Wondering how to brush up the appearance of your online store’s products, attract more customers and bring more online sales? e-Commerce product photography can help.
Online shoppers don’t enjoy the privilege of seeing and touching their desired goods in-store, so having a 360-degree view of product items at your online shop would help facilitate customers’ buying decisions.
Having attractive e-commerce photoshoots therefore is a bonus to your store’s aesthetics and branding, improving your store’s conversion rate and profits.
With this article, Choco Up aims to give you a comprehensive view of what e-commerce photography is, why it’s important, and best practices to follow.
- What is e-commerce product photography?
- Why is e-commerce product photography important?
- Types of product photography
- e-Commerce photography tools and equipment
- 6 steps for shooting product photos
- 6 tips for e-commerce photoshoots
- Some last words
What is e-commerce product photography?
A picture is worth a thousand words. e-Commerce product photography is all about integrating photographic expertise to e-commerce, using images to showcase your products and attracting potential customers to purchase them.
With shots taken from different angles offering 360-degree views, high-quality product images can provide visually smooth browsing experiences and guide your customers through the purchase journey.
Why is e-commerce product photography important?
e-Commerce photography represents your product’s quality and value as well as your brand image as a whole. Done well, it has the potential to increase e-commerce conversion and drive sales in the long run.
1. Improve e-commerce conversion
Reading or hearing about your product in advance is good. However, just good ain’t great.
Justuno’s study finds that “visual” is the key determinant in 93% of online shoppers’ purchasing decisions. In other words, great photos capture your products’ details, demonstrate their value, and pique people's interests.
In ideal scenarios, stunning imagery should arouse the following reaction: “This product looks good, I’d like to try it out!” And that’s when website visitors become paying customers.
Take Linjer, an affordable jewelry brand for example. Its e-commerce site presents a series of product images and lifestyle shots from its homepage all the way to its payment section. Vibrant visual elements engage website visitors.
2. Strengthen your brand identity
Branding serves as the intangible yet crucial foundation of a business.
With product images to help along, your brand’s identity can be reinforced at different customer touchpoints, such as social media posts, digital ads, email updates and marketing events.
Referring to the Instagram page of ECOVERO™, the provider of eco-friendly textile has created a consistent, green theme on social media. Featuring its textile products against naturally green backgrounds, which are often associated with sustainability, the brand establishes itself as one that puts the planet first.
3. Showcase product details
Clear pictures convey product information clearly. Seeing and assessing the color, pattern, design, size and quality of the product all at once during the consideration stage helps shoppers check if the product matches their needs.
In this respect, a great example can be found on the online store of Timberland®. While online shoppers are unable to touch and feel the shoes, the footwear seller offers pretty detailed pictures showing their products from various angles.
Apart from facilitating consumers’ decisions to purchase, an additional benefit of product photography is that it helps establish realistic expectations. As an online business, you’d want to make sure that your customers buy with confidence and are happy with what they receive.
Providing clear product photos with different angles offer accurate impressions of your product and reduce your return rate, which in turn saves your administrative costs.
Types of product photography
What’s the best type of photos to take for your products? There’s no standard answer to that question.
e-Commerce product photos come in a variety of styles, and vary greatly depending on your industry, product type and objective.
Feeling a bit lost? Choco Up has compiled 6 types of shots for you.
1. Individual shots
An individual shot displays one object within the frame.
These product-only images are usually featured in catalogs, banners and product pages to highlight the products independently in all angles and in the best light.
When taking an individual shot, a white or simple background is a good choice to reduce distractions when showing your products.
2. Group shots
Unlike individual shots, a group shot showcases more than one product.
Group shots are common choices for displaying product kits and collections, and are amazing visual aids for social media posts and advertisements.
In the following example, Farmacy uses a group photo to display a set of skincare products.
3. In-context shots
Sometimes known as lifestyle photography, in-context shots are where you showcase your products in action or real-life applications. In-context shots tell the story of your products and demonstrate how they can be used in customers’ daily lives.
This is a great choice if your product goes well with a collection of items or in specific situations, such as hiking gear in the mountains, which complement one another. Below is an example from Salomon, a global brand known for its wide array of sports and hiking equipment.
4. Scale shots
A common issue with shopping online is not being able to gauge the actual dimensions of a product. Scale shots solve this problem by comparing your products with other everyday items, sometimes even a person.
Below are two scale shots from HOMELESS, a Hong Kong-based lifestyle brand selling home accessories. The first product photo shows their “memobottle” compared against an A4-sized paper and a phone:
The second photo shows a Moomin bottle held in the hand, so visitors can easily estimate the size of the product.
5. Detailed shots
Close-ups of intricate details capture product features. Macro lens and specific lighting requirements may be needed to highlight product details.
Nike, the athletic apparel company, is a case in point to illustrate this. Every item at its online store are displayed in granular detail, such as showing the fabric and texture of its footwear products:
More images and close-ups are also available further down the page.
6. Packaging shots
Customers value the appearance of the goods you sell, and packaging shots help magnify your packaging aesthetics. Feature your branded packaging on your product pages to give your customers positive expectations.
