The primary thing you notice about commercial advertising images is the product, and the way improbable it looks. Profitable and effective commercial advertising photographers will be able to create an image which stands out for all the right reasons, grabs the attention of the audience and communicates the right message virtually instantly.
But whilst it’s easy to admire the look of the product and the skill of the photographer, in most cases commercial advertising pictures will not be about what you see, but about what you do not see. You would possibly think that if you look at an advertising image what you’re seeing is what the photographer noticed, however that’s invariably not the case.
Of course, we all know that there are tricks of the trade and many individuals will immediately assume that any image will have been doctored utilizing a graphics instrument comparable to Adobe’s Photoshop, and whilst this may be the case, there’s far more occurring than meets the eye. One of the first things to appreciate in commercial advertising is that what you see is nearly certainly not quite what you would see when you were looking on the product your self in a shop.
Lighting, the atmosphere and plenty of little known tricks of the trade all come into play, helping to create an illusion which doesn’t just look real, it actually looks more real in some cases than it would in real life. For example, if you had been looking at a television in a shop then you’d probably either see an entire lot of distracting reflections in the screen, or the television can be on and you’d be watching a picture. In a product image though you’re either going to see a screen that doesn’t have any distracting reflections in it, or it will look as though it’s switched on and displaying a picture.
The trouble is that should you take a photograph of a television, either switched on or off, neither outcome will look very realistic. So how do product photographers make their images appear to be so realistic, whilst still being fully different to how a standard photograph of a television would look?
So as 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 doubtlessly distracting reflections, or they will edit the image afterwards, changing the screen with a shaded black rectangle which looks realistic, yet which does not even exist as part of the screen in real life. However how about taking a photograph of a television that’s switched on?
Should you’ve ever tried this you will know that the outcome will look horrible- very fuzzy and half missing. This is because the camera lens sees what your eyes and brain cannot 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 seize from a pc and then superimpose that onto the photograph of the screen to improve the quality. The final image will look just as you expect it to, even though you know that that’s not how it would really look should you took a photograph of it.
Efficient commercial advertising photography permits us to be fooled, even once we know that what we are looking at can’t be real, despite looking very real. The artwork of illusion and of fooling the eye is a subtle one, because consumers will not be all for an image which has been clearly doctored, but will be enticed by an image which they know can’t be fully real. In case you’re not sure how one can achieve the right balance then it’s far safer to leave it within the fingers of the experts.
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