How to Choose the Right Product Photography Backdrops

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When you sell products online or through catalogs and brochures, quality product photography is essential. Once you have chosen your preferred photographer and studio, you have to choose the right backdrop for your product. Often overlooked in the planning process, this stage of product photography can greatly impact your sales and the overall perception of your products and brand.

Choosing the right photography backdrop for your products may seem like a simple task, but it is very involved. As mentioned in our flat lay photography guide, often things look easier but can be quite involved. There are many considerations when choosing a backdrop, including your audience, product size, brand story, lighting, and budget. To help make this process easier, we mapped out five steps to choosing product photography backgrounds, including helpful tips.

The Impact of Product Photography Backdrops

Before you can choose the right product photography backgrounds, you have to understand the impact backdrops have on your photos. Product photography significantly impacts how customers and potential customers view your brand and your products. Great product photos can capture your audience’s attention and encourage them to make a purchase.

Effective product photography enables your audience to imagine your products in their own life. The overall image, including the backdrop, influences the viewer’s opinion. A clashing or distracting backdrop can turn a potential customer away, while a pleasing backdrop can draw them in.

With the right product photography backgrounds, you can showcase your products in the best light. The background of your image can bring out the color, texture, and size of your product. It can help highlight any special features and clearly present your product to your audience.

Step 1: Understand the Product

The first step in choosing the right photography backdrop is to understand the product. Whether you are photographing your own product or professionally photographing products for a company, you must be familiar with the product. Understanding the features of the product, the colors and textures, and the size of the product can make it easier to choose a backdrop.

Simply setting a product in front of a backdrop and snapping a few photos is not enough. Marketing materials and websites require quality product photos that tell a story, capture the brand, and appeal to the audience. When choosing a backdrop, consider the most important features of the product, what you need to highlight, and what your audience wants to know about the product.

What is the brand?

Branding plays a key role in choosing photo backgrounds for product photography. The images must be part of the overall brand, blending seamlessly with existing logos, images, and color palettes. Considering your brand from the beginning can help you narrow down your backdrop options quickly. You can easily rule out backdrops that are not cohesive with the overall brand.

Your brand provides the context for your product photography. Nature or environmentally inspired brands may gravitate towards earthy tones, nature scenes, or calm and relaxed backdrops. Modern brands or technology companies may lean towards bright colors and sharp lines. Because product photos are part of your larger brand story, the backdrops should look good on your existing website, in brochures and catalogs, and on product packaging.

Who is the audience?

The goal of product photos is to attract customer attention and encourage your audience to make a purchase. You want to use product photography to convince your audience that they need your products in their lives. Surprisingly, the background of your product photos can have a major impact on your audience and their perception of your brand.

When choosing a backdrop for your product photography, consider what your audience wants to see. Their desires and wishes should be among your top priorities because you want them to appreciate your brand and feel compelled to buy your products. An older audience may not be attracted to loud or busy backdrops while younger audiences may prefer a sharper backdrop with modern touches. Consider what your audience cares about and use that information to select product photography backgrounds.

Step 2: Choosing the Right Size Backdrop

The size of your backdrop is another important consideration. The backdrop’s size will impact how much of a pattern or image is seen in the product photography. The backdrop can also dwarf your product or make it seem too large.

Choosing the right size for your product photo backdrop may require some trial and error. You want the most attractive parts of the backdrop to be seen in the image without taking attention away from the product. If the product backdrop is too large in comparison to your product, your product can seem smaller or less important. If the backdrop is too small, the product may seem disproportional or be ignored altogether.

Product Size

The size of your product must be considered when selecting the right size for your backdrop. Product photography is meant to highlight the product, not the backdrop. Your backdrop should be proportional to your product to make the final image more accurate. If your product seems larger or smaller than it really is when compared to the background of your image, your customers may not be happy with their purchase. You may experience increased returns or negative feedback.

The size of your product also impacts how much of your backdrop is covered and how much is left exposed. If your backdrop has a pattern or image, it may be necessary to show specific parts of your background. If your product is too large for the backdrop, these areas could be covered. If your product is too small for the backdrop, too much of the background may be visible.

Studio Size

A huge backdrop in a relatively small studio is going to pose considerable issues. The photographer may not be able to capture the best angles or lighting for your product photography. The photographer has to be able to get far away or close up to the product to take a variety of shots. If the backdrop gets in their way, it may do more harm than good when it comes to your final product photos.

The size of the studio can also impact your ability to properly place the backdrop. You need ample room to move your backdrop around and alter the background to capture the best product images. When choosing a product photography backdrop, obtain accurate measurements of the studio to ensure there is enough room to work.

