In marketing, images matter – so it pays to get them right, says Press Loft’s founder Nicola Snell, who this month offers a few picture-perfect tips for furniture businesses …
The phrase ‘a picture says a thousand words’ may seem tired, but in a visual world filled with short attention spans, it’s never been more true. The reality is that you could have the most incredible brand story and new designs, but without top-notch imagery to illustrate them, your chances of being able to engage potential customers or retailers will quickly diminish.
From your own website to press placements, product listings on digital marketplaces to social media posts, an expansive library of product imagery is one of the best investments you can make in your business. On Press Loft, we see thousands of new products from across the interiors and lifestyle sector each month, and tens of thousands of downloads by journalists and influencers who want to use them in their features. The brands that see success all have a few things in common …
Shake it up
The brands that can capitalise on any opportunity that comes their way, or shake things up quickly if something isn’t working quite how they’d hoped, are the ones that have a large, varied library at their fingertips. Products come in many forms, and it’s important to know how you can use them all.
Lifestyle images are the perfect way to help potential customers envision your product fitting into their lives. A well-styled living space with a comfy looking sofa or a table that has been set ready for a summer BBQ are great ways to engage and excite your audience. Whilst using models can be a great way to further paint the picture, and are useful for your own brochures and marketing materials, they can limit the images’ versatility in press and on social media – so, if you’d like to include models in your shoot, be sure to also get some of each set up without them.
Styling is incredibly important when it comes to lifestyle images, as you want to display the product in a natural, engaging setting, but with balance so that it’s not lost.
Cut-outs, which are sometimes known as deep etch, are probably the most useful image type in your arsenal. Where styling and theming can sometimes date or become oversaturated, a cut-out’s lifespan is as long as you are selling the products for.
They are great for website and digital marketplace listings, but also for press, given how versatile the format can be. In fact, 60% of press features will use cut-out images in their features.
As well as the whole product, it’s worth also taking some cut-out shots of fabric swatches, textures and materials too, as this will help the viewer really get a feel for the product when they aren’t necessarily able to see it in person.
In addition to cut-outs, there is some opportunity to take some hybrid images too, which look great on social or peppered throughout online product listings. Sitting somewhere between a lifestyle and a cut-out, these semi-styled images retain the simplicity of a cut-out, with the opportunity to add small amounts of personality and character. This could be the simple addition of a coloured or textured background, grouping the entire collection in one frame, or adding styling accessories to a flatlay that help to tell the story. An example could be a bobbin of thread sitting next to a hand-stitched cushion, or some party ribbons next to a plastic picnic setting.
Behind the scenes
Behind the scenes or context images can be great for social media and press. Don’t forget to keep a library that documents your products being designed and assembled, as moodboards of swatches, materials and samples that helped you bring the piece to life.
Christmas in July and Valentine’s Day in October
If you want to see your products featured in a glossy magazine or included in a third-party campaign (think trade show you’re exhibiting at or a retailer who stocks your brand), remember that they’re going to want your images as soon as possible. If you’re scheduling a shoot, don’t forget to factor this in, as well as having props and briefs ready for seasonal styling so you don’t miss all-important retail periods like Christmas or the start of summer.
You can have the most beautifully styled images going, but if they’re low quality then their use is extremely limited, and any resource invested into them will not be worth it. A minimum of 300dpi is the industry standard, so be sure to meet this. Whilst images taken on a phone can suffice, remember that some apps will reduce the quality of the images when editing. Also, remember to keep plenty of white space around your products so the image can be reformatted and resized with ease.
Anyone looking for more insight into briefing, taking and styling great product imagery can visit the Press Loft blog to find lots of information and free guides.