5 Ecommerce Product Photography Tips That Sell
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but when it comes to ecommerce product photography that same picture could be worth thousands of dollars (or more) in your pocket!
Ecommerce product photography has become an essential aspect of online shopping. Customers rely on photos for an accurate depiction of what they are buying, as well as a way to judge the value of your product and trustworthiness of your brand. So yes, the quality of your visual presentation is essential.
Most businesses don’t understand the importance of their product photos, and neglecting this aspect of their online store is costing them big time. It’s easy to argue that the price of getting professional ecommerce product photos is not worthwhile, but if only these businesses knew it’s possible to take site-ready photos with little to no sweat of their back.
Luckily, YOU can get a step ahead of them with the tools in your pocket and at the cost of a dinner for one! You can create polished and beautiful product photography without spending hundreds of dollars on equipment or a professional photographer.
Here are a few tips to get you started in photographing high quality and consistent shots of your products!
#1 The hero is shouting from your pocket
Photo by James Yarema on Unsplash
While the most essential element to your product shoot is your camera, you don’t need a multi-thousand dollar camera set up to create professional photographs.
Smartphone technology today is tremendous and allows you to shoot high-quality product photos for ecommerce without the hassle and expense of a high-end camera. Think of the shock you have when you see “shot on Iphone” under some of these crazy images and videos on the internet! Of course, if you have a professional-grade camera, take advantage of it, but if not, any smartphone camera like an iPhone 7, Google Pixel, or a Samsung Galaxy S4, will do the trick.
Using a smartphone along with the following tips will allow you to create product photography that is professional, consistent, and most importantly SELLS $$$.
#2 Hold it steady there cowboy
Photo by MacroFrame
That’s right, we’re talking tripods. While propping your phone or camera up against a makeshift set up is a cheaper option, it ultimately leads to irregularities in your photos that can deter customers from your product, site, and brand.
Remember, the goal is to create trustworthy, clear, and professional photos that represent your product and brand in the best way possible. Sharp and in-focus shots give your customers a realistic impression of your product and will increase your sales. A tripod will help you regulate the orientation of your product in each photo for a consistent look, and these days finding the right tripod to fit your needs is easier and more affordable than ever.
You will want to decide between a traditional or a flexible tripod to get you started. I prefer the flexible tripod and find them to be more versatile and easy to use; my go-to tripod can be found here and is extremely affordable!
The flexible legs bend and move to achieve the camera angle you desire and it comes with a mobile phone grip and DSLR attachment for whatever you’re shooting with!
#3 It’s not “camera, action” lights come first!
Proper lighting can ultimately make or break your product pictures, but most people seem to completely forget about it.
The main factor you will want to consider is natural light versus artificial light. The right lighting set up should reveal the critical decision making features of your product so your customers have a clear image of what they will be purchasing.
While natural lighting can be effective in lifestyle product photography, it does have its limitations; like relying on the weather, only shooting during specific times of the day, and introducing the possibility of inconsistencies. For those reasons alone, I prefer artificial light and recommend it especially for newbies in the product photography world.
There are many ways you can use artificial light in your product shoots. Lamps can create a bright artificial setting when used with Fluorescent, LED, or Tungsten light bulbs.
Photo by Jackie Rahl on MacroFrame
However, I recommend purchasing ready-made photography equipment, which is low cost, easy, and convenient. Lightboxes are a helpful tool in creating consistent, professional-looking photographs without breaking the bank. The MacroFrame lightbox is equipped with an LED strip; this simple yet powerful piece of gear allows you to properly photograph and show off your product with clean, even lighting. If you have multiple products to shoot, tools like a lightbox will make the photographing process more efficient and smooth. Some lightboxes sell for hundreds of dollars, but options like the MacroFrame lightbox are affordable and effective.
#4 Use A Sweep To Emphasize The Product
Images by Taylor Mathis
An essential step to take when creating professional-looking ecommerce product photography is using a sweep background; a photography sweep is when the backdrop does not have a crease or break in it. This is the best way to create a seamless background that allows the product to be the center of attention.
Images that are focused and distraction-free are pleasing to the eye and help create a more professional look and feel for your brand. Sweeps are not fancy, this look can easily be accomplished with a low budget and just a spark of creativity.
While making one of these backdrops from home is possible and affordable, the MacroFrame lightbox (pictured above) comes equipped with black and white backdrops to help create the smooth sweep. Instead of setting up my own lighting and sweep, I rely on easy assembly lightboxes for accuracy and consistency.
#5 Shoot all the angles.
When taking pictures of ourselves, we all know there are good angles and there are bad angles. But when it comes to product photography, hunny, you need ALL THE ANGLES. Do not stop at one photo per product, give your customers so many images it feels like they are holding the product!
In order to create product photography that mimics the shopping experience, you need multiple shots of your product from different angles. Your customers want to look, pick up, hold, and use the product you are selling, so give them a variety of photos that promote these sensations. The better your customers know and understand the product the more likely they are to purchase it.
There are two ways to give this experience to your customers.
First you can start by taking multiple photos from varying angles (and don’t fret- digital film is free so shoot your heart out). The more options you have to choose from the better. The beauty of creating your own product photos for ecommerce allows you to take several shots and strategically choose the best ones for your product and brand.
Second, get a rotating display stand to do the work for you. Accurately capture every angle of your product by putting it on something that will show a 360 degree view. This makes the possibilities endless, you can turn the footage into a video customers can watch, or you can get fancy and make an interactive 3-dimensional experience with full 360 degree product views.
Images from Ian Bondi
At the end of the day, the importance of good product photography cannot be overstated.
I think I speak for a lot of people when I say, “you don’t need to spend thousands on a professional photographer,” you just need the right tools and techniques.
The photos on display for customers are essential for convincing them to buy your product and trust your brand. Using the techniques above will allow you to produce photography that tells a narrative, creates trust for your product, and will sell sell sell!