In light of the current lockdown regulations, the creative industry has needed to rapidly adapt. With a huge increase in consumer content consumption on social media, coupled with the restrictions bringing a halt to photoshoots, brands have had to improvise and provide new and engaging content remotely.
We have been working with our clients to shoot campaign, lifestyle and product imagery from home - with our team spread across two different countries. What we thought could be a challenge has proven a positive learning curve for us, and we wanted to share our top tips and content hacks to help improve your ‘At Home Content’.
Shot by Sequel for Milly Grace
Devise a Brief
Coming up with a creative brief before you begin shooting will give you some much-needed direction and help you seek out inspiration (see tip 2). You don’t have to be a creative genius to do this - it can simply be a case of writing down what you’re shooting, what kind of shots you need (for example, a website shot and a flat lay), who you’re shooting for (your target customer) and any key messages you hope to communicate. It helps to do your research into what your customer wants to see (what are the current trends in your industry?) as well as what kind of content other brands in your industry are publishing.
Gather your Inspiration
Finding inspiration is crucial to ensure you use your time efficiently and don’t end up at a loss for ideas! Places like Pinterest and Instagram are great places to start, as both have “pin” or “save” options to enable you to build digital moodboards from images that fit your brief. As well as choosing images containing similar products, try to think outside the box and find images that help guide your colour scheme, prop choices and settings.
Props are a great way to help tell your story and breathe life into your images. You should have an idea of what props you’ll need to collate from your digital moodboard; we like to do a full scout of our houses and gather them all together before we start shooting. Whether it be a crystal glass tumbler to create beautiful fractured light, an old magazine to add some black and white contrast, or a silk or linen shirt to create a divine, textured background, you will be amazed at what you find in your cupboards!
Nail your Background
Look at your moodboard again: what background would allow you to show off your subject clearly whilst sticking within your theme? We love to shoot on white, neutral or marble backgrounds, and use our props to add interesting elements of colour and texture. Make sure your background and your props match your overall colour scheme and “mood”.
Building up the layers in your images gives them more depth and a more interesting composition, especially if you are shooting flat lays. Start by laying out larger props and build up smaller props on top, or behind or in front, to create dimension. Remember to keep your product or subject as the focus - the props should complement and surround it, so don’t worry if some are only partly included in the shot.
Lighting is Key
We find that natural daylight is always best when shooting at home. Depending on the product you’re shooting, it’s usually great to get outside if the weather permits. When shooting reflective objects like jewellery, however, try to avoid direct sunlight as this can cause harsh shadows - shade is often more flattering. If you can’t shoot outdoors, always use a well lit room, or get yourself a pair of soft box lights to make sure your subject has an even distribution of light.
Don’t expect to get it right the first time! Often it takes a few tweaks of prop positions, lighting and angles until you get the perfect shot. It’s helpful to remember, too, that a lot of the images on your moodboard will have been professionally retouched. Editing or “post-production” is where you can fix lighting mistakes, colour imbalances and even imperfections if you need to, so don’t lose hope if you feel like your images aren’t looking their best on camera!