Ecommerce product photography: small business photography tips

Whether you use Shopify, Etsy, or your own ecommerce site, good photos are critical to successful online selling. If your photos are sub-par, you’re neglecting one of the most important aspects of your online shop — and possibly losing sales.

Online shopping removes the tangible experience of touching and feeling products for the customer, so your job is to convey as much information as possible about what you’re selling. You need strong, eye-catching, high-quality images that show potential buyers exactly what they can expect.

The better your photos, the better understanding a shopper has of your product — and that should lead to better conversion rates for your business. So best practice is to have as many high-quality images with good lighting, from as many angles, with as much detail and context as you can possibly muster.

Using an ecommerce site

Strong product photography is only the beginning. For your product photography to have an impact, your site needs to be optimized to get customers there in the first place. Through strategies like search engine optimization (SEO) and on-page features like multiple payment options, you can give your business the best opportunity to attract existing and potential customers.

Explore more helpful insights about optimizing ecommerce websites.

6 ecommerce photography tips

We’re sharing the six tips below to help you improve your online images:

  • Choosing a camera for ecommerce products
  • Types of ecommerce product shots
  • Choosing a background
  • Using a tripod and choosing a surface
  • Product photography lighting
  • Detail

Take a look, start snapping, and start selling more.

  1. Choosing a camera for ecommerce products

    High-tech, expensive cameras are not a prerequisite for quality product photography. With the advancements in smartphone cameras, you can easily achieve professional-looking product photos with the simple click of an iPhone or Android.

    Whichever camera you use, make sure it has features like high resolution, adjustable focus, and multiple lighting settings. Ultimately, the success of product photography depends more on the photographer's skill and creativity than on the equipment.

  2. Types of ecommerce product shots

    If you’re in a store, would you take a full, 360-degree view of an item or just stare at the front? Show your shoppers the whole product — front, back, side, and underneath. The more images, the better.

    With that in mind, try to take as many product-style shots as possible, such as:

    • Front shot: A straightforward shot of the product from the front.
    • Side shot: A shot of the product from the side, showing its profile and any details or dimensions.
    • Back shot: A shot of the product from the back, showing details such as buttons, ports, or labels.
    • Top shot: A shot of the product from above, showing its overall shape and any details on the top.
    • Angle shot: A shot taken at an angle, showing the product in a creative and interesting way.
    • Close-up shot: A shot taken close to the product, focusing on details such as texture, pattern, or materials.
    • Lifestyle shot: A shot of the product in use, showing it in a real-life setting and giving customers a sense of how it will fit into their lives.
    • Outdoor nature shot: A shot of the product outside or in a relevant location depending on its use (such as a patio chair photographed outside on a deck).
    • Multi-product shot: A shot showing multiple products together, allowing customers to see how they can be used in combination.
  3. Choosing a background

    Busy backgrounds can be distracting and cause shoppers’ eyes to wander. Don’t give them the opportunity. Focus on the product, and they will, too.

    With every shot, aim for a background that features a clean, neutral backdrop. Keep in mind that you’ll want the background to remain consistent with the product type and overall style of the brand.

  4. Using a tripod and choosing a surface

    Don’t make your shoppers think they suddenly need glasses. Instead, eliminate any chance of camera shake, whether that means using a tripod or even just a book, box, or another steady surface. Your products will look sharp and crisp — just how you want them to be.

  5. Product photography lighting

    Bright, harsh lights or direct sunlight can create bad glares or shadows and make items look unappealing. Instead, soften it up using diffused lighting from a variety of angles to minimize shadows. Depending on the size of your product, you can try a light box or tent to achieve higher-quality lighting, too.

  6. Detail

    No merchant wants to receive an alert that a customer submitted a claim for an item they felt was not as described. Not only is product photography a great way to spotlight your item and secure a sale, but it also accurately and honestly presents your product to consumers.

    Through detail-rich, comprehensive product photography shots, you’ll give your business the best odds at avoiding unwanted refunds and returns. When customers know what to expect, there’s a better chance they’ll be satisfied with the item once it arrives.

Partner with PayPal

Now that you’ve learned the basics of product photography, take your operation to new heights with more tips for online selling and growing your business. If you don’t have a PayPal business account, sign up now.

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