Product Photography: Top 9 Tips for eCommerce Success in 2024
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Product photography is the art of showcasing a product in its best light, capturing its unique features and qualities through expertly crafted images. Through the use of techniques such as lighting and composition, product photography seeks to create stunning visuals that entice, inform, and persuade potential customers to make a purchase.
The goal is to bring a product to life, highlighting its distinctive qualities and benefits, and creating a powerful visual story that resonates with customers and helps to establish a brand’s unique identity in the marketplace. With its ability to evoke emotion and convey meaning, the right product photography is a powerful tool that can make a significant impact on a brand’s success.
For eCommerce, product photography is not just about creating beautiful images that showcase a product’s features and benefits, but it’s also about creating an emotional connection with the customer. It’s about using images to convey the essence of the brand and its unique value proposition, so that customers can understand not just what a product does, but why it matters. Great product photography can be the difference between a customer clicking “buy” and clicking away, and it can also be a powerful tool for building brand loyalty over time.
According to Search Engine Journal, a study by eMarketer found that 62% of consumers are more likely to buy a product if it has convincing images and videos. Therefore you need to ensure that your photography game is on point.
Get ready to take your eCommerce business to new heights of success with our top 9 expertly crafted tips. These tips are not just any run-of-the-mill tricks, but carefully curated insights to help build a loyal customer base and you drive sales.
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How High-Quality Product Photography can increase eCommerce Conversion Rates
According to a Buyer survey by Etsy, 90% of shoppers on Etsy are influenced by the quality of the product image to make a purchase decision – a whopping 90%. These shoppers agree that the quality of the photos of the products was “extremely important” or “very important” in making purchase decisions. This is not only true for Etsy but also every other eCommerce platform.
So, how exactly does high-quality product photography increase eCommerce conversion rates? Let’s find out.
1. Enhanced visual communication
A high quality product photo offers a more accurate and detailed visual representation of your product, which can help potential customers better understand the features and benefits of the product. This can be especially important for products where appearance, texture, or color are key factors in the purchasing decision.
According to a study done by perrperproductions, a photography and video shooting company, users remember 80% of what they see. The study found that the intent to purchase multiplies when the users are shown multiple images in “coviewer” form. Showing different image angles and details in this form attracts customers and helps them make faster decisions while choosing products.
2. Sleek and polished appearance
High-quality photos convey a professional look and this sends the message that you are serious about your business. This raises trust levels and makes customers more confident about making purchases. According to Shopify, users tend to trust a site when it has professional and high-quality images.
Take Apple, for example. They have successfully leveraged sleek ecommerce photography to build trust and drive humongous conversions.
Apple is known for its clean, simple, and visually appealing aesthetic, which is designed to showcase their products in the best possible light. Their product photos often feature a white background, which puts the focus on the product itself, and use consistent lighting and angles to create a sense of coherence and brand identity.
3. Reduced product returns
When customers have a clear view of what they are buying, they are less likely to be disappointed with the product when it finally reaches them.
According to a study by invespcro, thirty percent of products bought online are returned compared to 8.89% in brick-and-mortar stores. Twenty-three percent of the surveyed users complained that the product looked different.
This suggests that the images presented to them online were not clear and did not depict the real representation of the products that arrived. This is the classic mistake of “What you ordered” vs “What you get”.
High quality, clear images can set realistic expectations for customers, and this effectively reduces the likelihood of dissatisfaction with the product.
4. Increased engagement
High-quality photos encourage customers to stick around your platforms for a long time. Take for instance this case study profiled by Elastic path, which reveals that 44% of customers visit truevalue.com before going to the local store. This is after they introduced the use of 360-degree images that mimic the in-store experience on digital devices. What did they discover?
- Pages with 360-degree images had their bounce rates reduced by twenty-two percent.
- Pages with 360-degree images had add-to-cart rates increased by thirty-five percent.
- Pages with 360-degree images had conversion rates (products on that page were ordered) increased by twenty-two percent.
Just like truevalue.com, your eCommerce business can transform guest viewers into customers by using high-quality images like 360-degree images.
5. Emotional connection
High quality product photography can evoke emotion and create a connection with potential customers. By showcasing your product in a way that speaks to your target audience’s desires and needs, you can create a sense of desire and aspiration, which can increase the likelihood of a purchase.
Example: Imagine you run an online store that sells artisanal chocolate. You know that your target audience is made up of chocolate lovers who are looking for something special and unique, and you want to create an emotional connection with them through your product photography.
To achieve this, you use close-up shots of the chocolates to highlight their intricate design and luxurious texture, or you might use lifestyle images that show the chocolates being enjoyed in a cozy, intimate setting. You also make sure to include detailed descriptions of each chocolate on your product pages, highlighting their unique flavors, ingredients, and production methods. You might even include some information about the history of chocolate and the art of chocolate-making, to help create a sense of intrigue and fascination.
As potential customers browse your website, they are drawn in by the beautiful images and mouth-watering descriptions, which create a sense of desire and aspiration. They imagine themselves savoring the rich, velvety flavors of your chocolates, sharing them with loved ones, or giving them as a special gift.
