Thursday, January 17, 2013

Are Product Photos Deceptive?

We often run into situation when people say the product photo is misleading, it is not the color they thought they bought!  I'm going to point out the fact that everything does look differently in different lighting, not just on the photos, but we experience it in real life every minute.
When we sell a product, we obviously want to present the best angle the product can look online.  Does that mean the photo is deceptive?  Maybe there are cases that can be true.  But often it is caused by different lighting.
For example, I took photos of the soap on the same wooden table outside my backyard only few minutes apart and rotated to get different angles of lighting.  When the soap is under direct sunlight, the contrast and color saturation are over the top.  But when I turned the soap to let it be under shade from another angle, it looks totally different.
If it's my choice to list this product for sale, I usually chose the one on the left.  But that's not to say the photo on the right is misleading or deceptive.  Objects do look more saturated and ultra contrasted under direct sunlight in real life.  In fact, the same object will never look the same in real life, the color balance and contrast are always changing.  It is not a right or wrong situation, it's more like preference and choice.


  1. So true. There are also color differences that occur from one computer screen to another. The colors of the pictures above look different depending on if I'm looking at them on my computer, my tv (we have internet on the tv), and my smart phone.
    I'm sure people have noticed an effect like this when purchasing clothes at a store. The colors look different under the store's neon lighting than it does when they look at the same item outside in the sun :)

  2. Yep, you are totally right on. I spend alot of time trying to get photos "just right", only to see them look a little different after I post them. So, no I do not consider a photo to be deceptive if the color is a bit different than I originally saw. Especially with homemade soap and all its awesome variations. Great post. Anna

  3. I get the feeling people are more judgemental when it comes to handmade products. I've never heard anybody complaining in a store that the product isn't exactely the same colors as the photo in a brochure. Same with people freaking out over NaOH on the ingredient list. I always ask them if they also read labels of store bought products so closely and complain to the store owner about things they think are bad...

    When I take pictures of my soap or sewn items, I usually do not use sun light either.

  4. Agreed. Let's not forget computer monitors. They also offer variation. I have no issue with photoshopping my soaps after a photo shoot. I am not a professional photographer and must rely on manipulation to have my soaps look professional. Depending on the forum, I actually appreciate a professional looking soap photo over one that is raw. When I see raw photos being used to sell a bar of soap, it makes me think that the shop owner is sloppy. So what would that say about his/her product? However, I do like raw photos when they are used for training purposes.