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Beauty Brand Photography and Video guide

Where do I start?

I often receive requests from beauty brand start-ups for help and guidance deciding what kinds of photography and video they should be commissioning for website, Instagram and the rest of their social media platforms.

If you are new beauty brand with little or no image assets for website and social media the thought of producing these can be a bit of a minefield. Many questions will arise from, “Where do I start?” to “How many images will I need?”

If you are in the early stages of launching a new brand and need an idea about what style, images and video you may require this guide should give you a little help making those decisions.

Defining your style

One of the most vital questions you will need to ask is, “where does my product fit in the marketplace?” Hopefully this one question has already been established. Defining your style is very important and will guide the way images and film are shot.

Next, you may have employed the service of a Graphic Designer to come up with your brand logo and product design. It’s all of these elements along with your core values such as whether you are vegan, home-made or use all natural ingredients that should give you a good starting point for your photography and video style.

If you are a natural raw ingredient based product then keep your backgrounds natural looking and then light your product naturally. I.e. Soft light through a window.

If you are aiming at the luxury, science based end then using one hard light with a strong shadow will produce clean, dynamic images. Perhaps stick to a dark or light background for all images?

What kind of photographs do I need as a new Beauty Brand?

1. Individual Product Shots

Depending on your product, first you will need individual product shots for use on your ecommerce site. These are usually on white with a small shadow underneath and maybe a short reflection of the product. These can be used on your main sales channels to show the product raw and clean with no ingredients or fuss around the product.

If you need to send these images out for PR to magazines or web publications, they will usually be combined with other brands for a “best of” feature such as the best dry hair shampoos or similar. It’s a good idea to have these individual product shots cut out, supplied with something called a clipping path to make it quick and easy for the designer to place images on a page. This is basically an outline of your product that can be cut out from the background. It’s my experience that the easier you make it for your promotion outlets to be able to use the image for various uses, the more likely they are to use you.

With the single product shots you have the option of shooting at several different angles, the most common are, Overhead or Straight on Tabletop.

2. Secondary packaging Product Shots

The term, secondary packaging is usually used to define the product box. Most of the time, these boxes are simple in design so are left out of shots but some boxes can be a big part of a beauty product USP so having these in the shots, slightly at the back of the main product can add to the luxury feel of a brand.

3. Gift Set Product Shots

After the individual images you may want to think about gift sets. Do you offer these products in some sort of combination with each other? Again these can be shot in the same manner as the individual product with a small shadow and/or reflection.

4. Creative hero shots

To give your website immediate impact when someone launches your page it is a good idea to have at least one hero shot showing the best selection of your products in one image.

If you have products that naturally sit in groups such as shampoo and conditioner then having one creative hero shot for each of these sets will make a good introduction header image.

5. Images for Social Media

The attention span of consumers is now so low with social platforms flooded with images and video all vying for your attention, how do you stand out?

Moving images are known to create greater engagement than a still image, so these type of images need to have instant impact. Combining this with a reason to engage with your audience such as an offer or an informative article to click through will give you a head start from your competitors.

A popular way of creating a post with impact is dividing one Instagram image post up into 3, 6 or 9 squares.

How many images do I need to start?

A good number to start is 50 assets of both still and motion but bear in mind, to keep your engagement numbers up you need to post regularly which will mean more images. However, the numbers and types of posts can vary so it comes down to personal choice and what you think you may post.

What kind of video & animation do I need as a new Beauty Brand?

Moving images or video must be number one on your list when shooting for a new brand. It is a proven fact that moving images create longer engagement times than a still image so this cannot be ignored if you want to create brand awareness.

The use of animations are a short and simple way of creating movement and a great way to promote your product on Instagram.


For both website and social media it is a good idea to produce a “How to” video for each product that may need it.

Shooting and editing video is a time consuming business so I cannot stress enough how preparation is key to a successful shoot.

Be clear about what you want to portray in the video whether it is a “how to” or just a simple pouring of the product video. You will also need to decide if you want text overlaid in the video, but either way write a shot list of scenes you need to show. Just as in movie making you wouldn’t start filming without a script.

Once you have done this, I can then interpret the list to include the cut away shots you will need to make the video flow in a natural way.


Using Models

Whether you use models or not is entirely up to the type of product you are trying to promote. We are naturally drawn towards Images with people and if you want to use models in your images, I would always recommend hiring professional models. They give you value that maybe somebody who isn’t used to being in front of the camera can’t give.

Their experience with photographers will help enormously. You put a model in front of a camera and they will move left and right and create varying expressions, moods and angles in an instant leaving you with a lot of great image assets.

So what images/assets will you need?

Hiring modes can be an expensive business so utilizing the time you have with them to shoot for different platforms is a great use of your marketing budget.

Ideas for images you may need include,

  • Studio Lifestyle Images for Instagram

  • Location Lifestyle showing product in use.

  • Models holding the product.

  • “How to” videos showing how to apply / use the product.

A word about Model fees

Depending on the agency and popularity of the models you use agencies will have different conditions about charging but the basic way agencies will charge are the same and can vary in price from hundreds to thousands.

Most model agencies break down fees into two sections,

  • Model fee

  • Model usage fee

A model fee is the actual time charged for the model on the day. You are paying for the time, the experience and popularity. There is usually a minimum duration. E.g Half a day. You will also find you need to pay for the model’s travel expenses.

A usage fee is a charge for using the likeness of the model in whatever publication you choose. This is further broken down into media type and length of time. Sometimes areas like territory (UK only, World etc) and number of impressions that particular advertising outlet creates is included in the calculation.

Media type can include outlets like Newspapers, Social media, Websites, Advertising hoardings etc. Fees will be determined by type and number of media outlets you choose.

Length of time is the time you want to use the images/video for and could be from 1 year to in perpetuity.

Basically, the more widespread you want to publish, the higher the usage fee will become.

Deciding on sizes & formats for your images.

Different platforms require different formats and types of files so as such the composition of your images will have to change accordingly. A website, for example may require very long and narrow images to allow for different screen sizes from desktop to mobile. This usually means a large expanse of background. On the other hand Instagram has several formats from square to upright stories. All this has to be taken into account before you start shooting otherwise you could find yourself stuck with images that don’t work for your particular need.


For the new beauty brand entrepreneur deciding on product photography and film can seem like a complete mind-numbing process. There are so many variables to take into account from style, background choice and size formats.

I have helped numerous Clients achieve content for their brands and with this experience I can help you create the images and video you will need for a successful launch.

Please get in touch to see how I can help you with your brand content needs.

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