In the competitive world of online businesses, product photography is one of the main driving factors for sale rates. As ecommerce becomes more prevalent, people are increasingly relying on product images to aid their decision-making process when making a purchase.
Continue reading for a complete guide of everything you need to know about ecommerce photography and how it can help your online business.
What Is Ecommerce Photography?
Ecommerce photography is the type of photography that creates high-quality product images for online stores. These images are designed to showcase different products in the best possible light and give potential clients a clear understanding of what they are about to buy, especially because they usually can’t see the product in person when buying from an ecommerce store.
Types of Ecommerce Photography
Ecommerce photos can range from simple product photos on a white background to more complex lifestyle images that show the product in use. All of this is going to depend on your ecommerce business’ brand identity, the potential customers you are trying to attract, and the ecommerce platforms you usually use, whether it is your own ecommerce website or a third-party platform, such as Amazon, eBay or Shopify. The most common types of ecommerce photos are:
- White Background Product Photography: This is the most common type of ecommerce product photography, and it involves taking high-resolution pictures of each product on a plain white background to eliminate distractions and highlight the product.
- Lifestyle Product Photography: These are images that show the product in use and in real-life situations. They are used to show the client how the product could fit into their homes or their lives.
- Product Detail Photography: This type of photography involves closeup product shots that capture the small details and main features of the product. This type of photography is a perfect fit for high-quality products that require some craftsmanship to make.
- 360-Degree Product Photography: This is a type of photography that involves taking multiple photos of a product and stitching them together in a photo editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop, to create a 360-degree view of said product. 360-degree photos are used by ecommerce retailers to help clients understand the product better, especially if it is a product with unique features that are difficult to capture in a traditional photo.
Ecommerce Photography Tips
Here are some tips you should consider to obtain professional-looking high-quality images for your your online business:
Use props and context
Even though white background photography is often the standard in ecommerce product photography, implementing props and contexts in your product shots can help bring your products to life. For example, if you are selling smartphones, you could add earphones or other accessories that are frequently used with most phones.
Showcase key features
You need to make sure that you show the key features of your products in the images you are going to post online, especially if it is something unique to your products.
Use consistent lighting
This is a critical feature to create a cohesive look and feel across all your product images. Using the same lighting setup, —whether it is natural light or artificial light—for all your products is a great way to have a consistent visual style.
Keep it simple
Getting creative with how you want your product images to turn out can backfire, especially if you end up with a cluttered background that can distract potential customers from your products. Remember to keep your images clean and easy to understand, because their purpose is to attract customers, increase online sales and build trust with potential buyers.
Outsource your ecommerce product photography
Everything related to your commercial photography is time-consuming, and with a business to run, you may not have that time, especially if you want the highest quality photos of your products. Hiring a professional product photographer can help ensure your product photos exceed your quality standard, and it will make your brand look professional and reliable.
When hiring a professional photography service, it is essential that you do your research and find someone that has experience in product photography. Remember that professional photographers not only take care of the aspect of the photoshoot, but they should also take care of image editing and retouching the photos taken to make the most out of them and get the best image possible.
If you are looking for an expert in ecommerce photography with over two decades of experience, you can check out my commercial photography services.
Ecommerce Photography Equipment
To produce high-quality ecommerce product photos, you’ll need to have the right equipment. These are the essential pieces of equipment that anyone trying out or working on commercial product photography should have to have a great end result:
In ecommerce photography, you don’t need the most expensive camera on the market, but you do need a camera that can produce high-quality images. To capture product photos, you should have a DSLR camera, since these cameras provide a manual mode where you can change certain settings, such as ISO, white balance, shutter speed and aperture to achieve the look you want in your product photos.
High-resolution images are fundamental in showing the details of the product and helping customers make informed decisions when purchasing your product. It’s ideal to use a camera that can shoot photos that are, at least, 1000 pixels wide in RAW format.
