Are you building an e-commerce site? You definitely need captivating photography!
Think for a minute about your own shopping habits and what influences your buying decisions when you are out shopping. Who are you more likely to buy from, the smart, clean, brightly lit store with an innovative and creative shop window display showing-off their products, or the dimly lit corner shop with the dirty windows obscuring their displays?
It’s exactly the same process for shopping online in an e-commerce store – the perceived value of your product is often judged by the look and design of your site where high-quality, beautiful photos of your products will also help make people want to buy. Badly lit, blurry and out of focus photos are just like that dirty shop window, unappealing, obscure a clear view of the product and reflect badly on the customers view of the wider company.
In the same way that the profile photo on your website or social media page is often your first introduction to prospective clients, your online store is often your customers first introduction to your business and product photography plays a massive influence when you are trying to persuade people to buy your things. How you therefore showcase your products online can often be the difference between a sale and no sale.
On the high street a customer can touch, pick up and try on the product. They can feel it, turn it around and look at it from a different angle. Online, the photos need to do this for them. As the retailer you have to make up for this lack of interaction by creating a great visual presentation of the product.
Top five things to think about when your products are photographed for selling online
High quality product photos can help your customers understand your products, strengthen your brand and give you an edge over your competitors. So what do you need to think about before your products are photographed?
1. The Products
The products must be clean! Remove fingerprints, dust and anything that should not be there. Iron fabrics to remove creases and make sure that there are no loose threads. You want to show them off at their best!
Don’t underestimate the importance of lighting! Good even lighting is essential to make your products look their best. Sometimes working with natural light produces a great result, for other products working with different light sources may be a better option. A photo with poor lighting can cast unsightly shadows on the product; the better the lighting, the more appealing the product and the more likely it is to sell!
Keep it simple! The background should not distract from your product. Classic pack shots used by major online retailers (think Amazon) or PR companies are almost always shot on a pure white background. White shows off your product to it’s best. It’s a good idea to use the same background for all your products to give a consistency and professionalism to your range.
Some brands also shoot ‘lifestyle’ photos with people using their product in everyday situations. This can be a really effective approach that helps a customer see how the product fits in with their daily life. Advertising firms often speak of ‘selling the lifestyle’ as much as the product. They will ask the photographer to create an aspirational image showing the type of home, family or life that people will desire.
Have a look at the John Lewis website to see a great example of plain, white, consistent backgrounds with a little bit of lifestyle thrown in for context.
4. Different angles
As an online customer cannot pick an item up to see what it looks like from the back, the side or underneath then your photos need to do this for them. Ensure you have photos taken from different angles to give your customer the whole picture! The more photos there are the better the customers mental image of the item.
5. Features & details
It’s often a good idea to take close up photos of any special features on your product. For example is the neckline on the dress hand embroidered? The customer can’t feel this and so they will want to see it. Does the bowl come in four different colours? It’s not enough to say available in red, blue, green and yellow, many people have difficultly visualising different options, don’t just tell them about it; let them see for themselves!
Why should you hire a professional photographer to take your product photos?
Simply put, the return on investment of high-quality product photos is very high. Professional photos will make your product look at it’s best. They will reflect the professionalism of your brand. They show care and attention to detail and indicate to your customers that if you care about the details of your own business, you will care about them. They entice customers to buy and they increase the trust in your brand.
Good product photography is a skill and a professional photographer will know exactly how to shoot your products to enhance it’s best or unique features.
And no, your iPhone won’t do…
If you’d like any further information about product photography and how we do it at Stonelock Photography, or just to chat about your product, then please do get in touch!
“I’ve always taken my own photos of my cakes, sometimes on my camera but usually just on my iPhone. I thought they looked ok, with a bit of editing, I thought that professional photos would probably look better, but not that much – until I met Ally from Stonelock Photography. Not only did she take the most amazing photos of my cakes, she was an absolute pleasure to work with – professional and friendly and brimming with ideas about how to stage the photos. If only she could come and photograph every cake for me – mine look terrible in comparison now!”
Caroline Sterling, Cakes by Caroline, April 2014