BigCommerce helps growing businesses, enterprise brands, and everything in-between sell more online.

Crafting a photo strategy for an ecommerce store

Good photography plays a major role in ecommerce. The most important place to make sure you're using quality images is on product pages, where customers want to see exactly what a product looks like from multiple angles. Having good product photos can drastically improve your conversion. Photos are also used in marketing and customer outreach efforts, whether through social media, email or other platforms. You'll also need good pictures for other areas of your ecommerce website, as well as a powerful photo gallery plugin, to create an engaging visual experience, including your About Us page, blog and more.

Some helpful tools

You don't have to buy expensive cameras or retouching software to create images for your ecommerce store, but a few select tools can help make pictures clearer and more engaging. The goal is to have sharp images that allow customers to see all the relevant details. A softer focus can be used for certain types of products, but the details still need to be clear. Even smartphone cameras can be up to the task of taking good, clear photos if they have a high enough resolution and a flash. A tripod or monopod stabilizes your camera and can vastly improve the quality of your photographs - it's relatively inexpensive and makes it easy to take multiple shots of your products, giving shoppers a view from every angle.

Backdrops and surfaces are another important consideration for basic product photos. Using a neutral background helps to normalize color and create contrast with the product, resulting in a professional look. Using natural settings, whether a backyard lawn or a nearby park, is a no-cost strategy to add more visual interest to your product photos. You could also use props for more effective ecommerce photography; this is best for promotional photos rather than product images. For example, a photo used to promote a holiday sale could feature tree ornaments or other seasonally appropriate decorations.

Lighting is another important area to consider. A flash works in some circumstances, but there are instances where less intense light is needed. Lighting doesn't have to break the bank, and a modest investment can provide setup that will let you take great product photos. In many cases, a single mounted light and a few bulbs at different wattages are all you need - a floor lamp with a flexible neck and commercially available light bulbs are often enough to get the desired result.

Look for inspiration

One way to get ideas on how and what to shoot for your ecommerce store is to see what your competitors are doing. While you don't want to copy photo layouts and, looking at images from other sites like yours can give you a good idea of what works, and what doesn't.

You can also find Inspiration in less-expected places, such as product advertisements in magazines and online; even those that don't relate to your business directly. Seeing how other businesses represent themselves through photography can help you develop your own.

Go professional

Professional photography may also be a good option to get just the right photos for your ecommerce store. Professional images aren't always especially costly, and the investment can be worth it if you have static inventories. In general, the stores that benefit the most from hiring a photographer are those that can reuse photos in the future. It can also be a good idea if you sell expensive or designer items, as you'll really be able to show off your products through more involved lighting, depth of field and other professional touches. Consider the specifics of your business, the frequency of inventory turnover and the cost when thinking about hiring a professional photographer.

More focus, less work

Coming up with a strategy ahead of time and having the right tools in place make product photography for your ecommerce store a snap, even if you're not artistically inclined. A good photo plan and minimal investment can help you capture more customers on product pages and in your marketing efforts.

BigCommerce helps growing businesses, enterprise brands, and everything in-between sell more online.

Start growing your ecommerce business even faster.

High-volume or established business? Request a demo