Successful online businesses know that great photographs are what really make your customer WANT to buy.
Snaps taken on your mobile just won’t do.
If you walk past a shop on your high street with dirty windows and badly displayed products, chances are you’ll carry right on. The same with an ecommerce shop. Blurry, badly lit photos will have visitors hitting the back button instantly.
So how do you get those fabulous photos?
You’ll need 2 types of pictures.
Styled photographs for your home page and other promotional material.
Photos of each individual product, often on a plain background, which show the item in detail.
These are the photos which will represent your brand and create the desire to buy. You may only need a few of these so it’s worth investing in getting the best you possibly can.
This is where it’s really worthwhile hiring a professional photographer. They will know all the tricks for lighting and editing and can create beautifully styled shots.
These are the shots which show off your product. They need to be clear, close up and show the details so that customers know what they are buying. The background should be unobtrusive, but it doesn’t have to be blank white – items like jewellery often look better against textured backgrounds like wood, fabric or slate.
In many cases professional photography is just not practical for every product. Great if you have a small range of high end products which change rarely. But if you have a high turnover of new items you want to get them listed as quickly as possible – and that often means taking the individual product photos in-house.
So look at setting up your own mini studio. If you know nothing about product photography then invest in some training – it will pay for itself very quickly. Purchase a good quality digital camera, lighting and backgrounds.
Some pro photographers offer a service to help you set up your in-house studio, advising on the right equipment to purchase and training you in the essentials. At the very least, buy some good books on the subject and check out good web articles like this DIY product photography tutorial.
Most ecommerce packages these days allow multiple photos of your products and zooming/enlarging. Make use of these options – they really help sell. Try having a simple item shot plus a styled photo showing off the item – particularly good for fashion and gift items.
Using Manufacturer’s photos
Of course, many manufacturers also supply product photos of their items for use on your website. These are usually good quality and let you get products listed immediately. The downside is that your products then look the same as every other stockist. Fine for well known brands or commodity items (batteries for example).
But if you are selling lifestyle products such as handbags and homewares, think about adding some different photos which will make you stand out from the crowd.
Photos really affect your conversion
Just for laughs I found this photo which I took in the early days of The Wedding Crafter (circa 2004). I think it sums up perfectly the perils of amateur product photography. The poor lighting, wonky set up, the shape of the armchair clearly visible under the backdrop…….
Once I replaced our early amateur efforts with good quality shots our conversion rate increased dramatically.
The right pictures will make all the difference to your sales.