Visual Trends 2021 in Product Photography & E-Commerce

2020 was an unusual, turbulent, challenging year that shaped and changed all areas of our lives in many ways. Of course, this also affects the visual trends 2021.

This year we are taking a closer look at the visual trends 2021 in product photography and e-commerce.

Visual Trends 2021 in Product Photograhpy

Authenticity 2.0

This trend is here to stay. Consumers have longed for more authentic content, a natural look and feel for several years already. Whether in photos, illustrations, models, setting or image editing. In 2021 we will see even more natural beauty, more authenticity.

Products are presented in authentic settings. Be it in the studio with suitable backdrops or with the help of professional post-processing. Or on site in real environments and authentic situations. Consumers are more likely to identify with models who look like them, the target group, show emotions and interact with the product in an authentic way. Less face tuning, less skin texture smoothing, less heavy editing and manipulating. More diversity and natural beauty. This creates sincere and engaging stories.
Br24 Blog Visual Trends 2021 Product Photography & E-Commerce: Trend Authenticity 2.0, two female models with different body types in swimsuits

Natural Light vs. Neon Light

In line with the ongoing Authenticity trend, we will increasingly see the use of natural light in product photography in 2021. Products with reflective or see-through surfaces such as glass, jewellery and sunglasses look luxurious when photographed in natural light. Light and shadows create interesting visual effects. Soft, diffuse lighting and light-coloured backdrops that reflect the light and ensure evenly illumination help create natural light situations in the studio.

In contrast, the use of neon lights (preferably in bright colours) is on the rise. Colourful neon light that bounces off products with structured and reflective surfaces and creates flickering reflections. Depending on the setting, neon lights create a futuristic or nostalgic image mood; or even both at the same time.
Br24 Blog Visual Trends 2021 Product Photography & E-Commerce: Trend Natural Light vs. Neon Light, portrait of a man wearing sunglasses in neon light

Colours to transport Optimism and Wellbeing

After last year, optimism is needed more than ever. Today’s consumer needs revolve around wellbeing, health, better quality of life and positive vibes. Especially in product photography for the wellness and health sector, colours play an important role in creating visuals that empower, motivate or calm consumers and transport a positive message. Uplifting and bright colour palettes reflect cheerfulness and hope for a bright future. Calming and balanced colour palettes create moments of calm and freshness.
Br24 Blog Visual Trends 2021 Product Photography & E-Commerce: Trend Colours to transport Optimism and Wellbeing, top view of bottle with bath salt surrounded by flowers

Nature Rises

In turbulent times, we turn to nature to distract us, recharge our batteries and focus on what is really important. Reducing stress, boosting the mood, increasing productivity – nature and nature-inspired visuals can do all this.

2021, the use of landscapes and natural settings in product photography will increase. On-site photo shootings, nature inspired colour palettes with earthy tones, the use of organic elements as well as botanical structures and patterns reflect this trend. Combined with the authenticity trend and no or just minimal post-processing.
Br24 Blog Visual Trends 2021 Product Photography & E-Commerce: Trend Nature Rises, mountain biker in mountain landscape

Geometry and Minimalism

Sleek lines, geometric shapes and figures. Simple and clean compositions without much decoration. Geometry and minimalism are the perfect match for modern product photography in 2021.

Products with a smooth, texture-free surface against a geometrical background result in great elegant and modern images. Geometric shapes and a lot of light add depth and perspective. Contrasting colours and shapes create fun, unusual photos. Similar shapes and colours create a more luxurious, high-end vibe. Minimalist compositions do not mean, it cannot be exciting, intense and colourful. It means creating a carefully considered composition. The product shines on top of it.
Br24 Blog Visual Trends 2021 Product Photography & E-Commerce: Trend Geometry and Minimalism, Woman in yellow clothes lies on black and white geometric patterned floor

Monochromatic Colours

Monochromatic means using only a single colour and different shades of it. The colours should be chosen considering the emotions they evoke, the target audience and, of course, the product itself. If the background colour, props and models match with the product, it creates a very eye-pleasing setting for any product. Contrasting colours stand out powerfully and shift the focus. So it is always a good idea to make the product the contrasting element.
Br24 Blog Visual Trends 2021 Product Photography & E-Commerce: Trend Monochromatic Colours, top view of pink baby clothes on pink background

Discover the Pantone Color of the Year 2021; or rather the colours. Ultimate Gray and Illuminating form a dynamic colour duo, practical and rock solid, but at the same time warming and optimistic.

Visual Trends 2021 in E-Commerce

Every day more retailers, brands and companies are taking advantage of e-commerce and online sales. Product visualisations and online visual tools are the most powerful marketing tools for creating successful customer experiences. Let’s take a look at the top visual trends in e-commerce to watch out for in the year 2021.

AR, VR & AI for Everyone

AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) are becoming faster, cheaper and more mainstream. Customers cannot try on or physically inspect products online. Technological innovations in these areas offer more and more opportunities to overcome such hurdles and to improve the e-commerce experience. AR features enable customers, for example, to try out how products would look on them or how products fit into an environment. They can extensively check clothing, make-up, accessories, furniture and much more before making a purchasing decision. VR goes even further, for example by creating realistic shopping experiences and letting customers explore virtual showrooms. While AI offers personalised guidance and recommendations based on purchase histories and browsing behaviours. AR, VR and AI technologies close the gap between personal and digital customer experiences. Their use will continue to increase in e-commerce and we will also see more of it in online advertising.
Br24 Blog Visual Trends 2021 Product Photography & E-Commerce: Trend AR, VR & AI for Everyone, hand holding smartphone with AR application to simulate interior design products

3D Product Visuals

In 2020 there was an increased use of 3D product visuals in e-commerce and in online advertising; and there is no end in sight. Customers want to know and see all about a product. Some products and features are just difficult to capture in static 2D visuals such as photos and graphics. Full product rotations, zooming functions, real-time interactive 3D, product explosions, click-and-move product markups, … 3D visualisations, created in CGI, from photos and graphics or a mix of everything, significantly help to give customers the necessary insight into a product and to create a trustworthy, engaging and compelling e-commerce experience.
Br24 Blog Visual Trends 2021 Product Photography & E-Commerce: Trend 3D Product Visuals, view of headphones created in CGI

Visual Commerce gets Bigger

The use of product imagery not only on product pages, but on the entire website, in the entire online store and online presence – this is what this Visual Commerce trend refers to. More and more brands, companies and retailers are trying to convince customers and to get them into purchasing by cleverly placing high-quality images of their products throughout their e-commerce presence. Along with shortcuts to purchase the product directly, of course. Web-friendly formats to improve quality and loading speed of the images are essential to create a positive e-commerce experience.
Br24 Blog Visual Trends 2021 Product Photography & E-Commerce: Trend Visual Commerce, hands holding smartphone and credit card, surrounded by social media icons


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