We've been in ecom for over a decade and have seen (and tried) a lot of different imaging style for our products - including dropped-out backgrounds as well as elaborate scenes for the products. Success with both. Although it certainly depends on the product and target market, what are your thoughts? Do you think shoppers value "scenic" but not distracting backgrounds or simply product with dropped-out background?
I use little or no background in my pics, just because when I shop, I would rather see a good-sized pic of the thing, and when widgets are "posed," they are inevitably smaller. Just yesterday I got frustrated trying to see some widgets I was shopping for because they used the same picture for four different models of the widget and so you couldn't see any of them really well. Less background means smaller pic to download and faster page load time too.
I guess it depends on your product. But I cannot really think of an elaborate scene doing good for any product. Except for some jewelry I've seen laid out on green leaves for the product shots. It added character, but I don't think it made the product more attractive than if it had a white bg.
We use pure white backgrounds for clothing. Takes my staff some time to make it like that though. I'm considering using a light gray back drop, as a lot of big name sites are doing that and it looks nice... leaving the shadows and such.
...I cannot really think of an elaborate scene doing good for any product.
Nor can I. Show me what it looks like. An actual representation of the product itself with no distractions, no glitter.
As an experienced web shopper I would take any attempt to frame the product in clever image enhancements or distracting effects as possibly a low key form of camouflage. Possibly not but it would raise red flags.