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Backdrop Ideas for Product Photography with 5 creative examples

The cut-throat competition in fashion eCommerce, especially in the last five years, can be witnessed through the increasingly creative and unique campaigns and photo shoots that many future-forward fashion brands incorporate into their overall business strategy. Be it social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, or eCommerce product catalogs, interesting product images make the viewers stop and take note of not just the product itself, but also the effort, time, and creativity that brands invest in these images.

After all, product imagery is paramount for the success of any eCommerce business, but especially fashion, where the product is worn by the user. Fashion is emotional and aspirational for many enthusiasts today. Leaving aside those who shop for clothes for comfort or utility, fashion lovers around the world love to engage with product images that display the product beautifully, but also tell a story about the brand and what makes it special. 

After a certain point, a white t-shirt is a white t-shirt, and what will decide the sale for a particular brand is a combination of different factors, both creative and technical. One of the creative decisions that impacts the overall image quality and impact is the background. Backgrounds can completely shift the way product images turn out, especially for apparel. Be it textures, bold colors, minimalist backdrops, or contextual backgrounds, all have a different aesthetic and emotional impact on the viewer and can encourage (and if not chosen well, discourage) them to make a purchase. 

The Importance of Product Photography Background

Like any piece of content, product photography is a sum of parts and the background you choose reveals a lot about your brand and the perceived quality of your products. A well-picked background will not only increase the artistic value of your product imagery but also reflect on your brand’s personality and how people associate with you. 

A minimalistic, neutral background focuses solely on the products and lets it shine without any distractions. On the other hand, brands that choose colorful backgrounds for their eCommerce product photography signal that they are bold, youthful, and relatable. Different colors evoke different emotions in humans (according to color psychology) and fashion eCommerce brands can leverage this powerful concept to create awe-inspiring product images that convert. 

American fast-fashion retailer, Fashion Nova chooses a mix of contrasting background choices to elevate its online product portfolio. By choosing neutral backgrounds like white to make the product colors pop and contrasting backgrounds such as orange to create impactful compositions, Fashion Nova offers a visual treat to the shopper’s eyes. 

Source: Fashion Nova

Background Ideas For Product Photography

When it comes to creating commercial product images, sky is the limit. There are multiple background styles and ideas you can explore to best express your brand’s personality and communicate the value of your products to your audience. Here are some of the most popular and effective product photography backgrounds with examples of brands who got it right – 

White Background – The Uncontested Choice for eCommerce Product Photography

White background photography is one of the most common choices for eCommerce product photography for its versatility, cost-effectiveness, and uncompromising focus on the product. White backgrounds are necessary for many online marketplaces such as Amazon and are fairly easy to achieve, all the while yielding impactful, accurate, and minimalistic product imagery. 

The white background also builds brand consistency and lets the product take center stage. Moreover, the images can be used for omnichannel marketing efforts, such as shopping ads, social media, and online retail platforms like Google Shopping. 

Image Source

Take a look at the websites of fashion brands Anthropologie and Revolve that use white backgrounds to direct the viewer’s attention to the product itself. 

Image Source: Anthropolgie

Image Source: Revolve

Neutral Backgrounds 

Neutral backgrounds use colors such as greys, off-white, browns, beige, and other neutral hues to create coherent and theme-aligned product images. While the white background is a classic, it is definitely overdone and can get a bit boring and monotonous for eCommerce product imagery. Experimenting with neutral backgrounds can take your product imagery up a notch by adding a hint of color to your image composition, while still keeping the focus on the product and its details. 

Sportswear brand New Balance uses neutral background masterfully to complement their brand and aesthetic. Notice the use of a neutral brown background in New Balance’s gender-neutral clothing line, perfectly complementing the theme and idea. 

Image Source: New Balance

Choose a Pop of Color

If you are an eCommerce brand that identifies as quirky, bold, youthful, daring, or all of these, then that must reflect in your product imagery as well. After all, product imagery is simply an extension of your brand’s personality and must embody its ‘personality traits’ through a visual medium. This might mean playing with bold colors or textures in your product imagery and offering your customers and online visitors a taste of what it means to be a part of your fashion tribe.

On the technical side, colors speak volumes, with every color associated with a certain emotional state or mood. Red is associated with power, passion, and excitement, whereas the color blue is associated with serenity, loyalty, and intelligence. Brands have been using color psychology for the longest time to evoke specific emotions among audiences through their visual content.

Adidas is one of the most popular athleisure brands globally. Many of Adidas’ campaigns or product photo shoots feature bright and colorful backgrounds, elevating the product photography to the next level.

Image Source: Adidas

Go Natural – Use Nature to Create Breathtaking eCommerce Images

Natural landscapes and lighting can be a beautiful addition to your product imagery, focusing more on the overall mood and ‘vibe’ of your brand, as opposed to focusing on the product in isolation. Natural backgrounds work because they convey more than just the utilitarian value of your product and elevate product photography by adding context to your products. They can work effortlessly for activewear and sports brands. 

Here is a stunning example of the California-based fashion-forward activewear brand, Vuori. Vuori offers product imagery starring models engaged in physical activity while looking their best. The product images feature models interacting with a natural background such as water, the beach, or training grounds, making the picture and the product come to life.

Image Source: Vuori

Street or Lifestyle Photography – Expression at its Finest

Fashion brands come in all shapes and sizes, and not every brand is going to settle with a run-of-the-mill white or off-white background for their product images. With the rise of several independent and youth-oriented fashion brands, product photography is also evolving to reflect the fresh energy of these brands through visuals. Street photography is an incomparable and unique expression of your brand’s values and personality. 

Street or lifestyle photography features models in our everyday world, moving about and strutting their stuff donning your apparel. Not only does this convey relatability and youth, but it sells a lifestyle to your shoppers and consumers which can be effective in attracting the right audience.

Los Angeles-based fashion brand Zele for She sports beautiful lifestyle product photography to display their summery and vibrant clothing. 

Image Source: Zelie for She

Conclusion – Photography Backgrounds Add Personality to Your Product Images

Product photography background can completely transform the aesthetic, story, and visual impact of your eCommerce product images. A good background depends on your brand’s priorities, audience, and the ‘vibe’ that you are going for. While this may seem superficial, the results of changing your background to something more intentional can add depth and substance to your otherwise ordinary product images. 

It is important to note that you do not have to stick to the same background across your product portfolio for the sake of consistency. In fact, many successful eCommerce brands use multiple types of backgrounds to convey different emotions and set the mood for different product ranges. This can be a dynamic evolution of your product photography and will most certainly elevate your brand image. 

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Arunava Acharjee

(Product Marketing Manager)