Product photography

Ecommerce Product Photography

Tips For Better Ecommerce Product Photography

So much time and effort goes into making a product. But what happens when you need professional and clean images of the item? Can you do it yourself and would you achieve a good enough standard for your online store?

Photos can make or break your sales, here are some tips to keep in mind the next time you take pictures of your beautiful products!

Product photography is quickly becoming a necessary part of many commercial websites. There are various reasons why you might want to take product photos yourself. Maybe you’re a small business that wants to create an online store, or maybe you just want to document your products for a blog post or social media update. Whatever your reasons, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when taking product photos. Once you become aware of these and incorporate into your shoot, you may be very surprised at the results you can achieve.

Before After Chef knife originalProduct enhancement chef knife

In this example the kitchen knife has a cleaner blade and the handle has been enhanced to take out the original blemishes showing. Colour grading and lighting effects applied for a more emotive quality.

Before After Original product photoEcommerce product photography tips 1

In this example the product after is sharper and the bottom of the packaging has been cleaned up with no cardboard wrinkles. The styling is darkened around the edges to bring more focus to the product.

Product detail page layout

Example of a product detail page in an ecommerce store.

How Important Is Product Photography For E-commerce?

In the world of eCommerce, product photography is key. It’s one of the most important elements of your online store, and it can make or break your sales. Although it’s not the only factor that determines whether or not someone will make a purchase online, product photography is essential for ecommerce businesses.

In fact, studies have shown that around 60-90% of purchasing decisions are made visually, so it’s no surprise that good product photography can be the deciding factor between a sale and a lost opportunity. Here are a few reasons why product photography is so important:

 

1. People buy with their eyes.

The old saying “people buy with their eyes” rings true. When you visit a retail store, what draws your attention? One of the most important things that you have to consider when it comes to eCommerce is the fact that people shop with their eyes. If your product doesn’t look good, there’s a high chance that people won’t buy it. That’s why product visuals are so important and, in most cases, the deciding factor when it comes to buying a product online.

 

2. People trust credible sources.

People are more likely to trust a product if they can see it clearly. Good product photography gives your shoppers the information they need about a product to make a purchase.

 

3. Product photos help with SEO.

You’ve probably heard of search engine optimization (SEO). In short, it’s the process of attracting traffic from search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing by having your website rank high in their listings. When a shopper searches for a product on a search engine, they’ll first see your product photos in the search results. If these photos are compelling and clear, it will increase your chances of that person clicking on your link to visit your site.

 

4. It makes it easier for customers to shop online.

Good product photography can be a huge help if your website or store is cluttered with too many products. Customers want a clean layout that’s simple and easy to navigate, and good product photography can help with that. When customers can quickly scan through your products and see high-quality images of what they’re buying, they’re more likely to make a purchase.

 

5. It builds brand awareness.

Not only does good product photography help increase sales, but it can also help with brand awareness. By showcasing your products in an attractive way, you’re showing customers that your products are worth buying again. You can also use product photography to showcase certain features or benefits of your products, which will help increase brand awareness and customer confidence in your company.

Two food visuals at different angles

Example of a creative ecommerce product photography showing a front view and overhead shot.

Types Of Product Photography

The most common type of product photography involves photographing a single item against an even background – either white or coloured depending on the end use of the photo (e.g. website background). It is important to set up lighting correctly in order to minimise shadows and capture the shape, shade, colour and detailing of the product. This type is usually used for the product detail page in your online store.

The other type of product photography is when creating a more lifestyle approach to a product visual is required. This type of product photography brings in a broader environment with the product, however the product is not necessarily the complete focus. With lifestyle product photography the end goal is to create a visual context that stirs a  feeling or desire that is emotive. 

Product photography

What Size Should Ecommerce Product Images Be?

The product detail page is where the prospective customer views and interacts with the product. Having the right product visuals can make or break your sales and conversions.

Size matters but you don’t want photos that are uploaded directly from a smart phone or camera, doing this will create very high resolution images and at the same time high file sizes. High file sizes will slow down the loading times of your website.

So what are the best image sizes to use? We recommend an image size between 1400 pixels to 1600 pixels. This size gives both a high enough resolution while facilitating a quality zoom in ability.

Final resolution for ecommerce product photography should be at 72DPI (dots per square  inch). Images from a camera or smartphone are produced in the MB range typically between 3MB to 6MB for a smart phone. Depending on the type of camera used resolution can range from 6MB to 20MB on average. As images should not be uploaded to an ecommerce website directly, image optimisation is an essential part of ecommerce photography. Photoshop is a popular tool for resizing product photos. However there is a learning curve with Photoshop though worth the time to become familiar with this tool. That said some ecommerce owners may not wish to spend time learning Photoshop. So how can images be reduced down in size from the original images? One very simple and fast method is to take a screen grab of the original images with a browser based tool such as Microsofts Snipping Tool. Upload the originals to your computer and take a screen grab of the photos and saving to a folder called resized images for example. You will still wish to keep the aspect ratio the same as the screen grabs may differ in size slightly. This can be done in a photo editor of your choice online.  www.fotor.com.

