Your Complete Guide to Product Photography
product shoot

Your Complete Guide to Product Photography

Photography is crucial for marketing products. Whether it’s going to be for a print ad on a magazine, for a products page on an eCommerce website, or a giant billboard, a professionally taken photograph can be powerful enough to entice consumers to buy the product. 

When you shop online, you encounter countless product photos of an assortment of items from clothing to jewelry, gadgets, and even grocery items. To most people, those images that they so eCommerce websites are just that – product photos. But did you know that those photos can be categorized technically? 

Yes, Product photography can be categorized into two general types – Still Life and Packshot. If you are an online business owner considering getting product photography to improve your sales, this post is for you as Armitage Photography discusses the two types of photography used to shoot products so you can decide which one is right for you:

What Is Still Life Photography?

Still life photography requires the professional photographer to capture the image of everyday products in a creative manner. In a way, they should be able to make the product look “sexy.” While there’s typically no design art magic and such, the photographer is still expected to have a brilliant idea to make even the most ordinary item stand out and look enticing. 

The ultimate goal is to make consumers buy the product. That may mean experimenting and allowing his creative juices to flow freely. He can play with lighting and have fun with composition, but he still needs to highlight the product’s best features and evoke emotions through the photo. 

Still Life or Packshot?

If you want to experiment with still-life photos, that’s perfectly fine. Just make sure that the main focus of every image is still the product you want to promote and not what’s in the background or foreground. That said, you should know that still-life is not recommended for eCommerce use. Just imagine if you are someone who is looking for the perfect bag and you can’t focus on the details because the photo is quite busy. In truth, still, life is more appropriate for advertising like in billboards or magazines. 

Packshot Photography

Packshots are photos or products that are featured right in the center of the frame. The background is typically white, though other colors may be used, too. The main aim is to showcase the item as it humbly exists in real life to set accurate expectations. That way, the buyers will get exactly what they see in the photo. 

There’s no room for experiments and playful lighting in packshots. It’s straightforward. All the elements and parts of the product should be visible in the photos. Photographers cannot be too creative with their shots either. 

This is the type of photo that you typically see in online shops because packshots show the product minus any unnecessary design elements in the image. That means there’s nothing that would distract the potential buyer and take their attention from the item. 


While it’s ultimately your decision as the business owner to decide which type of photo you want for your products, you should take into consideration how and where the photos will be used. As mentioned, if it’s for your online store, you’ll be better off with packshots. But if you want something to use for posters, billboards, or print ads, then you might want to consider still photos. It’s also a  good idea to consult an expert in product photography who can help you determine the best approach for your specific needs. 

John Armitage of Armitage Photography offers professional commercial photography in Norcross, GA. Whether you need still photos for your ads or packshots for your eCommerce site, Armitage Photography can deliver exactly what you need. 

For more information and how to book services, please reach out via email at or via phone at 404.247.5458. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn for exceptional photo inspiration as well as photography tips and tricks.

John Armitage

John Armitage is the founder of Armitage Photography, Inc. in Norcross, Georgia. He's passionate about product photography and hosting classes teaching various elements of professional photography in Lilburn and Atlanta, GA.

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