The Complete Guide to Packshot Photography, 1: Why Make Product Packshots?

Welcome to the complete guide to packshot photography, a series of articles designed to help you take attractive photos of your products and optimize your online presence. If you sell products on the Internet, you may be surprised to discover just how much of a difference good packshot photography can make.

After all, when a potential customer visits your website, the first thing they see is an image of your product. If that image is bad, or doesn’t show your product at its best, they’re unlikely to buy from you. Conversely, quality packshot photography can grab consumers’ attention and encourage them to buy.

In this first article, we explain what packshot photography is and what it can do for you.

What is packshot photography?

Definition of packshot photography

By definition, packshot photography is a specialized photographic technique used by e-commerce sites in particular, to capture images of isolated products against a neutral background.


packshot photography of a watch


In concrete terms, packshot photography is essential for any company looking to sell its products on an e-commerce site, and a good packshot can make the difference between a successful sale and a customer looking elsewhere.

The advantage of packshot photography is that it focuses on the product and only on the product, without visual distraction. It also aims to represent the product as faithfully as possible, so the customer won’t have any unpleasant surprises when receiving the product later on.


show the details of your product with packshot photography


Packshot photographs are usually taken in a professional studio with a lighting setup specially adapted to each product, to highlight its unique characteristics. Packshot photography therefore requires a meticulous knowledge of light, camera and composition to produce a clear, crisp image that’s tailored to the product.

Where can I find product photography?

Are packshot photographs only for e-commerce sites, or can they be used for other purposes?

That may be the question you’re asking yourself right now. Indeed, if you’re going to invest in packshot photography, you’d expect to use it to its full potential.


product photography on an e-commerce website


The primary purpose of packshot photography is to showcase a company’s products on the Internet, and as such it can be used in a number of ways:

  • on your e-commerce site, of course, where they help arouse customer interest by attractively presenting your products, while showing off their features, colors, textures and dimensions,
  • on social networks like Instagram or Pinterest, to broaden your audience and reach a new public,
  • as part of advertising and promotional communications for your company and its products, using visual advertising, posters, flyers, catalogs and sales brochures,
  • as part of in-house communication (e.g. training employees on product features),
  • or for customer information leaflets.

For example, a clothing store can use packshot photography to present its new collection on its website, increase its conversion rate and improve its natural referencing, while communicating about it in online advertising campaigns or promotional brochures.

However, the primary use of packshot photography remains in the product sheets of an e-commerce site, so it’s this use that we’ll be focusing on first in this series of articles.

Packshot photography, lifestyle photography or still life? Different types of product photography for different purposes

There are many different product photography techniques, each with its own characteristics and advantages. Packshot photography is one of them, along with lifestyle photography and still life photography.

So, which one should you choose to suit your needs?

Packshot photography


examples of packshot photography


Packshot photography is a technique for taking shots of individual products against a uniform background. The emphasis is on product detail, with the removal of any distracting elements. The aim is to portray the product as it really is, without stylistic effects and without altering its appearance to make it more attractive.

Still life product photography


a still life product image of shoes


In contrast, still life product photography is a technique that involves creatively staging the product using different elements of decor.

Unlike classic packshot photography, which focuses on the frontal presentation of the product, still life product photography leaves more room for creativity. By using combinations of compositions and colors, a still life product photographer can add an artistic dimension to a company’s brand image.

Still life product photography isn’t really suited to e-commerce use, as the product isn’t necessarily faithfully represented. On the other hand, this type of technique is ideal for an advertising campaign.

Lifestyle product photography


example of a lifestyle image of a watch


Lifestyle product photography, on the other hand, is a technique that involves showing products in their context of use. It not only shows customers how to use products, but also gives them an idea of the size and relevance of the product in their daily lives.

Lifestyle photography can also help you to make the product more real to the customer. Allowing them to imagine using it in their everyday lives. The main use of lifestyle photography remains advertising.

Packshot photography is much more focused on the product itself, rather than the environment in which it is used. The ultimate aim of a packshot is to give potential customers a clear view and understanding of the product, to help them make an informed purchasing decision.

