The quality of the product photography on your eCommerce site is the first thing your site visitors notice, even before they read the text on the page. It means you cannot afford to have your images looking anything less than awesome.
Quality product photography has been proven in multiple research findings to have a direct impact on the conversion rate.
In fact, one high profile study found as many as 56% of online shoppers abandon the buying process altogether due to a lack of high-quality product images on a site.
That could be a problem for any e-tailer who doesn’t take photography seriously. B ut it is easily rectified if you dedicate yourself to improving the credibility of your eCommerce site with high-quality product images.
Even if you are not a professional photographer, today’s easy access to low-cost, digital media production, and desktop publishing tools along with the power of the internet provide everyone with the techniques, tools, and tips they need to take professional product photos. So there is really no excuse for poor quality.
Here are 6 product photography best practices you should follow to boost your eCommerce conversion rates:
#1: Get the Lighting Right
First a basic one. You have a choice between taking photos in natural light and artificial light, and used correctly, both have their place. Natural light is great to use if you are on a tight budget because it is free, but make sure it is appropriate.
For example, if your products are meant to be used outdoors, then natural light is ideal. Sunlight, however, may need to be diffused in order to remove harsh shadows.
Diffusion is the act of filtering light in order to make it less harsh on the object it is shining on. There are many low-cost and easy to use tools available for diffusing light in a photography setting when using natural light. It is best to explore your common uses and choose the best diffusion tool to have on hand.
Artificial light gives you much more control and you will be able to position the direction and intensity of the light on your products. You can make products appear sharper, as well as highlight details of your products with a speed light, for example.
However, try not to mix artificial light and natural light in the same photograph as this will create color differences in the final image.
#2: Create Luxurious Backgrounds
Now you have the lighting sorted, it is time to create some magic.
If your products contain jewelry or accessories, then the more appealing your products look, the more likely you will convert customers. There are various techniques that you can try, but one of the best, and easiest is to create a bokeh wall.
Bokeh is an excellent technique that combines the right background and lighting into an unforgettable, overall effect that is sure to add dazzle and excitement to your products. For all that it bestows luxury and opulence, it is simple and inexpensive to achieve this technique. You can get this effect with nothing more than ambient light and tin foil, although a speed light is recommended to really get a controlled effect.
Start with a sheet of tin foil that is large enough to cover the background for your image. Then, crumple it up into a ball, and unravel it again—being careful not to rip the tin foil as you spread it out flat again. The teeny, tiny creases from the crumpling are what are going to create the blur effect in the background of your product image, along with the highlights and nuances of pinpointed light that make this effect such an eye-catching sensation.
Attach the crumpled tin foil to your background and use either ambient or a Speedlight, experimenting with lighting placement at different angles to get the effect you like. Get your camera to focus on the subject, with the background out of focus to get the best result. You can also attach color gels to the Speedlight to get different hues. That is all there is to it!
#3: Stage With Props to Emphasize Quality
A product photo is practically the only opportunity you have to actually show how beneficial your items can be for your customers. That is why successful food-related e-tailers, and especially those selling nutritional supplements, protein bars, and healthy eating options, plan out ahead of time how to use their product photography to best showcase the ingredients that are highly attractive to their audience of like-minded, conscientious foodies.
Remember, your online shoppers don’t have the luxury of sampling the food products you want them to buy, as they would at a physical retail outlet that can hand out freebies, to let customers taste the new products, as one commonly finds in market settings.
Online purchasers have to rely solely on their visual sense to give them the information about a product’s key attributes, and so be creative in how you present the qualities which are beneficial for your customers. Capture your product images in different views and angles, and definitely use props as much as possible to emphasize what you want to say most about your products.
For example, in the above image of granola bars—the product is full of delicious goodness, including nutritious walnuts, almonds, sunflower/pumpkin seeds, and yummy chocolate! Who can resist? The product is literally surrounded by its own ingredients, which not only authentically conveys the nutritional value of the product, but also is practically taste-able—showing off all of the product’s appetizing crunchiness.
