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Creative Force Update #2

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100% right first time - Introducing Digital Style Guides

The very high volume and repetitive nature of e-commerce product photography has led to the adoption of standardised briefings by product category - or Style Guides, as they are commonly known.

Whilst we all recognise the importance of comprehensive style guides to support consistent and high-quality photography, it’s challenging to ensure they are the central reference point they are intended to be.

Far too often we see….

  • Printed, ring-bound copies collecting dust in the corner of the studio
  • Stylists wading through reams of paper to find the correct information
  • Outdated versions of the style guide pinned to the studio wall
  • Photography teams simply shooting from existing knowledge
  • Freelancers/new hires checking the online storefront for examples of how to shoot and style

Resulting in…

  • Incorrectly produced shots
  • Missing necessary shots
  • Dips in productivity whilst key shoot/ styling information are sought
  • ...and ultimately re-shoots required, only noticed long after the model and samples have left the studio!

That’s why we are putting style guides at the heart of our tools, seamlessly integrating product-focussed visual guides, tailored to the role of the user.

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How to work with Digital Style Guides - 5 simple steps

In the previous creative force update, we shared the impressive results of the lighthouse programme trial and our digital style guide concept was central to achieving this outcome.

Gamma is our content production engine and the ‘brain’ of our system, and this is where we create and maintain a library of digital style guides.

Our digital style guides consist of:

  • Target shots i.e. a best case examples of how the product should be represented
    • styling
    • hair and make-up
    • model poses
    • composition and cropping
    • and additional mood examples
  • The types of photography required - e.g. mannequin shot, flat shot, model shot etc...
  • The specific views required from each photography type
  • The number of shots required for each view and
    • defining if a view is mandatory or optional
    • if a specific number of shots or a range of shots are required
  • The specific naming logic for each defined view
  • additional reference materials (including support for video files)
  • product category triggers (product categories to be produced following this DSG)

By creating the digital style guides in Gamma and associating the imported images with the product data, we can integrate the image guidelines and enforce the specific image requirements into the production workflow.

Once you have created your digital style guides, here’s how the process looks:

1. Pre-production

Import or create a job in Gamma - the correct digital style guides are automatically associated with the products via product category triggers.

2. Scan

Scan the product barcode in Kelvin, visually verifying that the product matches the data and product image displayed. Confirming the scan displays the correct digital style guide for the product to be shot.

3. Shoot

Shoot the range of views and compositions, as defined by the target shots in the digital style guide.

4. Select

Select your prefered images and assign them to the correct views in the digital style guide. the selected shots appear next to the target image, making it simple to visually verify that the correct composition is assigned to the correct view.

5. Transfer

Once all the mandatory shots have been assigned to the digital style guide, the fully complete suite of images, with embedded naming logic, can be uploaded to Gamma and proceed in the process.

...and that’s how you ensure you shoot 100% right first time!

Get in touch

If you’d like to hear more about the process and see the software in action, please drop us a line at james@creativeforce.io and we’ll set up a call.