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Have you mastered product photography? When it comes to online shopping, the first impression you make on a visitor (and potential customer) to your ecommerce site is very important. Humans process imagery much faster than we do text, so naturally we’re drawn to visuals.
But there’s more to having an aesthetically pleasing website than a nice color scheme and a great typeface. Believe it or not, product images have the power to make or break a sale. Remember that your customers can’t pick up and feel a product. They rely solely on your descriptions and the visuals you give them — by way of ecommerce product images. So, are you nailing these best practices when it comes to your product images?
1. Set up for success
First up, steady your camera with a tripod (or any hard and stable surface) to avoid camera shake. Next, make sure you shoot with sufficient lighting to light up both your product and the entire photoshoot space. You can do this by using multiple light sources (flashes, strobes and even normal desk lamps will do) but the easiest way is to use natural lighting.
Use the sun as an indirect light source. Take your photo near a window, and if it’s too bright, diffuse the light with white blankets, sheets or paper. Lighting up your product in the shooting stage will produce a better quality photograph and also save you a lot of editing time.
You should also consider shooting on a white backdrop. It takes a bit of extra time to set up, but it’s easier to remove the background later should you choose to do so, and it will help with your camera’s white balance calibration. On top of that, white reflects light whereas darker colors will absorb it, so your product will naturally turn out nicely brightened and contrasted.
2. Shoot multiple photos
Everyone loves the convenience of online shopping, but let’s be honest, nothing compares to being able to physically touch the product. When it comes to online shopping, difficulty visualizing what a product would look like in real life is one of the number one reasons behind purchase resistance. To help your customer visualize a product, take photos from different angles.
Start off with a “hero image”. It’s the first of a series of images of your product. The best option for a hero image is either a front-on shot or a 45-degree angle shot, depending on the product. In some cases, like shoes for example, a side-on shot might be more appropriate. The photo should be simple and feature only the product that you’re selling as to avoid confusing the viewer. Following on from your hero image, include photos from above, below, the side, the back etc.
3. Take shots in context
Next up, sell your product with some in-context product photos. Show photos of your product in use. For example. complement a pair of pants with some nice shoes, a plate with a delicious-looking salad, or a vase with nice flowers. The viewer should want everything in the photo (including your product wink wink nudge nudge). However, you should refrain from using this as your hero image, because ultimately you want to show off (and sell) your product, not your photography skills.
4. Clean up finished photos
There are also a few best practices you should keep in mind after you put the camera down. A good idea is to remove the background and let your products do the talking. Simple, white backgrounds draw attention to the product and will match any website design, so if you decide to change up your template, you won’t have to worry about getting new images.
5. Get the sizing right
When it comes to uploading your ecommerce product photos onto your store, image size and quality both matter!
When you set up your online store, you choose the product image dimensions for your template. For the best product image size, I recommend using a template that goes beyond the average 500 and 700 pixels. This is small for an image. Don’t make the mistake of manually resizing your images to that size before uploading them to BigCommerce. In fact, lowering the resolution by that many pixels will give you a blurry image. Images of any size, as long as they have the same width to height ratio as the template, will be automatically resized without any cropping or extra space on the sides when you upload them to your online store.
I always recommend 1200px on the longest side of the image to be safe, which also gives you a decent sized image if you choose to use a product zoom feature. That being said, there is no technology that can make images bigger while keeping them just as clear, so when you set up your template, make sure your product zoom feature is no bigger than the dimensions of the file you upload.
Create a canvas of the size you want in Photoshop and drag your photos into the new canvas, resizing them within the new canvas and not the original files. If you don’t have Photoshop or want something that’s a bit easier to use, use Canva. Just create a design using custom dimensions, upload your images and resize them in there. It’s too easy!
6. Be consistent
Finally, you want your images to look consistent. Your Bigcommerce template will make them all the same size, and a white background will keep everything looking nice and neat. But if you want to make your product images just look a tad more professional, adjust your product photos so that they take up 80-90% of the canvas. This means that even on a page of differently shaped products, there will still be that element of consistency.
So, there you have it. Some of these best practices will ensure you have the best possible product images for ecommerce. What are you waiting for?
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