Trade secrets of a cosmetics photographer

We have a wide range of experience in product photography, recently we have been focusing on cosmetics. Simon, one of our inhouse photographers is quite an expert in this area having previously worked with clients such as Avon. He explains in detail the steps he has taken to achieve these stunning product shots.

 “Miss Dior” by Dior

The first product  “Miss Dior”  is a playful and elegant fragrance, we wanted to reflect this in the imagery. The starting point is an simple plain background shot.

Dior Product shot

The Miss Dior on a plain white perspex background.


The shot for the background was a long and intricate process which involved dropping ink into water. We think you’ll agree it was worth it! First Simon dug out his old fish tank and after a good clean, filled it to the brim with water. He then experimented with inks, mixing subtle pastel colours that complimented the baby pink fragrance.

Dior Ink in water


The consistency of the ink had to be just right; thick enough that it didn’t dissolve immediately and not so thick that it just formed a solid shape in the water. Once the consistency was perfected it was a case of pouring both inks into the tank simultaneously. Using a fast shutter speed, combined with high speed flash, he captured the exact moment that the inks hit the water. The inks bubbled, swirled and mixed to create the intriguing colours and abstract forms you see in the the final shot.




Simon continued to empty and refill the tank until he achieved a bank of images to select elements from. Using Photoshop he merged them together to create the alluring textures that make up the backdrop.


  The finished article!

                                         A beatiful bottle floating in a sea of fragent clouds.


Ted Baker “Tour de Ted

For this Ted Baker “Tour de Ted” Body maintenance kit Simon took a different approach. The product features a very bold, crisp & clean design which he wanted to mirror in the final image. Unlike the “Miss Dior” shot this was captured in one shot.


Ted Baker


After artworking the bottles, the next step is to produce the background. As the product branding is based on cycling it was fitting to explore bike influenced brush sets for Photoshop. Using various blending modes graphics were added to the image to generate interest and set it apart from a simple plain background shot. The finishing touch was to tweek the background colour to the the vibrant orange of the product. We think the end result is worthy of a yellow jersey!


Marc Jacobs “Daisy”

Our third illustrates just how much post production work goes into high quality shots. We have outlined below the steps taken to achieve the final shot for this Marc Jacobs “Daisy” fragrance.

2020pv: Specialists in Cosmetics & Product photography

The bottle is polished and photographed on white perspex background. As the lighting needs to be different to capture the details of the top and the bottle two shots are taken and combined together.

2020pv: Specialists in Cosmetics & Product photography

Care and attention to detail were fundamental in achieving the finished to achieve the finished image of the bottle top.

2020 creative photography and print 0113 272 0277

The petals were brightened, the shadows highlighted and a smooth finish applied resulting in the following effect.

2020pv: Specialists in Cosmetics & Product photography

The chrome was polished and given a gradient, reflections are removed and flower centres checked for consistency.


2020p: Specilaists in cosmetics photographyStarting to look pretty impressive!


The finishing touches were to bring out the pink in the liquid and then contrast that by having a pure white background and redue the reflection to give the shot a subtle finish.


2020pv: Specialists in Cosmetics & Product photography

Here is the finished version with an added graphic background that lends itself perfectly to promote the product.


Jean Paul Gaultier “Classique”

Our final product is the quintessential Jean Paul Gaultier fragrance “Classique” tattoo special edition. Simon produced two shots here – one which drew on the colour tones of the product and the other which took its influence from the hand drawn style of the art on the bottle.

2020pv: Specialists in Cosmetics & Product photography2020pv: Specialists in Cosmetics & Product photography

We hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into the creation of our recent cosmetic photography. Hopefully we’ve inspired you to try out some new techniques or perhaps experiment with a new style. If you would like to know more about our process or have a product you would like us to photograph, retouch or apply a unique background to please contact us on 0113 272 0277.

What type of product photography is right for you?

Home » Blog » What type of product photography is right for you?

Posted on January 10th, 2014 by Tom Girling

Good product photography shows your products to their best advantage. If you want to make your products more desirable to your customers and increase your sales there are a few different routes you can take.

White Background

White Background photography is most commonly seen in catalogues and is also prevalent online. It is widely used for its crisp, clinical style that puts full attention on the product.

One of the advantages of white background photography lies in its relatively low costs which make it a common medium for large volumes of product.

It’s also very well suited to the web as the images generally have a smaller file size and can sit on a webpage seamlessly without a border.

Here, the same image has been “clipped” meaning it can be dropped seamlessly into a brochure or website without a border.


Coloured Background

Using a black background adds a different look and feel. It’s often used to showcase high-end or luxury products. Coloured backgrounds and textures add interest and can give your photography the edge against a white background. Black can work especially well with glass and chrome products, highlighting reflective surfaces and creating contrast against lighter surfaces.


Cameo shots are often used to highlight great selling features and details of a product. Whether it is intricate stitching on a leather suite or a dial on an electronic appliance, they help showcase your product to its full potential.


A lifestyle or styled shot helps to convey a setting and level of emotion that is hard to achieve with a white or coloured background. Styled shots help to make products more desirable by showing them in a real life situation, altertatively they can be propped in a more conceptual manner which can be equally as effective.

Here we see how the same toaster can be styled in very alternative ways to appeal to a different target market.

A lifestyle shot is much more personal to your brand and can be tailored to your product and target audience, making it unique and far more valuable as marketing material.

To achive a high quality styled shot we work with experienced stylists who will ensures that you get the best possible look for your product.

If you would like to talk to us about our Product photography service then please give the studio a call on 0113 272 0277 to discuss what style would be most suited to your needs

84% of people have decided not to buy something online, because the product image was not good enough.

product photography by 2020pvLast month we came across this fantastic article called “Photography affects online sales” by Tim Bilsborough. It was exciting for us because it put what we already believed into facts and figures.

