What is Creative Product Photography and why is it important?

You’ve filled your product pages with on-white images, shown off the product using models, and started to fill up your company’s social media page….so what’s next? The smart answer would be creative product photography.

The obvious strategy, when needing to update a website or product page, is to get those classic on-white images or model shots. However, with the evolving eCommerce world constantly nipping at the heels of online sellers, the not-so-obvious photos are what motivate sales.

Much like lifestyle photography, product photography helps bring the experience of in-person browsing to online shopping. Before diving into the many advantages of these images, it is helpful to understand the basics of it all.

What is Creative Product Photography?

Media moves fast. Online selling and the retail space rapidly shift, as media fads, photography needs, and consumer trends evolve and diversify every day. While basic product photography, such as on-white images, has remained to be a relatively standard need for any successful brand, creative images are where the opportunity for variety lies.

In the industry, this type of photography is known to allow photographers, studios, or brands to leverage their creativity by including dynamic, outside elements within the photos. The goals of using this type of photography can be to capture audience indentation, create a brand identity, or improve plain product photos altogether.

There is more room to play and experiment with creative photography, as there is an opportunity to use any set, prop, background, or ingredient. The ability to craft images that are completely unique to a product and/or brand is what makes this photography so important to online brands and companies.

Elements of Creative Product Photography

The possibilities of creative product photography are endless- which can make creative direction decisions difficult. Especially with the competitive nature of online selling, the importance of each element and angle matters more than one might think. Whether the goal is to increase sales or encourage brand recognition, the strategy behind this type of photography has the ability to make or break a business. While these ideas can be frustrating to curate and execute there are a few tips below to help get those creative juices flowing.

Props, Sets, Models, Oh My!

Outside elements are what make the most eye-catching and effective imagery for brands successful. Props, sets, models, backgrounds- they all have the potential to make or break product photos or videos.


One of the more obvious aspects of creative photography is props. The wide range of props includes everything from sneakers to fruit. While on-white images lack other objects, this type of photography allows creativity to be expressed through prop choices, based on color, texture, size, function, etc. While these choices may seem juvenile, the choice of what to include within an image is one of the most time-consuming aspects of photography.

For more prop ideas, check out some creative photography ideas here


Sets are quite similar to props, as they are mostly made up of props and other acquired objects. Examples of some frequent sets in product photography are bathroom countertops, living room coffee tables, or kitchen islands. These displays can “set” the scene and show where a product could realistically be found or give context to how a product could be used. Creating lifestyle photography through realistic props and scenes can assist customers in visualizing the product in their lives and how it can add value to their daily routine.


Whether it’s a hand, a face, or an entire body, model use is one of the most beneficial approaches to media creation for any eCommerce brand. Similar to the way that props and sets help add some realism to the photography, models can give customers a better understanding of the product. Models are standard for most fashion product photography, but can also be helpful to many other industries such as beauty, food and beverage, and home goods.

Standard on-white images are often used as the base media on websites and PDPs. However, including models on PDPs and social media allows customers to visualize products better and are much more engaging to potential audiences. Since this type of photography allows for creativity and extra elements, it is likely to stand out amongst other online media. Stopping a scroll is difficult enough. Adding a “human touch” can take some of the pressure off and can make it easier to match an aesthetic or content direction, as there is much more to rely on outside of the product itself.

Creative product photography can be a bit difficult to differentiate, as it covers many realms within the industry, However, breaking it down, we can see that, for the most part, it involves including many outside elements into the product photography.

While props, sets, and models are some main elements involved in much of this photographic style, it would be remiss to not add that there are endless amounts of styles and options for creativity. The combination of shapes, colors, and textures all amount to what defines this direction of photography. No matter the goal, aesthetic, target audience, or industry, these images are sure to make anything work.

More Benefits

From fun flatlays to playful props, creative product photography has benefits all around. The ability to create content that makes a significant impact on engagement, brand recognition, or exposure is easier when there is more opportunity and ability to play around within the creative direction. It is not a new concept that the extensive amounts of media that audiences come in contact with every day continue to increase, while attention spans decrease. The more creative capability, the more chances to create images that align with a brand and its other marketing strategies.

Outsourcing Options

As trends quicken and fads move quicker, many brands are seeking out professional product photography studios in order to fulfill their marketing and social media needs. The technicalities alone can make content creation a beast to take on. However, these studios should have all the lighting, cameras, and retouching capabilities that a creative director or head of marketing could ever hope to find- without having to figure it all out themselves.

Another part of why many eCommerce brands choose to use professional studios can have a lot to do with those extra elements. Due to the effect that they can have on imagery or the aesthetic of the photo, these aspects such as props, sets, and models are carefully chosen by a professional during the pre-production process. Ensuring that the colors match the brand, the size of the set doesn’t overpower a product, or that the models posing makes sense within a scene is all a part of the creative decisions required to capture a successful shot.

The cost of photography can add up, but many studios have a large number of props, backgrounds, and contacts already at their disposal, which can often help reduce costs. Not to mention, without these resources, to begin with, finding the perfect elements can be extremely difficult to source. Most studios will have personnel that will find the best and most relevant items or people for the shoot, within budget, and in line with the photoshoot schedule.

The many elements of product photography make collaboration with professionals much easier and more cost-effective for everyone. Learn more about working with a The many elements of product photography makes collaboration with professionals much easier and more cost-effective for everyone. Learn more about working with a photography studio here to start your next creative shot list. studio here to start your next creative shot list.

Interested in
partnering with us?

Get in touch
Interest In Partnership