By the time they reach the checkout page, they have already formed an emotional connection with your brand and your products, and are more likely to follow through with a purchase.
9 Essential Product Photography Tips
As we have seen from the statistics, when it comes to selling products and services online, high-quality photography is essential. Great product images can and do make all the difference in attracting potential customers and ultimately turning them into buyers.
Fortunately you do not need to be a photography wizard to take high-quality photos. With the tips here, you too can use elegant photos to engage your customers and increase conversion rates.
1. Buy a Tripod
We all know what a tripod is – the three-legged camera accessory used to provide stability and support for a camera or other photographic equipment. It is commonly used in photography to help prevent camera shake and allows for hands-free operation of the camera.
So what’s with the tripod in the context of product photography? Well, it’s useful in several ways, but here are the top ones:
- Stability: A tripod provides a stable base for the camera. This reduces camera shake, which can result in blurry or fuzzy images.
- Consistency: When taking product photos, it is important to maintain a consistent angle and framing to show the product in the best possible light. Using a tripod can help you achieve this consistency by holding the camera in place while you adjust the product.
- Adjustability: Most tripods have adjustable legs, which can help you position the camera at the right height and angle for the product you are photographing. This allows you to capture the product from different angles and perspectives, giving your customers a better sense of what the product looks like.
2. Invest In a Seamless Backdrop
A seamless backdrop in photography refers to a background that appears continuous and smooth, without any visible seams, lines or other interruptions. It is typically a large, single-colored paper or fabric background that is used to create a consistent and uniform backdrop for a photo shoot.
The seamless nature of the backdrop allows the subject to be the main focus of the photo, without any distractions caused by a busy or inconsistent background. In the case of eCommerce, the subjects are your products.
3. Use Natural Lighting
Natural lighting automatically adds a natural feel to your photographs, and this increases their appeal as customers see the product in a realistic context.
All the details including the curves and shadows of the product look natural and beautiful when you use natural light. They are authentic.
How to use natural lighting for product photography
- Take photos at the brightest times of the day (late morning or early afternoon)
- Use translucent sheets to diffuse the light
- Use a black reflector to absorb the extra light
- Determine where the shadows are falling to avoid hiding product details
- Take photos at the same time of day to bring about consistency.
4. Try artificial lighting options
Artificial lighting refers to any form of lighting that is created by man-made devices, rather than occurring naturally. It’s often used to create a controlled lighting environment that allows photographers to manipulate the light in order to achieve a desired effect.This can be very effective especially when natural lighting is not available or is not ideal for the shot you want to capture.
Best products for artificial lighting
These are some of the best products for artificial lighting in product photography:
- Softboxes: Softboxes are a type of light modifier that diffuse the light, creating a soft, even light that reduces harsh shadows and highlights. They are often used to create a flattering, natural-looking light.
- Reflectors: Reflectors are used to bounce light back onto the product from a specific direction. They can be used to fill in shadows, create a sense of depth, or add a subtle highlight to a product.
- Light tent: A light tent is a cube-shaped structure made of translucent fabric that diffuses the light and creates an even, shadow-free illumination. It’s an ideal tool for photographing small items such as jewelry, small electronics, or food items.
5. Leverage camera angles
This refers to the intentional use of different angles and perspectives to capture a product in a way that showcases its features, design, and functionality. By choosing the right angles, photographers can highlight the best aspects of a product and create a more compelling and engaging visual story.
For example, shooting a product from a low angle can make it appear larger and more imposing. Conversely, shooting a product from a high angle can give the impression of looking down on the product, which can make it seem smaller and more approachable.
Best Camera Angles for Product Photography
Here are the best camera angles you should test in your photo shoot:
- Overhead angle: This angle is also known as the bird’s eye view and it is one of the most commonly used angles. The camera is positioned directly above the product and captures it from a top-down perspective. This angle is great for showing the overall shape and design of the product.
- 45-degree angle: This angle is also called the 3/4 view. The camera is positioned at a 45-degree angle to the product, which provides a more dynamic and interesting view. This angle is especially useful for highlighting the texture.
- Front angle: The camera is positioned directly in front of the product and captures it head-on. This angle is great for showcasing the front of the product and can be used to create a clean and minimalist look.
6. Shoot the Product In Context
Shooting the product in context refers to capturing the product within a scene or setting that provides context for the viewer.
Rather than just showing the product on a plain background, this approach involves placing the product in a situation that illustrates a context. Common examples include illustrating how it might be used or enjoyed in real life.
Benefits of in-use photos on eCommerce PDPs
In-use are those that showcase a product being used by a person in a real-life context. For example, in-use photos of a camping tent might show a family setting up the tent and relaxing inside, while in-use photos of a kitchen appliance might show someone using it to prepare food.
So, what are the benefits of in-use photos on eCommerce PDPs?
- A better understanding of the product: In-use photos help shoppers visualize the product in a real-world context, which can provide a better understanding of its features and functionality. This can help reduce the risk of dissatisfaction and returns.
- Increased confidence and trust: Seeing a product in use can help build confidence and trust in the product and the seller. It humanizes the product and makes it more relatable.
