How to take product photos that sells

Did you know that 67% of online shoppers consider the product photo more important than its description? Here are some expert tips to optimize yours!

September 30, 2020
5 min read

One of the most important factors when selling products online are the photographs you will take of them. For example, take the entrepreneur Sophia Amoruso, author of Girlboss, who turned the regular eBay vintage shop Nastygal into a huge ecommerce success by investing time and dedication in creating appealing apparel photos.

When customers saw the stores’ clothes in a real context, they became more attracted to the offered items and, therefore, more inclined to purchase them.

“67% of online consumers believe that clear, rich in detail photos of a product are even more important than its description”. Source: Wishpond

By arousing customers’ interest towards the product and showing them exactly what the problem really is, a well-produced product photo can:

– Reduce cart abandonment rates;
– Combat returns;
– Increase conversions.

But, for all that to happen, the quality of the photographs must be impeccable and the products must comply with your brand persona communication. Keep in mind that this will probably be the last contact your customer will have with the product before purchasing it, thus it is a decisive factor to make them hit the buy button.

How to Take High Quality Product Photography

In a perfect world, you would be able to afford a professional photographer for the job. But, if you are just starting and don’t have the budget for it yet, here are some guidelines that can help you take incredible photographs just like Amoruso did in her days:

Get the right tools

For starters, if you don’t own one yet, you should invest in a professional, DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera. But, don’t think that the equipment will work its magic by itself. It is important for you to know its functions, learning how to control focus, light and speed, for instance. There are a whole lot of video tutorials on YouTube that can help you take full advantage of the camera.

If spending money with a professional camera is still over-budget, you can use your smartphone camera. These days they all come with a considerable high-quality camera and, with a few tricks, you can click your products like a pro. The best advantage of using your phone to take photos is the convenience, since you can edit the photo without much effort with a wide range of photo-editing apps available today.

Make the most of natural light

Photography is all about lighting, it can either lead to an amazing picture or a total disaster. That’s why my number one recommendation is to use natural light when taking your photos. Although it can be harder to control natural light than studio light, if you learn how to use it, the result can be very satisfactory, making your photos look beautiful and professional. You also need to avoid direct light, such as noon-day sun. It will cause a harsh shadow, which can ruin your photo.

Choose the right time

The best time to photograph is in the early-morning or late-afternoon, depending on your purpose.

Use a reflector

You can either buy a professional one or make your own with a styrofoam plate. This will help illuminate the entire product, improving the final result.

Avoid using flash

Amazingly, this tip is the truest truth. The light of the flash is a direct light that is very strong and will create shadows and reflections, leaving your photo less attractive and looking amateur. So, invest in a mini-studio (as we will discuss below), or in the indirect and natural light. Then there will be no mistakes.

Use a tripod

Tripods, often left out, will help you capture the ideal shot. It is an easy and fast adjustable tool that will support the camera in the right place while you handle the product or the scenario.

By making the camera steady, you reduce the risk of blurred photos. In case you don’t have one at home, you can always improvise some other kind of support.

More photos the merrier

Don’t be afraid to take several photos. The most you can lose is card or cell phone memory (which can be quickly recovered after you choose one of the images and delete the others). So, take lots of photos from different angles, in varied lighting, and move the position of the objects. This way, you can discover how to value your product even more and, consequently, increase sales.

Build a mini-studio photo

All you will need is a cardboard box, TNT, EVA and white glue, plus a little patience and creativity. In the studio, the light will be 100% controlled, a fact that will help in the satisfactory result of the photo. Not to mention the infinite white background, which helps give depth and puts the whole focus of the image on your product.

Capture all details

Do not forget to move away from common and basic photos and, in addition to taking pictures of the product as a whole, capture the little details as well. It is important that your customer can see all the product’s differentials, so that when choosing the purchase, they are 100% sure of what they are buying, avoiding possible returns.

Create compositions and scenarios

One of the secrets to beautiful and attractive photos are the compositions and scenery in which you will insert them. If you market clothes, for example, pictures with models (at this time, friends also serve) in interesting environments add much more value to the product than a picture of the flat piece, stretched out on a white background, for example.

Be creative, use objects around you as much as you want, and design scenarios that will grab your customer’s attention. Often, simple items can add a special touch to the photo, such as magazines, books, flowers and sunglasses, for example. This is one more way to enchant your customer and increase their desire for the product to close a sale.

Don’t forget to edit

Last but not least, focus in the treatment of the photos that will be posted in your virtual store. Regardless of whether they were made with a professional camera or a smartphone, they all need to undergo an editing process. If you choose to use a DSLR camera, invest in editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Both are very complete and bring several tools for you to make your images even better. If you opt for photographing with the phone, there are many mobile applications available, such as VSCO Cam, Snapseed and Afterlight.

As you can see, with some creativity, investment in time and patience, it is possible to capture amazing photos for your e-commerce, which will only help you leverage your business sales and growth.


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