So, you’ve created an eCommerce store, uploaded all of your products, taken the time to finalize pricing, shipping, bundles, juicy, SEO-optimized product descriptions and marketing captions, and the million other things it takes to start a business online. Well, I’m assuming you have – if not, follow me on Instagram for eCommerce marketing tips 101!
The final thing to do is upload your product images. So what if they are a little blurry, too small, too dark or take a while to load – nobody cares right? WRONG!
As an eCommerce marketing specialist, and someone who spends hours every day looking at eCommerce conversion rates and comparing results after improvements are made, I can categorically tell you that the quality of your product images is possibly the most important feature of your eCommerce store.
Put yourself in a customer’s shoes…
Shopping online means you don’t have the opportunity to touch or smell a product. And you can’t try it on or feel it. As an online shopper, you are relying on trust and sight.
What do I mean by this?
Well, with trust, having product reviews can increase your sales conversion rate by over 10%. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, and research shows that to be the case.
Product reviews create social proof and trust in your product, helping you make more money from your eCommerce store.
In terms of sight, detailed product photos and videos will ultimately push your potential customer over the edge to make the sale. If an online shopper can see the details of a product to the point where they feel they can almost touch it, or as if it is right there in front of them, you have yourself a winner.
Don’t believe me? Ask yourself this one simple question:
When was the last time you bought a product online that didn’t have professional photos?
I rest my case.
So if that’s the case, why do so many eCommerce websites have horrible images? Why do small business owners think they will sell their products if they don’t have professional-looking images if they themselves don’t buy products online without professional images taken of the products?
In this article, I’m going to share with you 9 product photography tips to instantly boost your eCommerce sales. Take it from the experts, high-quality product photos mean everything in eCommerce, so if there is anything you do this week, take 5 minutes out of your day to read and use these tips (and look out for your free eBook at the bottom of this article).
9 Product Photography Tips To Instantly Boost Your eCommerce Sales
Want to jump to the product photo tips? Click any of the links below to go to that specific tip or scroll by to read the entire article.
- Don’t Overcrop
- Focus on the Product
- Lighting is Everything
- Shoot from Many Angles
- Shoot Many Facial Expressions
- Shoot Video If You Can
- Eliminate Distractions
- Put your Product in Context
- Invest in a Professional Photographer
- Ready to boost your eCommerce sales?
Marketing agencies cringe at overly cropped photos, and you will too when you start posting on social media, or trying to run Google Ads with overly cropped photos.
Why? Because you will quickly realize that you can’t get the right focus on your product once you have to use your image on social media or your website. Although editorial-style images are great for various marketing purposes, make sure you always tell your photographer to zoom out enough so you can crop your image in square format and still see the entire product in the shot.
The standard sizes required for digital marketing are:
- 1200 x 628 pixels (horizontal rectangle for Facebook and Instagram ads)
- 1080 x 1080 (square for website listing and Facebook and Instagram ads and feed)
- 1200 X 1500 (vertical rectangle for website listing and Instagram ads)
If your product photos have been heavily cropped, you will find yourself with products cut off at the top and sides. It will quickly become a nightmare for you. If using a professional photographer, ask them to bring a high-quality long lens. This allows them to give the shot an editorial effect without overcropping it since they can shoot from far away with great precision and detail. Simply ask your photographer to bring a long lens and take editorial-style wide shots so that the final images have plenty of space to crop and zoom, but still get that “portrait” look you are going for with a detailed subject and soft, blurred background.
Focus on the Product
Don’t let your product get lost in the background. I can’t tell you how many times I see clients waste an entire photo shoot budget on photos that we can’t use. Instead of focusing on the product, they place a heavier focus on lifestyle images. This leads to:
- mages that are too busy
- Products not being the focus of the shot
- Confusion over what is actually being sold
- Blurry product images since the products are too small to zoom in on
Ideally, if taking a lifestyle shot, the product should take up a minimum of 65% of the photo.
If the product is on a white background, it should take up at least 80% of the image area.
A great hack to make sure your product is definitely the highlight of the photo is to ask someone who has no idea what you are selling to look at the photo for only one second and then ask them:
What do you think I am selling in this photo?
Or if you have no one to ask, ask yourself:
If I only had a split second to look at this photo as I was scrolling my social media feed and never heard of the company before, what would I think the company is trying to sell?
Lighting is Everything
Any professional photographer will tell you the number one rule to getting high quality photos is having good lighting. This is true in eCommerce photos as well.
You can purchase special lights for eCommerce product photography to ensure your lighting is perfect, however if the budget is tight then natural light works well.
For natural light, make sure to use natural light from a window and take advantage of the morning or early afternoon sun where shadows and temperatures are not too harsh. You can also shoot products outside for natural light. If you are on a budget, the best strategy when photographing products outdoors is to shoot on a cloudy day and make sure the background is not lighter than the product you are shooting. This will give a nice balance of light to your entire image while you avoid harsh shadows from the sun.
For small products, consider investing in a light box (as pictured below) as this will not only help with lighting, but also apply a plain white background to the photo, which is often required to list your products on other sites, such as Google Shopping.
Shoot from Many Angles
Online shoppers want to see as many details as they can. Remember, your potential customer cannot touch the product and are relying 100% on their sight to determine if the product is the right one for them. The more detail, the better, and shooting your product from various angles will achieve the detail required. For example, if you sell a bikini top, you want to make sure your shoot list includes the front of the top, the back of the top, and close-up shots of the fabric, design, stitching, and overall fit.
As marketing continues to advance, eCommerce continues to grow as an industry, and social platforms continue to prioritize video content, it makes sense to also include a video of your product as well. This can be someone modeling your product in a studio where they can briefly walk in it and turn in a circle so all angles and sides can be seen.
