Choosing a Style for Your Product Photos: Catalogue Shot vs Hero Shot

Selling products online can be trickier than many small business owners realize. Marketing your products starts with professional photography makes them want to learn more about your brand.

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bar cocktail product photography

Selling products online can be trickier than many small business owners realize. Marketing your products starts with professional photography that draws in new customers and makes them want to learn more about your brand. It’s important that you and your photographer make detailed decisions about what type of product photos will show off your products in their best light. Let’s discuss the catalogue shot vs the hero shot.

The Catalogue Shot

product photo of watch

Why to use the catalogue shot? If you want your products to shine and you think a model might be more of a distraction.

While the hero shot includes a person interacting with your product, the catalogue shot contains no people — just your product! This is most often done on a clean white background, allowing for catalog or web page “knockouts” to remove the background.

Why choose the catalogue shot:

  • Shows your product off in a more minimalist light. In some cases, this type of shot can draw attention to the product. If the product is small or slightly uninteresting to look at, a model might become a distraction.
  • Leaves everything to the user’s imagination. With no models in the shot, the customer will be able to imagine the product in their own home, being used by them.
  • To give your product photography a unique, exciting look. Some modern brands choose to forgo the model. This makes their product photos really pop.

The Hero Shot 

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The so-called “hero shot” usually consists of your product being used by a model, or being presented in a stylized manner. This means showing the product in an appropriate environment, such as a lipstick on a vanity or a tool on a workbench. Lighting is usually much more complex, and customized to highlight the key features of the product.

Why chose the hero shot:

  • Shows how your product is used. If your product does something it can help to show it in action. For example, a razor, an electric fan, a hair dryer, etc.
  • Can show customers what they could be if they bought your product. Makeup, skincare, and clothing photography often includes models. This shows customers what they could look like if they chose this product.
  • This type of photo tends to look much more interesting!

When to use the hero shot? If your product comes to life when it’s in use, show it off by including a model in your photo or by using customized lighting to highlight its features.

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Author: MortonVisuals

William Morton is a professional commercial and event photographer based in Dallas. Morton Visuals creates advertising photography, product shots, corporate portraits (executive portraits and business headshots), public relations images, DFW corporate event photography and convention photography throughout Texas and Southern California.

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