#4: Envision Products in Use
Think about it. As an eCommerce marketer, your overarching mission is to show how your products enrich your customers’ lives—and product photography is your greatest ally. Showing your product in use making an impact that customers can see happening before their eyes require a bit of storytelling, and a bit of creative inspiration. But there is nothing more satisfying than to see the sales that flow from your ideas.
As customers approach the start of a new year, they are thinking about being more organized. Each of the personal organizer products in the above image are lined up consistently in an inviting manner—offering the promise of a new year that is both eventful and orderly.
The tableau speaks about a coming year that will be much more orderly than the past one. An eventful year beckons that will certainly require one to keep an organized diary in order to make all of the appointments and achieve all of the goals one has to look forward to.
The choice of color is especially inventive, because how much more promising could the world be than when it is filtered through a rose-tinted gel? Would you have thought about organizing the coming new year with stationery? If you had not seen this product photo, maybe not. But if you happened to be in the market, then this image speaks to you.
In addition, placing the products in a real desktop environment with other stationery items like the pen and clips, makes it easier for customers to understand how big the products are. Scale is very important to establish within your product photography, and this is a challenge. Photograph your products alongside other items that your customers are likely familiar with, and their true scale will be automatically revealed.
#5: Touch Up Your Photos
No product photoshoot ever goes perfectly, and sometimes you just have to rush to get an image quickly. The lighting may be off, or the product was off-center when you shot it, or the angle caused a glare or a shadow you didn’t notice at the time. Maybe there were scuff marks or scratches on the product.
Luckily, you can turn to Photoshop or a free image editing software like Canva or Design Wizard to fix these minor issues, and make your product shots more presentable.
The image in the photo above lacked proper lighting and looks dull and over-saturated. However, it is easy to fix this by increasing the brightness of the image which will do wonders for the overall quality of the image as a whole. These simple tricks are easy to master, and even if you are a novice, there are plenty of online, free tutorials that you can watch to get the basics down fast.
Remember, the goal of presenting images of your products is to give customers a realistic sense of what they will look like when they receive them. So, the goal is not to overembellish too much in any way. When you do your post-production touching up, don’t make the product appear to be something that it’s not. Instead, focus on improving the quality of the overall image.
#6: Display Products Professionally
Professional product photography successfully opens an important channel to connect with customers who are unable to view your products in person, enabling them to enjoy the sensation of acquiring and experiencing your products, and ultimately eliciting an emotional response that will drive their buying impulses inspiring them to purchase without actually having physically touched your products.
You can create the visual appeal required for an emotional response by arranging products using a combination of display aids, like trays, risers, tables, bins, boxes, and much more to dynamically present your products at different heights and from different angles. Ask yourself, is it best to mount your products on pedestals or risers and zoom in to close-up? Or create an ‘in-store’ tableau that seeks to recreate a physical retail outlet with tables or shelves, and create more depth of focus?
Display aids like acrylic display block risers can help to separate products neatly within your photographic frame. Using modular, acrylic elements to display your products like boxes and cases, trays, and risers will help to reflect organization while also enabling you to vary the height of products. These displays will also focus attention on your products in the photo frame.
Acrylic display block risers are ideal for product photography because they come in various sizes, shapes, and colors. You will also get a number of customization options too. Block risers will elevate your products and catch your audience’s attention while adding colorful reflections under any artificial lighting. That gives photographed products a visual boost while also adding depth to the image.
High-quality product photography is absolutely essential to attract customers and engage them with your products. Because they can not physically touch them. It is important to invest time, money, and effort into learning how to take proper photographs of your products. Surprisingly, it is easier than it seems.
Even a novice can take amazing product photos and reap the benefits of increased conversions. You only need to learn some simple techniques, employ the right display tools, and apply a bit of effort,
Author Bio: Ray Ko is the Senior Ecommerce Manager at ShopPOPDisplays. With years of experience in the retail space, Ray is an expert in formulating and implementing e-commerce strategies to increase revenue.