A lifestyle photograph aims to create an impression on the viewer by showing how the product can be used in everyday life, while a still life photograph aims to highlight the product’s aesthetic qualities, the photographer’s artistic vision and the brand’s message.

Why is good packshot photography so important?

The Internet, a new era that changes everything when it comes to presenting your products

With the Internet, online shopping has become increasingly common, to the point of becoming the norm these days. There’s just one slight problem: consumers can no longer touch, examine, try out or physically experience products before buying them, unlike in a physical store!


packshot photography of shoes


A new challenge then arises: how to make the product real and tangible for the consumer, how to faithfully bring out its details, colors and textures… despite the barrier of the screen?

That’s what packshot photography is all about, and what this series of articles is all about.

Stand out from your competitors by making a good impression

Online competition is extremely fierce, and first impressions are paramount. High-quality, professional photography is one way to stand out and capture the attention of potential customers. And the opposite is even more true: there’s nothing like poor-quality photographs or those that don’t show off your products to turn customers away.

Knowing this, many may resort to the easy solution: simply use their supplier’s photos. But is this even a good idea? This solution may seem practical and inexpensive, but it can also backfire: those same photos are likely to end up on your competitors’ sites too.

A key element in the natural referencing of your e-commerce site

Photographs are also essential for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Search engines such as Google rank websites according to relevance and quality. And quality product photography can significantly influence this ranking.


images and SEO in Google search


This is because images are considered content by search engines. They can be indexed and referenced in the same way as regular web pages. So when your photos are of mediocre quality, this can lead to a drop in your ranking in search results.

And let’s not forget the image search functionality of search engines. By using relevant keywords to describe your products, you increase your chances of appearing in image search results. This can help attract potential new customers to your website.

What are the main features of product photography?

The aim of packshot photography is to present your products in a clear, precise and informative way. That’s why packshot photography needs to have certain characteristics to be effective.


packshot photographies of a suitcase, a guitar and a chair


A white background

First of all, the background of the photograph should preferably be white, or neutral. This emphasizes the product and sets it apart from any other element. A uniform background reduces visual distractions and makes it easier to highlight the product.

A true representation

Packshot photography should represent the product as it is, without trying to embellish it or lie about its nature. This authentic approach helps potential customers make an informed decision when shopping online. By showing the product as it really is, you avoid customer feedback and disappointment.

Packshot photography must be as precise and sharp as possible. It must be taken with a professional camera, using the right lighting and settings, in a studio environment.

Lighting is essential in the quest for an authentic product. Shadows can totally transform the way we perceive a product. It’s important to find the right balance between too much shadow, which could darken the product, and too little shadow, which would cause it to lose all depth.


good lighting


Sharpness above all

A blurred, poorly framed or badly lit photograph can also lead to a drop in the perceived quality of the product, which can compromise its sale. Thus, banish any notion of blur from your photos. The customer must be able to see every detail of the product in your photos. Focus stacking will be your best friend when it comes to taking packshot photos. But we’ll be talking about this technique and many others in the rest of this series.

Free of distractions

Finally, as we said earlier, packshot photography must be free of distractions. This also means that the product must be presented in a simple setting, with no objects, colors or textures in the background to distract potential customers. The aim here is for the photograph to draw attention to the product itself, and nothing else.

That said, as you can imagine, we’ve only scratched the surface of the vast subject of packshot photography. There’s much more to cover, starting with the equipment you’ll need.

We invite you to discover all this in the next part of our series of articles on packshot photography:

  • the equipment you need to take good packshot photographs,
  • how to capture the specific features of your product,
  • the type of media to choose for your product,
  • the importance of consistency between photos and the best way to achieve it.

Become the photographer of your products

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The Complete Guide to Packshot Photography, 4: Which Media to Choose

28 February 2024

Welcome to the fourth article in our series The Complete Guide to Packshot Photography. Today, we’re going to be talking about media photography and more specifically which media to choose and why, a crucial issue to ensure you get the most impactful packshot possible. After all, some products need to be seen from every angle […]