If you sell a smaller product that can not be modeled on a person, an excellent alternative is to use a product turntable. This way you can create either a video or GIF of the product rotating 360 degrees. You can find affordable product turntables on Amazon, like this one that seems to get a bunch of good reviews:
Shoot Many Facial Expressions
Does your brand use models? Then this photography tip is for you.
I can’t tell you the number of eCommerce photos I see where models use exactly the same facial expression. These often cannot be used for marketing purposes to their full potential. Here’s why:
Your marketing agency may not like the expression the model is making and may consult you that it actually will do more of a disservice to use that particular facial expression than it will help. If all of your photo shoot images have the exact same pose or facial expression, it means you really only get one photo to use and let’s hope it is a good one.
Eliminate that risk by making sure you are directing your models to use many different facial expressions and move into many different poses. This will also help you split test images for the ones that perform best since you have many different emotions and poses to choose from.
Shoot Video If You Can
Ever wonder why television commercials are so expensive (Superbowl anyone?). The reason tv ad space is so costly is simply because video (and exposure) works.
As a Facebook Marketing Specialist, I can absolutely confirm that ads using video outperform any other type of advertising.
Your product video doesn’t need to be long. In fact, the shorter the video, the better. I would aim for a video that is less than 15 seconds if you are using it at the top of your product listing, along with your other product images.
Make sure to shoot your product videos in horizontal format and keep in mind that you may want to crop it later to square or vertical format, so make sure to have a version of the video that is shot slightly farther away so you can crop the video into different formats later if you wish.
Simplicity really is key to a good product photo.
What do I mean?
Have you ever looked at an advertisement and wondered what on earth the ad is actually selling because you can’t tell from the photo itself? Let me give you an example. Let’s say you’re flipping through a magazine on your plane ride from Los Angeles to Honolulu and you see a full page ad. In it, the image has a woman in a bikini, wearing a hat, on a resort beach, wearing jewelry, and holding a lotion bottle in her hand. And you are left wondering:
- Are they selling the bikini?
- Are they selling the hat?
- Are they selling the hotel?
- Are they selling a vacation package?
- Are they selling the jewelry she is wearing?
- Are they selling the lotion she is holding?
That’s what I mean.
Make sure your photo gives a clear picture of exactly what the product being marketed is.
Eliminate the distractions (and guesswork). Any excessive “noise” should be removed from the image. Blurring the background for a “portrait” effect can also be effective in highlighting your product.
On the same note, make sure your product takes up enough of the image space so that it is the star of the photo.
Finally, another great tip is using color blocking in photography. This is when you use 2-3 bold, bright color blocks to make your photo (and product) really stand out. It will naturally drive your customer’s focus to the product vs. anything that may be too distracting in the background.
This Pinterest board has a lot of great color blocking examples you can use for inspiration in your own product photoshoots.
Image © Pinterest – Color Block
Put your Product in Context
Sell houseware products? Ecommerce photography of your products in a lifestyle (home) setting will help to instantly boost sales. The idea is to help someone imagine the life they want for themselves when they purchase your product. So placing your product in a home that appeals to their interior design aesthetic makes a lot of sense.
Sell fashion? Have your model wear the outfit in a setting the product is designed for. If you sell swimwear, take photos at the beach. If you sell golf shirts, take photos on a golf course. If you sell formal attire, take photos in an event space. So on and so forth. The idea again is to put the product into the setting it is designed to be used in. This helps your customer envision themselves wearing your product for that specific occasion.
Sell skincare or haircare products? Photograph them on a bathroom counter or shower where someone would normally use them. Photograph someone with the product out of the bottle and in their hand so your potential customers can see the texture of the product. Photograph a model rubbing your moisturizer on her face.
Placing your product into a lifestyle/context setting helps the consumer imagine what the product will look like on them or in their home, and this in turn, helps instantly boost your eCommerce sales. Just don’t forget to balance this tip with keeping your background simple so you don’t distract from your product or confuse someone about what it is you are selling.
Invest in a Professional Photographer
Professional photography may not be in your budget, but I can almost guarantee the cost will soon be recouped in sales.
These days it is rare you will visit an eCommerce store where product photos have not been professionally taken, and with good reason. An eCommerce store doesn’t only serve as a retail outlet, it is your version of an online catalog and fitting room. Quality photography is a must.
If your budget isn’t quite there yet, I highly recommend investing in a quality smartphone with an excellent camera, then finding a photo editing and retouching service such as Pixelz.com that will make your images look amazing. There are also some great and affordable photo retouching options on websites like Fiverr and Upwork.
If you plan on taking the photos yourself, make sure to invest in an affordable bluetooth remote shutter for your smartphone camera to save you tons of time. I’ve bought several over the years, but this one is my favorite:
I also highly recommend a ring light to help remove any unwanted shadows. I bought this one, which has 3 different light modes, 10 different brightness settings, and comes with a tripod stand. So far I have been really happy with it and use it quite a bit for my own social media photos and video recordings:
I hope this article helped give you the best product photography tips to instantly boost your eCommerce sales. If you liked it, make sure to share it!
And if you want a free resource for your next product photo shoot, make sure to get the free photoshoot guide below.
Ready to boost your eCommerce sales?
Are you already killing your product photo shoots and online sales and in need of an expert digital marketing team to help you scale your online business this year? Check out Karizma Marketing, my full-service digital marketing agency, to see if it is a good fit. We specialize in omni-channel marketing for elite and established eCommerce companies, including paid ads, email marketing, SEO, social media marketing, and more.