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    Click, Shoot, Sell: Product Photography Tips and Tricks

    18 minute read
    Click, Shoot, Sell: Product Photography Tips and Tricks

    Product pages act as a digital shelf. Shoppers can’t see or touch a product before they buy, so they rely on high-quality photos, videos, and descriptions to influence their decisions. 

    Salsify’s “2023 Consumer Research” report reveals that 55% of consumers cite bad product content, such as incomplete and inconsistent content, as the main reason they won’t buy a product online. And 39% have returned products because they didn’t match the images. 

    “Good” ecommerce product photography is crucial for global ecommerce success because it enhances the online shopping experience, boosts consumer trust, and ultimately drives higher conversion rates and revenue.

    But what makes a good product photo? Here are some actionable tips for product photography success. 

    The Foundations of Compelling Product Imagery 

    Your product photos are often the first thing shoppers will see (or look for) when browsing your online store. To make the most out of your ecommerce product photography, consider these examples of product photography angles.

    High-Quality Images

    Blurry photos don’t cut it anymore, as even standard smartphones have powerful camera capabilities. You should have in-focus photos with bright lighting to show your product in all its glory. 

    Your product should also be the main focus of the picture — that doesn’t mean it needs to be the only thing in the photo, just that the viewer's eye should be drawn to it in some way. 

    Provide Product Images From Multiple Angles

    Online shoppers don’t always have the luxury of seeing or touching a product in real life before they buy. This is where your product photography becomes the star of the show. Use different angles so shoppers can build up a 3D image of it in their heads. 

    Here are some photo angles to consider.

    Front Angle

    Take a snap of your product from the front, as L’Oreal does with its Revitalift moisturizer. 

    L’Oreal Paris Revitalift moisturizer

    Image Source: L’Oreal Paris

    Profile Angle

    Show your product’s side profile like Nike does with its shoesNike white sneaker Image Source: Nike

    Three-Quarter Degree Angle

    Coca-Cola has tipped the camera slightly to show its bottle bundle from a three-quarter-degree angle. Coca-Cola bottles on display Image Source: The Coca-Cola Company

    Back Angle

    If the back of your product is important, include a picture of it on your product pageLouis Vuitton shows shoppers what its dresses look like from the back. Louis Vuitton model showcasing clothing and products Image Source: Louis Vuitton

    Top Angle

    Stationery company Martha Brook often shows its notebooks from above to create an aesthetic “flat lay” style image. Martha Brook planner flat lay  Image Source: Martha Brook

    In-Context or Lifestyle Imagery

    In-context (or lifestyle) imagery helps shoppers imagine how your product might fit into their lives. 

    Lifestyle images might include an image of someone wearing a dress, carrying a surfboard, or a sofa in pride of place in a cozy lounge. Because they can’t see the product in their own homes or on their bodies, shoppers rely on seeing it on someone else or in another inspirational setting.

    Take this photo sequence from IKEA. The product is a simple outdoor cushion, but the photos show it in use in various ways, providing shoppers with fodder for their imagination. Ikea model carrying pillow, pillow styled on a bench Image Source: IKEA

    Interactive Imagery

    Take your product photography one step further and make it interactive. There are plenty of tools that let you create augmented reality (AR) scenes for shoppers to use in their own homes, but sometimes a simple, interactive 360-degree image can do the trick. Alternatively, you can create an interactive photo that shoppers can click on to find out more.

    Cookware company Our Place’s product image dissects the product and encourages shoppers to click on each element to find out more.Our Place pan product image

    Image Source: Our Place

    Tips for Product Photography and Choosing the Right Imagery

    According to research from The Retail View, 75% of shoppers rely on product photography to make purchasing decisions. The quality of your images could be the difference between shoppers choosing your product or a competitor’s.

    Follow these tips for product photography to make sure you’re using the right images.

    1. Get a Clear Shot of Your Product

    Your product needs to be front and center and it needs to be in focus and clear. Avoid images that are blurry, difficult to make out, or don’t show your product in the most flattering way.

    2. Use a Light-Colored Background

    A study by BigCommerce found that 76% of product photos analyzed used a plain white background. There are plenty of good reasons for this: White is a clean color, it makes the product stand out, and it’s easy to replicate over an entire product catalog. 

    That being said, choosing a different colored background can make your product stand out against others in the market. It’s a good idea to still use a light color to draw attention to your product and ensure the image is crisp and clear. 

    Take beverage company Olipop, for example, which uses a range of pastel colors as a backdrop for its drinks. 

    Olipop Crisp Apple can Image Source: Olipop

    3. Shoot Your Product From Multiple Angles

    Use as many angles as you can for your product photos. Ideally, you want shoppers to have a 3D picture of your product in their heads. So, instead of using just one or two angles, try using all of them or, even better, upload a 360-degree image for shoppers to interact with.

    Suitcase company Away includes multiple photos of its suitcases from various angles so shoppers can get a good feel for what they’re buying. 

    Away suitcase product image  Image Source: Away

    4. Remove Distractions

    Your product should be the main attraction in each photo. You can still use a backdrop or an in-context background, but remove any immediate distractions that take the focus off the product.

    Bedding company Brooklinen removes potential distractions by zooming in on the product and showing a close-up. Brooklinen green duvet  Image Source: Brooklinen

    5. Use Good Lighting

    Dark, dingy lighting isn’t going to sell your product — shoppers want to see what they’re buying. Use natural light where possible or, if that’s not doable, use artificial lighting against a neutral backdrop. 

    Dollar Shave Club plays with its lighting to create atmospheric shadows that give the product photo a 3D feel. 

    Dollar Shave Club razor Image Source: Dollar Shave Club

    6. The More Images, the Better

    At the bare minimum, you should show your product from the front, back, and side if it’s relevant. But ultimately, the more visual cues you can give shoppers, the better. Use a variety of angles, show your product close-up, and include interactive images where possible. 

    Shoe company Allbirds uses a mixture of angles, photo styles, and videos to showcase its products. As well as plain background shots, it also has in-context pictures and various close-ups.

    Allbirds black sweatpants product imagesImage Source: Allbirds

    7. A/B Test Your Images

    What works for one brand might not work for yours and vice versa. Run tests to see which images perform better by switching up the angles, styles, and backgrounds. You might find that your customers prefer lifestyle imagery over plain white backgrounds or that close-up images show off your products better than flat lays. 

    Measure the results via conversions and sales or use a heatmap tool to see which photos shoppers spend the most time looking at. 

    Get Your Ecommerce Product Photography Right

    Making mistakes with your product photography can have a detrimental impact on your bottom line. If people don’t like what they see, they won’t buy. It’s as simple as that. 

    Use these tips to give your product photos the best chance possible at wooing potential customers. 

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    Written by: Lizzie Davey

    Lizzie Davey (she/her) is a freelance writer and content strategist for ecommerce software brands. Her specialty is combining customer research with actionable copy to create pieces that people actually want to read. Over the past 10 years, she's worked with top industry brands to bring their vision to life and build...

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