Pack Shot Angles with Eva's Organic Jams
May 15, 2021Product Photography
These cute and amazing tasting jams from Eva's Organic Jams
were so much fun to photograph, I wanted to share some of the "pack shot logic" that went into deciding which angle was best for these jars!
A pack shot is a product photo that is usually shot on an all white surface, with no other elements in the photo. Strictly speaking, this first photo we're looking at (jam jar with blueberries) is an "editorial" photo, because the jams do not come with fresh fruit or a little product riser.
These jam jars have their product label on the top of the jar — just like a tin of caviar — so showing the label and the product packaging clearly would require just the right angle.
First, I started off with an overhead shot.
You can see the label clearly with an overhead photo, but it’s hard to see the jam itself and what size the product jar is.
This is a great angle for reading the label, but you really can't see any of the beautiful jam or what size the jar is. These would make really great commercial photographic wall art prints though!
I sure wish commercial art prints were still a thing. These would look great in a Brunch Pub!
Next up, I tried an overhead photo with the jar lid offset from the main jar. This way, you can see the jam and read the lid… but you still can't tell what size the jar might be.
With these three, I tried an overhead photo with the jar lid offset from the main jar. This showed off the beautiful jam, but it’s still a little hard to see the size of the jar.
I used some really high-tech equipment to achieve the “offset overhead” setup.
If you were wondering how I got the lid to balance perfectly on the edge of the jar like that — I had a little help from some really high-tech equipment. A couple of black foamy things and a wine bottle cork were used under the lid to help balance it on the edge of the jar. Since my camera is positioned directly overhead, you can't see any of the props under the lid.
This next series is the group that seems to work out the best. The camera is angled so that it is around 30° down and over the jam jar. This is (more or less) an isometric image — except that we're only angled at 30° on one plane — we're still looking at the jar straight on, but positioned higher than the jar.
This seems to be the angle that suits the jam jars best.You can easily see the label, the jar size, and the product.
These are true pack shots because there's nothing else in the photo. It shows the product, the packaging, and the label.
For the next series, I introduced a product riser and put the open jam jar on top, with the lid on the main surface, leaning against the jar. I'm not quite at a 30° angle for this group, so it kind of gives more of a traditional "side view" of the product.
I also tried out a product riser — in an attempt to get the label and the product jar on the same level. While this is still a very valid product shot, it’s also slightly editorial. If (for example) this was the only photo on an e-commerce site — there’s always a chance that someone will assume a small white block comes with every order.
While this is still a product photo, it's also technically an "editorial" shot. The product riser does not come with the jam when you purchase it. Even though it's really small, the block is influencing a more "modern" vibe, than just looking at the jar alone.
Since the jar lid is lower than the top of the jar (the main focal point) — it really shouldn’t be in focus. But because it’s also a little in front of the jar and the camera is pointing down at the jar and lid, the focal plane is also tilted. Objects in front of, and lower than the top of the jar are still in the focal plane.
The above series of photos were actually a little tricky focus-wise. The jar lid is lower than the top of the jar (the main focal point), so it really shouldn’t be in focus. But because it’s also a little in front of the jar and the camera is pointing down at the jar and lid, the focal plane is also tilted. Objects in front of, and lower than the top of the jar are still in the focal plane.
Next, I tried out a photo with some of the fruit that you’ll taste in the jam, but only on the left-hand side of the jar. Since the label and lid were on the right, this seems to balance out well and lead the eye from left to right. This is also a great product photo, but it is not technically a packshot. It is an “editorial” product photo, because the berries and prop block are not included with each purchase.
Here, I tried out a photo with some of the fruit that you’ll taste in the jam. This is also a great product photo, but it is not technically a packshot. It is an “editorial” product photo, because the berries and prop blocks are not included with each purchase.
For the final series, I kept everything pretty much the same as in the previous photos, but spread the fruit out on both sides of the jar. This places the jar and lid more in the "center" of the photo, and would probably balance out better in social media settings, where only a "square" ratio image is visible.
Finally, a second series of editorial photos were taken with the coordinating fruit on both sides of the jam jars.
At the end of the day, the semi-isometric angle of just the jam jars is probably the best angle, if we're looking for an e-commerce type of product shot… at least for the first or "lead" image.
Even though it's not a pack shot, I think this series with the fruit on all sides is my favorite of the series. Because the berries are so prominent in the photo, there's no doubt about what flavor is in the jam.
Sometimes, that can depend on the platform too. If you're selling products on your own site, there's a little more leeway with how much environment or editorial content to include in the main product photo. In fact, the lead image for each product can contain a lot of visual information about your brand… and really… anything goes. I've even seen some amazing "lead" product photos on an all black or dark surface, to impart a bolder feeling to the product.
If however, the product is on a platform like Amazon, it's competing with lots of other products in the search grid. Amazon itself highly recommends for your lead product photo be set on an all white background. Because the background of the whole site is white and none of the photo edges are visible, this allows you to make the product as large as possible in the image bounds. When comparing different brands of the same product type in a search grid… the larger product image will draw your eyes to it first.
And those, are just a few of the things to consider, when taking product photos for your items!