Why Good Product Photography Matters

Before we get into the details of what you should do to take great product photos, let’s discuss your objectives for doing so. This will lead to greater understanding of why these techniques are essential to your success.

Keep in mind that just because these objectives are listed in a particular order doesn’t mean some are less important than others. You need to fulfill them all.


Objective 1: A Consistent Look and Style

Consistency is key for making your products and online store look professional. Photography with a cohesive look gives the sense that your company maintains high standards and is on the ball. Inconsistencies in your product photography can distract shoppers away from the products themselves.

Of course, in some cases you might need photos that break from a certain pattern — for example, if you use live models in separate locations. But even these photos need a level of consistency in their style, or you risk distracting viewers rather than showing off your products.


Objective 2: Accuracy

You always want to portray your products accurately, so customers can get a correct idea of the color, size, and details of your items. Achieving this accuracy means proper usage of lighting (to show colors correctly), proper angles (to show proportions), and high resolution (to preserve detail).

In some cases, you’ll need to take extra steps to ensure that your photos accurately represent your products. For some items you’ll need multiple photos, like front and back views, while for others, you’ll need a method of showing scale, such as photographing your item next to a ruler.

All product photos should be high-definition enough for the customer to zoom in for a good look, but some products will need higher definition than others. An example would be clothing or other fabric items, for which a shopper might want to zoom very close in to inspect stitching, texture, or other details.


Objective 3: Flatter Your Products

Your photography needs to show off your products to their advantage to make them more appealing to the customer. Of course, keep accuracy in mind while you do this, otherwise your photos might be considered misleading — for example, if product size plays into the overall value, don’t try to make items appear larger than they are.

Instead, flatter your products by creating a dedicated, well-lit space to take your photos. This will help you create the kind of images that make your products look their best. You’ll need the proper setup to capture the details that show quality, including a backdrop, lighting, and other elements we’ll explain in the next lesson of this course.


Objective 4: Inform Your Customers

This is related to the accuracy we’ve already described, in the sense that your photos need to convey information to the customer. But informing your customers goes beyond simply providing an accurate picture of your product and into helping your customers make their purchase decisions.

This is the major reason for having multiple images per product. While front and back views are a necessity for some items (like apparel), side views, bottom views, and other angles can also be very helpful. Shoes, for example — a customer might want to see them from the top, side, 3/4 view, back, front, and bottom (to view the tread pattern), as well as have a close-up of the laces or decorative design.

Always consider which types of photos can provide the type of details that come in handy when a customer is trying to make a decision. Is there any helpful information on your products themselves that could help a customer choose to purchase? Labels, textures, small details, etc. can all be worthy of a close-up photo.

Again, accuracy and information are related but not the same. Accurate product photos say “this is the product.” Informative product photos make your customers say “yes, I want this product.” Your photos need to accomplish both goals.


The Benefits of Product Photography that Meets These Objectives

Meeting these objectives will result in a consistent, professional-looking online store, but what positive results will this actually bring? The following:

  • Increased sales. Great product photos that meet these objectives will make your products more appealing, resulting in more sales.
  • Higher customer satisfaction. Customers will have fewer questions, and an easier time deciding what they want. They can examine your photos and buy with confidence.
  • Reduced returns. If customers have access to great product photos, there’s less uncertainty, fewer regrets, fewer mistakes, and fewer returns.

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