Faking It

When is faking it the better option? We’re not talking about a certain type of attention grabbing magazine headline here, we’re talking about Photoshop. Although it’s died down a bit of late, there was quite an uproar around the time the Internet allowed ordinary citizens a little insight into the world of fashion and advertorial photography, and we found out those beautiful images of all who glitter and possess unnervingly sharp cheekbones weren’t solely the product of mum’s hard work and a very expensive camera. There’s something that seems vaguely deceiving about it. In this line of work they’re really selling the product by selling the person, and it ties into a whole lot of issues with body image and unachievable standards of beauty.

It’s a totally different thing when talking about a little fiction when it comes to product photography. There is always a vaguely uneasy feeling that comes up whenever we hear someone talking about faking anything, which probably stems from the stigma of doing the kind of body trickery we were just talking about. But we’re pretty sure no one is going to develop low self esteem because of a beautifully rendered perfume bottle.

If we can get over that, then it all comes down to what is really the best for the situation. When is fiction better than reality? When is a render better than a photograph? It all depends on the what you’re trying to achieve. We’ve already agreed that falsifying the perfect and occasionally physically impossible body might be a bit of a morally dubious undertaking. But what if you want to showcase your products in the perfect setting, beautiful lighting, basically in the absolutely ideal conditions? All this is stuff could be achieved on a great shoot, but is it always worth the time and effort when a beautiful render could do the same? We don’t all live next door to impossible coastlines (although some of us very smugly do), and lush green woods, or whatever we might imagine is the place our product would hang out were it a living breathing human.

Renders v photography

A product photography shoot isn’t as easy as turning up and making some saucy inanimate love to the camera. There are plans that need to be made, locations that need to be scouted, and people that need to be hired (start with a photographer, the studio manager, the assistant, a model, an art director, the make-up artist, then throw in some kind of unnamed underling and you’ve already got seven not including you). Your wallet’s already feeling a little lighter!

If you think we’re sounding a little negative, we have to emphasise that we’re definitely not photography haters. As designers, we love photography and there are definitely times when nothing can beat it. We just want to propose that for certain situations a little computer magic combined with some clever design thinking can be the better way. Renders can be whatever and wherever you imagine them to be, and what’s better they retain the sharpness of the original design. If we put it simply, a render only needs two things to come to a beautiful life; a great designer and your vision.

Image source: I-D Online

by Radi Safi

Radi Safi is the Creative Director at IYBI. In 2012 he launched Happy, a music blog and media company.
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