Table of Contents
- What is Ecommerce Photography?
- How to Do Ecommerce Product Photography
- Ecommerce Photography Tips
Whether you’re a seasoned ecommerce entrepreneur or just starting out, one thing is clear: high-quality product photography is essential for driving sales online. Your product photos are the first thing potential customers see when browsing your online store, and they play a crucial role in convincing them to make a purchase. In this article, we’ll explore the world of ecommerce product photography and provide you with tips and techniques to elevate your product images and boost your online sales.
What is Ecommerce Photography?
Ecommerce product photography is the art of producing high-quality commercial images to be used in the sales of products and services online. Good product photography remains a crucial aspect of selling online. It involves capturing images that showcase your products in the best possible light, highlighting their features, and enticing customers to make a purchase.
There are various types or styles of ecommerce photography that you can consider adding to your mix:
- White background: These traditional plain white background shots show the item placed on a white background. This style is typically seen on marketplaces like Amazon. These photos allow shoppers to get a clean, distraction-free look at the product.
- Lifestyle photography: This style shows the product in use or in context. Lifestyle photos allow shoppers to gauge the size of the product and imagine it in their own lives.
- Product packaging: These photos are important for setting expectations and showing how the product is packaged.
- Zoom or close-up: Shoppers want to be able to see details, so it’s important to include zoomed-in shots to highlight specific features and showcase the product’s quality.
- Group shots: Group shots show the item with other variants or complementary products. This style is popular for product bundles, upselling, and cross-selling.
Now that we have a better understanding of ecommerce photography and its various styles, let’s dive into the process of capturing attention-grabbing product photos yourself.
How to Do Ecommerce Product Photography
1. Set Up Your Studio
To consistently capture professional product photos, it helps to have a dedicated area for photography. A well-organized studio and a streamlined workflow can go a long way in helping you take a lot of professional product photos for your ecommerce business in a short period of time.
Here’s what you’ll need to set up your studio:
You don’t need an expensive DSLR camera to take good product images. In fact, modern smartphones have fairly advanced cameras that can produce high-quality photos. The quality of your photos will depend more on your shot setup, lighting, and post-processing than on the camera you use. So don’t be afraid to take product photos with your phone if you don’t have a professional camera.
A good tripod will help keep your shots steady, reducing blur. If you need to take a lot of shots of different products from the same angle, a steady tripod will help keep your shots consistent.
Good lighting is essential for capturing high-quality images. If possible, set up your studio next to a large window to take advantage of natural light. Window light provides a good amount of light with a soft shadow. If the shadow is too sharp, you can place a screen on the inside to soften it. If you have to use artificial lights, two identical softbox setups can usually do the job, using one as your key light and the other as fill to soften any shadows.
You need a stable shooting surface to place your product. A table or desk will work for most products. For larger products, it’s easiest to use the floor as your surface—just make sure to pick a spot that gets a lot of light.
A white background is commonly used in ecommerce product photography, especially for white background shots. You can invest in a white sweep (a backdrop that curves down into the floor) or, if you’re on a budget, you can buy some kraft paper or poster board and mount it over a table.
Reflectors are white or metallic objects that bounce light onto the far side of your scene to brighten it and soften shadows. They can be used to fill the dark side of your scene with light, making them also known as fill cards. You can use a pop-up reflector or a large piece of white paper as a reflector.
Once you have your studio set up, you’ll be ready to start capturing attention-grabbing product photos for your ecommerce store.
2. Style Your Shots
While white backgrounds are great for your main product images, experimenting with different props, angles, and styling can help breathe life into your photos and give your audience context. When it comes to ecommerce photography, two common compositional styles are the diagonal and the C.
A diagonal setup is great for eye-level shots where your camera lens is positioned at the same level as your product. The idea here is to place objects in a diagonal line from back to front, with the tallest objects in the back and the shortest in the front. This creates a sense of depth and visual interest in your product photos.
If your product is flat (like artwork or paper goods), a flat lay composition may be a better angle for you. The C composition is amazing for flat lay product photos. The trick here is to arrange your subject and props in a crescent shape, leaving the middle area bare. This creates a visually pleasing and balanced composition that draws the viewer’s eye towards the main subject.
Remember to experiment with different angles, props, and styling techniques to find what works best for your products and brand.
3. Get the Lighting Right
Lighting is essential for capturing high-quality images. When it comes to ecommerce product photography, natural light is your best friend. If possible, set up your studio next to a large window that provides a good amount of light with a soft shadow. Placing your setup next to the window allows you to take advantage of the natural light and create beautifully lit product photos.
If you have to use artificial lights, two identical softbox setups can usually do the job. Use one as your key light and the other as fill to soften any shadows. Assess and modify your shadows to achieve the desired look. Pay attention to the location and quality of your shadows.
