Key Points:

  • 75% of online shoppers say they make purchasing decisions based on product photos
  • Each product on your online store will be showcased with a series of images that offer a good overview of how the product looks
  • The reason why good photos matter is that it is the best way to drive customer engagement and sales for your product

Looks may not be everything, but they sure can help capture someone’s interest and encourage them to delve deeper. The images you use on your online store introduce your brand and products to the world. So, if your site has interesting, captivating photography, you can grab peoples’ attention and drive conversions and sales. That’s why good product photography is an essential part of a strong eCommerce strategy.

In fact, imagery is so crucial that 75% of online shoppers say they make purchasing decisions based on product photos. Additionally, 22% of purchases are later returned because they looked different from the photographs on a website. Good visual content can also be a boost for your social media pages. Good imagery has a 40% higher chance of being shared on social media accounts, which means you can reach a wider audience (and hopefully get more sales).

So, if you’re ready to plunge into the world of visual content and up your product photography for eCommerce, here’s what you need to know.

Table of Contents

What is Product Photography?

This is a type of commercial photography that involves taking shots of your brand’s products for your web store. Ideally, each product on your online store will be showcased with a series of images that offer a good overview of how the product looks. If done properly, this can enhance the user experience of your website; in fact, it can be the difference between a conversion and an abandoned cart.

There are actually two main types of commercial photography for online retail. One shows just the product on a plain, monochromatic background. The second type is called lifestyle photography and show how your products are being used.

The purpose of eCommerce photography is to present products as attractively as possible, but in a way that’s also realistic and helps the customer visualize how it would look in their life. In this case, lifestyle photography is usually better. Plus, photos that have a lifestyle element can also be used on your social media (like Instagram) to create a cohesive brand aesthetic.

If you want truly great visual content, though, you could also delve into different types of product imagery, such as group item shots, 360-degree shots, detailed photographs, and studio imagery. Each type will be suitable for different circumstances, so you really need to consider your product, website, brand image, and target audience.

Why Good Photos Matter

The trickiest part about generating sales in eCommerce is convincing your customer to buy something that they can’t see or touch in real life. But, appealing photographs can be just what they need to hit the purchase button. 32% of businesses believe visuals to be the most effective form of content for their brand; in fact, 55% of B2C content creators cite visuals to be a top priority in their marketing strategy.

The reason why good photos matter is that it is the best way to drive customer engagement and sales for your product. Because we live so much of our lives online these days, good visual content is an essential component of a strong marketing strategy. Here are a few ways good images can help your business:

  • Increases customer engagement.
  • Enhances user experience.
  • Reduces cart abandonment.
  • Increases sales.
  • Good for social media marketing.
  • Helps establish your brand.

What You Need For Product Photography

Before you get cracking on fantastic images for your online store, it’s important to have the right tools. Ideally, you’d have the budget to hire a professional photographer that comes with years of experience and all the equipment to ensure a foolproof product photography setup. If not, you can attempt it yourself, as long as your arm yourself with a few essential things. In general, you’ll need:

  • A camera.
  • A tripod.
  • A white or black background.
  • White bounce cards or cine foil.
  • Light standees or LED lights.
  • Tape
  • A table

Even if a master photographer and high-end equipment is out of your budget, you can always improvise to get the job done. For example, you can use a white foam board to create makeshift bounce cards or create backgrounds with black chart paper or white bedsheets you already have. And, instead of using DSLRs like the Nikon D7200 or Canon EOS Rebel T7i, you can use more affordable cameras like the Canon G10 or Panasonic Lumic DMC ZS60 - or - dare we say - the iPhone that’s already sitting in your pocket.

Some Top Tips

  • Try using your smartphone camera before investing in a fancy new one.
  • Use a tripod for stability.
  • Lighting is everything - see whether artificial or natural light works best for your products.
  • You can also use a natural background or a sweep that bounces off a white light, depending on the results you’re looking for.

How Do You Take a Picture For an eCommerce Site?

As we’ve already pointed out, the imagery requirements for an online site are very specific and require different product photography techniques. For example, you have to be able to zoom in on an eCommerce image, and the style of a magazine advertisement image will be very different to what you need for your store.

Before you start shooting, do some research to get product photography ideas from websites that are in your industry. This will help you figure out what works (or doesn’t) and what you need for your business. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Start by organizing the setup by creating a white background. You can use a white wall and table to set the stage.
  2. Arrange the lighting around the staging area. You can use light standees or LED lights, but natural light can also be a good option for certain products or lifestyle shots.
  3. For smaller items, you can use a lightbox to get the right light and a white stage in one fell swoop.
  4. Use a sweep or light bouncers to create the right studio effect.
  5. Set up your camera and tripod at the right distance to ensure stability and clear photos.
  6. Play with your camera settings to find exactly the right combination you need for each particular shot. This will involve setting exposure and aperture, among other things.
  7. Place the products in the staging area.
  8. Finally, take several shots of the product from different angles and at different distances.

5 Brands That Have Aced Product Photography for eCommerce

As you can see, good eCommerce photography doesn’t just happen. It requires a lot of time, thought, effort, and money to do it well. To inspire you, we’ve rounded up five brands who we think have nailed it.

  • Mulberry - This designer brand knows people want as much information as possible before shelling out thousands of dollars. That’s why their product pages offer zoomable photos and a variety of views.
  • Land Rover - Cars get a sexy, real-life display on this car manufacturer’s website thanks to the incredible product and lifestyle imagery combined with grand videos.
  • - This online furniture store is a great example of using product-only, white-background photography to create simple yet compelling images that customers drool over.
  • Hard Graft - Leather accessories couldn’t possibly produce exciting images, right? Wrong. With the help of a tiny Snowy the Dog figurine (of Tin Tin comic fame), the images of cardholders and wallets offer great perspective and a little tongue-in-cheek fun.
  • Leica - Call it the height of irony - or perhaps just a way of setting expectations - but this camera brand’s site has a serious photography game. Not only is each camera showcased with an overview and detailed shots, but product pages also have photos taken with each particular camera.

Grab Your Customers’ Attention With Great Photography

In real estate, they say location is everything. We bet the saying revolves more around great eCommerce photography for online retailers. We hope that you now understand why strong product photography is so important for eCommerce success. Don’t forget that once your great visual content translates into sales, you can sign up for a free account with us and use Easyship to fulfill your orders!