Imagery has the power to inspire, motivate and convey a message. And this counts for product images too, as they can influence online shoppers’ buying decisions.
They either encourage or dissuade a customer from spending their hard-earned cash on your products. And, that’s based on whether:
- The images are of high quality
- The images provide a customer with an accurate story of what the product is
- The images answer the question of what the product does
- The customer can visualize themselves using the product(s)
According to this article, 75% of online shoppers rely on ecommerce product photos to make a purchase decision. In addition to that, 90% rate the quality of the product photo as the most important factor when making the decision to purchase. Further research has found that 33,16% prefer to see multiple photos of the same product, and a Weebly study revealed that 22% of online product returns are because the ordered items look different than in the pictures.
If these numbers tell us anything, it’s that customers are looking for authenticity and trust. They want images that accurately represent your product for what it truly is. That way, they can be confident in their decision to buy the product. So, the juicier the product image, the more likely a customer will buy it.
But how do you improve your images to make them juicy enough to influence conversions? Whether you’re in the apparel, furniture, hardware, or floral industry, we’ve got some photography tips that will help answer that question.
1. Decide on the product photography type
In ecommerce, there are two main types of product images to choose from:
- Product-only images
- Context-based or lifestyle images
Product-only images are taken against a single-color background and can either be an individual, a group, or a packaging shot. This choice is best when looking to showcase your products without any distractions. On the other hand, context-based images are a perfect choice when you want to showcase your product in action. Say you’re selling homeware items; for instance, you can use context-based images. You can do this by photographing the items with all the related accessories. This creates a home setting and a sense of desire which helps customers visualize how they would use your product.
A great example would be Dowse Design.
The same can be said for jewelry items. Lifestyle shots of these items provide customers with a clear idea of how they would use (or wear) them in their daily lives, and how to properly style the items. Biko is a great example to use as a reference. The brand uses both product-only and context-based images and showcases the product from different angles so you can get a full picture of it.
2. Take high-quality product images
As mentioned above, customers cite high-quality images as an essential component of their buying decision. Okay, but what makes a product image quality? It’s all in the resolution, baby! The higher the resolution, the higher the quality. The difference between a hi-res image and a low-res image is that the former will look clear and sharp, while the latter will look blurry and pixelated (and what customer would take pixelated images seriously? None).
So, taking hi-res images to your web shop or product listings means you’re putting out high-quality images that will guarantee a positive perception from customers. Here’s an example of a quality image from the furniture brand, Poly & Bark.
3. Take multiple angles of the same product
When customers are physically in a brick-and-mortar shop, they pick up a product and turn it around at different angles to see the product in full. This is an experience they crave in the online shopping space, and the way to provide it for them is through multiple angle shots of the same product. That means taking photos of the back, front, top, bottom, and all sides. For example, if you’re selling clothing items, you want to capture a 360-degree view with details from all angles.
Fashion brand, Negative Underwear excels in taking shots from multiple angles.
4. Use a tripod
Whether you’ve got a premium or a standard camera, balance will be the key determining factor in how the images turn out. Losing even a little balance while taking a picture can impact the result of your images. So, getting a tripod to still yourself as you take product photos will make all the difference. Even if you’re using a smartphone with excellent camera capabilities, you can trust a tripod to steady you while taking a product image. Luckily, you can find quality tripods at affordable prices if you’re working on a tight budget.
5. Choose the best lighting option
When it comes to images, lighting is the most important factor, and it’s not solely for the perfect Instagram selfie, but for product images too. Good lighting can be the determining factor on whether you get a good product photo or not.
You have the choice of a natural light source or studio lighting. The option you choose depends on the products and the type of photography you’re taking. Natural lighting is free, but sometimes it’s hard to come by, depending on many variables. For example, the weather, season, time of the day, and the quality of light in space you’re planning to take the images from. You can work around all of these, of course, but studio lighting offers you the freedom to take images anytime, any weather or season and no matter how dark the room is.
Nowadays, you can use ring lights. They are portable and cost-effective alternatives to buying new studio lighting equipment. Amazon has decent ring lights that go for less than 60 dollars. Not to mention that they’re just as equipped to give you the lighting boost you need to take quality product shots.
Whichever option you choose, ensure that the color tone of the products looks as natural as possible and that there are softer shadows. If you end up with product shots with yellowish tones, your customers may not trust your products enough to buy them. And it’s almost impossible to edit hard shadows out of the picture. So, pay attention to the small details as you take the shots. You can set up white covers such as curtains, paper, cardboard, or paperboard to soften the shadows.
6. Edit using a bigger screen
Speaking of editing, always use a bigger screen. Even if you use a smartphone to take the images, transfer them onto your computer or laptop for editing. This is because a smartphone has a small screen which opens up chances to miss important details. With a wider screen, you’re able to see everything clearly.
You can find tons of image editing software, some free and some are paid for. These include Adobe Photoshop, Canva, GIMP, Pixlr, and so much more. You can use whichever software you think will work best for you and your editing abilities.
Some of the basic techniques that can improve the quality of your photos include:
- Sharpening — to draw in clarity of the product details
- Brightening — to improve the lighting
- Color correction — to bring the image colors true to life
- Removing background — to potentially remove hard shadows where possible
7. Optimize the images for sales channels
Here comes the fun part, image optimization!
Once you’ve taken great images and you’re certain they’re ready for the eyes of your customers, you need to optimize the product images for search engines, your web store, and all your other sales channels.
Start with optimizing your images for faster loading speed. The way to do that is to follow the sizing of each channel as they have different sets of requirements. For example, if you’re selling through Shopify, you will need to upload a file size smaller than 20 MB, which can be any size up to 5760 x 5760 px or 20 megapixels.
For a marketplace like Amazon, you’d need to upload an image with pixel dimensions that are a minimum of 1,000 in height or width.
The next thing you need to do is add SEO-friendly alt-text to the images, this describes what the image is. For example, if you sell hardware and construction items such as stainless steel door handles, you can add your alt-text as “stainless steel material door handle.” When adding alt-text, you need to be descriptive but concise and add relevant keywords. This copy will explain the image to Google and show up if your image refuses to load.
Store your optimized quality product photos in Plytix
As you can see, you have the opportunity to take your ecommerce photography to the next level. But where do you store these great product images? In a Digital Asset Management (DAM) software. That’s exactly right; but what if we tell you that you can store the images in the same place as your other product data?
With a Product Information Management system like Plytix, all of your product content needs are taken care of. Our catalog management software enables you to store accurate, enriched data, and distribute your content directly to sales channels. It’s a PIM for syndication solution that’s efficient, and fast.
That's why it’s known as the best PIM for Shopify!
An additional perk of Plytix is the Product Sheets module that allows you to create sell sheets that close deals. You won’t need a designer; all you need is to choose from our product sheets templates. Then, plug and play all of the information, and beautiful images you’ve taken, to woo your customers.
Sounds like music to your ears, right? Get your demo session, where all your burning questions can be answered. Or download The Ultimate PIM Buyer’s Guide to find the right PIM for small to medium-sized businesses like yours.