Packshot photography is a marketing or sales concept that’s frequently misunderstood, yet the benefits of using packshot photography in place of, or in addition to your standard product photography are enormous.
Of these benefits the chief reason why people choose packshot photography is because of the versatility and flexibility it provides compared with standard advertising or product photography. So what is a packshot, and how does it differ from other forms of marketing photograph?
Put in the simplest terms possible, a packshot photograph is a picture of your product without any background, or with a neutral background, and which provides you with the opportunity to include or superimpose your product image in multiple ways. If this doesn’t sound instantly attention grabbing, let me put it a different way and demonstrate with an example just how product photography provides real benefits.
If you’re trying to sell a mobile phone you could simply put the mobile on your desk, and take a photograph of it. There, you have a nice shiny photography of a mobile phone on a desk. Great.
What you do with it now is up to you, but there’s no getting away from the fact that wherever you try posting, printing or publishing your photograph of a mobile phone, your desk is part of the deal. This might be fine in many circumstances, but let’s see how the benefits start racking up when you choose packshot photography as an option rather than standard, plain old product photography.
With a packshot the mobile phone would be displayed carefully against a completely neutral background, usually white. The background has no corners, no edges, no imperfections and gives the impression of being infinitely far away – there are no clues to suggest how close the mobile is to the background, no shadow or reflections, and no real indication that there is any background at all. Effectively, there is nothing to distract from the mobile.
This is usually achieved by using something called an infinity cove, which is a smoothly curving wall that has no corners or edges, and reflects light evenly. In professional studios these can be large enough to have a car or motorbike photographed in such a way that there is no discernible background.
Having a pure white, completely even background means that your product photograph can be oriented on white paper or included in an online catalogue against a standard white background, making the mobile instantly stand out, grabbing attention, without any distracting background diluting the visual impact of your product.
Packshot photography makes products jump out, and be clearer, more easily recognised and standing a better chance of winning sales. But that’s not all.
Because of the seamless white background it is then relatively easy to cut round the product, removing the background entirely, leaving you with the photograph of the product only. This means that you can then superimpose that product image against any background you like.
You could indeed take a photograph of your desk, and make it look as though the product was on your desk, but just as easily you can apply a range of backgrounds, depending on the time of year, and the type of audience you’re targeting.
Perhaps if you’re targeting young people you might have a photograph of a nightclub, with people dancing and coloured lights making the whole place vibrant and energetic. By placing packshot photography images in front of this you make the product look trendy and vibrant.
Alternatively you could place the phone against a background of trees, hills and people on bicycles to imply that it’s a great phone to take out when you’re out and about, because it’s rugged and lightweight. Effectively packshot photography gives you the chance to sell your product in a multitude of ways to a multitude of different audiences, all with just a single image.