- Increased engagement and time on site: In-use photos can capture the attention of shoppers and encourage them to spend more time on an eCommerce site, which can lead to increased engagement and drive conversions.
7. Invest in 360-degree photos & video
The concept of 360-degree photos and videos is all about capturing the complete view of a scene, allowing the viewer to see everything around them as if they were standing in the middle of the scene. It provides an immersive and interactive experience that allows the viewer to explore the entire environment, often by dragging their mouse or swiping on a touch screen.
For example, CXL reveals that duematernity.com boosted their conversion rates to 27% all thanks to 360 degree images. That was massive! Plus, don’t forget the example we gave earlier where truevalue.com increased the conversion rate by over 20% with 360 degree images.
8. Prioritize editing
Editing plays can significantly impact the quality and effectiveness of the final images. Things like adjusting the colors, contrast, brightness, and other aspects of the image can enhance the visual appeal of the product and draw the viewer’s attention to specific areas.
Editing also ensures consistency across all images in a product line, eliminates distractions, and highlights product details, such as branding and unique features.
Moreover, editing can help improve the accuracy of the image, reducing the risk of returns due to incorrect expectations.
5 Best Apps for Editing Product Photography
- Adobe Lightroom: A powerful app for photo editing and organization, with a range of tools for adjusting color, tone, and other aspects of the image.
- Snapseed: A free app from Google that offers a range of editing tools, including selective adjustments, perspective correction, and a range of filters.
- VSCO: A photography app that offers a range of filters and advanced editing tools, including color adjustments and skin smoothing.
- A Color Story: A popular app for editing product photos, with a range of filters and tools for adjusting color and tone.
- Canva: A graphic design app that includes a range of templates and tools for creating and editing product images.
9. Optimize product photos in a Digital Asset Management System
In order to maximize the impact of product photos, it’s important to optimize them within a Digital Asset Management System like Catsy DAM which is built to streamline the entire workflow from image capture to publishing.
Here are the key ways that DAM can help.
Add meta tags for SEO
Adding metadata, such as image titles, descriptions, and keywords, is crucial for SEO optimization. This helps search engines index the images and display them in relevant search results.
Meta tags will turbocharge search visibility, drive traffic to your eCommerce channels and increase sales.
Keep master files safe & secure
It is essential to keep the original high-resolution product photos, also known as master files, safe and secure. These files should be backed up regularly and stored in a secure location within the DAM system.
This ensures that you have instant access to the highest quality versions of your product photos and can easily make changes or updates as needed.
Rename photos in bulk for eCommerce channels
With DAM, you can streamline the time-consuming process of bulk renaming product photos, which can often be a daunting task. DAM contains features that automate the renaming process, ensuring that all photos are accurately labeled with consistent naming conventions across all channels.
This drastically reduces human human error and the potential costly delays in the production.
Export in any eCommerce format
A Digital Asset Management System can automatically convert product photos into the required image format and size for a specific eCommerce channel.
This capability is especially valuable in today’s eCommerce landscape where customers expect high-quality images that are optimized for the channel they are using.
Photography has already proven to be such a force that has powered the success of social media platforms like Instagram, which has become a hub for visual storytelling and inspiration.
This trend has spilled over into eCommerce in recent years, and now eCommerce companies are increasingly using high-quality product photography to create visually stunning, immersive shopping experiences.
There is still time to bring on your A game as this new trend takes shape, and the tips we’ve covered here should get you off to a super good start – whether you are looking to capitalize on big days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday or simply want to take a long term trajectory.
Remember these key takeaways:
- First impressions matter: In the world of eCommerce, product photography is often the first thing a potential customer sees. High-quality, attention-grabbing product photography can create a positive first impression, which can lead to increased sales and repeat business.
- Invest in modern equipment, apps and software: Modern equipment like high-quality cameras and lighting equipment can produce visually appealing product images. Photography apps and software like DAM can help you edit, enhance and optimize photos.
- Keep it simple: A simple, clean background can help the product stand out and make it easier for customers to focus on the product itself.
Focus on three key factors: file size, file name, and alt text:
- Make sure your images are compressed to reduce their file size without sacrificing quality, as large images can compromise load time.
- Choose descriptive file names that include relevant keywords, rather than generic or arbitrary names.
- Write informative and concise alt text that accurately describes the image.
Here are some of the best techniques that you can use:
- Adjusting brightness, contrast, and exposure: Adjusting brightness helps to make the photo brighter or darker, contrast helps to enhance the difference between light and dark areas, and exposure can be used to brighten or darken the overall image.
- Cropping and resizing: Cropping helps to remove unnecessary background from the image and focus on the product. Resizing ensures that the image is of the appropriate size and resolution for the intended platform.
Yes, use these top tricks:
- Experiment with creative lighting, such as using a spotlight to highlight specific details or using natural light to create a soft and flattering effect.
- Add props or context to the photo to help tell a story and make the product more relatable to the viewer.
- Use a consistent style or theme across all your product photos, such as a particular color scheme or visual aesthetic.
- Show the scale of the product: Use other objects or people in the photo to give customers an idea of how big or small the product is.
- Use a macro lens to capture even the smallest details of the product.