They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In the world of e-commerce, a good picture is worth a thousand bucks! Indeed, the perfect product images can mean the difference between underperforming sales and exceeding your expectations.
Getting the right product images is a critical component for any successful e-commerce site. Yours is no exception. That’s why this article will focus on e-commerce product photography.
We’ll be talking about eight tips to get the perfect product images. After reading this e-commerce product photography guide, you’ll feel confident you can get the perfect product images every time.
In short, e-commerce product photography refers to the art of taking pictures of your product for your e-commerce site. Yes, e-commerce product photography is an art because it captures the best features of your products. After all, how can you expect to entice customers to buy if your product images don’t show their best features?
Now, if you believe that e-commerce product photography is just about pointing the camera and clicking, you have another thing coming. There are actually several elements to consider when taking product images. This e-commerce product photography guide will walk you through everything you need to know about taking the best product images for your e-commerce site.
E-commerce product photography is a crucial element for any successful e-commerce site. In essence, the better your product images, the better your chances to boost your sales conversion. Of course, great products can still sell despite subpar product images. However, you must remember that e-commerce product photography is a psychological phenomenon.
In other words, customers may still buy the product, just not from your store. They’ll prefer the competition because their product images look better than yours.
This previous point underscores the importance of product photography in e-commerce. Here are some compelling facts to support our point.
75% of consumers consider product images before making a purchase
Approximately a quarter of product returns happen because products don’t resemble their photographs.
Research suggests that high-quality product images are 40% more likely to be shared on social media.
According to HubSpot, roughly 70% of companies invest in content marking, including high-quality product photography.
About 93% of consumers believe that visual appearance is the pivotal factor when making a purchase decision.
As you can see, e-commerce product photography is serious business. The better you can get your game plan together, the better your results will be.
Ah, yes… cost. Professional images can get quite pricey. After all, high-quality product images can require careful attention and proper technique.
Generally speaking, hourly rates can range from about $90 to $270. However, getting through a photo shoot may take several hours, driving up your costs.
A daily rate may cost anywhere between $300 to $3,000. Some business owners prefer paying by day because they can get a large number of product images done in a day. But you must be sure the photographer can complete the project in a day. Otherwise, you may end up paying for several days’ worth of photography.
Lastly, you may consider paying per image. A per-image rate can cost between $10 to $400. Nevertheless, this rate might make more sense if you have a small product catalog or focus on a small number of products.
There are several benefits that come from using high-quality e-commerce photography. In particular, we’d like to highlight the five most significant benefits of e-commerce product photography:
Increased conversions. Great product images give your customers a realistic expectation of your product. Furthermore, they highlight your products’ best features, improving conversions.
Reduced returns. When you have high-quality product images, you greatly reduce your product returns. Please remember that a quarter of returns happen because the real product does not match product images.
Reduced costs. With lower product return rates, you also cut down on your costs. You don’t need to worry about paying for extra shipping or dealing with excess inventory.
Increased customer engagement. Who doesn’t love nice pictures? Having great e-commerce product photography allows you to boost customer engagement. You can naturally pique your customers’ interests while also boosting your images’ shareability on social media.
Brand positioning. Brand positioning is the mecca of e-commerce product photography. When you position your brand, you place it in your customers’ minds. In other words, your brand and products become go-to options.
In contrast, poor-quality product images make your brand forgettable. Even worse, customers may dismiss your brand and products. So, it pays to focus on getting killer product images. You’ll be so glad you did!
Ideally, taking high-quality product images requires a dedicated photography area. A “studio” doesn’t mean renting out additional space or clearing out a room in your home. It just means that you have a place you can dedicate to product photography whenever you need to.
Here are the components you’ll need to get your studio up and running:
Camera. You don’t need to spend thousands on a camera, you can use your smartphone to take top-quality pictures. Here’s a great e-commerce photography guide for smartphones you check out.
Tripod. A tripod is a good investment. Holding a camera with your hands may cause blurry or unclear photos. Plus, it gets tiring after a while! A tripod can make an enormous difference.
Lighting. Placing your set up next to a big window is a great idea. It’s a source of natural light. You may also need an additional lamp to help you shed more light if needed.
Table. A table or flat surface (even the floor) is essential for placing products. Just ensure the surface doesn’t contrast with the product’s colors, or use a white sheet if necessary.
White background. Don’t play around with backgrounds. A white background is always the best choice. Unless your product is all white, there is no need to contrast backgrounds.
Reflectors. Reflectors bounce light to eliminate shadows. These may or may not be necessary, depending on your lighting sources.
The second e-commerce photography tip we’re going to discuss is styling. Styling can be as simple or complex as you want to.