Product detail page

Example of creative backdrop for ecommerce product photography and showing how the visual is displayed in the product detail page.

Best Aspect Ratio For Your Product Photos 

During the photoshoot (whether this is a professional photographer or a do it your self style on your smart phone), it’s important to be aware of the aspect ratio. Being aware of how a product is going to fit into the frame will help create consistency across your ecommerce website.  The most common ratio types are square or 1:1 ratio, 2:3 ratio, 4:3 and 3:4 ratio. 

Once you have a clear idea on the aspect ratio this guide how you photograph the items. Most e-commerce website owners will want their product photos to display consistently and align evenly across the screen. 

For mobile formatting a 2:3 ratio does fit more visual into the viewable area and can create more impact due to the area displayed on mobile. While a square format woks great both on desktop and smartphone when looking for the optimal display and impact.

One to one aspect ratio
Ecommerce product photography tips 2
Ecommerce product photography tips 3
3 to 2 ratio
4 to 3 aspect ratio

Aspect ratio seen clearly displayed on smartphone configuration. 2:3 ratio has the highest impact visually. 1:1 provides the optimal configuration.

Create Your Own Mini Studio At Little Expense

Setting up a little space and keeping this to shoot your products makes the process very effective. With a permanent little space where you can quickly document the item makes sense. When you spend time and energy to make a product only to send it to a customer without photographing first is a lost opportunity. With a space reserved for taking photos you get to use the visuals of your products that may otherwise been lost.

Making a little studio in your home or workspace is easier than you you may think. This can be done in a few simple steps. First, find a good light source beside a large window. Use a net curtain to diffuse strong sunlight. Then set up a workbench, table or planks of wood over two work stands where you can place your items to be shot. You can even place planks of wood using two chairs.  Sometimes it’s best to have a low height off of the ground. This will enable overhead shots without having to lean over too much over the item.

Improvised product photography setup

This photo shows how to setup a improvised mini studio near a natural light source. The item is kept half in the dark using dark painted boards and half in the light. 

Ecommerce product photography tips 4

The end result once the image is cropped and lightly edited in Photoshop.

Why You Don’t Need Fancy Lighting Equipment When You Have Natural Light.

When it comes to photographing products, natural light is always the best option. It creates a natural and flattering look for your product, and doesn’t require any extra equipment or set-up. If you’re shooting in a natural setting, make sure to take advantage of the natural backdrop and styling opportunities it provides. For example, if you’re shooting a product against a natural backdrop of trees or a hill, make sure the product is well-lit and the background is properly blurred.

With natural light you can take some really amazing shots of your products. This way gives a more natural feel and look to the image compared to using lighting equipment, which is often seen as too artificial for most consumers.

In fact many product photographers us natural light to produce the best results. One photographer that comes to mind is David Loftus who has worked extensively for Jamie Oliver. Even though the subject matter id food related the techniques can be applied to most items.

Product photography is all about light. Every product is different and has different surface textures but ultimately, there are three basic elements that can help you capture great images of products for your business – lighting, depth of field, and composition. Once you are aware how lighting works with your product photography your visuals will improve dramatically.

 

Soap products styled

Left photo showing item with two floor tiles as the backdrop. Right photo showing item on floor tile with simple styled props.

Natural Lighting Tips

Use natural light whenever possible. If you’re shooting indoors, try to use a window as your source of light. This will create softer, more natural-looking light. If you can’t get close enough to a window, use a white piece of foam core to bounce the light from anywhere in your room that has good natural light. The most common type of product photography involves photographing a single item against an even background – either white or coloured depending on the end-use of the photo (e.g. website background). It is important to set up lighting correctly in order to minimise shadows and capture the shape, shade, colour and detailing of the product. 

The ideal natural light conditions are typically when there is a soft cloud cover. Strong sunlight on a bright sunny day will create harsh lighting and dark shadows around your products. So it’s best to set up a shoot near a natural light source such as a large window on a not too bright day. Overcast days can be an opportune time to shoot your products.

With natural soft light, the end results can be very compelling. If you’re photographing a product against a white background, using a reflector can make all the difference in your photo. A reflector is simply a white board that bounces light back onto the object. This will help eliminate shadows and give your photo a more polished look.

Play Video

Food photography video by David Loftus.

One of the most important things about good product photography for ecommerce is that it captures the imagination of your customer.