Make sure that shadows from taller objects don’t obscure shorter objects. You may need to rearrange your setup or change the direction of your light source to achieve the desired lighting and shadow placement.
The quality of your shadows is determined by the distance and size of your light source. Distant light sources create harder shadows, while close light sources create softer shadows. To achieve soft shadows, place your setup right next to the window. You can also use a diffuser to soften the light and spread it over a larger area.
By getting the lighting right and modifying your shadows, you can create beautifully lit product photos that showcase your products in the best possible light.
4. Take Your Photos
When setting up your shots, consider focus, stabilization, and consistency. Use a tripod to minimize blur and keep the angle consistent across multiple products. If your camera allows, set the lens to a small aperture (a high f-stop) and a slow shutter speed. This will give you a wide depth of field that brings your entire product into focus and gives it a crisp look.
Experiment with different angles and perspectives to capture your products from various viewpoints. Close-ups, eye-level shots, and bird’s-eye view shots can help customers envision your products in real life and make informed purchasing decisions.
5. Edit Your Photos
After you’ve taken your shots, it’s time to move on to the post-processing stage. Editing your photos can help enhance their visual appeal and make them pop. Here are some things to consider when editing your product photos:
With good lighting and a stable tripod setup, you should already have fairly sharp images. Lightly sharpening your photos can give the edges a more defined look and enhance their overall clarity.
Adjusting the white balance of your images can make them look cool or warm, depending on your intention. Commercial photography often benefits from a warmer white balance, as it brings a sense of coziness to the photos.
Brightness and Contrast
Adjust the brightness and contrast of your photos to bring out the highlights and shadows and give your images more depth. Be careful not to overdo it, as excessive brightness or contrast can make your photos look unnatural or washed out.
Slightly increasing the saturation of your photos can make the colors pop and enhance their vibrancy. However, be mindful not to over-saturate your images, as this can make them look unrealistic and detract from the overall quality.
By making subtle edits to your photos, you can enhance their visual appeal and create stunning product images that grab the attention of potential customers.
Ecommerce Photography Tips
To capture high-quality product photos that resonate with your target audience and drive sales, keep the following tips in mind:
Shoot from Multiple Angles
To make your product the star and capture customers’ attention, it’s important to photograph your products from multiple angles. This allows potential customers to get a comprehensive view of the product and make an informed purchasing decision. Experiment with close-ups, eye-level shots, and bird’s-eye view shots to showcase your products from different perspectives.
Adapt to Your Natural Light Source
Natural lighting changes throughout the day and depending on the season, weather, and direction your window faces. Professional photographers often refer to the last hour before sunset and the first hour after sunrise as the golden hours, as these times provide low, filtered light for shooting. Shooting on an overcast day can also help you avoid direct sunlight, which can be too harsh and create unsightly shadows.
Play with Different Backgrounds
While white backgrounds are commonly used in ecommerce photography, don’t be afraid to experiment with different backdrops to create variety and visual interest in your product photos. Choose backgrounds of different colors and intensities that complement your brand aesthetic, and mix and match them to create light, dark, and mixed combinations that catch attention and make your listings stand out.
Use a Tic-Tac-Toe Grid to Perfect the Frame
When creating a flat lay or diagonal shot, imagine your surface as a tic-tac-toe grid. This helps you place each object into a square and create a visually pleasing composition. Alternatively, create overlap by placing foreground props on the intersections of the grid lines. Overlapping objects add visual interest and make your photos look more professional without distracting from the main subject.
Choose the Right Props
Props can set the scene and mood for your ecommerce photography. When choosing props, consider objects that customers may use with your product or attractive objects that fit with your brand’s color scheme. For background objects, try glass bottles, vases, plants, or a bowl of fruit. For foreground objects, consider using a sprig of greenery, citrus slices, flowers, or textured elements like coarse salt, oats, or loose tea.
Compress Your Image Files Before Publishing
To ensure that your product photos load quickly and easily on your ecommerce store, it’s important to compress the file sizes. Large image files can slow down your website and lead to a poor user experience. Use online tools like TinyPNG or Compress JPEG to reduce the file size of your images without compromising their quality. Additionally, consider resizing your images to fit the maximum recommended dimensions for your ecommerce platform.
By following these tips and techniques, you can elevate your ecommerce product photography and capture stunning images that showcase your products in the best possible light.
In conclusion, ecommerce product photography plays a crucial role in driving sales online. By investing time and effort into capturing attention-grabbing product photos, you can create a visually appealing online store that converts visitors into customers. Remember to set up your studio, style your shots, get the lighting right, take high-quality photos, and edit them to enhance their visual appeal. With the right techniques and a bit of practice, you can elevate your product photography and boost your online sales.