In the world of e-commerce, shoppers rarely have the ability to look at – or feel – a product before making a purchasing decision (downloadable products excluded). That's why product images are so important to the overall success of an e-commerce website.
When it comes to taking well-constructed product pictures, there are two options to choose from. First, you can hire a professional to do the work for you, or you can grab a camera and do it yourself. Trust us… it is not as hard as you'd think, but you'll need to know a few things before getting started.
Make 'em beautiful!
First thing's first… make sure you use a decent camera. We all love our smartphones, but they're not ideal for taking product photos. A small SLR is always a good choice, but it's important that you work within your comfort zone. Just make sure the camera you choose is capable of producing clear, high resolution images and you should be fine.
Don't forget about style
Now it's time to talk about style. Product photos should always be taken with a neutral background. Using colorful patterns may look pretty, but they take away from the product itself. With that in mind, using neutral colors such as a white, beige or black in your background is always best.
It is also a good idea to shoot products from multiple angles and in multiple sizes. This will allow you to create a main product image, a zoom image and smaller images that can be used as thumbnails to show your product from every possible angle.
Things to consider
It’s rare to take the perfect shot the first time around. It usually takes a bit of experimenting (correcting color, focus, contrast, framing etc...). Digital image retouching software is abundant and extremely useful when editing product photos.
Formats like JPEG and PNG are best for websites, and it's important to make sure your photo file size isn't too large. The larger the product image, the longer it will take to load. This is true even for zoom images. No need to upload a photo that is 5MB.
One last thing to keep in mind. The trick to taking excellent product photos is simplicity. Don't complicate things.
Put your best foot forward
We suggest that you use at least one large-format image, accompanied by several smaller thumbnails for each product in your store. Include too images and you risk overloading your page.
Please keep in mind that not every product needs to use images the same sized images. We suggest that you play with various sizes until you find a versatile combination that works well with your website. For example, the PrestaShop powered e-store Headict offers product images in multiple sizes, making their website extremely dynamic and very easy to look at.
The use of 360° images is growing increasingly popular in the e-commerce world. This approach lends itself to a closer examination of the product by allowing customers to view it from every angle. The PrestaShop powered webstore Truffaut uses a 360° image tool, and we think their product images are pretty awesome.
To zoom or not to zoom?
To zoom... absolutely! It’s crucial for shoppers to see close-ups. Therefore, keep in mind that the zoom photo must be larger than the standard product shot. Don't go to large, though, because enormous images take forever to load.
Zoom images further allow shoppers to view every detail of a product. The XXL zoom used by Asos, for example, enables visitors to see products in greater detail thanks to a powerful zoom feature.
Here's how most zoom features work. As the cursor moves over the an image, the zoom feature comes alive. In other words, when a shopper moves his or her mouse over a product photo, an automatic zoom image appears so every product detail can be seen. If you want to see this feature in action, checkout The Fab Shoes e-store. They do this very well.
Now that you have a few tips to work with, you’re ready to get snapping! Remember, take your time, experiment a little, but most importantly, have fun!
If your an e-merchant who has taken their own product photos, we'd love to hear from you. Please provide any tips, thoughts or suggestions in the comments field below.