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Don Julio - Hero Shot

For starters, a hero shot is one in which the product is showcased in all its splendor. Careful attention is placed on making the product look its very best. For this shot of Don Julio I knew I wanted to give the bottle some majesty by photographing it from a low angle. That low angle makes the bottle look tall, towering over the viewer and creating a position of dominance. Can't you hear the choir of angels singing in the background?

I also knew that I wanted a rich, moody image with lots of darks. I am partial to darker images, which is surprising to most people because the majority of the work I do are images on white backgrounds. But that's another story. I also tried a lifestyle type shot with glasses and lime slices but I wasn't feeling it and ended up scrapping it. Again, that's another story.

When photographing glass, the trick is to avoid lighting the glass. Throwing light at reflective surfaces is an exercise in frustration because the light gets bounced all over the place and, for beginners, in very unpredictable ways. Light bends and clear glass will bend it the most. In the behind the scene shot at right you will see that all my lights are pointed at everything but the product, relying on reflected light only.

Light alone doesn't make an object a hero, it takes a little bit of polishing afterwards. It is this 'polish' that elevates your product from something to be dismissed to something to take notice of.

While not all businesses need every product to be a hero shot, the consideration is to at least strive for every shot to have that professional polish. After all, every image is a reflection of your business and therefore will be judged accordingly by your clients and potential clients.

One thing I have noticed over the past couple of years is there is a slow shift away from mediocre images taken by inhouse staff put into the role of 'photographer' simply because they owned a 'fancy' camera. The desire to save a few pennies, or perhaps the naive assumption that they can 'do it themselves', has caught up to many of the wiser marketers who have noticed that good images do indeed contribute significantly to their bottom line.

Another growing trend to be aware of goes beyond the simple product image. These are the 'brand' images. Quality photographs that exemplify your brand, connect with your target audience and instill an emotional response has gained a good footing in well planned marketing campaigns. What started as a trend within social media and with Instagram in particular, has taken hold as a viable method of gain and retaining new clients as well as fostering a better relationship with existing clients.

So take a lesson from the hero shot and make sure your images have that extra little polish. It goes a long way to selling your brand.


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