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Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Product Photography

High-quality product photography is absolutely essential for success in e-commerce. In fact, eye-catching product images can make or break an online retail business.

According to a study by KISSmetrics, 60% of consumers said the quality of a product image is "very important" in their purchasing decision process. Additionally, products with image sets receive up to 65% more orders compared to products with single images.

Compelling product photos don't just look nice. They inspire trust and confidence in your brand, convey essential details about materials, construction, and fit, and ultimately drive sales on your online store.

A survey by Wishpond found that 88% of online shoppers said product imagery greatly influences their purchasing decisions. For apparel and jewelry, detailed images can make customers up to 4x more likely to buy.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll cover everything you need to know to create absolutely stunning product photos for e-commerce. You'll learn insider tips on lighting, angles, styling, editing, and more from top photographers.

We'll also showcase plenty of real-world examples and case studies illustrating how brands of all sizes have used cutting-edge product photography to boost their online sales and conversions.

By the end, you'll be ready to develop a product photography strategy that attracts customers, delights them with the unboxing experience, and has a tangible impact on your bottom line. Let's dive in!

Why Invest in Good Product Photos?

Great product photography provides many benefits:

  • Makes a strong first impression on customers
  • Allows customers to inspect product details closely
  • Reduces product returns by accurately depicting items
  • Differentiate your brand with unique, artistic photos
  • Boosts conversion rates by enabling customers to visualize products
  • Improves SEO rankings when images are optimized for search

Low-quality photos have the opposite effect - damaging brand image, lowering conversions, and increasing returns.

How Many Photos Do You Need Per Product?

Experts recommend having at least 3-5 images per product. More complex products may require even more:

  • Main image - Primary photo showing product straight-on
  • Alternate angles - Back, side, and detail shots
  • Lifestyle imagery - Photos showing the product in use
  • Packaging - Images of the unboxing experience
  • Variations - Photos of different colors, materials, sizes
  • Extras - Videos, GIFs, special detail shots

The goal is to provide a comprehensive visual representation from all angles.

Equipment for Quality Product Photography

Investing in some basic equipment pays dividends when it comes to product image quality:

  • Camera - DSLR or mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses
  • Lenses - Prime lenses for crisp focus and macro lenses for close-ups
  • Lighting - Continuous or strobe lights to evenly illuminate products
  • Backdrops - Seamless paper or canvas backdrops in white, gray or brand colors
  • Tripod - Essential for stabilizing the camera and framing shots
  • Props - Items like acrylic stands, mannequins, and hanging racks to stage products

Tips for Photographing Specific Product Categories

The photography approach can vary quite a bit depending on the product:

  • Clothing - Flat lays, mannequins, and lifestyle photos showing details like seams, buttons, and fabric textures.

  • Jewelry - White backgrounds, macro shots, and styled photos capturing intricate details.

  • Food - Hero shots and alternate angles with natural lighting and shallow depth of field.

  • Furniture - Lifestyle images in room scenes, outdoors, or against white backgrounds.

  • Cosmetics - Glamour shots of products alone and being worn/applied close up.

Best Practices for E-commerce Product Photos

Follow these tips and techniques for optimal quality:

  • Use DSLR in manual mode for maximum control
  • Shoot in RAW format for more flexibility in editing
  • Pay attention to small product details and highlight them
  • Shape flattering light by diffusing and reflecting
  • Carefully check and adjust focus for extreme sharpness
  • Minimize clutter and distractions in the background
  • Style products attractively - fluff, steam, arrange nicely
  • Vary angles and heights for visual interest
  • Show products in context with lifestyle images
  • Optimize images in editing before uploading - adjust exposure, colors, crop, sharpen, etc.

Post-Processing Tips for Image Optimization

Use photo editing software to polish images through:

  • Cropping to perfect the composition
  • Exposure adjustment to even out lighting
  • Color correction for accurate hues and white balance
  • Careful sharpening to add clarity without overdoing it
  • Noise reduction for minimizing unwanted graininess
  • Background removal or blurring for focus
  • Resizing down to standard web resolutions
  • Compression with 80% quality setting for JPGs
  • Watermarking with small, stylish brand mark
  • Metadata optimization with titles, descriptions, keywords

Where to Host Your E-commerce Images

You'll need to store images online to display them on your website. Here are some options:

  • Your own web server if you have sufficient storage capacity
  • Cloud storage like Amazon S3 or Azure Blob for reliability and global delivery
  • Image CDNs like Cloudinary or Akamai for performance, speed, and security
  • Social media for hosting, like Facebook or Instagram
  • DAM solutions like Adobe Experience Manager for centralized management

Conclusion

Great product photography has immense power to engage customers and drive sales. By following this guide, e-commerce businesses can develop product photo strategies that support their brand and meet customers' needs online. Investing time and resources into quality product images generates tremendous returns in the form of higher conversions, reduced returns, and lasting customer relationships.

What tips do you have for taking amazing product photos? Let us know in the comments!

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