Are you looking for ways to improve conversions on your ecommerce website? A great place to start is with your product photography.
Or if you don’t have an ecommerce website, perhaps you’re looking for ways to better present your products on your website?
Product photography is one area where it never pays to take shortcuts, as poor product photography can damage the success of your website in a way that directly impacts your revenue.
This post will explore the ways in which product photography is so important, before offering some best practice tips for ensuring your products stand out from the competition.
Why Is Product Photography so Important?
It may sound obvious, but in the world of ecommerce, and on the internet in general, product photography is the fastest and most effective means you have of promoting your products. But there are many added benefits to investing in your product photography, including:
- It will be the first thing a potential shopper sees and it will instantly tell them if they have found what they are looking for
- If your photography is stronger than your competition’s, it will impact your visitors’ decision making process
- Strong product photography works hand-in-hand with informative and optimised product copy
- Good photography is good for customer services – it reduces returns because your customers receive exactly what they were expecting
- Having variety in your product photography increases your chances of it being shared on social media, or even being used in blogs
The worst case scenario is for a customer to land on a product page only to find a grey “no image available” blank space where a product image should be. But that said, while displaying an image for each and every product you sell is one thing, simply displaying any old image is not enough. To enjoy the benefits that good product photography can bring, it’s essential that you follow these best practice guidelines.
Product Photography Best Practice
1. High Quality
You need to ensure that all of your images are of a consistently high quality, and properly optimised for web. For example, an image that is blurry, unclear, or too dark would be a huge disadvantage. If you are considering doing product photography in-house, ensure you have the surroundings and sufficient lighting to create well lit images.
2. Alternative Views
Try and recreate the experience of a customer walking in to a shop and being able to see and touch your product. Of course, they won’t be able to touch it on your website, but providing different views, close-ups, or different colours will help potential customers in their buying decisions:
3. Allow Zooming
If your images are high quality, there should be no issue with visitors viewing them full size or being able to zoom in. This can help to build trust and show-off the finer details of your products, but you do need to ensure that no quality is lost when zoomed in to an image:
4. Lifestyle Photography
Photographs of your product in use are a great addition to your product photography catalogue. Lifestyle photography enables you to add essential context, and where possible, you can add a human element by using models. You’re trying to persuade visitors to buy without them seeing or touching the product in real life, so the more visual you can make a product the better:
There are many considerations to make about how you present your products on your website. But whatever creative decisions you make, make it consistent. Generally speaking, showing products as clearly as possible in the main default image is desirable. For example, main images on a white background with no distractions makes your category pages look neat and attractive. If you are also adding alternate photos, try and do this consistently across all products where possible, too:
Once you have got an impressive archive of product images to put on your website, you need to ensure the placement and size is working. The way visitors view your website dictates that the best position for your main image. Studies have shown that people follow an F-shaped pattern when reading web content, which is why many ecommerce websites will feature the image in the top left, or in scrolling a banner at the top. You could also test increasing the size of the main image on the product pages, to see if this improves conversions:
7. Update Your Images
This is especially important for customer service and retention. Whether you sell thousands of products or just one, ensure your photography is up to date and representative of the product that a customer would receive. Unfortunately, this does mean having to start again if a product changes!
Always Make Sure You Set a Brief
Whether you are hiring a professional photographer or doing the work in-house, it’s always a good idea to create a brief. You may need to do this for each product or group of products. Here are some things to consider when briefing a photographer or planning a shoot:
- Main image requirements – i.e. Whether you need each product on a white background for the main image.
- Lifestyle images – These generally take much more planning and can require props and models. Make sure all of this is planned beforehand and create a full creative to maximise time during the photography session.
- Size – Should images be portrait, landscape, or a square? If you are hiring a photographer, and do not have the facility to edit images yourself, you may want to ask them to export your images so they are ready to be uploaded to your website straight away.
- Naming conventions – This becomes crucial when you have lots of products. Save yourself a job in the future and organise your archives logically.
- Cropping – You may want all images cropped to a specific size or orientation to fit your product page requirements, but ask your photographer to save a full size version too – especially if you’re working with lifestyle photography. It’s always useful to have full size versions for other marketing activities, printed materials, or banners on your homepage.
Using Manufacturer’s Images
For some businesses, one way to create consistency and reduce your budget is to use manufacturer’s images. It is always preferable to get your images for the same source, so if you are mixing your own photography with your suppliers, be wary of inconsistency. This will depend on your business needs, your budget, and your products, but it’s certainly an option to consider.
Product photography offers a fantastic opportunity to present your products and your business in the best possible light. Your photography and product copy should be working together to improve conversions. This guide has covered the key considerations when it comes to improving product images on your website.
Whether you have an ecommerce website, or display information about your products and invite visitors to enquire about them, putting time and effort into a strong visual representation of your products is important.