Step 3: Choose Backdrop Color Schemes

The colors of your backdrop can draw someone’s eye or quickly turn them away. Clashing colors and harsh color schemes can create negative feelings for your audience and cause them to click away from your product photo or close your brochure. However, the right backdrop color schemes can create positive feelings and increase their interest in your products.

Color schemes can also highlight your product or drown them out. Your backdrop should place all of the attention on your product. The best product backgrounds go largely unnoticed because they showcase the product without drawing the eye. The wrong color schemes can take the focus away from your product, hide important features, and distort the overall product image.

Cohesive

First and foremost, your backdrop color schemes should be cohesive with your brand and other product photos. If you already have existing product photos on your website or in your marketing materials, your new photos should fit seamlessly with the rest. Choosing a backdrop with cohesive colors is essential in creating a seamless experience for your audience.

The colors in the background should also be cohesive with one another. While there are some instances where clashing colors can draw attention or highlight a product, they should largely be avoided. Clashing colors make your audience uncomfortable, and they may not even know why. Cohesive colors blend better into the background, going unnoticed by the average viewer.

Aesthetic

The aesthetic of your brand, or the overall appearance of your brand, is an important consideration when it comes to choosing a product backdrop. If you are not trying to match background colors with existing product photography, you should match the aesthetic of your brand. Consider your branding, including your logo and color palette, as a work of art. The backdrop you choose for your product photos should complement that artwork.

If the aesthetics of your product photography and your overall brand do not match, customers can become confused about your mission and vision. They do not know what you offer or the lifestyle they can achieve with your products. On the other hand, matching aesthetics can help customers quickly identify your products and recognize your brand.

Make the Product Pop

Perhaps the most important consideration of all is the impact your backdrop colors have on your product. You may have to hold your product up to a variety of backdrops or take test photos to determine the best fit. What looks good in person may not photograph well or vice versa.

Your product photography backgrounds should put the focus on your products. Your product should not be lost on your backdrop, and colors play a major part in the process. If your backdrop is the same color or colors as your product, your product will disappear. If your background is too busy, audiences cannot focus in on your product.

White backdrops are very common for product photography. However, not all products pop on a white backdrop. If your products are white or lightly colored, a white backdrop may wash out their features, colors, and textures. Overall, the color of your backdrop will impact the clarity of your product, so some testing may be required.

Step 4: Adjust the Amount of Light

Lighting can wash out your products or bring them to the forefront of your product photography. The right lighting will make your products look as realistic as possible. Audiences should feel like they can reach out and grab your product off the screen or the page.

The intensity of the lighting can be altered by moving the light source closer to or further from your product. Changing the position of the light source will impact the shadows and highlights on your product.

If you choose to take your product photography on a white backdrop, lighting may make your products or background shiny. Glares can impact the clarity of your product image, making your product appear blurry or obscuring its features. You can utilize the following tips when adjusting lighting for your product photography.

  • Avoid lighting reflective surfaces
  • Pay attention to anything reflected on your product surfaces
  • Match colors as accurately as possible
  • Use bulbs with a true white hue to optimize color calibration
  • Invest in professional studio lights
  • Utilize multiple lights to remove shadows
  • Diffuse studio lights to avoid overexposed spots on your product photography

Test the Product Against Different Backdrops

Your lighting setup will need to change based on your product and your photo backdrop. You may need to set aside time and resources to test your product against multiple backdrops, adjusting the lighting with each background. Light placement can create or dispel shadows, alter colors, and create hot spots.

The type of lighting you use can also impact your final image. The top three most common studio lights are fluorescent lights, LED lights, and Tungsten lights.

Fluorescent Lights

  • 60-100 watts
  • Low output
  • Energy efficient
  • Cheaper bulbs
  • Easy to replace bulbs

LED Lights

  • Energy efficient
  • Product little heat
  • Last longer

Tungsten Lights

  • Highest output levels
  • Generate considerable heat
  • Inexpensive bulbs
  • Change color temperature

Watch for Shadows

Your backdrop may create shadows or be impacted by shadows from your lighting. If shadows fall on your backdrop while photographing a product, the background must still look appealing. Shadows can alter the overall appearance of your backdrop, hiding certain areas or changing the colors in the background. As you are photographing your products, be mindful of shadows caused by lighting and how they impact your backdrop.

Step 5: Using Props

In some cases, you may not want your product to stand alone. While some product photography is used to showcase a product from all angles, some images highlight the uses or features of a product through the use of props. In product photography, props can be other objects, models, and set pieces.

For example, if you sell water bottles, your product photography should highlight the most important features of your water bottle. These images should only feature the product, so potential customers understand what they are buying. However, you may want to take action shots of models using your water bottle or images of your water bottle in a home or room.  

Using props adds another layer of consideration when it comes to choosing the right product photography backdrop. Not only does you backdrop have to make sense with your product, it has to work with your props as well. Consider how props will mesh with the colors, patterns, or scenes in your background.