How to Use Your  Smartphone For High-Quality Product Visuals

So you want to sell that hot new product but the pictures on your website look a little dated. You’re not alone, as visual artists discover more and more ways to take advantage of smartphones, they are becoming a preferable option over their larger counterparts for many tasks.

In today’s tutorial we will go through some of those tips and tricks, so you can create high-quality product visuals using nothing more than your smartphone.

The first step is to find a well-lit space in which to take your pictures. If you’re shooting outdoors, try to find a spot that’s in direct sunlight. If you’re shooting indoors, use a window with natural light or use a photo studio light kit.

Next, you’ll want to make sure your product is clean and free of any dust or debris. If you’re shooting a physical product, you can use a soft cloth to wipe it down. If you’re shooting a digital product, make sure the screen is clean and that there is no glare.

Once your product is ready, it’s time to start shooting. The following tips will help you get the best results:

Angle your product slightly downwards. This will create a more flattering angle and make your product look more appealing.

Zoom in as much as possible. This will help eliminate any distortion and give you a clear, crisp image.

Use the rule of thirds. Imagine your frame being divided into nine sections, four vertical and four horizontal. Try to position the product so it takes up a quarter of the frame on either side, or simply place it in the middle for a symmetrical composition.

Keep one eye closed while taking your picture. This will help you avoid any unsightly double-vision in your photos.

Take lots of pictures. The more shots you take, the greater the chance of getting a good one.

Once you’ve taken your pictures, it’s time to start editing. There are a number of great photo editing apps available for smartphones, and most of them are free. One of our favourites is Snapse.

Mobile product photography

Shallow Depth Of Field

Depth of Field: When shooting products, using a shallow depth of field can be very effective in drawing attention to the product and making it stand out. This can be done by using a lens with a large aperture (f/2.8 or lower), or by shooting from a close distance.

Depth of field example

Example of shallow depth of field for a more lifestyle approach to ecommerce product photography. In this photo the vase is in focus while the foreground and background are out of focus yet still contribute to the overall affect. This type of image fits in with a more lifestyle approach.

Background Props

The main focus of product photography is the item you’re photographing so it’s important to set up the scene nicely. It’s good practice to photograph one or two items at a time, especially because most props aren’t very forgiving and will only work well with certain products. When planning out your pictures, think about what items may work well together. For instance, if you want to photograph an outfit, it’s helpful to have a nice neutral background in order to make the clothing really stand out. A plain white wall or bed sheet are good options.

For smaller items a great tip for creating an effective backdrop is to place two floor tiles of your choice together. The first being the surface and second propped against a wall as the background. This can be very effective for obtaining consistent and neutral styling to showcase your products.

For items like backpacks and purses, find where you would usually grab them and position the prop slightly above it on either side. For shoes, make sure they’re facing forward and the laces are parallel with where your arms would naturally fall.

Do make sure your props are clean before photographing because there is nothing worse than seeing an item that’s dirty or damaged. If you need to store them, then cover them with a sheet or blanket and store them in a safe place.

It’s not always easy to get clear backdrops behind your product, so painted boards can be a great stand-in. Your painted backdrop can be anything you like.

 

Example of product with simple dark background

Example of a product photographed with a dark background prop and foliage.

Why Product Images Are Important For SEO?

As companies begin to embrace the power of digital marketing, they also see the growing importance of content marketing. If you happen to be in this category, it’s about time that you start considering ‘visual’ content in your overall strategy.

Today, people just don’t like reading; they like images and videos. In fact, a lot of information can be sent across with just visuals. So, if you have been ignoring the power of visual content so far, it’s time to pay attention to it.

Let’s look at some important factors that make product images so important in your overall online marketing strategy:

Product images increase social shares and user engagement Product images help improve conversions It helps grow traffic from external sources Product images reduce bounce rate The list is quite long!

In short, product images enhance your online presence and help you succeed in the digital marketing field.

Research from Bazaarvoice found that sites with high-quality, positive product ratings received 19% more traffic from the search engines.

There are two critical aspects of ecommerce product photography that help with your SEO efforts: image click-through rates and conversion rate optimization . Image CTR refers to how many people click on a particular image when viewing results on Google Images, which is an excellent source of volume for most retailers. Conversion rate optimization covers the impact that good product photography has on your landing pages.

Product images help with organic search rankings, but they also influence consumers to click through from those results and convert into paying customers once they’re on your site. It’s a virtuous cycle.

In order to fully understand how ecommerce product photography affects SEO , we first need to take a look at how Google displays images in search results.

The image above represents a simple example of what you might see when someone searches for “boots” on Google, but it’s important to mention that a variety of factors determine which images appear and the order in which they’re shown.