Choosing the right lenses can be just as important as choosing the right camera. A lens with a low f-stop, such as f/1.8 or f/2.8, can create a shallow depth of field, which makes your product stand out from the background. You could also need a macro lens to capture those small details that set your product apart, and a zoom lens that allows you to switch the focal length of your shoots during the photoshoot, without changing lenses.
Tripods are essential for ecommerce product photography since they help keep your camera steady to ensure the products are consistently framed and that you get sharp photos every time.
You need to make sure that your tripod is sturdy enough to support the weight of your camera and lens for prolonged periods of time, especially because you could spend several hours shooting and re-shooting photos of your products to fulfill your vision.
Regardless of the light source you choose to use, having the right lighting setup can make your product look more attractive and highlight its features, which in turn makes it more desirable for potential buyers.
Natural light can be great, but it’s harder to keep it consistent across all photos, unless you work pretty quickly. If you are conducting the photoshoot in a photography studio, artificial light is the way to go (you can supplement it with natural window light to get the perfect photo).
Having a clean, flat surface will provide a solid base for your product and it will make it easier to position it for images, especially if you want to focus on white background and product detail pictures.
White backgrounds are frequently used in product photography because they help eliminate distractions and keep the client’s focus on the product. You can make a DIY white background with a white paper roll or a white fabric backdrop, you just need to make sure that it’s seamless and free of wrinkles and stains.
Reflectors, also called bounce cards, are any white or metallic surface used to bounce light back onto the product to help eliminate dark areas and soften shadows in the photo.
Benefits of Ecommerce Product Photography
Ecommerce product photography is much more than a couple of JPEG files that show customers how your products look. It is one of the driving forces of the success of any online business.
Here are some of the benefits you can expect when implementing professional ecommerce product photography in your online store:
Trust is everything in the world of online businesses. If potential customers are able to see various real high-quality pictures on every product page, they will feel confident that they are making the right decision when they buy from you.
Detailed pictures give clients plenty of information on the product, and they will be at ease knowing that your product can provide everything they need, and that they are going to get exactly what they want.
Improves Conversion Rates
Conversion rates are one of the most critical aspects of an ecommerce business. Having a high conversion rate means that a greater percentage of people who visit your website are making a purchase.
High-quality product images provide customers a clear view of the products they are considering to buy, and it reduces hesitancy when adding a product to their shopping cart. People are more likely to buy a product if they can see exactly how it is going to be when they have it on their hands.
Differentiates Your Brand
Product photos that fit your brand’s visual identity help set your brand apart from the competition and make it more memorable to potential customers. If your product photos are unique, they are more likely to resonate with its target buyer.
Provides a Better Customer Experience
If a customer feels they had a great experience when buying from you, they are going to keep coming back for more. High-quality product images improve customer experience because customers are more likely to be satisfied with their purchase if they receive exactly what they saw on your website.
Increases Customer Engagement
If your product pictures are appealing to your target customer, they will be encouraged to spend more time on your website, and get familiarized with other products they wouldn’t have found otherwise.
Reduces Returns and Refunds
Returns and refunds are one of the biggest challenges ecommerce businesses face. If customers are able to get a detailed look at the product they are going to get and its key features before buying it, they are less likely to be disappointed by it and return it or request a refund.
A great product image can improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by providing search engines with clear and relevant information about your products. You can improve the search engine ranking of your website by optimizing your product photos with descriptive titles, alternative tags and other metadata. This will help attract potential clients to your online store.
Components for an Efficient Workflow
Having an efficient workflow is fundamental when creating great ecommerce product images, not only to ensure a good end product, but also to maintain a harmonious work environment.
These are some of the elements necessary to have a smooth-flowing workflow when working on ecommerce product photography:
Organization is one of the keys to productivity. If you want your product photography sessions to go smoothly, and not have a messy bulk of pictures at the end of the day, you need to make some sort of cataloging method for all the products that are going to be photographed.
