I’ve recently been expanding the studio and added a number of pieces of equipment to help streamline the process of producing great e-commerce product photography for clients across a wide range of fields and have picked up a number of little nuggets of knowledge along the way. Hopefully, these 5 tips for e-commerce photography will help you improve your own e-commerce photography too!

5 tips for e-commerce photography


Invest in the correct product photography equipment

This one seems obvious but needs underlining. It doesn’t matter how good your camera is if you haven’t got the correct lighting in place and, likewise, don’t spend a small fortune on lighting only to then try and shoot on your phone.

A good camera doesn’t have to cost you thousands of pounds and there are many mid-range DSLR bodies that will give you great results for e-commerce photography. Starting off with a “prosumer” body such as the Canon 80D and a kit lens is a great way to begin shooting and then when you feel your skill level has outgrown the camera or you need to add additional lenses you can invest from there.

I would recommend three softboxes as a good starting point for your lighting equipment and then expand on that if you feel you need a bit more. Most of the major lighting companies offer great little starter packages to get you off the ground, such as this one from Elinchrom.

If you’re shooting for the web, most of the time you will be shooting on a white background. A roll of paper is fine, but something like this Manfrotto product table has saved me hours in retouching time as it allows you to light through the background. This means you can either remove all the shadows surrounding the product and eliminate having to cut your shots out or introduce points of interest like reflections, as seen below, really easily. This does require you to have a bit more space though, as once it’s built up you really don’t really want to be taking it down after every shoot!

Consistency is key with e-commerce photography

To really make your web shop stand out from the crowd it’s important to have a consistent theme running throughout your imagery.

If you look at a website and all the images are slightly off colour, items are facing different ways and all different sizes, subliminally you’re going to be turned off the site. If someone doesn’t put time into marketing their product well, why are they going to put the time into packaging and shipping or aftersales too?

Obviously, the theme you go for is totally unique to you and needs to represent your brand. Personally, I think products work best on a clean white background so I can see exactly what is being sold. For garments, having them on a model is nearly always the way to go as you can see them being worn.

A great way to really make your website pop is to run header images across the top of categories with images of your product in a lifestyle setting. This gives you a great chance to really show your product off in a way which isn’t intrusive to the buying experience.

Take multiple photos of your product

There is a reason sites like eBay give you the option to list multiple images and the highest converting eBay listings have on average 8-10 images (listsmart.io).

Capturing a product from different angles to show your customer as much information as possible is vital to making them click the “Buy it Now” button and also will decrease returns if a product wasn’t what they expected as they didn’t get a full feel for the product from your listing.

Save your photos in the correct size

If you’re hosting your e-commerce site on your own webpage, then having the images as small as possible is not only going to save you hosting space but also potentially increase your ranking on Google, as your page load times will be faster. Everybody wants to be on that first page of Google and with recent changes putting a weighting on page load time for your SEO, it’s marginal gains that will help you make big improvements in the long term.

Google’s current figures state that the bounce rate (which is somebody coming off your website) increases by 32% when your page load times goes from one to three seconds and when that goes up to five seconds you have a 90% increase in bounce rates, That’s huge, so make sure your images are correctly optimised before loading onto your website.

Applications such as Photoshop have a dedicated “save for web” tab which will help you cut down on image size but as a guide, I would try to go no larger than 1000 pixels on your longest edge and a resolution of 72dpi.

Use the correct format

The last of my tips for e-commerce photography again helps improve those all-important load speeds by using the correct image format.

Chances are if you are shooting on a DSLR you will be shooting in RAW (if you’re not then you should be) but the internet won’t be happy with you trying to upload your .CR2 file and your servers won’t be happy if you try and upload a .TIFF file to get the best image quality. This really leaves you with two mainstream image formats – J-PEG and PNG.

There isn’t really a one size fits all answer for this and you may need to do a little experimenting yourself and depending on what is featured in your image, this will change. J-PEG is great for nearly all photographs but it is a “lossy” compressed format. Without going too much into what that means, it loses data when saving to create a smaller file type. Whereas PNG is lossless so retains all that data – this is a big benefit if your image has a lot of text or icons.

I hope you have found these five tips for e-commerce photography useful and please check out the rest of the blog for posts on how to improve other aspects of your photography too.

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