San Francisco Bay Area is one of the city that is saturated with demands for lifestyle work (as oppose to Los Angeles or New York that draws demands on fashion)
So, what exactly is lifestyle
It really is one of those variable word that means something entirely different to everyone you inquire. Some will affirm that it's about the softness of the images. Some claim a peek of the environment where the shot took place. Others note that it's the matter of less makeup, real-world scenario played out, a soft blend of photojournalism
. Yet more will point that it's displaying people doing their thing
It really is all of the above!
Lifestyle images helps the advertiser with a few aspect of their marketing:
- It provides the setting, ambience and styling of the product & services.
- Gives a snippet of the demographic of the users (oh, that teenage cute girl looks just my age and she is using the sexy looking iPod, I bet it'll look cool on me too)
- Creates an attitude and continuity in marketing. Nike, for example would always showcase top athletes in peak action. (they associate their products to provide the last 1% of excellence, in this fragile world of diminishing returns)
- Demonstrates the usage, how it fits, its scale or size.
- Showcases the benefits and features of the product in the real world.
- Differentiate the product in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Lifestyle photos excel when the images are placed on catalogs that are used as a support vehicle to upscale retails (i.e. Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom).
There are potential pitfalls, however.
- The product in a lifestyle photograph can disappear from view as the image gets busier. Some of the interesting props in the image can steal the attention away from the product.
- If the product is new and has yet to penetrate the market, you may be better off photographing a large image of the product instead of lifestyle.
- Lifestyle shoots can cost more and require a bit of planning compared to a straight product shoot.
Many catalogs use a balanced mix of product and lifestyle shots to retain a fashionable look to their catalogs. Whichever type of photography that is used should support the brand and is consistent with the marketing message.
- Michael Soo
Labels: lifestyle photography, market, product photography