The United States has seen a rising trend in digital buyers from 136.9million in 2010, to what should be nearly 170 million next year in 2015. That’s over half the country now shopping in eCommerce stores. As consumers, we can’t get enough of the attractive images drawing our eyes towards a potential purchase because online a sale often comes down to how well we can perceive the product.
Ideally, you’d want to hire a professional photographer to undertake such an important task, but these days with all of the additional costs small businesses are facing some budgets just won’t allow for it. That’s why we have created a guide for the most important characteristics pertaining to an effective product photo.
Follow the tips below in order to capture images your customers will respond to.
Get set up with consumer-grade equipment
There’s a big difference in consumer and professional equipment, and usually it comes down to the cost. Camera manufacturers are putting out new consumer models every 6-8 months, all of which are capable of delivering fantastic imagery for a fraction of the cost of what a professional-grade camera would run you.
I recommend looking into a DSLR and lens that costs no more than $1,000 if you’re going to be running an eCommerce site with frequent updates and product variations. Mirrorless cameras are also quite the bang for your buck, coming in compact sizes and with built in lenses that capture wonderful macro and detailed product shots.
Taking one photo is not enough
The biggest difference in eCommerce shopping is that your customer won’t have the opportunity to handle and evaluate the physical attributes of your product. As you’re probably familiar with this process, you can understand no matter how good the deal is being offered, you probably won’t commit to a purchase until you feel you’ve grasped it visually.
The trick: put yourself into the mind of your shoppers.
Taking multiple product photos will often eliminate any doubts associated with loss in sales. Try and make these details very clear:
- The size and scale relative to the products functionality
- Are there additional items that will come packed inside?
- Does it require assembly?
- How it looks at all angles
The last bullet point is probably the most important. Larger companies have product windows with 360 degree viewing software, so in order to replicate that assurance make sure there is not an angle missing that may be deterring sales.
Background, Lighting and Environment
Just like we need to see the product at all angles, the look should feel like it would in real life. Often photographers will construct what’s called an ‘infinity curve’ to give the background a look as though the product were floating in infinite white space.
This can be as simple as using a roll of paper on the ground as pictured above. The reason behind this is it leaves very little room for aesthetic distractions while customers are browsing your items and won’t confuse anyone as to what is being sold.
It’s always best to try and find natural lighting if you aren’t experienced in lighting a studio. While the illumination of soft boxes can be very enticing, mixing different light temperatures and angles can often make a photo more unattractive. Here’s a great resource for setting up a studio from home.
Last, try and include objects that will help it relate to real life. For example, jewelry makers have been shown to have much better success by photographing items being worn, while also having some shots of the item by itself. This is a great trick for translating what the item will look like on your customers.
The power is in the details
Like any attractive advertisement you want customers to see the fine features that define your products’ quality. Often times this means using a shallow depth of field, or one of the macro features built into your camera to truly focus in on the textures, materials and details that make the item worth purchasing.
*Try selecting the flower setting or aperture priority to really sharpen the image.
Edit and Post
Rarely do professional photographers just take an image off the camera and upload it. After you’ve gone through the capturing process it’s important you’ll also be able to adjust the lighting, color and clarity to truly portray your items attractively.
Photography can be a lifelong pursuit to reach perfection, but if you follow these steps you’ll be much more likely to convert sales knowing how to properly showcase your products.
Jeremy Jensen is a Professional Photographer and Freelance Writer based in Lake Tahoe, CA. His work is centered around photojournalism, nature and music, but also loves any opportunity to work with people. To view his portfolio or to follow him on Social Media visit JeremyJensenMedia.com