Above all, the golden rule is to make your products the main focus. Using ornate decorations may seem nice, but you might be taking away from their visual appeal.
As such, there are two main ways two style your shots: the diagonal and the C.
In essence, the diagonal positions your product at eye level with the customer. This approach places the camera lens directly in front of the product, making it the main focal point. Let’s take a look at an example:
In this picture, we can see the product front and center. Other elements frame the product but do not take away from the product’s main focus. Ideally, you want the customer to identify the product for sale readily.
If the customer cannot immediately identify the product, you have too much going on around it. You may need to remove distractions to ensure the proper focus.
The “C” means setting up your products, so they appear at an angle in the shape of a crescent. This approach is good when you have multiple items to showcase while leaving the middle of the shot clean. This approach works extremely well for products you can lay flat. Let’s take a look at an example:
In the picture above, we can see the item slightly off to the right. The middle of the shot is essentially bare, but it works because the headphones are very tough to place vertically. As such, placing them at the customer’s eye level can be quite challenging.
Lighting plays a key role in getting high-quality shots. Thus, finding a good source of natural light is the most important thing. If you cannot get good natural lighting, you may need to purchase lights and reflectors to get the desired effect.
A setup could look like this:
In this example, there is no natural light. Still, it illustrates a very important element: having two separate sources of lighting can greatly enhance picture quality.
Angles are pivotal in great e-commerce product photography. Take the time to consider product images from various angles. Then, you can assess which angles work best for your particular type of product.
After all, directly facing products isn’t always the best angle. You can try experimenting until you find the right shots.
Let’s look at these examples:
Overhead shots can work well, especially if your products don’t necessarily need to be at eye level. However, please ensure your product are clearly identifiable.
Placing shots at eye level but slightly off at an angle can add a little extra sizzle to your e-commerce product photography.
Lastly, consider moving your angle slightly overhead but within relative eye-level distance. You’ll find the approach for e-commerce product photography can yield some very good results.
Please remember that creativity is the name of the game. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find the right angle for your product images.
Editing is just as important as getting the lighting and angles right. Editing your e-commerce product photography can help you correct natural issues with your product images. There are four key elements to consider:
Sharpness. You can use e-commerce product photography editing software to sharpen the main image, particularly if it means blurring out the background or edges a little.
White balance. White balance consists of adjusting the level of blues and reds around the white areas of your product images. This can make your images look cooler or warmer.
Brightness and contrast. Brightness makes your images, well, brighter. However, too much may reduce sharpness. Contrast helps even out lighter and darker areas in your product images.
Color saturation. Color saturation means making your colors stronger or softer. Adjust as needed, but overdoing it may distort your images and not reflect the actual product.
Here’s a good example of e-commerce product photography editing:
In this image, we can see the main product front and center. The background is slightly blurred. We can also see a warmer tone. This aspect is crucial, considering the product is black. Lastly, we can see a good color saturation as the product’s colors stand out over the background and white base.
This e-commerce product photography tip focuses on getting picture specifications right. For instance, Shopify requires your product images to be 4472 by 4472 and 20 MB max.
Why is this important?
If your e-commerce product images don’t meet these requirements, Shopify will resize the product images automatically. If Shopify resizes them, there is no telling what could happen to their overall quality.
If you’d like to learn more about e-commerce product photography apps, check out this great article.
Props can greatly help enhance your product images. However, there is a golden rule when it comes to props: less is more. Ideally, you want to ensure that any props you use don’t take focus away from the main item. Props should, instead, help bring your product image into focus.
Let’s take a look at a great example:
This image shows the pot in the middle as the main item. The vegetables around it frame the main item and help provide contrast. This approach works well when using related props. Avoid using unrelated props. They may only take away from your product’s main purpose.
If you think you need to get the “perfect” shot, you might be surprised to find that there are multiple “perfect” shots. The best product ads display several shots, often using different angles and styles.
Getting multiple shots may also be necessary in order for you to highlight your product’s features. Here is a good example:
In this example, we have a camera from two different angles. Getting shots from various angles may be necessary to highlight the entire product. Don’t forget that capturing every inch of your products is crucial to represent them accurately.
Lifestyle images are a great way to show your customers your products in action. Even better, lifestyle images where you show several of your products together can be used as a tool to encourage your customers to purchase multiple products together.
Then, they can click on the look, see a popup of the individual products, and add these to the cart, all from the one popup. This can really improve your conversion rate, AOV, and overall store revenue.
Getting your e-commerce product photography done right does not have to be an expensive endeavor. With these tips, you can go the DIY route and avoid the expenses associated with professional photography.
Don’t forget to use your beautiful images to create a shoppable gallery with PickyStory – your customers will love it and your AOV will benefit.
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