It’s never been more important to use high-quality professional photography to promote your ecommerce products. And understanding the different types of product photos at your disposal is half the trick!
As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That’s why it’s essential that the product images you use to promote what you sell appeal broadly to your target audience.
Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. Just think about that for a moment! These incredible statistics should have many businesses completely rethinking how they present themselves to the world.
It’s clear that promoting your products with high-quality, accurate, engaging imagery is vital to the future success of your ecommerce website.
And using different types of professionally-created photographic content from flat lays and detail shots to carefully crafted group photos, attractive packaging shots, and lifestyle images will positively impact customers’ overall perception of your brand and significantly increase conversion rates.
Let’s get started!
How does product photography affect business?
Product photography can make or break an ecommerce business, and here’s why:
1. The importance of first impressions
Many of us grew up learning that first impressions are essential, whether we’re going on a first date or attending a job interview. Indeed, first impressions are so incredibly important because they last well beyond that initial moment.
If you experience a sequence of events, experiences, or images, chances are you’ll remember the first ones best. In fact, there’s a name for this: it’s called the “primary effect”.
2. Positive momentum
A fantastic image can not only make a lasting first impression but can also give you positive momentum.
Your potential customer, impressed by the first image(s) they see, is encouraged to browse more pages on your website. If all your product images are of equally high quality, then the second and third impressions will be just as strong as that initial one.
Many ecommerce stores have only one shot at capturing business from a first-time browser, but if they can generate positive momentum, they’ll have a much better chance of converting that browser into a customer.
3. It’s all about the visuals
Most of us want to see a product before we consider buying it—that means we eye people’s plates at a restaurant to see how tasty and big their meals look, and peer into shop windows to check out the latest fashion designs. And it’s certainly no different with online shopping.
According to stats, many consumers consider visual content to be the key deciding factor in their decision to make a purchase.
4. Selling the reality
We live in a world where so much of what we see or hear is manipulated, unreliable, or fake.
When it comes to online stores, customers want a clear, accurate image of what they will receive. We want to be sold the reality. And we definitely don’t want any unpleasant surprises when we open a package!
If your customer buys a product based on one of your product photos and what they unpack is exactly what they saw online, they’ll not only be satisfied… they’ll trust you.
5. Professional product photography says you’re professional
It’s a simple fact of life that professional photography leads to the impression that something is more professional.
A simple example is sports photography. Think of how professional a professional sports image of a professional sports match looks! Then compare it to an image a fan in the stadium might take: there’s no comparison!
The same thing applies to the images your ecommerce brand uses to sell its products: the more professional your product photos are, the more professional your business appears to the outside world!
6. Who are you?
Is your business formal and corporate? Fun and quirky? The images you use help define who you are and craft your brand identity.
Make sure you keep your brand’s look and feel in mind as you choose images—you want your photos to contribute to a cohesive overall experience.
7. Getting to know you
While your images help you create a brand identity, they also enable others to get to know the real you.
It’s mindboggling that many corporate businesses still use boring stock images on their websites and in their marketing. What does this say about who they really are? Nothing?
Even worse, it might suggest they’re so lacking in personality that they are unable to use more genuine images. This is not the message any business would want to send!
Remember, in today’s online landscape, customers want to connect with brands on a deep level, not just buy from them.
In a world often dominated by homogeneity, people (and brands) who are authentic stand out from the crowd. The product photos you use can help define this authenticity!
For example, get creative with photos and designs for all-over-print products that are different and show your level of authenticity, pushing your branding to the next level.
9. Engagement that sells
Any ecommerce business that manages to engage its social media community again and again is likely to get ahead of the competition.
Excellent, eye-catching imagery leads to likes and shares. Shared content in turn leads to a larger following, more traffic to your store, brand building, and—ultimately—increased sales.
8 types of product photography
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of good product photography, it’s time to get specific.
There are many different types of product photography at the disposal of ecommerce businesses that want to stand out from the crowd using imagery, and it’s up to you to choose which types will work best for your brand.
So, without further ado, here are the 8 types of product photography every ecommerce store needs:
1. Lifestyle photography
Lifestyle product photography gives the potential customer a sense of how a product will impact their life. Therefore, the image should reflect the real-world use of that product.
In other words, a garden tool lifestyle photo might show the tool being used in a backyard garden. The observer can easily understand and imagine what using a particular product will look and feel like in real-world situations.
Lifestyle shots that look or feel too staged or cheesy won’t help you connect with your audience. So shoot for authenticity!
2. Studio image shots
If you want to present your product clearly, simply, and attractively to the outside world, then studio photography is often the way to go.
These types of product photos are all about clarity, and they’re typically used for product and catalog pages. There’s no hiding the truth in simple studio product shots: what you see should be exactly what you get.
Typically, backgrounds are plain and take nothing away from the product on display, although some daring brands incorporate their brand identity with more creative backgrounds.
3. Scale and detail shots
In the online world, it’s not always easy to appreciate how big or small a product is from its description or dimensions. For this reason, a scale shot helps the customer to get a better sense of this.
How big will it look on my table? Will it fit my niece? Scale shots should clarify these concerns.
A detail shot shows the finer details or specific features, helping the potential end-user fully understand what that product looks like up close.
4. Group shots
With many products sold in multiples, in combination with other products, or in variations such as different colors, sizes, and finishes, group photography can help the customer to fully appreciate all these factors in a way that is practically impossible from a technical description or review.
5. Process shots
A lot of high-quality workmanship goes into creating premium products. This sets them apart from cheap imitations.
Any brand selling high-quality items should consider using social media process shots to help customers understand the workmanship behind their goods.
Professional images of qualified tradespeople creating products can be priceless for your brand and its relationship with customers.
6. Packaging shots
Product packaging is a very important aspect of ecommerce. Since products are delivered to customers’ homes, it’s essential that the packaging fully protects the contents. Ideally, the packaging will also sell the brand.
Well-done packaging shots will convey the company’s branding and reinforce the customer’s sense that they will receive exactly what they ordered in full working order.
7. Flat lays
A flat lay is a product image shot directly from above. Flat lay images are especially popular when it comes to fashion and accessory photography. This minimalist staging is eye-catching, and it’s also particularly well suited to websites.
8. Individual shots
As the name suggests, an individual shot will only have one object being photographed (or one individual wearing an item).
You’ll often see this kind of photograph used for banner images. Individual shots are also used for catalogs and on website product pages.
People remember more of what they see than what they read, and our brains process images thousands of times faster than text. This makes using product images to sell your brand a central part of your marketing strategy!
Professional product photography tells the outside world who you are. These photos are your opportunity to make an unforgettable first impression.
Product photography gives us the ability to tell authentic, powerful brand stories. In a world where social media engagement is so important, using the correct kinds of product images will go a long way.
If you’re struggling with a limited budget and looking to cut costs, your content is not the place to do it. Sure, you could write content and take “OK” images yourself, but your online store needs top-notch written content and beautiful professional product photos that engage and sell.
Since every individual product requires an approach that best showcases its features and unique personality, it’s up to you to decide which of the many types of product photography for ecommerce described above best suit your needs!