Often the decision-making process behind purchasing is solely based on what we find visually appealing. This is why nailing product images on your eCommerce site should be priority number one!
For those who are confident in taking matters into their own hands, here are a few simple tips to help you achieve professional and attractive product photography.
1. White Background Magic
Have you ever noticed that most eCommerce platforms have their products on a white background? In fact, some marketplaces (i.e. Google Shopping) insist on white backgrounds for all products listed on their marketplace. The reason is simple – it minimizes unnecessary distractions, creates a sense of consistency, and makes your product the center of attention. From a purely aesthetic perspective, a white background creates a much cleaner, more professional finish and helps colorful products really pop.
Using a curved backdrop or photography shooting tent helps to eliminate shadows, and also cancels out sharp angles which can leave an image looking a bit harsh. On the other hand, there most certainly is an argument for in-context product photography. Some products look their best when shot in their natural environment. Let’s take a table lamp, for example. A combination of photos against a white background, with close-ups to give an idea of what the materials are like, and in the context of a home, environment helps the customer visualize how the product will look on their table.
If you’re not sure which option results in more sales with your customers, why not experiment with both to determine which is most effective?
2. Set The Lighting
For people who like to take selfies, there is a popular expression ‘lighting is everything. The same is true when taking product images, lighting can make the difference between a good photo that converts into sales, and a bad one that gets dismissed and overlooked by online shoppers. Most products look much better when shown photographed in natural light, ideally a soft light that is evenly distributed across your product.
This might not always be an option, so you can also use artificial lighting by using a DIY light box or a backdrop with umbrellas and reflectors. The trick is to experiment with and without the flash and find out which options give the best results. In some cases, using the flash causes a distracting reflection (such as glassware products), whilst in other cases, it delivers a perfect finish.
3. Watch Your Shadows
Having gone to the effort of removing distractions from the background, the last thing you want is for your product’s own shadow to steal the show. If you want to add a bit of depth to your image, it’s advisable to try out reflection shadows or a ‘Mirror Effect’, which can give your images a more polished finish.
If you want to avoid a shadow overcast on product images, a top pro tip is to use a flash diffuser. And of course, we have a DIY zero-cost solution: place a white plastic bag over your flash to ensure the light source, your flash, is larger than your product. The light will be distributed more evenly, which will result in smaller, softer shadows.
4. Display Different Angles
Depending on the shape, color, size, and nature of a product, sometimes it’s necessary to take shots from different angles. Again, this is something that you can experiment with to determine which angles get the most interaction from your customers. Feel free to mix things up periodically, but make sure you measure the results to understand what your customers respond best to. When it comes to testing out different methods, always check metrics by tracking and analyzing shopper engagement levels. This will help you decide which photo should be used as your featured image.
As a general rule of thumb, less is more when it comes to your product page and the overall look of your website. However, photos are the main exception to the rule. It’s always better to have too many photos than not enough. It’s highly likely that people you’re selling have never physically seen your product, so it’s important to provide them with lots of different angles and a comprehensive description of the product. Adding a zoom option or close-up shots is also a great addition to your product photos.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of 360° product photography, where have you been hiding? It’s becoming increasingly popular, particularly amongst eCommerce merchants. Products are placed on a turntable, within a professionally lit light box, and as the turntable slowly spins photos are taken from every single angle. Photos are then transferred to specialized software that cleans the images for any imperfections and then converts the images into a 360-view motion graphic. The fact that your customers are able to see the product in all its glory, makes the task of in-depth product descriptions less essential.
For example, if you are selling a TV your customers want to see if it is a flat-screen, how slim it is, and the range of different components like HDMI, Antenna, and cable port.
5. Support Your Items
If you are trying to showcase products that are generally flat, or perhaps don’t stand up on their own, try using a stand, mannequin, or a subtle, non-distracting display ornament. This will display your items in a way that gives your customer an idea of the overall size, contrasting between the object and the item. This tip is especially useful for jewelry and clothing. It’s important to inform your customers that the stand or platform does not come with the product.
6. Comprehensive Product Descriptions
When it comes to selling online, it’s all in the detail! When you have gone through the trouble of taking a variety of product photos, you need to back them up with detail on the product. Whilst they say a picture paints a thousand words, it won’t harm to add some information about the product. If you’re not sure what to include, check out the similar product on some of the most popular marketplaces, or better yet, compile the most frequently asked questions from your customers and include the answers in the description.
7. Consistency Is Key
Whilst it’s definitely a good idea to play around with a few different product photography formats, iterating where possible, consistency is key. Think of it like a fashion collection, they might all be different garments, however, having a central theme that ties each outfit together is what makes a cohesive collection. In the same way, when uploading multiple images on your eCommerce store, ensure that they look like part of the same batch rather than random images pulled off the internet.