All too often in the product launch process, making a photograph of the product comes as an afterthought. A lot of marketing people might even question whether a product image is even necessary. “Everyone knows what this type of product looks like,” they might reason. “Why should I go to the expense of having it photographed?”
Even if you’re sold on the idea of having a basic product photo, you might still question whether some special version of the image is necessary to accompany a press release or to use in other marketing material such as a product flyer. In other words, do you really need what one semiconductor marketing executive used to call “chips on a drape”?
In fact, the “PR image” remains quite an effective marketing tool. Why? Because it’s much more interesting visually than an catalog-type photo of a box or a component package. If you can grab someone’s attention for just a fraction of a second with an interesting PR image, they’re probably more likely to read the words on the same page describing your product.
Here are a few simple rules to make PR images more effective:
1) Start with a high-quality photo of the product
The smaller your product, the more you need a highly skilled professional to make the basic product photograph that’s always the primary element in a PR image. Don’t ever try to make these shots on your own with a smartphone camera. They’ll look exactly as if they were done by you with a smartphone camera and send a visual message that you’re too small to afford a real photographer.
2) Establish a consistent look and feel for your PR images
Your PR images are part of your company’s branding, so they need to follow design rules just like your website and other marketing materials. Always use the same fonts, color palette, and object framing. The goal is that all your PR images should look like they came from the same company. Do this consistently and eventually the look and feel of a PR image will be enough by itself to communicate your branding to customers.
3) Keep the elements bold and visible
Websites can and will resize the images that accompany your press releases. Expect that sometimes your PR image is going to turn up in thumbnail dimensions. When designing the photo, try it at different dimensions to be sure the message isn’t completely lost if it gets shrunk down to 100 or 200 pixels across.
4) Avoid TMI
The more stuff in your PR image, the more difficult it is to distinguish what it’s about at first glance. Keep it simple. If your product is used in three or four markets, don’t try to cram all of them in. Not only does this make your PR image look cluttered, it’s also a turn-off for readers (and vertical publications) who are only interested in their own applications and don’t care that your product can be used equally well in a tractor or a hospital bed.
5) Arrange the elements with cropping in mind
Sometimes your PR images may be subject to automated cropping on publication websites and social media channels. Keeping your product front and center is the best strategy to avoid having it cropped out by Facebook or Instagram or anywhere else where cropping is done automatically.