Creative Concepts to Inspire Your Next Lifestyle Photoshoot

Creative Concepts to Inspire Your Next Lifestyle Photoshoot

Since the ModCloth’s earliest days, prior to Walmart acquiring the company in 2017, the fashion retailer has relied on word-of-mouth as brand awareness fuel.

“It was known for casting real people as models and being one of the first clothing brands to take the No-Photoshop pledge,” explains an article in The Verge.

Over the next several years, the world of online retail is going to experience some powerful changes.

For one, market competition is going to increase due to the costs of technology becoming lower—anyone, anywhere in the world can set up a store through a few basic ecommerce platforms. That means more online storefronts are going to be seeking to reach the same audiences. If your store reaches people through digital channels, you may not even know what your competitive landscape may look like.

Another challenge is that, worldwide, digital marketing channels are experiencing a time of change. This next year, 2020, will be a particularly expensive advertising year due to the United States Presidential Election and the Olympic games in Tokyo. According to the World Advertising and Research Center (WARC), advertising is set to grow to 6% to $656 billion.

Along with the impact of major geopolitical events, consumers and governments are creating new restrictions to the way that retailers can use data.

“Tighter data regulations, greater ad blocking capabilities, privacy concerns and increasing competition are going to push advertisers to do more with less data in 2020 – giving increased importance to understanding what platforms offer which audiences and how consumers are behaving on them,” explains Sarah Bahmann, managing director at VaynerMedia in an interview with Econsultancy.

So what does this trend mean for brands that sell their products online?

In the eCommerce world, uncertainty is the new norm

Overall, ecommerce marketers should expect to navigate a period of uncertainty and change in the coming years. The advertising channels that worked in the past may not necessarily yield the same returns in the future. These unknowns are ultimately good for business—advertisers are going to need to get creative in investing in their core brands.

That’s a good thing – marketers are going to need to rely on their creative instincts and imaginations more so than they have in the past. They also need to be thoughtful about the stories they tell, in every facet of their brand communications. The future of ecommerce marketing is thoughtful in which brands prioritize the practical and emotional needs of consumers above their own personal gain.

“In 2020, advertisers will need to walk the talk and talk the walk. Not only making real and substantial changes to the way they run their businesses to align with modern consumer expectations, but also talking about that boldly and authentically so that it gets noticed and drives purchase behaviour,” explains David Yates, managing partner at Elvis for an E-consultancy analysis.

The only “known” for marketers, moving into the future, is the direct relationship that brands build with their consumers. Top performing retailers are the stores that invest in establishing an authentic connection that emphasize both emotional and practical value propositions. Simply being able to reach audiences through advertisements isn’t enough. You need to be an exceptional and truthful communicator—your product pages, and lifestyle images, need to do a lot more talking than your ad copy.

People having fun Showing product dimensions
Products looking beautiful Making it possible for people to browse products from all perspectives
Appealing to the senses Making a digital story tangible

So what should you keep in mind when planning your next photoshoot, knowing how important of an impact every image has the potential to make? The short answer: human interest. In a previous post, we detailed 3 timeless tips, driven by academic research in psychology, for retailers to build a deeper connection with shoppers online. These tips tell a rational, intellectual story.

So let’s balance out that discussion about the heartfelt side to purchase decisions and building brand rapport. Here are 5 examples of lifestyle image concepts that bring brands’ emotion-driven stories to life.

Create lifestyle photos that move human hearts

The photos you capture will serve an important role in influencing your business’s most important conversion, sales, brand loyalty, and consumer happiness metrics. If you’re planning a photoshoot in 2020, the following roundup of photos will help you plan your strategy and art direction:

1. Modcloth's insta-snapshots of everyday shoppers

Central to the brand’s “real human” strategy is a #ModCloth Instagram hashtag that encourages actual shoppers, of all walks of life, to share their fashion sense. The hashtag has grown to include almost 200,000 posts of everyday people expressing body positivity.

Since the ModCloth’s earliest days, prior to Walmart acquiring the company in 2017, the fashion retailer has relied on word-of-mouth as brand awareness fuel.

“It was known for casting real people as models and being one of the first clothing brands to take the No-Photoshop pledge,” explains an article in The Verge.

