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A picture says a thousand words but are they all good?

It's not just your product, its your shop window and ultimately You.

Yes – you’ve had the meetings, designed the products, spent the money and now the samples are en-route…. So what's next? Time to tell the world all about it. Point of sale. We have all seen it time and time again, where a good product gets overlooked in the in-flight catalogue because it was dwarfed by a great advert on the facing page or the average time per in-flight catalogue page averages 1 second and might be divided between 4 shots. “Damn… if only we had given it more thought!”. Great photography increases conversion – fact.

Product photography, e-commerce, still life what ever you call it amounts to the same thing your time, energy and planning into one or two key images that's going to sell your product. After years of shooting just about everything sellable I have come to know that poor images let the sales down. So what constitutes a good product image?

White background shots work to a point but this is after your product introduction period, post established…. You need to either a great lifestyle shot or get the customer’s imagination working. Putting the customer in the photo, lifestyle… they can see themselves using your product before they buy it and that does not necessarily need to include people. The decision making process is almost over, they’re sold. Alternatively, imagination - dream world pictures as I like to call them - involves making the customer think your product is better, than it is (sounds terrible) and yes you can use smoke and mirrors! It’s true – We have all seen pictures of budget cars dressed up using supercar advertising tactics, mist and mirrors. You just put your perfectly adequate blue-tooth speaker in the same visual bracket as a Beo-sound!

An example of using smoked reflective glass to produce high quality images (Image : Gadget Republic travel retail exclusive catalogue. Image by : Pat Ager)

Some of the best imagery of products is left to the photographer. Unemotional attachment to the product, therefore free from the baggage of business. Sure there’s always a brief but that converts into the creative’s head and every now and then you get “Pure Imagery”.

Of course consumer psychology cannot always be predicted accurately – there are many examples where good business brains have got it badly wrong, if surveyed a customer would always say “I am never swayed by clever advertising” – they are, that's what makes it clever! On more than a few occasions I have heard “if it’s not Apple I don’t want it!” True to a higher extent a few years back. So what is this all saying to us? As a consumer we sit back and enjoy the ride – but as a seller you work harder, be publicly respectable in your manner of advertising – the photos you put out. Those images represent you and your shop window.

Over future blogs I will share some ideas, learning processes I have taken in over the years and hopefully help you make some of those decisions which help your products enter the market.

- Pat Ager is an award winning photographer who has worked closely with multiple travel retail exclusive brands, inflight advertising in Europe and Asia, in store POS creation for Europe and the Middle East and product packaging design for the travel retail market. To discuss Pat Ager's work further contact him via or visit Pat is a member of the JES Travel Retail partner programme.

Disclaimer: Guest posts and comments represent the diversity of opinion within the travel retail world. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of JES Travel Retail who shall not be held liable for any inaccuracies presented. The methodologies presented in this, and all guest posts, may not reflect strategies recommended by JES Travel Retail.

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Tim Jobber
Tim Jobber

Thanks for the contribution and some very valid points!

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