 

Tips For Using Ecommerce Product Photography

It may surprise you to learn that many retailers still only use a single, solitary image of each product. In order to improve your conversion rates and get the most from your SEO efforts, it’s important to provide as much information as possible about your products in order to convince customers they need them. A good rule of thumb is to have a minimum of six images per product, which can include:

– Main or hero image : a large picture that covers the most important details. This may be a lifestyle shot of someone using your product, a close up on an element of it, or even an all-over view from multiple angles. Google recommends using larger images where possible, so this should be your hero shot.

– Different angles : different views that reinforce the look and style of the product without repeating too much of what’s already visible. For example, you might show the front, back and sides of a coffee mug.

– A zoomed-in picture : great for seeing intricate details or demonstrating scale.

– Details : images that show less important elements of the product, such as the stitching on a pair of shoes, or buttons and buckles on a handbag. These can be reminiscent of lifestyle shots – for example, an image of someone wearing clothes with their hands in their pockets – but they should focus more clearly on the product itself. This can also be useful for showcasing small variants on the same design, such as different colors of the same shoe.

– 360 degree view : usually rendered in Flash, this is an interactive image that allows users to click and drag the product around on their screen to see all sides of it (see example here ). Google loves 360 degree images, as they allow users to get the full picture before clicking through to your site. For smaller products that are harder to move around digitally, you might want to consider linking 360 degree photos with a video of the product in motion (see example here ).

– Videos : great for showcasing large or complex products. You can use them to show off all the features and any special elements. It’s also possible to include video content within 360 degree images (see example here ).

When planning your products, try to think about different types of user that might be looking at your ecommerce product photography. For simplicity’s sake, say there are two:

– Casual customers : people who are casually browsing through your site to see what you have. They might be looking for ideas or inspiration, so try to give them plenty of images that show off the product in full detail.

– More dedicated customers : people who are closer to buying. For these users, think about specific questions they might have about an item and address them with additional close up shots or videos.

Use your ecommerce product photography to tell a story

Great ecommerce product photography tells the story of your product and how it’s used. A good picture doesn’t just show off the physical attributes like shape, size and color: it captures that intangible feeling something can give you when you hold it in your hands. With this in mind, try to think about how you can tell a story with your images.

If possible, make sure the images of your product are of good quality and not grainy or pixelated (click here for tips on taking pictures). If you’re using lifestyle shots that include people, then get them to use the product in some way. You can give them specific instructions, or just an idea of what to do, but make sure they are all relaxed, natural and in keeping with your brand.

Lifestyle shots can also be useful for showing how a product appears in real life when used by different kinds of people. For example, someone might not think it’s “cool” to wear a baseball cap, but an image of someone in a casual denim outfit wearing one might make them think again.

Conclusion

In conclusion, good product photography is essential for ecommerce businesses because it builds trust with potential customers, helps them imagine using your products, signals to them that you’re serious about your business, and makes it easier for customers to shop online. By taking advantage of high-quality product photos, you’re sure to see an increase in sales and brand awareness.

If you prefer to hire someone to take your product photos for you, Firesky Studios can provide product photography. However most professionals will be able to help you create the right scene and find the props that work best with what you’re trying to sell.

 

Product Photography

Hiring A Product Photographer

Photography is a critical part of product marketing. It’s how your product looks that often makes the difference between consumers picking up your product or putting it back on the shelf.

But with so many companies offering product photography services, what do you look for in a product photographer? What are some things you need to consider when deciding if someone is right for the product photography job you need done?

What product photographers offer product photography services?

Product photographers offer a wide range of product photography services. They can:

– Shoot your product on location, in studio or both

– Photograph your product against a white background or more creative setups using different colors and textures as backgrounds for the product

– Provide product photos that run the gamut from product and product alone to product alongside a hand or objects like flowers.

– Use product shot photography equipment for product shots including backdrops, lights, stands, backgrounds

What product photographer knowledge should you look for?

When looking for a product photographer, there are certain skills you need to be sure they have.

Product photography is product marketing, so you need product photography that’s going to be high quality and appealing to the consumers who are looking at it. Product shots that don’t look appealing won’t sell product or product images of subpar quality. You need product photographers with experience in product photo retouching so you get good results.

What product photography job you need done should determine product photographer.

Not all product photographers will do the same product photography jobs or product photo retouching jobs. If you’re looking for product photos that include people interacting with your product, such as a hand holding it, then you might want to find a product photographer who specializes in lifestyle shots or product photo retouching that includes people.

As you can see, product photography is an important part of product marketing that takes knowledge and skill to complete successfully. When choosing product photographers make sure they have the knowledge and skills needed for your product photographing jobs.

Product Photography Services

Product Photography Services

High quality product photography for your ecommerce business. Get professional images of your products with Firesky! In addition we can have the expertise to optimise your products images for your ecommerce store. Email us at hello@fireskystudios.com to learn more about our services and rates.

Example of shallow depth of field for a more lifestyle approach to ecommerce product photography.