A couple of years ago I worked on a beauty and cosmetics launch for UK health and well being company Xenca. They were launching organic makeup and natural beauty products. The ethos of natural and organic was a very strong one, we printed on recycled paper with vegetable inks from a local printers to keep the traveling costs down.

The shoot was set up over at Studio Sphere in Nelson and client, models, stylists and hairdressers took over for the two phases of the day, product and model.

The original brief on the product photography was quite vague, the bottles on a background. The client wasn’t overly sure how they wanted the images to look. The bottle design on the Eternity range is very simple. Plain white with a little blue text, which all though its effective as it is, wasn’t likely to be inspiring in a high end sales brochure which was what we were aiming for. Page after page of white bottle on a grey background was going to get dull, quickly. The client was unsure about the use of props so we decided to test the theory. We shot the body smoother as it was.

It’s ok, clean. Obvious but not eye-catching. One of the things I wanted to get across was what each product was without having to work to hard at it. Eight pages of white bottles would all blur into one product.

Shot two: body smoother with appropriate props.

The bottle is now more interesting, the colour catches the eye, its now going to stand out from the rest of the white bottles on the next 7 pages.
And because the props are appropriate, its instantly recognisable as to what the bottle contains. Clients now sold on the concept, went off to investigate the rest of the goodies in my props bag, all specially selected from the product information they had supplied me.

You should always be considerate of the product when you choose props. Don’t use ladies jewellery to sell men’s shoes, don’t use a car to sell a bed, don’t use coffee to sell tea. In this case the natural scrub re-enforced the natural message of the contents and was appropriate to the use and the orange was one of the main ingredients.

You don’t need to go overboard with props on product, less is generally speaking more. One or two items to help get the message across are more than enough otherwise you start to clutter up the set and the message is lost.

But the message is clear “I’m a natural body scrub”. Job done.