Shown below is a “blind box” toy product from TOYZEROPLUS. The daruma doll is contained in a box painted in red — a color which symbolizes good luck in Japan.
e-Commerce photography tools and equipment
A skilled photographer without tools is nothing but a knowledgeable man. Good tools help you produce quality e-commerce photoshoots, and here’s what you’ll need.
High-quality professional DSLR cameras, with a range of lenses, auto-focus function and at least 12 megapixels will allow you to customize settings like ISO, white balance, shutter speed, aperture and more.
If a camera is too much of an investment for your online business, start with your phones. They should work almost as well with comprehensive shot planning, lighting, and post-processing.
Tripod is a brilliant assistant and smart investment to keep your shots consistent, steady and clear, avoiding blur especially when you are shooting in low ISO (i.e. low sensitivity to light).
e-Commerce product photography goes with two options: natural light or studio light.
Natural light is the less expensive choice, as window light can provide a sufficient amount of light with soft shadows. However, a major downside is that e-commerce photographers like you have to cope with harsh weather.
On the other hand, studio light allows you to take e-commerce photoshoots with consistent lighting regardless of the time of day or the weather.
Placing your product on a stable shooting surface makes your pictures more decent.
Before taking e-commerce photoshoots, consider getting a shooting table. The dimension of a shooting table depends on the size of your products, but a folding table with a width between 24 and 27 inches will work for most items.
5. White background
Ideally, product photos should be taken against a white or plain background.
You can mount craft paper or poster board over your shooting table to give your product photos a clean backdrop and reduce distractions.
6. Tape or clamps
Tape or clamps are helpful for keeping your white background in place.
A reflector or “bounce cards” is an important lighting tool and could be anything that reflects light onto the far side of your scene to brighten your product and reduce shadows.
For example, it can be a white foam board or metallic film. Black foam boards, on the other hand, help create shadows (negative fill).
6 steps for shooting product photos
After picking the right equipment, it’s time to select the best location and lighting setup for maximum success of your brand.
1. Set up your studio with proper lighting
To begin, place your shooting table near a wall and adjust the angle of your light source. If you wish to shoot with natural light, pick a time of day that doesn’t have direct sunlight to avoid harsh shadows.
2. Position your product
Next, adjust the position of your product so that it’s in the middle of the plain backdrop. If there’s any significant typeface on the product, position it in a way to make the print clearly legible.
3. Eliminate shadows using reflectors
Then place your bounce cards out of frame to get rid of shadows. Try different angles until the product looks right.
4. Take photos from multiple angles
After that, take as many shots as you want to comprehensively capture the features of your product.
A 360-degree view will allow your online customers to envision what the actual products look like. Make adjustments after taking each round of photos, such as changing the position of the product or angles of your reflectors.
5. Style your shots
You may also be creative and use different props to complement the style of your products.
6. Edit your photos
Post-processing secures the quality of your product photos. Touch up your product shots by perfecting the white balance, sharpness, brightness, contrast and saturation of your shots with editing software.
6 tips for e-commerce photoshoots
After learning the tools and procedures for taking nice e-commerce photoshoots, Choco Up also has some warm reminders for you.
1. Prepare photography guidelines for consistency
Photography guidelines help keep your branding consistent and pleasing. The guidelines could include details like focal length, saturation, composition, color scheme, location and prop combinations.
2. Use high-resolution pictures
Remember that product photography aims to showcase every detail of your products, and pictures with high resolutions are definitely useful.
3. Shoot outdoors for the best natural light
Optimal outdoor lighting conditions can give the most natural lighting effects and minimize shadows, especially during early morning and early evening.
4. Complement your products with props
Styling a product with props gives customers more ideas of the product's function. For example, when shooting a hiking backpack, make use of the compartments and fill them with hiking supplies to showcase the bag’s capacity and utility.
5. Keep track of your progress
With so many products to take photos of, it’s easy to get lost in the photo shooting process. To avoid this, create a checklist of all the product shots you want and then mark them off after completing.
6. Retouch and resize
Cropping, sharpening, and adjusting the saturation are essential steps in the editing process. They create more aesthetically pleasing images that’ll help you catch shoppers’ eyes and draw more sales to your e-store.
Some last words
If attractive product photos are conducive to online sales, then having a growth and funding partner would be a catalyst to your business’s growth.
Conventionally, many digital merchants fight the e-commerce battle alone and without help, for the different means of business financing tend to be expensive, inflexible and inaccessible. But things are different with Choco Up.
Known for providing zero-equity, flexible funding for e-commerce businesses, Choco Up is the trusted growth partner of digital merchants across the globe. We also offer global payment solutions and smart growth analytics tools to supercharge your growth trajectory.
In the past, we’ve helped clients like BuzzAR and eBuyNow grow their user base and revenue by 10X and 5X respectively. Learn more about our business funding here, or claim your preliminary funding offer for free today!
About Choco Up
Choco Up is a global technology and financial services platform, offering revenue-based financing and business growth solutions for digital merchants and startups.
With data analytics and machine learning at its core, Choco Up employs vast integrations to automate fund deployment, providing fast-growing companies with zero-equity funding in a quick and seamless manner.
We currently have offices in Singapore and Hong Kong and serve clients worldwide, providing smart-growth analytics and global payment solutions to fuel their growth.