Enhancing the Product

Props should only be used when they enhance your product. If a prop takes away from your product, your image loses focus. Audiences may be distracted by the props in the image and unable to appreciate your product.

If you sell athletic equipment and use an outdoor or nature inspired backdrop, it might make sense to include a model dressed in athletic wear. It would not make sense, though, to include sleek technology or a model in causal clothing. When considering which props to use, every detail makes a difference.

Edit

It can be tempting to use a lot of props or intricate backgrounds. While these items may look professional as individual features, they can clash when used together. As you take product photographs, edit the scene. Try removing items or decluttering your background. Rearrange props or reposition your backdrop to clearly showcase your product.

Your original vision may not translate to your product photography. Editing as you work is important to achieve superior results. Do not be afraid to make changes as you go and improve your overall scene by altering your backdrop or removing props.

Telling a Story with Product Photography Backdrops

If you still find yourself struggling to choose the right photography backdrop for your product, consider the story you are trying to tell. Are your customers sporty? Are they tech-savvy? Do they value family? Are they concerned with their health? How does your product help customers achieve their goals?

As you learn more about your products and audience, you can home in on a story. Your product photography backdrop adds to this story by providing context. A nature scene, a warm color, a sharp line – all of these elements impact the story being told in an image.

Are you trying to excite your customers? Are you striving to alleviate stress for your customers or solve a problem?

By defining your goals, you can use a backdrop to tell a story through product photography.

Backdrops that Set the Mood for the Product

Your product photography backdrop can set the mood for your product. When choosing the best product photography background, consider the feelings you want to evoke in your audience. How do you want people to feel when they observe your products? Once you have an answer, choose a backdrop that sets the right mood.

The background you choose should align with your brand and product story. The mood set by the backdrop must make sense in the larger context of your company and audience. As your customers browse your website or flip through your catalog, your product photographs should all set a similar mood. This consistency can help build positive feelings for your customers and attract them to your products.

Romantic

Are you looking to convey romance with your product photos? Maybe your products make the perfect gift for a spouse or significant other. Maybe your products are meant to be used by couples. Whatever the case, there are many product backdrops that can create a romantic mood. Soft lighting, warm colors, and beautiful settings can all invoke feelings of romance.

Commercial

For commercial product photography, clean lines, bold colors, and simple backgrounds make a big impact. In these images, you want the product to speak for itself. Take a less-is-more approach with commercial photography to let the customer’s imagination fill in the rest. You don’t have to tell customers how to use their product. Your product photography will let them picture your products in their everyday life.

Theme

If your brand follows a theme, your product photography backdrop can greatly contribute to your overall image. If you target families, consider using backgrounds with pastel or bright colors to invoke happy feelings, household items as props, and models to recreate a family atmosphere.

Photo Backdrops for Your Budget

You can find the right photography backdrop for your products regardless of your budget. While larger budgets will offer more room to test different backdrops and props, there are many cost-effective options for smaller budgets. Expensive backdrops cost more but they can help convey luxury, elevating your products as a result. However, you can find great success with simple backdrops or DIY backgrounds.

Many everyday items can be used in your product photography background, adding natural texture and color without breaking the bank. Consider the following items to get inspiration for cost-effect backdrops.

  • Foods with bright or distinct colors (fruit, green leafy vegetables, peppers, etc.)
  • Rocks or stones
  • Flooring tile or flooring samples
  • Simple canvas or painted canvas
  • Household linens
  • Household items like trays, cutting boards, dishware, toys, clothes, furniture, etc.
  • Colored paper
  • Vintage items

Our Top Product Photography Backdrop Picks

Capture has developed innovative technology, enabling you to insert your product photos into photo templates. With CaptureAi, you can access a wide range of product photography backdrops at a fraction of the cost of doing it yourself. Find backdrops that match your brand, tell your product story, and highlight your products. Below are some of our top product photography backdrop picks for 2021.

Product Photography Backgrounds

Features

Double Circle Risers

  • Put your product on a literal pedestal
  • Use color to make your product pop
  • Simple background highlights your product

Mindful Moments

  • Inspired by nature
  • Blurred background brings your product to the forefront
  • Neutral colors compliment a variety of images

Two Tones

  • Showcase multiple products or product packaging
  • Use colors to help your product stand out
  • A sharp line and clean background keep the focus on your product

Let’s Make Waves

  • Neutral color lets your product pop
  • Sandy background adds texture
  • Inspired by nature and water

Triplets

  • Colorful alternative to a white backdrop
  • Use color to compliment your product
  • Simple background allows your product to shine

See all of the product photography backgrounds available from Capture by visiting https://www.joincapture.com/.

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