2018 data show that 69 percent of Americans have purchased an item online.
Out of that number, only 37 percent say they prefer shopping online compared to the 56 percent who still likes to shop from brick and mortar stores.
Unlike going to physical shops, online shoppers can’t see and touch the products before buying. That is why e-commerce stores should focus on providing high-quality product photos for their customers to browse.
In this blog, we discuss the nuances of product photography for eCommerce.
Product images are the foundation of a successful e-commerce business.
Customers are likely to leave your website if it contains small, low-quality images.
Use photos in high-resolution to build trust in your products.
So how will you do that?
Product Photography Techniques for E-commerce
The photos you use on your website have the power to grab your visitors’ attention and convert them to sales.
Keep in mind that some consumers only like to browse but still prefer shopping offline, so the content of your website should be able to convince them to take action.
Shooting your products the right way is essential to boost your conversion rate.
Professional photo retouching services can also help improve the quality of your images.
Give your audience clear and eye-catching product photos so they don’t have to go to a physical store to buy.
Here are four tips to help you take photos that sell:
Choose your camera wisely
The quality of your product photos will mostly depend on the kind of camera you use.
You can use a DSLR camera, mirrorless camera or smartphone, depending on your budget. Each of these devices varies in quality, however.
Professional photographers use digital single-lens reflex or DSLR camera not only because of the quality. This type of camera allows you to change the lens to meet your photography needs.
You can switch from the basic kit lens to wide-angle prime lenses, telephoto zooms, tilt-shift and macro lenses, depending on the products you’re shooting.
DSLRs also let you adjust your settings to suit the surroundings.
For instance, you can manually set the aperture, ISO and shutter speed so your photo will have the right amount of exposure. It makes your product photos appear like the real product as much as possible.
DSLR cameras however tend to be costly, especially the high-end ones.
Accessories like lenses can also cost you more. They are also heavier and bulkier compared to other cameras.
Mirrorless cameras are closely similar to DSLRs in terms of the quality of photos.
The difference between a mirrorless camera and a DSLR is in the way their image sensors (the chips that detect and record the light coming into the camera to capture the image) and viewfinders work (a part of the camera where you look through to compose a shot).
DSLRs use a mirror system.
The mirror bounces the light entering the main lens up to the viewfinder.
The camera flips the mirror out of the way when you press the shutter button to expose the image sensor to light. This system allows you to see a shot exactly how the image sensor will record it.
Mirrorless cameras meanwhile don’t have a mirror so the image sensor is continuously exposed to light. This type of camera is lighter than DSLRs.
Point-and-shoot cameras are technically mirrorless, but newer mirrorless cameras perform and operate like the DSLR ones.
The recent advances in smartphone technology have enhanced the capability of smartphones to take high-quality photos.
The leading smartphone companies such as Apple, Samsung, and Huawei have released new devices that feature incredible camera technology. These devices now have multiple cameras with different types of lenses, from wide angles to telephotos. They allow you to take photos with almost the same quality as DSLR cameras.
Among the three options, smartphone cameras are the lightest and most convenient to use.
You can now adjust your exposure settings manually just like the traditional cameras.
As for the price, smartphones with advanced camera technology cost as much as an entry-level DSLR.
Choose a device that will allow you to capture your products clearly.
Your creativity will also help you create appealing photos despite the camera you use.
Use a tripod when shooting
A tripod is a helpful tool when taking product photos.
It secures the camera, therefore helps make your images consistent.
A makeshift setup can cause your camera to slide around and result in an inconsistent look.
Although you can hold your camera when shooting, it would be difficult to standardize the product orientation, especially when your business starts to grow and you have to shoot more products.
Choose appropriate lighting
Light is vital in photography because it affects the appearance of your products in photos.
Your product images should be properly exposed so shoppers can easily examine the item before purchasing.
The clarity of the photo can affect their buying decision.
The two types of lighting you can use are:
Natural light – this is light coming from the sunlight. This is ideal if you’re shooting outside or if someone uses, wears or holds the product. The sun also casts a larger range of light so the product gets softer light.
Artificial light – this can come from a candle, fire and light bulbs. It provides a harder light compared to a natural source. You can use this lighting to highlight physical details that can impress an online shopper.
Experiment on these types of lights to determine what suits your products best.
You may also use other tools like a softbox and a reflector to control how the light hits your products and reduce unnecessary shadows.
Pick the right background
The position of your products and the lighting setup should go with the background you’re using.
You can use a white background or real-world background, which is more dynamic.
Use a sweep (a large bendable sheet of paper) when shooting a product against a white background. Its bottom part acts as the surface beneath your product and curves up to provide a white wall behind the product. This technique makes the item stand out.
A real-world background on the other hand is ideal for products that have specific use.
The product should have depth and emphasis to attract a viewer’s attention. Otherwise, those who see your photos will be distracted and be confused about what you’re selling.
Edit your photos
Post-processing your product photos is essential to make sure they are high-quality before posting them on your website.
Photo editing allows you to remove unnecessary details that your camera has picked up. It also makes your photos brighter and enhances the colors so they will be more appealing to customers.
Play around with different techniques and equipment to determine the one that suits your products and how you want your online customers to respond to them. Adjust your methods later, if necessary.
When your sales go up, it means you’ve found the right approach that works for your target consumers.
Rebecca Van Ommen is the Executive Creative Director of Paper Boat Creative, a creative agency that specializes in high-end photo retouching, photo editing, and more. She was one of the youngest Art Directors for Getty Images in London. Rebecca loves to exercise in her spare time. She also enjoys bringing her daughter to photoshoots for inspiration.