You can create a code system for all your products, so you are able to identify them easily, and avoid uploading the wrong photo to a product page. Your code can include the type of product, color or brand, or it can be a random combination of letters and numbers. After you have your codes for each product, you can create a folder named after each product code so you always know where your product images are.
It’s also a good idea to get an external hard drive, or cloud storage service, to store backups for all your product photos. These backups can help you prevent losing all your pictures if something goes wrong with your current computer, and it can also help you share product pictures with business partners and photo editors.
You should also write a workflow guide or manual about how you want the photo production process to go, and you can share it with the external or in-house photography service you hire for the job to ensure the end result satisfies the needs of your online business.
Once everything has been organized, you must prepare your products for the photoshoot. Just like a child on school picture day, you want your product to look its best when you are ready to showcase it to the world.
You should set some time apart to prep each item and make sure that they are as perfect as they can be. You need to make sure that all the products are clean and free of tags and defects.
If you are selling clothes, you need to make sure that they have been steamed or pressed so they are wrinkle-free, and inspect them thoroughly to make sure that there aren’t any stains. If you sell electronic devices, you need to inspect them for scratches and smudges, even if they are coming right out of the box.
If you want lifestyle product photos on your website, you need to select models that fit your brand identity and the profile of the potential customers you are trying to target.
Make sure that the camera and lenses available for the photoshoot fit your needs. If you want to take photos outdoors, you will need different lenses than if you were to capture them in a photography studio.
If the photoshoot is going to happen in a space you can access beforehand, it would be a good idea to customize the space to fit your needs. That way you can save time once it’s time to actually shoot the product pictures. Something as simple as setting up your white background or preparing the lighting setup before the photoshoot can save a ton of precious time.
You should also make sure that the space you are going to use for the photoshoot doesn’t present any accident hazards for you, the photographer, your team, the products, or the equipment.
Once everything is ready, a few pictures of the first product should be taken to make sure that everything is right, and you make a few tweaks in some aspects, such as lighting and distance from the camera to the product.
This test shooting session can also be used to document the ideal camera settings to be used during the photoshoot so everything can stay consistent, especially if the product photoshoot is going to happen over the span of several days. This information is also useful in case you need to reshoot some product pictures.
Once you and the photographer feel that everything is ready, start the official photoshoot. Remember to keep a checklist to make sure that no product is left out, and to check in with the photographer from time to time to look at the pictures that have already been taken, and make the necessary adjustments.
Trying to capture the most perfect image you can get to save time in the post-production process. This ensures that you obtain the final retouched images as soon as possible, since the photographer doesn’t have to spend additional time fixing mistakes that went unnoticed during the photoshoot. There are always going to be some flaws, but the fewer, the better.
Once all the photos have been taken and they are transferred to a computer, the photographer will proceed to delete all the unwanted and subpar photos, and begin the post-production or retouching process.
This process can just involve some color correction so all your pictures look cohesive, or it can also involve some photo editing to delete some imperfections or add details to the photos that will make them more in tune with your brand identity.
How Professional Imagery Increases Conversions
If your online store doesn’t have any product images, you could be making a serious mistake. And if it does have product images, but they are low quality, you may be making an even worse mistake.
Uploading low-quality images as product photos reflects poorly on your ecommerce business and on your professionalism. If you don’t take the time to present your products in the best light possible, how can potential customers trust that you are going to treat their orders carefully or that they’ll receive the exact product they ordered?
If you display high-quality images carefully crafted by a professional photographer to resonate with your target audience and show your products at their best, you can sway potential customers to make a purchase more often than not.
Even if you don’t offer a physical product, you can get photos of people using and making the most out of your digital product to let people know that your products are real and trustworthy.
Professional imagery in your ecommerce business will not only increase sales made to the people that are already visiting your website, but they may also increase the number of visitors you have, since beautiful product images are more likely to be shared and social media, and be seen by a greater audience.
Ecommerce product photography is an essential element of any successful online business. When done right, it’s able to attract potential customers and increase your sales and revenue. If you are looking to take your ecommerce business to the next level, contact me to make it happen.