.

Packshot photos are an important part of marketing campaigns

Packshot photos can be used in advertisements, catalogues, social media campaigns, newsletters, and many other forms of marketing.  Having high-quality images will often determine the success of these campaigns.  Packshot images are also required for any eCommerce websites that list the product.

What is the photographic style of packshot photography?

Packshot photography has evolved substantially over the years.  Back in the 1950s and 1960’s most packshot photos were fairly simple.  They would usually feature an attractive picture of a product in the environment where it belongs.  For example, a packshot photo of a television would simple the simply show the product in a lounge room, surrounded by a happy family.

Over time, packshot photos became much more elaborate and artistic.  Marketers discovered that an innovative and artistic product photograph would often increase a person’s capacity to remember the product and trigger an emotional response.

However, even the most artistic packshot photographs will still follow certain rules, including:

  • The product will be in the centre of the photograph – The image must immediately draw the viewer’s attention to the product.
  • The product will fit most of the canvas – In most cases, the product will take up most of the space on the canvas — again, to hold the viewer’s attention.
  • All letters and captions will be legible – Because the main goal is to get a consumer to recognise the product at a later date, the branding must be very clear. The company logo must be located prominently and the viewer should be able to easily determine what the product is.
  • Lightning should be very precise – Lighting plays an important role in packshot photography. It must highlight the detail in the product and provide a 3-dimensional perspective of the product.  Photographers often use light diffusers, light boxes, and umbrellas to achieve precise lighting that makes a product look incredible.

Richard Hammond

I am the founder of 9Mousai and am deeply interested in creativity and what inspires it. My main passions are writing, film and music but I have huge respect for all the arts. I'm also an animal lover and have a little cat called Winston and enjoy the occasional whiskey or two...

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