The first thing you discover about commercial advertising pictures is the product, and how implausible it looks. Successful and effective commercial advertising photographers will be able to create an image which stands out for all the proper reasons, grabs the attention of the audience and communicates the precise message almost instantly.
But whilst it’s straightforward to admire the look of the product and the skill of the photographer, in most cases commercial advertising pictures isn’t about what you see, however about what you don’t see. You might think that while you look at an advertising image what you’re seeing is what the photographer saw, but that’s invariably not the case.
After all, we all know that there are tricks of the trade and many individuals will instantly assume that any image will have been doctored using a graphics tool such as Adobe’s Photoshop, and whilst this stands out as the case, there’s far more happening than meets the eye. One of many first things to understand in commercial advertising is that what you see is sort of certainly not quite what you’ll see if you happen to were looking on the product your self in a shop.
Lighting, the surroundings and plenty of little known tricks of the trade all come into play, serving to to create an illusion which does not just look real, it actually looks more real in some cases than it would in real life. For example, in the event you were looking at a television in a shop you then’d probably either see a whole lot of distracting reflections in the screen, or the television would be on and you’d be watching a picture. In a product image though you are either going to see a screen that does not have any distracting reflections in it, or it will look as though it’s switched on and displaying a picture.
The trouble is that if you take a photograph of a television, either switched on or off, neither end result will look very realistic. So how do product photographers make their images look like so realistic, whilst still being fully different to how a standard photograph of a television would look?
In an effort to take a photograph of a television switched off commercial advertising photographers will either have a studio which features a 360 degree backfabric to remove any potentially distracting reflections, or they will edit the image afterwards, replacing the screen with a shaded black rectangle which looks realistic, but which would not even exist as part of the screen in real life. But how about taking a photograph of a television that’s switched on?
For those who’ve ever tried this you will know that the result will look horrible- very fuzzy and half missing. This is because the camera lens sees what your eyes and brain can’t see – the truth that the image on the screen is only an illusion created by rapidly flickering lights. So professional photographers will often take a screen grab from a computer and then superimpose that onto the photograph of the screen to improve the quality. The final image will look just as you anticipate it to, though you know that that’s not how it would really look if you happen to took a photograph of it.
Effective commercial advertising images permits us to be fooled, even once we know that what we are looking at cannot be real, despite looking very real. The artwork of illusion and of fooling the eye is a subtle one, because consumers will not be taken with an image which has been clearly doctored, but will be enticed by an image which they know cannot be fully real. Should you’re undecided methods to achieve the fitting balance then it’s far safer to go away it within the palms of the experts.
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