Goodbye White: Why you should consider adding colour to your backgrounds

Why you should consider adding colour to your backgrounds

Get rid of white backgrounds for your product images? Well not quite. There are plenty of good and very justifiable reasons to use a white background:

  • It’s consistent

  • It’s clean

  • Colours are true

  • File size is minimised

However, It’s also kinda boring.

Hold on though, we aren’t advocating you stop using white backgrounds completely. However we are suggesting that in certain situations you can spice up a look with a splash of colour.

Our machines make this easier than ever as they automatically cut out your images for you rendering a high resolution cut-out PNG in moments.

In e-commerce there is room for a little creativity which can really help if you want to stand out in the ever more competitive online marketplace.

The reason white backgrounds are so popular is because they don’t distract from the product, they give a truth representation of what the consumer is going to buy. This makes them more trustworthy and as such inevitably increase sales compared someone shooting on a busy background.

However, there’s no harm in creating more interesting images to help draw people in, and then supporting those products with informative, clean, clear, consistent white backed product imagery.

 

Here are three interesting alternatives to the white look:

Solid Colour Backgrounds

Mixing in some solid colours catches the eye and draws people in. You can cleverly compliment the colour of the garments with complimentary shades to help bring out the products vibrancy and make it ‘pop’

The Healthy Back Bag do this really well with their recent rebrand.

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On a page, this looks fantastic if organised well with a mix of whites and neutrals in their too.

Don’t just choose a random of selection of colours though, pick a selection of colours that compliment the tones and palette of the seasons collection. There is such a thing as too much colour, and you don’t want you page to look like a disorganised rainbow.

A lot of sellers are worried about creating colour confusion for the customer. However, you can avoid that in a couple of ways by either matching colours, or by using coloured background mainly with solid black or white products.

 See how HBB colour coordinate the colour of the bag with the models outfit, as well as the colour of the background. All of this is aiming to high light the bag itself. 

See how HBB colour coordinate the colour of the bag with the models outfit, as well as the colour of the background. All of this is aiming to high light the bag itself. 

Support each product then with product images on a white background to give a clear indication of the product.

For products with detailed patterns, neutrals will always work best. Anything that complicates an image with a beautiful print confuses the eye and ultimately detracts from the product.

 

Themed Background

Design a background that thematically matches your seasonal collection.

Shabby Apple are a really interesting example. They have a number of built sets that they shoot different collections against. These backgrounds highlight the themes behind the product, as well as look amazing.

shabby apple.JPG

Using themed backgrounds can be an effective branding strategy, but remember: your product is the star. Don’t make your background too busy, or too different from photo to photo, or it will turn into a distraction.
 

Location Shoots

Location, location, location. There are pluses and down sides to this. The plus is they can be incredibly effective and powerful imagery that can be used across your seasonal marketing materials and help you increase sales and create a clear defined brand identity.

Love Brand produce men's summer and swimwear. They shoot their product shots with u, but support their brand and marketing with location shoots in exotic locations.

The downside is that it will be more time consuming, less efficient and so more costly than a studio shoot.

Costs can mount pretty quickly. A decent photographer can set you back hundreds (if not thousands) for the day, and you may need more than just the one day. but you can get some incredible imagery. You’ll need to pay for models too, plus transport to the location and then the images will need to be retouched afterwards, which if you don’t have someone to do that in-house can add weeks, and more zeros to the shoot.

 HBB do seasonal location shoots. And are proof that your don't have to go to incredibly exotic locations. The picture above was shot in London, but is a perfect fit for the brand, and the seasonal collection.

HBB do seasonal location shoots. And are proof that your don't have to go to incredibly exotic locations. The picture above was shot in London, but is a perfect fit for the brand, and the seasonal collection.

However, it is especially worth getting this kind of shoot done for your core range which will be used for years to come and done well it will be an effective branding and marketing tool.

Location Shoot Hacks

To keep the price down for these we’ve come up with a few cheats you can use.

1. The Photographer

You don’t want to skimp on a good photographer. However, nor do you need to spend as much as some people say. Ask your

2. The location

You don’t have to go jet off to the Bahamas (as much as you might like to). Sure it would look good and you’d get a it of a holiday at the same time, but flying out one of the team, a photographer, and two or more models, plus suitcases of products and outfits. Instead, look local and plan way in advance. If you’re next Spring Summer collection is beach themed, can you get samples made a year in advance and shoot in the summer at a more local destination?

3. Models

Friends and family. This isn’t always an option, though for children and babies it is often a good solution. Using more ‘regular’ people can bring a human element to your imagery. And for more instant gratification and for generating cheap social media content it could be something to look at.

4. Retouching

If you are getting the photographer to do it, don’t just let the photographer decide what images would be best (unless you really trust them). Go through the shots with them. What you want to do is restrict how much editing time they spend, but make sure you get enough images out of the shoot.

 

chilly 3.jpg

Only one of the images above by chilly bottles requires an actual location shoot. THe rest is clever work on photoshop.

Neutral Backgrounds Still Rule Product Pages

As you may have noticed these approaches aren’t for actual product pages. They are for category pages, home page and banners, marketing materials, and lookbooks. Once you get to an actual product page, product images should be clean with white, transparent, or neutral backgrounds.

Removing the background makes your images more consistent, removes distractions, and minimizes file size.

Plus, many marketplaces require white or neutral backgrounds for product images, and you really don’t want to re-shoot for different channels.

If you’d rather spend your time and money on creative photography in order to brand yourself, check out our blog for inspiration.

As always, entrusting your photography to professionals will get you the best results. If you want to discuss your product photography needs contact us.