At 2020 we’ve always believed that good product shots really do work, and help to sell products, but now we have proof in the form of an impartial survey. The statistics speak for themselves, reinforcing that trying to cut corners on images and photography is one of the biggest mistakes a company can make.


In this digital age where people are constantly in contact with increasingly effective photography, businesses need to go that extra distance to get a photo that really stands out. A good example to compare effective and poor photography is on eBay. If you take a look at this genuine screenshot from eBay you will notice a vast difference in just these four images. Which would you buy?

The example of a USB is even more effective as they should all perform the same task to a similar standard and are largely featureless. So apart from their capacity and price, the image is the only element people have to choose between them.A second great example comes from this Wine blog, with something as simple as a bottle there are still lots of different elements that can make or break a great shot. They put it perfectly: “It’s important to have awesome looking bottle shots. You’ll make a good first impression, boost customer confidence, and support marketing efforts outside ecommerce, such as print collateral, advertising, and signage.”

In general the public are taking increasingly better photos in their spare time and are much more savvy to a poor quality image. These photos are also being constanly uploaded and published on social networking sites, with over 55% of people putting their images up on Facebook.  Consequently, low quality commercial photography is no longer acceptable.

social media management by 2020pv


The same goes for design and publishing software, people now more than ever are opinionated on poor design. With the rise of platforms like Pinterest people are exposed to hundreds of  high quality photos and designs everyday, they will no longer settle for less. Don’t let your imagery let you down and if you’d like any advice please give us a call on 0113 272 0277.

Product Photography at Exhibitions

Product Photography at exhibitions is key to attracting visitors to exhibitor stands such as at the Solar Power UK Exhibition.

Exhibiting at shows can be very expensive and many companies often let themselves down with poor product imagery which does nothing to entice a prospective customer on to a stand.  Even in relatively new industries entrepreneurs and dynamic companies enter markets and the market place soon becomes crowded.

This week at the NEC is the Solar Power UK exhibition (2nd-4thOctober 2012).    Products on show range from smart meters to LED lighting!  The easiest way to attract relevant visitors to stands is with oversized product images which show visitors in an instant what products are being exhibited.

At 2020 we take great care to set up the shot of an item with the right focus to capture the detail and to present the product in the best way possible.  Lighting is key, as always with photography and we will ensure the product is expertly displayed and lit.

After taking the shot, we can either show it on a white background or cut the item to display it on a different background, from plain colour to a digitally manipulated or enhanced background.  Alternatively, we can set up a lifestyle shot to show a product in situ.

So whatever the product is we can ensure its images stand out from the crowd!

For more information on 2020 product photography please

The Importance of Professional Product Photography

Commercial Product Photographers

Research show that buyers rate photographs as the single most useful tool in choosing a product. 80% of information that we process is visual, so good quality images in a catalogue make a significant impression.

A single picture of a product provides a wealth of information instantly, information that cannot be conveyed in writing. Good quality images of each and every product are crucial to achieving sales and ensuring customer satisfaction.

In addition, superior images create an atmosphere of professionalism and enhance credibility, inspiring consumer confidence.

Especially when personal contact is not possible, such as purchasing from a catalogue and the image alone is selling the product, top quality product photography is essential.

Providing quality photographs also communicates a deep respect for the potential customer and their time. Allowing a consumer to see at a glance whether the item in question might fit their needs gives them the opportunity to decide whether to seek more in-depth information to aid in a purchasing decision.

Clear, detailed images are a necessary component of any product description. Photographs that are poor or less-than-flattering can turn buyers off, leading to fewer sales and enquiries.

The photograph is almost always the first element that connects with the buyer. It is the handshake, the first impression, the thing that cuts through the visual clutter to capture the buyer’s attention.

It is also widely recognised that products in group shots typically have lower sales than products photographed individually. There are always exceptions, like on the cover of a catalogue and the home page of a website, but as far as internal shots, one at a time is better.

Research has clearly shown that for most people it is the catalogue photograph which is seen first and in the majority of those cases people admitted that it was the image of the product which was most responsible for them deciding whether or not to buy.

Insight into Commercial Photography

Roomset Photography by 2020pv

This is a personal insight into commercial photography by a non-photographer individual!

Before you read any further about my insight into commercial photography I must point out that I am not a photographer at 2020.  Indeed, my photography experience is limited to impromptu photographs of family and our pet dog on my iphone!

I do have 5 years of experiences in our commercial photography studio where I have seen many varied photoshoots.   Whilst making coffee or showing visitors around you can’t help but look across 2020’s large open plan studio and be curios about what shoots are happening right there and then.

My own photography technique is simply to look at my iphone screen to make sure I have to a full view of my subject normally child or/and dog and then click the button.   Although this happens in the studio it is very much at the end of a very detailed and skilled process where the commercial photographers take care and attention in the set up of the shot.

Take a simple plain background product shot for instance.  Our commercial photographers take a brief from the client, consider the page layout if relevant, identify the best focal point of the product, place the product in situ, set the lighting up then finally click and check the shot and adjust accordingly!  This process is applied to every product shot.

As more props are added to a set the more the commercial photographer has to consider and take into account during the set up of the shot.  For instance, adding cushions to a sofa will obviously be the appropriate colour and style but would need to be aligned, perfectly straight and plump and lit correctly to highlight the required aspect of the product.

Now you might begin to wonder what is involved in the set up of a roomset build including models and share my admiration of what skills our commercial photographers have acquired to achieve the final shots such as the one below!

Roomset Photography by 2020pv

Add children to the equation and then I understand how experience and skill combined is required to achieve a professional shot.

If you would like to know more about the process of commercial photography at 2020 please see our commercial photography portfolio.