insights | 08.08.2023

How to create stunning product images for your store

When you run an eCommerce store, exceptional product images are essential.

These photos show your prospective customers what your products look like, how they fit, as well as how they can style them. The right image can make the difference between a successful transaction, and a shopper abandoning their cart.

In fact, three out of four customers rely on product photos before making a purchase.

If you’ve ever wondered how to get high-quality eCommerce product photos for your store, we’ve put together this guide to help.

But first, we want to answer a question our clients often ask us…

Article topics
  1. Is it okay to use the manufacturer’s photos?
  2. 7 top tips for creating product images that make shoppers want to convert

Is it okay to use the manufacturer’s photos?

If you sell products on behalf of a manufacturer or supplier, they may already have product photos you can use. These manufacturers will likely have invested resources into taking these images, making them a good option if you don’t have time to take your own.

However, there are some things you need to bear in mind:

Ask for permission

While some manufacturers are happy for you to use their images, others may not want you to, or request that you only use them in specific ways. For example, they may specify that you can use the photos on your website but not anywhere else. They may also insist that the images have a watermark or that you don’t edit them yourself.

Check with your contact in their marketing team before using the images on your pages. Also, make sure the files are in an appropriate format. Jpegs are ideal for product photos as you get the best quality for the smallest file size, and fast-loading images are best for SEO.

Make sure your competitors aren’t using them

If your manufacturers sell to other eCommerce stores, your competitors might also use the same photos. This can make your store look the same as theirs, increasing the risk of your eCommerce website not standing out in website searches or Google Shopping.

If you opt to use manufacturer’s photos, create unique product descriptions, alt text, meta titles, and meta descriptions to reduce the chances of your store fading into the background.

Ensure the photos are consistent with your brand identity

Your manufacturer may have a different aesthetic to you, which can lead to an incohesive eCommerce store style. This can mean a messy website that doesn’t appeal to your target audience.

We’ll look at taking consistent photos in more detail later on.

Use the most recent version of any photos                                   

If the manufacturer updates their content, you may be left using outdated imagery on your site.

If they use digital asset management software, they may be willing to grant you access so you always have access to the most recent files.

So to answer the question: there are some circumstances where it’s okay to use the manufacturer’s photos.

However, it’s worth investing in your own photography if you can.

7 top tips for creating product images that make shoppers want to convert

Using the manufacturer’s photos can be beneficial for particular items as well as eCommerce stores that want to launch right away. However, creating your own images gives you complete control and means you can ensure the visual style aligns with your branding.

And the great thing is that you don’t need an expensive camera or a pricey software editing suite to create your own stunning photos.

Here are seven of our top tips for the perfect product photos.

1. Use the right lighting

Lighting can transform a dull, grainy product image into something bright and inviting! No matter what you’re selling, getting the lighting right is essential.

Natural lighting is one of the easiest options, as all you need is a window, or to step outside to take photos on location. However, natural lighting can be unpredictable as the sun changes throughout the course of the day.

Artificial light sources give you more control over how a light source operates; however you may require specialist equipment like portable lights, strobes and ring lights.

Which type of lighting is right for your eCommerce store? It depends on what you’re selling. For example, artificial lights are great for small items like food items and pieces of jewellery. On the other hand, an interior designer may want to show off a bedroom swathed in natural light.

2. Don’t be afraid to make edits

Editing software can remove any imperfections in the photography process and ensure that all your product photos look consistent. There are apps for smartphones like Snapseed, Lightroom, and VSCO, as well as desktop-based programmes like Pixlr, Gimp, and Photoshop.

A good idea is to set up a preset in your tool of choice – this is a collection of saved settings that you can apply to a photo with a push of a button.

Remember that while enhancing your product is okay, you don’t want to transform it entirely. This can lead to frustrated customers and a barrage of returns.

3. Be as detailed as possible

22% of returns happen because the product received looked different to how it did on the website. This means detailed and clear product photos can lead to fewer returns.

Take photos from different angles and upload a large enough image so shoppers can zoom in and see the details.

Some eCommerce clothing stores show the same clothes on different-sized models, so customers can get more of a feel of how an item will look on them. For a lovely example of this in action, take the Joanie clothing website.

4. Consider video

While static product images are the standard for eCommerce websites, a video can be a fantastic way for shoppers to see your products in action.

According to Brightcove, over 85% of customers rely on videos when they shop online. Videos are a simple and fast way to showcase the benefits of your products and explain how they work. Plus, you can easily share them on your social media platforms too.

Keep your video clear and concise and remember to optimise your videos for speed; 25% of site visitors will leave a page if it takes more than four seconds to load!

5. Make sure your photos are consistent

Did you know that brand consistency can increase your revenue by up to 23%? Ensuring your product photos are consistent helps ensure a professional-looking website, makes it easier to navigate your site, and, most importantly, establishes customer trust.

A good starting point for ensuring consistency is to develop a style guide for your brand. This includes information about lighting, angles, backdrops, and presets, meaning team members can take similar-looking photos.

6. Take advantage of user-generated content

User-generated content, or UGC, is organic content about your brand that your customers create.

For example, let’s say you sell herbs and spices online, and one of your customers creates a video on TikTok, using your products to cook a delicious meal. This is excellent UGC for your brand.

UGC is a fantastic alternative to the traditional photos and videos taken by your eCommerce business. This is because this content is authentic and shows your paying customers using your products.

Nearly four out of five people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions, so it’s worth using!

A fantastic example of a brand using UGC is Snag. The brand prides itself on using real customers as its models and, as a result, has a diverse range of product images on its website.

The best way to get UGC is to encourage customers to use a particular hashtag, or tag your brand in social media posts.

We always recommend asking for permission before you use any content. While customers might be happy to mention you in an Instagram post, they might not be pleased to feature on your website!

7. Try different things

Our final tip for taking the perfect photos… don’t be afraid to experiment!

Try taking a variety of different images to see what works best. For example, try some photos with a white background and some with a coloured background. If you’re using natural light, try taking some photos when the sun is out and when it is overcast. If you’re taking photos of clothes, try some with a model and some using a mannequin.

And, of course, don’t be afraid to ask your customers which photos they prefer. By using images that resonate more with their requirements, you’re more likely to get their attention and that all-important sale.

Looking for more hints and tips about how to make your eCommerce store stand out from the crowd and boost conversions? Check out the Xigen blog.

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