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Images constitute the most important elements in many advertisements and advertising campaigns. Supporting headlines, well-written descriptive text, music and associations with "celebrity culture" are also effective ingredients of success, but it is an excellent image that evokes a powerful emotional response in the target audience that is most noticed, remembered and ultimately comes to represent a product.

Advertising hoarding
Image by kind permission of Viktors Kozers

Advertising images can be very simple, straightforward representations of a product, but can also be complex combinations of graphics, text, images of models, imaginative lighting effects and a great deal of post-production work. The quality and nature of advertisements, and their incorporated images, are inevitably seen to be representative of the quality and nature of the products they represent.

The production of an advertisement for a new product typically involves a number of people. An initial creative process leads to a number of basic ideas which are then used to create a short-list. These ideas are then examined in detail and the favoured option is developed into a practicable project which is costed and ultimately approved by the client. The final agreed plan is often substantially different from any of the short-listed ideas.

The logistics can be formidable. An appropriate location must be found and suitable props delivered to the site by the agreed shooting date. The photographers have to ensure that all the required gear is available, and any models involved have to be booked. In remote locations, travel and accommodation arrangements may be significant and expensive. On the day of the shoot the project may go well but can also go astray. It is not unknown for the client to be unhappy with the images produced, and for the whole project to modified and reshot.

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