Much of the photography I do is about products, and continuing from last month’s blog about e-commerce photography, mostly shot against white backgrounds, I want to talk about ‘Product Placement’ photography, which is all literally placing a product in real life setting to ‘showcase’ the product.

Companies can spend a fortune on their marketing projects, and photography for websites, and also on adverts which can be very important for some brands. Nowadays, most companies don’t only want images of the product alone, they want to subtly and effectively show their product being used.  This is what is meant by product placement as it has a subliminal effect of educating a person around the context in which a product is useful/pretty/eye-catching etc

The photos, despite being set up and planned, have to look natural. The product is captured in appropriate settings, and often with other items, that complement the product. In other words, the setting has to make sense with the product, or occasionally be disruptive to evoke a response of humour eg. Such as a green field with a cow nosing a beautifully decorated vase…

People can even be used in the photo, either as models wearing, or making use of the main product being sold – this could be make-up, a skin care product or a piece of jewellery – we see this all of the time.  By doing this, the company is trying to elicit an emotional response from consumers towards that brand.

What is important is that the viewers’ eyes are drawn to the product without it being too obvious – it should appear naturally placed.

As with any other type of photography, it is important to know which lens I’m going to use, the lighting that is going to be required, the correct use of white balance, composition, and also taking into consideration, the target audience for that company.

Two examples of placement photography.

The first is a lighting product as seen in the picture (see below). It’s a reel of high intensity light to be used by the military, police, and fire and rescue services.

The photos were taken in the training ground for the search and rescue services, and I had to capture a number of lighting products.

The biggest problem I had, was actually capturing the high intensity light itself, because for both of these photographs, the setting was very dark, so I had complete extremes of light. I had to ensure that I captured the people working with the product, and the product itself in focus, and the correct colour – quite a challenge.

The second product is a HUF SKUP (see below), a brand new scoop with teeth. The teeth are an important part of the design – they allow horse feed to be scooped up easily from bags or large containers.

Because of this, it was crucial to capture a photo of the scoop in use, digging into the dustbin of feed, and also a picture with a horse was required too.  The horse was very happy to be photographed which is very lucky – often working with animals can bring an extra degree of complexity and delay.

Due to the colour of the scoop, it becomes the main focus of the image. You will obviously look at the horse, and the person feeding it, but the bright colour of the feed draws you straight into the picture.

This is a great example of how a product is used in the perfect setting.

For both companies, these were their first set of product placement photos they used on their websites and catalogues

Creating the right style, placement of products within the setting, use of props all go to make a great photo.

If you would like product placement photographs of your company’s products, please get in touch with me, so I can help.   My email is