What is Application Photography, and What is it Used For?
The same fixture, shown in 4 different applications
Application photography can be described as the process of creating images in order to show how a product may be utilized in certain settings. Take for example a wall sconce that is UL rated for wet locations. Providing a picture of the fixture, and describing it as "wet location rated", only gives the consumer so much information. Many may not even know exactly what that rating actually entails. With the use of application photography, you can show the fixture in all its potential environments; complimenting a bathroom vanity, lighting a bedroom setting, lining the length of a hallway, or even illuminating the outside of a garage. These types of images play an important role in developing creative thinking and inspiration about your product in the mind of the consumer.
wHY IS APPLICATION PHOTOGRAPHY IMPORTANT?
eCommerce and catalog consumers rely on data and imagery to make their selection. The ubiquitous "white background image", while providing information on finish and overall detail, lacks the ability to to create an environment capable of spurring an emotional (and therefore memorable) reaction to a product. You'll also struggle to even get that first click from the product category to your product page.
If you are in the business of selling paper clips, the white background image will most likely fulfill your needs. But when you're in the business of lighting, plumbing, home furnishings, or flooring, your product needs context (and a touch of glamour) to win.
Creating Application photography: traditional vs cgi
traditional application photography
The traditional way of creating application photography is a very hands on and involved procedure that many brands find difficult or cost prohibitive to accomplish. First one must either have their own studio in which to do the photography, or they must ship their product to someone who does. Then it becomes the process of sourcing props in order to create a proper environment for your product. Think of all the items involved in creating a living room setting for your company's ceiling fan... couches, cabinets, end tables, flooring, mirrors, rugs, etc... the list goes on and on. This requires both hired physical bodies for installation and professional photographers to create the final product. All of this in order to create one scene for one fan. It is an expensive, cumbersome, and time consuming process that many companies simply don't have the resources to undertake.
CGI application photography
These days, many business owners are turning towards the fast world of CGI (computer generated imagery). It's an easier, cheaper and hands off solution to the aforementioned process. Anyone who has been to the movies in recent years can attest to the amazing realism and accuracy that CGI has to offer. Why not employ this very same technology in order to affordably represent your products' potential? All that is needed to start the process is an image of your product (that white background one...) and its dimensions attached in an email. After that, skilled designers do the rest. Only minimal effort on your part is required to guide environmental mood and product accuracy. Lower costs and quicker turnaround times will give you the opportunity to showcase fixtures in not one, but multiple environments. Your imagination will be your only limitation.