Written by Raúl Carrión
Table of contents
- 1 The purpose of photographs in an online store
- 2 Tips for making pictures for an online store
- 3 Summary of how to make product imagery for an online store
Product pictures are one of the strongest selling arguments for an online store. If the product conquers our customer through its looks, the probability of a sale being successfully completed is higher.
In this post we are going to review the aspects that can help our online store’s product images to sell more.
The purpose of photographs in an online store
Let’s start from the beginning: what is the primary goal of images in an online store? It’s an easy answer. Photographs will help us increase the conversion rate, that is, the number of visitors who end up becoming our customers. For that reason, our online store’s pictures must comply with the following requirements:
Stir up buying interest
It doesn’t matter what they are or what they represent, our products must look their absolute best when we are going to photograph them. We want them to look as desirable as possible, to incite users to want them more.
Reduce the distance between the product and the customer
Lack of trust fuelled by distance reduces the number of sales in an e-commerce store. To avoid this, we will work on our pictures to make the product look as attainable as possible. It must appear to be within the customer’s immediate reach.
Provide information about the product
By taking pictures from different points of view we will be able to go father than our lexicon takes us. You may also want to take a photo of the product’s packaging, because it will help our customer to relax about the state in which their purchase will arrive to its destination.
Be different from your competition
An e-commerce store’s customer tends to go where they are being given more information. Using own signature pictures will differentiate our online store from our competitor’s.
Tips for making pictures for an online store
Now that we know how important product photography is for our online store, we are going to work on taking the best possible images of our products. We will focus on the following aspects.
We want to look professional, so we are going to use the most professional equipment possible. This rules out use of smartphones, regardless of whether or not they are the latest generation.
A reflex camera is the perfect choice. There is no need for the greatest equipment: even with a basic model we can take good pictures if we put our best effort into it. If we don’t own a reflex camera, we can borrow one, or even acquire our own for less than 300 Euro.
If our products are small or medium-sized, it is highly recommended to use a light box. It sort of looks like a miniature camping tent with a couple of spotlights that create the perfect lighting settings. We can find this kind of product on Amazon for €40+.
We will also need a tripod so that our pictures are as sharp as possible. To this end we will need to use a high shutter speed.
If our product doesn’t fit within a light box, we can create an improvised photo-studio with a table, a wall and a white sheet. We will pin the sheet to the wall, in a way that it cascades on the table, covering it entirely. By playing with the lighting we will achieve pictures with great results.
Now comes the moment of truth: we have our product, the equipment and the perfect setting ready. It is time to take the shot.
My advice is to take lots of pictures. You will always have time to discard those that you don’t like.
Moreover, try to photograph the product from different angles, to provide the customer with sufficient visual information to encourage them to make the purchase.
During this phase we are going to edit our photos so that they are correctly displayed in our online store, because as it happens with any other website, images must have specific dimensions, aspect ratio and size.
To this end we will use photo-editing software. There are well-known programs like Photoshop, which you need to pay for, or open-source ones, which are entirely free, like Gimp.
We will use the program of our choice to crop the images to an appropriate size for our online store. A square aspect ratio is the recommended option in most cases, although there are always exceptions, in the case of clothing items, for example, where a vertical orientation is usually the preferred choice.
The dimensions of our images must be at the very least 800x800px, perhaps even 1024x1024px if we want to bolster fine details that can make a difference.
Using our photo-editing software we will also adjust the resolution to 72 ppp, the format employed on the web, and we will compress the image until reaching a good quality-size ratio.
Uploading our pictures to the online store
A good online store management system should be able to generate two different versions of each photograph that we upload: a medium-sized version, and a small-sized one. This way, the browser won’t have to download the heavier picture on the full list of products each time.
From an SEO point of view, it is recommended to add an alternative text to each photograph we publish, to give Google more reasons to rank our online store on the highest positions within its search results.
Summary of how to make product imagery for an online store
For those who were too lazy to read the entire article, here’s a checklist with all tips and tricks to make great pictures for your e-commerce store:
Use professional equipment: reflex camera, a light box and a tripod.
- Take shots from different angles.
- Edit your images until they have the ideal dimensions, aspect ratio and size.
- Use a good online store management system that will automatically generate several versions of your pictures.
- Fill in the alt text of each image with relevant keywords.