Lifestyle Photography vs Product Photography

What is the difference between  product photographs and  lifestyle photographs? It is often said, that you are not just selling a product, you are selling a lifestyle. Instead of looking at your product in isolation, look at how it fits into peoples lives. Coca Cola understand this. Their advertisements for Coca Cola don’t focus on the product itself so much as on the lifestyle, the activities of the young people they are selling to. They are not using images of Coke bottles shot on white, rather they might use an image like the one I present here of Lysa wearing a vintage swimsuit. Let me say this is not a Coca Cola advertisement – it is an image I created to illustrate this article.  Here is another example – you are selling wine, so do you use images of your wine bottles, or use lifestyle photographs of people having a great time, and drinking your wine? Emotion tends to be stronger than logic. Looking at a picture on white of a bottle of Shiraz for instance, I’ll see exactly that – a bottle of red wine. I’ll see the vineyard, the vintage, and the price. The only thing that might catch my attention is the relationship between the price and what I already know about that particular wine.

Lifestyle photographs example

But if I see a bunch of people laughing and talking among themselves, clearly enjoying life, I will have an emotional reaction, and if they are enjoying your wine, I will associate that enjoyment with your wine- to some degree. This is much more powerful that simply showing the product.

Image of girl in red vintage Coca Cola swimsuit holding Coke bottle
Girl pouring wind in vineyard - example of lifestyle photographs

Between the basic product shot and the lifestyle shot, is the product hero shot. This is a photograph of the product in a context designed to show its value and evoke an emotional response, without the use of people