Top 10 in-situ lifestyle shot ideas for photographing beauty products

Post by
Ruth Stephensen
Top 10 in-situ lifestyle shot ideas for photographing beauty products

Beauty and bathroom products are the inspiration for many a stylish square on Instagram. Who hasn’t wanted to teleport themselves into a blissed out pampering scene or start swatching all the colours from a stylish cosmetic flatlay?

When working with brands or photographing your fave items it’s handy to have an arsenal of go-to shots that you know look great. To discover interesting ways to style your product think about how it is dispensed, where you use it, how the texture or contents feels and most importantly — how using it makes you feel! Anyone can take a photo of a product but the best content creators know how to convey a moment or the feeling of using an item in just one frame.

These situational shots — or in-situ as it’s often referred to — are in high demand from brands due to their authentic and relatable nature. To give you a head start in your next photo shoot or brand collaboration we’ve compiled our top list of the best in-situ shots for capturing engaging images of beauty and bath products:

Getting hands on

Simply holding a product in your own hands, or getting a friend or family member to help out, adds instant warmth and context to your image. You can use your hands to share how a certain product is used or dispense some into your palm or fingertips.

Holding beauty product with sensorial texture on fingertips
Image for AHC Beauty by Creatively Squared

Pro tip - Make sure you position the item in a way that the label is clear and be careful not cast shadows that may obscure details of the item you are photographing.

In the bathroom

Photographing beauty products in the bathroom is almost a no-brainer. Most of the time we are using beauty products we are over the sink or in front of the bathroom mirror. You could sit on the side of the bath or photograph your item on a caddy while you enjoy a soak.

applying moisturiser in bathroom at edge of tub
Image for Neutrogena by Creatively Squared

Pampering in bed

Nothing captures the feeling of a luxurious pampering session better than staying in bed. Style your product on the covers or a breakfast tray. Add props that send relaxing cues like candles, eye masks, cups of tea and don’t forget some blissed out reclining legs.

pampering session in bed with coffee, macaroons and beauty prodcuts
Image for Rosy Sands by Creatively Squared

Take it outside

Transport your viewer on their next holiday by channeling some serious summer vibes and photograph your product on location at the beach, park or poolside. Simple props are icy cold drinks, tropical fruit and some sunglasses or a swimsuit.

tropical pool side relaxing with coconut and tanning body lotion
In-situ lifestyle image for Tropic Labs by Creatively Squared


Coffee shop corners

If your home doesn’t have the right aesthetic for your photo why not head out to a local cafe instead. You can choose one with the right decor to suit the brand you are photographing and enjoy a coffee and some cake while you work.

beauty products in makeup case at cafe with coffee and pancakes
In-situ lifestyle image for Ponds by Creatively Squared

Pro tip- Select a well lit seat in the cafe and maximise any props you have available to you. Grab magazines or flowers from around the cafe and use the contents of your handbag to add some extra decorative elements to your shot.

The texture shot

Don’t be afraid to get a little messy because nothing says in-use like a spritz, squirt or swatch of your product. If you don’t want to use your hands try dispensing it into a spoon or small bowl. Our customers love seeing the texture of their products being used to help activate the senses.

face mask texture application with brush and pink themed styling
In-situ lifestyle image for Rosy Sands by Creatively Squared

Pro tip - It helps to have two items on hand, one for dispensing and one to keep full and intact so that the packaging will photograph better.

It’s in the bag

Nothing says ‘I use this product daily’ more than the bagspill. This shot conveys the feeling of taking your item with you everywhere and how handy it is to use on the go. Style your bag with everyday items like keys, sunglasses or your purse. Have it spilling onto your countertop or take a snapshot as you pull your item out.

purse opening on counter with coins, watch and beauty products
In-situ lifestyle image for Ponds by Creatively Squared

Doing it on the desk

Although we don’t often apply our cosmetics on the job, workspace setups do make an attractive backdrop for a beauty photo. Monochromatic computer equipment and stationery effortlessly allow your item to stand out and be the hero of the shot.

beauty and makeup products on workspace with stationery and computer t keyboard
In-situ lifestyle image for Glam Pack by Creatively Squared

Break a sweat

Get those visual endorphins flowing by adding a fitness element or workout context to your photo. Grab some colourful workout gear, use a yoga mat as a backdrop or head to the gym for your next shoot.

working out at the gym with yoga mat active wear and hand weights
In-situ lifestyle image for St Ives by Creatively Squared

On the road

For many people, being in transit or commuting to and from work is a large portion of their day. Due to their relatable nature, cars and transport can be an interesting and under-utilised location to photograph products. The windows allow natural light and most car interiors are dark which can create a nice contrast and allow your product to really pop

applying sunscreen from purse while driving in car
In-situ lifestyle image for Ponds by Creatively Squared

There are many other creative ways to depict beauty products but the aforementioned shots are some of our favourites. The great thing about styling most beauty products is they are portable and don’t require specialist props or equipment to create great images.

If it’s suitable, we recommend toting the product around with you in daily life and really get a feel for all the different times and places you use it throughout the day. Plus you never know when you might find yourself in a photogenic cafe or bathroom and can snap a shot or two on the go.

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