The retail industry is changing at a very fast rate and so are the services linked to it.
Approximately 87% of British consumers have made an online purchase in the last 12 months, and the United Kingdom only comes after Norway for buying online in Europe.
With the increase of e-retailing, the photography needs of a brand or a retailer have changed. Advertising campaigns for print media, point of sale displays, billboard advertising and TV commercials are now sharing their budgets with the increased needs for a stronger web presence both on the website of the business and on its social media network.
At Kalory Photo & Video Studio, we have seen a marked change in our client’s requests since the beginning of the year across all the different industries we are working with: multi-brand e-retailers, jewellery, watch, cosmetics, chocolate, drinks, furniture, sports brands, etc. The same trends seem to be valid for both start-ups and established businesses too. This is an empirical analysis of our field experiences in the last 12 months.
More qualitative packshots
The first trend which seems extremely strong is an increase in the quality of product photography. For many, a packshot is a packshot, but there are actually different levels of quality possible and the quality of lighting and retouching can vary tremendously for the same product, and so does the final image. The camera used has an impact too. Since the beginning of the year, we have noticed a real change in the way clients approach pack shots. Budget allocated to this important visual section of the website has been increased and even outside the luxury industry, brands are upgrading the attention to details for all their e-commerce photography: positioning, colour correction, control of the reflections, visibility of the branding, etc.
Professional Instagram pictures
The development of Instagram stories allows businesses to keep in touch in a more relaxed and spontaneous way with their followers, while they are paying more attention to the quality of photography posted on their main feed. Instagram stories are perfect for quick snapshots taken by the communication teams to keep their audience posted on what is going on. The feed is increasingly becoming a visual platform showing what the brand’s values are. The colour tones (cold or warm), the type of images posted (lifestyle, architectural lines, etc.) are key elements to consider in order to create a consistent feed that attracts followers. Posting again and again about your products is not enough. The trend we have observed since March is to organise short photo shoots of 1h to 4h with a selection of products and props and to shoot a series of creative images with a basic to medium level of professional retouching. This enables us to create a large number of images on a small budget. The images are controlled and professionally lit, but still natural and not overly airbrushed which is the perfect blend for Instagram. This is especially effective when a mood board and a shooting list and schedule have been carefully prepared: it can be interesting for example to create a series of images with a certain colour tone followed by another series with a slight change in colours to create waves on the feed.
Videos & moving images
Videos have been growing fast in the past few years: product videos and event videos mostly, but we have recently seen a surge in social media videos (which are usually around 15 seconds), as well as cinemagraphs. They are mostly visuals without interviews or any sound takes, and with a simple story, but need to be efficiently edited to get the right social media interactions.
An increased involvement and commitment from brands.
An increasing number of clients are more involved, prepared and put more thoughts in their photography brief. This is a clear sign of the importance photography and video has gained in the marketing and communication mix. A larger number of members of the PR and marketing team is involved and mood boards, stories and precise creative ideas and angles, as well as a good analysis of what the competition is doing, is definitely becoming the mainstream rather than the exception.
The usage of photography is definitely changing fast. Everyone is taking pictures. The life of a picture is both very short, almost instant, and very long: the image itself has to be impactful immediately, but it is also part of an overall visual display (Instagram feed, Facebook page, etc.) that will remain online, so the thought process when creating it, is definitely key.
Knowing how fast visual communication and social media are changing, there is no doubt, that new trends will emerge soon, and brands and retailers need to keep a close eye on what is happening in this field of communication if they want to stay on the top of their game.