Contrary to what people believe, fashion photography does not always revolve around clicking beautiful, classy pictures of models, or gorgeous outfits in exotic locations. A lot of this photography can be purely object or product related, where the entire shoot depends on how well the single product can be represented. There may be no people or even background involved. While such shoots may appear uncomplicated and straightforward, they do come with their fair share of effort. Making a product appear appealing, ensuring that its best features are highlighted and that it is properly represented can be a challenge. Below, we put down a few essential tips to get you started in the field of footwear photography.
WHITE BACKGROUNDS: A white or pale background is ideal for such photographs to ensure that there is no distraction from your main element. If you do choose to use colours, make sure that they are colours which compliment the footwear and do not draw attention away from it. Paper sweeps are ideal since they form a uniform background and can be replaced easily every time they get dirty. Make sure your white balance is on white shooting so that these efforts do not end up in vain.
PLACEMENT AND POSITIONING: The way that you place the footwear can be a deciding factor in how the customer perceives it. While it is important to shoot it from as many directions and angles as possible, make sure your primary shot is one that emphasizes on the best elements of the footwear. Stuff them with paper or cotton to ensure that they hold shape, make sure they look new and well finished and preferably place them at angles that depict movement. Consumers are instantly more attracted to photographs that show the footwear in motion or holding a stance. Further, make sure that there is sufficient lighting to highlight every element and make sure there is no discoloration in the photograph.
MODELS: In the off chance that you do end up working with models while photographing footwear, you will probably be shooting only their legs and feet. In such an instance, make sure the model does not draw attention away from the footwear. Any clothing that is part of the frame should be in colour schemes that complement the footwear and should be muted so that attention is not drawn away from the star of the shoot. Further, encourage the models to shoot pictures that show the footwear in motion as this will gain better consumer attention.
RETOUCHING: Irrespective of how appealing the idea of retouching photographs may seem, always remember that there is a line to be drawn between editing photographs well and overdoing the whole thing. In the case of footwear, keep editing to a minimum amount, and focus only on colour correction, adding shadows, checking colour balance, and similar small edits. Remember that the footwear should look as similar to the original product as possible.
CONTEXT: Some brands and organizations have started turning to lifestyle photography as a means of promoting their products. This works well since consumers begin to associate the product with individual styles of living, and positive traits. Similarly, for footwear, they can be related to a particular lifestyle or habits that the potential consumer will find attractive. For example, running shoes may be placed in connection with water bottles, and fitness food or party footwear may be placed with blingy and classy products to show how these products will ideally be used.
CREATIVE ADVERTISING: If the brand or organization you are working for is aiming for an advertising campaign or catalog that includes a lot of visual imagery and creativity, it might be a good idea to first speak to the graphic designers and marketing teams to understand the sort of photographs they will need. This can also be useful in generating new shoot ideas that you may not have previously envisioned. In such cases, many minds working together can succeed in producing better work and concepts.
Hopefully, these are the points to get you started on your journey into the world of footwear photography.