Have you ever heard the saying “A picture is worth a thousand online sales?” Maybe it hasn’t caught on just yet, but it certainly applies in ecommerce.
You know product photos are important for your online store. In fact, they may be the most important element. The difference between mediocre and professional-looking product photos could easily make or break your online sales. With this in mind, let’s equip ourselves with the right knowledge of product photography to turn your photos into one of your biggest assets. In this Increasing Conversion Rates With Professional Product Photography, we’ll discuss:
- Why product images are important to your online business
- Best practices for showcasing and leveraging high quality product images
- The pros and cons of hiring a professional photographer vs. taking the product photos yourself
- Tips on taking your own product photos
Why are product images important?
Product photos effectively communicate to your customers the details of your product in ways product copy cannot. Here are some of the biggest factors:
1. It’s what the shopper sees first
Product photos capture attention. Shoppers want to ensure the product matches their expectations, whether they’re looking for specific colors, sizes, styles or other qualities that make or break their opinion of the product.
2. They help customers better understand your products
Modern online shopping experiences are all about convenience. One thing this experience lacks is the opportunity for customers to physically handle a product they’re interested in. High quality product photos — from multiple angles — help fill this gap by providing your customers with the information they need. And when customers can easily access the information they want, they’re much more likely to come back for more.
3. They boost your brand
Good product photos act as brand ambassadors: They telegraph your brand and style in one simple, efficient and effective way. Whether your brand is contemporary, kitschy or anything in between, your product photos strengthen your brand and make it even more recognizable. Plus, high quality product images are known to build customer trust in both your products and your brand.
4. They give you a competitive edge
Online shoppers are inundated with options. Product options, pricing options, rating and reviews and so much more. It should be assumed your customers will check competitors’ products before making a decision. It’s imperative your product photos are enticing and make your products as appealing as possible to capture the sale as quickly as possible.
5. Quality photos + useful product copy = increased sales and fewer returns
Your return on your investment in high quality product photos is maximized when complimented by highly useful and unique product copy. The closer a customer gets to making a purchase decision, the more information they want about a product. Especially at higher price points. Useful product information both entices customers to buy and increases trust in your brand. The more unique your product copy, the better your chances of getting found in search engine results. All of this makes for a more informed buying experience and this experience yields fewer returns.
6. They increase the likelihood of social media sharing
If you’re looking to get any benefit from social media sites … who isn’t … attractive product photos are an absolute must. Visual social networks like Pinterest, Tumblr and Polyvore, as well as Facebook, are great places to share your products and get some buzz for what you sell, but you have to have good looking product photos to really take advantage of these communities.
Now that we know why high quality product photos are so important to ecommerce success, what is it exactly that differentiates mediocre product photos from spectacular ones? Let’s find out.
Product image best practices
Although there’s a lot of flexibility and creative liberties that can be taken when deciding the exact aesthetic of your product photos, there are some things that all great product photos have in common.
1. Make sure they’re high quality
We’ve mentioned it a couple times before, but we’ll say it again: High quality is an absolute must. You want your customers to get the clearest picture possible, both literally and figuratively, when it comes to your products, and high quality photos are an integral part of achieving that. Below is an image of a heat map that from a conducted case study proving many Amazon shoppers only look at the product picture and title.
2. Incorporate alternate views
Product photos showcasing alternate views are another must-have. Remember: You want to be able to recreate the experience of a customer walking into a store and being able to pick up a product and look at it from every angle. Showcase your product by displaying pictures from different angles and from different proximities to give customers a feel for what the product will be like in person.
Consider showing the product in use. This gives customers the full experience. For example, if you sell dresses, you’ll want to show photos of each dress from different angles while being worn. Some ecommerce apparel sites even offer photos of their clothes being worn by models of differing body types to give customers the fullest picture of how the clothes will look on them.
3. Have a photo for each color or variation
If a product comes in different colors or variations, you’ll want to have a photo for each possibility. Customers really appreciate it when they can see exactly what that product will look like in a specific color, as opposed to having to imagine it themselves and have it show up on their doorstep looking completely different.
5. Consistent with each other
In order to enhance your brand and give the most cohesive ecommerce shopping experience, your product photos should be consistent. Whether you use Flash or no Flash, a background or no background, or a model or a mannequin, the important part is that whatever creative decisions you make, you apply them across the board.
One way to create consistency is to make sure your product photos come from the same source. Most business owners get their product photos via one of these three ways:
- Use the manufacturer’s images
- Hire someone to take your product photos
- Take your own product photos
Note that it’s preferable to have high quality, unique photos rather than using manufacturer’s images. Hiring a commercial photographer to take your product photos or taking them on your own are both great ways to improve your website. It just depends on which one better suits your business needs, free time, abilities and funds.
Let’s take a closer look at these two options:
Hiring a product photographer vs. taking your own product photos
Here are some of the pros and cons of hiring a photographer for your product photos:
- You don’t have to pay for expensive, high quality camera equipment
- You don’t have to spend time learning photography
- You don’t have to spend time shooting your products and can focus on other aspects of your business
- Proven to increase conversion rates with proven marketing aspect image strategies
- The cost of a professional photographer can be perceived as high
- Depending on your photographer, you may not own the rights to your product image
When choosing a commercial photography company like Jusphotograpy they make it clear that their image quality, fast turnaround time, and attention to detail is for one purpose, sales boosting results. Ask your self this question. If you gave someone $30 and they handed you back $1,000+ how many times would you do that? As many as you can right? Same goes for the investment cost of image quality with todays competition.
Taking your own product photos, on the other hand, can provide the same high quality product image boost that hiring a professional can. Of course, this DIY option has its own downsides, too
Here are some of the pros and cons of being your own product photographer:
- you gain a new marketable skill:product photography
- No back-and-forth between you and a third party
- You’re in complete control of the branding and aesthetic of your product photos
- You’ll own full rights to your product photos
- You’ll spend a lot of time learning the craft of photography and photo-editing
- You’ll have to spend some time practicing your photography skills
- You may need to buy a high quality camera and camera equipment, like a tripod, lighting and different camera lenses
- If you don’t invest the proper time and resources, you may end up with product photos that look unprofessional