This alignment with real people is especially important to the future of the brand. As gen Z, those born between the mid-90s and early 2000s, gain a greater market share of purchasing power, they want to see real models. Research has found that this cohort, who grew up during a time of unrealistic beauty standards, cares about seeing diversity and body positivity. That’s good news for brands—creative teams need to strive for authenticity or expression rather than impossible to attain perfection. Take a cue from ModCloth, and turn to your customers for inspiration.

2. COOP Home Goods' collage of happy humans

Bedding retailer COOP Home Goods spent generations creating a unique formula for comfortable bedding and sleep gear. The Los Angeles based small business, over the last year, started out by selling a pillow with a value proposition of being customizable to anyone. Delivering on its promise to sleepers around the world, the company has been leveling-up its product line to create a full bedding toolkit—sheets, pet beds, pregancy pillows, etc.

Check out the company’s instagram hashtag #isleepwithcoop to see a mix of photos from customers, behind-the-scenes days at the office, and professional photography.

In terms of professional photos, the company has invested in lifestyle images that tell a true story-to-life story about each of its products (the author of this blog post and many of her friends own several of their products and can attest to their quality).

Every photo tells a story of what the product helps people achieve—comfort and happiness. The visuals are energizing, fun, and stand apart from otherwise ordinary sleep gear. The product quality, in every image, is true to life and sets realistic expectations of what shoppers can expect to receive—making the browsing process fun, along the way.

3. Pearl Butter's lively take on everyday staple

Pearl Butter is part of the movement of artisnal food brands that reach consumers online. As anyone can imagine, convincing shoppers to buy food online is a tough sell—people may not feel comfortable spending $26 on a jar of butter that they find online.

But the company has put forth a value proposition that isn’t available on store shelves—wellness in a jar, for every woman. It’s up to the team behind the brand to prove that the expense is worth it. The company demonstrates its value by highlighting the following:

It’s fun to look at.

It’s sweet.

It’s nourishing & healthy.

It makes bland foods exciting.

Pearl Butter’s product shots show that it’s possible to appeal to multiple human senses through simple visuals. Using color—and people’s favorite foods—as a point of reference, the product is captivating enough for its price tag.

4. Gunner Kennel's take on action shots

For many pet owners, a kennel is a basic, commoditized accessory. But Gunner Kennels has created a high-end product meant to accompany a pet through his or her active lifestyle, anywhere. So how does the brand tell that story through lifestyle imagery?

Similar to its product, its insta-worthy lifestyle photography is anything but basic. Its images are high-energy and show the tactical side of its high-endurance products. Photos actually get audiences excited about a product that is otherwise a static heap of metal.

The brand shows humans, adults and children, of all walks of life finding value from the roducts.

The best part these images? With every photo, the brand reinforcees its commitment to pets. It’s all about the animal.

5. Be timeless like Rainbow Sandals

In 2020 and beyond, consumers will be making more conscious decisions about their product choices. Research from McKinsey validates this perspective, especially among shoppers who are close to gen Z in age.

“Younger consumers are seriously concerned with social and environmental causes, which many regard as being the defining issues of our time. They increasingly back their beliefs with their shopping habits, favoring brands that are aligned with their values and avoiding those that don’t,” says one report.

One way to walk your talk in showing that your product is good for the planet?  Show that it’s built to last.

For inspiration, take a look at the Instagram feed for Rainbow Sandals, a company that is now almost 50 years old and has been selling the same style of footwear for decades.

Instagram: rainbowsandals
Instagram: rainbowsandals
Instagram: rainbowsandals

The company is known for making sandals that are rugged and long-lasting. That’s why Rainbow, in addition to sharing photos of new footwear, also shares images of run-down products.  The company also emphasizes in its brand story – that its products are for everyone.

Final Thoughts

Think of your lifestyle images as works of photojournalism that appeal to shoppers’ emotional brains. Get them excited about what you have to offer. Once you’ve energized their minds and captured their attention, give them the practical details through product images that are more straightforward. Show that your products are good for people, good for the world, make the everyday more exciting, and contribute to a sustainable lifestyle. Then give people the information they need to make a practical decision to buy.

To see how Tangiblee is the yang to your lifestyle imagery’s yin—the left brain to your creative right brain—click here.

Ritika Puri

Ritika Puri

Content contributor for Tangiblee