How to achieve that expensive look for your brands

Photo taken by me

When I made the switch from performing full-time as a guitarist/singer to a content creator, I was blessed with opportunities that allows me to experiment with my creativity. Hence, I developed the idea of turning cheap products into expensive looking ones. (Stand out from the other competitors)— everyone wants to sell cheap and fast. Sometimes, my clients will be puzzled… why do you spend so much time on shooting a single product when the returns are pretty much… worthless? And to answer that, “go big or go home” because to me, every single detail you put into your work will eventually lead to you standing out from the rest.

Another advantage I had was… my equipment were cheap and I had minimal — no capital or funds to play with. Now, let me share with you some of my ideas to help you achieve that expensive look which might in turn, represent your brand to their fullest.

In today’s digital world, everyone can take photos or videos by themselves with ease. Our phone cameras are equipped with the latest lenses, functions, and built-in technology which allows us to produce professional quality work. Post-editing softwares are now free downloadable apps that can do wonders and navigating around them is easy. However, to stand out from the rest, you will need to put in the extra hours. And, with that being said, you have to be different in order to stand out from the rest of your competitors. Here are some examples of what I did to achieve the expensive look for my clients.

Pair your product with blacks or darker colors.
Black is gold.

Let me give you an example:

Photo taken by me

I was tasked to design a website and product photography for a company in Malaysia which distributes good quality instruments — one of the biggest distributors. If you take a look at some of the images I took, you can see how well the guitars are made. However, they don’t cost a bomb at all. Most of their guitars are priced below $100. Surprise surprise! Being a working-class guitar player, most of my guitars were custom-made in the USA or Japan. (which amounts up to $4000++) Having this exposure allowed me to conceptualise and style my client’s guitars differently — I wanted to pair their guitars with the expensive look which eventually, will stand out from their competitors. If you search for cheap guitars on any e-commerce website, you will notice that they tend to have the similar look — white background, general looking and boring.

Photo taken by me

In my opinion, having darker or black backgrounds will enhance the colors of your products and they make them look expensive too. Lighter colors have their advantages — commercial, mood, and traditional. But, if I were to shoot these beauties with a white background or something lighter, I don’t think they will stand out from their competitors since everyone else wants to sell cheap and quick. Snap and go, they wouldn’t have the time to style and shoot them properly due to the small returns — quantity over quality.

Photo taken by me
Photo taken by me

The Moody Cinematic Lifestyle Approach.

Photo taken by me

These pictures are carefully formatted for Instagram’s square grid layout. From this, you can tell that I am a huge fan of the cinema genre by the way I color and style my subjects. Not only are they “Dark and Moody,” they tell stories too. If you are an avid fan movie fan, pay careful attention to how they tell their stories. There will always be different angles in play to enhance the overall mood — wide angle, close up, 2nd or 3rd person’s view, bird’s eye view, etc. Use these angles to your advantage and move around your subject to create highlight the whole story instead of just pointing and shooting. Then, make use of natural light sources to make your products pop. I am not a fan of external flashes. I prefer to create an atmosphere and mood with the help of light sources available. Even at night, I will use the street lights, vehicle headlights, or lights from shops to my advantage — shift your subjects around, plan and execute. It will be challenging at first but with practice, will get the hang of it.

In the past, before I know how to color my photographs, I used Pinterest a lot for research. I search for: Moody tones, moody lifestyle tones or cinematic tones, etc. Once you’ve established the look which you represents your brand at best, you can either purchase a similar-looking preset to apply to your images or you can work backwards and copy the colors. However, if you apply a preset made by someone else, it might not look that good due to how the presets were created — if you purchase a moody preset pack based on street photography but you sell health vibrant and colourful health care products, the results will be daunting. Therefore, be extra careful and learn how to adjust the tones by yourself.

Less is always more.

Most of the time, we want to get our information across with a single post — be it an Instagram ad, Facebook ad, or any advertisement. Sometimes, it gets overwhelmed with texts over pictures which in turn, will lead to confusion — should I focus on the text or the picture? Instead, isolate your pictures and use short phrases.

Photo taken by me
Photo taken by me

Summary.
It will take awhile to find the right tone or mood to represent your brands. Before I represent my clients as their content creator, I will do my research and find out more about their businesses by taking a look at their all of their existing visual media. Then, I will draft out several applicable mood boards. Once you have established that, you can look at it from a customer’s point of view. How do I feel as a customer if I were to visit the brand’s Instagram page? Will I be intrigued by the images? Will I buy products from them?

Thanks for reading!

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