Having professional product photography does much more than display what your product is. Professional photography conveys a sense of credibility to customers of your e-commerce store. Customers have so much choice these days when shopping online. If there is so much as a hint of ‘backyard operation’, they high tale it the next Google search result.
There are few important factors to consider when setting up a semi-professional photography studio…
Product photo factors
The camera is obvious. Because we’re dealing with the web, we don’t need any crazy high resolution cameras, but a decent lens does help. Mobile phone photos are a definite ‘no no’.
It’s worthwhile investing in some studio lighting (relatively inexpensive on Ebay) and some kind of white backdrop. For small items I’ve used three lights for various angles to ensure the subject is completely lit up. Your shots will look ten times more professional if your subject isn’t half in darkness caused by the shadow of your lounge room ceiling lights.
For small items a light box or table are very effective, for larger items or people a drop sheet might be required. Your product needs to be clear and stand out, so a white back drop is essential. You can tweak the settings on your camera to make that white almost completely perfect white, but most likely will still need some image editing for the finer touches.
Making sure your products are shot in a consistent way is paramount. Having different angles, zoom distances or orientation on like products screams amateur. Try to shoot product variations in exactly the same position. EXACTLY. It’s a pro touch and is extremely effective when say a customer is flicking through a bunch of different colours.
One the number one reasons customers return items online is that they were not as they appeared in their picture. Make sure the brightness and saturation gives a fairly close representation of the real life thing. Test your results out on a few different screens, and of course it’s wise to put a disclaimer that you have made all efforts to display true colours but they might vary.
Resolution & Zooming
Your customers will want to see every fine detail. At the same time, they don’t want to wait hours downloading high res files. Consider a maximum photo width/height of somewhere in the realm of 1600-2000 pixels. A zoom function inline of your product page is a fantastic way of keeping the user focused on the task at hand (adding your product to their cart). Second to that, the popup or lightbox window is great for offering a full screen uninterrupted view of the product.
The more the better. Give your customers every angle, every detail, every use in a photo. This gives them all the information they need to make their decision right then and there, instead of leaving them wondering whether this is the kind of thing they want to buy online.
These small tips will go a long way to making your site look highly professional and credible, but also do a better job of converting your online customers. It takes a bit of effort to organise a shoot of your stock, but I’m sure the results will speak for themselves.