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11 product photography tips to help increase your conversion rate

It doesn’t matter how great your products are if your photography doesn’t reflect that, there’s a chance your conversion rate will suffer. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. 

Our 11  product photography tips will help increase your conversion rate and help show potential customers what you’re brands about. 

"I’m not a photographer’‘

“I don’t have the budget”

“I don’t have a good camera”

“It’s all too technical for me”

“I only have my cell phone”

Sound familiar? 

If you’re worried that your product photography is the Achilles heel of your online store, it probably is. Fashion, jewellery, accessories and home decor, all require a different kind of approach. It isn’t a one size fits all scenario. 

Today we’re going to take you through some of our favourite product photography tips so you can put them into practice without the need of an expensive camera or crazy budget.

Here’s what you’ll learn: 

  • What background is the best performing for product photography

  • How to choose the perfect lighting for your product photography

  • Secret hints for outstanding photography in e-commerce


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1. Product photography background tips

A plain white background does a fantastic job at showing your product off for what it is. When shoppers see a thumbnail like this, their eye is drawn to the clarity and contrast. No distractions. 

Clear photos on a white background set a realistic expectation of what your customers will get after placing an order. This is transparent and honest product photography.

If you’re struggling to find the perfect background, you can easily build yourself a makeshift set using lamps, white paper and a tripod.

While product photography like this is essential, the photos themselves lack a bit of creativity. 

A textured background is great for branding and expressing a mood. It also makes your products more memorable. Plus, product photography like this gets shared on social media more frequently. Consider textures like wood, rock, sand.

Think about creating an environment or background where your product will be used. A desk, kitchen table, bedside table. This not only showcases your product but allows the potential customer to envision using it. 

But what about digital products? How do you create product photography of..well, a photo?

That’s where mock-up backgrounds come in…

2. Digital art backgrounds

Do you sell digital art? Sure, it’s simple to provide a hi-res image of your piece of work, but what about showing it off hanging on the wall?

When getting your shot, bear in mind that glass creates reflections so managing your light source may be difficult. That being said, the end result is worth it. 

3. Lighting tips for beginners

Whether you’re shooting with an expensive camera or your iPhone one thing remains important.

Lighting.

9 times out of 10, natural light’s going to be your best friend. Search around the house for some good light near a window. Taking photos at midday, when the sun is directly above will usually generate the best results.

Rainy day? Hunt around the house for some lamps. Place one lamp either side of your product and have a look.

  • Is it lit well?

  • Are there any shadows?

  • Are there any reflections?

Play, experiment and learn. Move the lighting around to move shadows and minimise reflections.

Sharp, solid shadows are distracting. This is called ‘hard light’. If you’re working with lamps, chances are that this is what you’ll have.  

To soften the light, place a white plastic bag over the globe. That’ll give you a ‘soft’ light in a more even fashion and cut down on the sharp harsh shadows.

4. Styled e-commerce product photography

Close up, lifestyle or scale shots are great for highlighting elements of your product that you want to be noticed. If you’re a fashion brand, a lifestyle photoshoot brings your work to life. 

To pull off a well-styled product photography shoot, you need a little preparation.  

Firstly, define your style. Are you minimalist, industrial, quirky, organic? If you’re minimalist you won’t want to clutter your photos with other elements.

Pro Tip: Whatever your style is, make sure this follows through with the rest of your brand. 

Some things to consider: 

  • Know the rule of thirds. This is a simple rule is when your photograph can be evenly divided into thirds, and the main focus of your photo lies within the intersection of those lines. 

  • Demonstrate size, scale and fit by using a model. This helps people to visualise how it’ll actually look on a person.

  • Remember branding. Use colours, shapes and patterns consistent with your current branding and brand message.

  • The point is to sell your product. Don’t let anything else in the image draw attention away from what’s on offer.

  • Show off the benefits of your product. If your product can solve a problem, dedicate a photo to it doing just that.

5. Use a tripod

A quality tripod will really help you get the most out of your photos. It also makes the process of taking photos a lot easier.

You only have two hands. If one is preoccupied holding the camera, you’re going to spend a lot more time arranging your shot. A tripod will allow you to keep the camera in one spot, which leads to a sharper, clearer image. An overall better picture.

A tripod will also allow you to go and move lights, adjust the product and change things without losing the camera position.

6. Forget Instagram

Instagram filters have their place–on Instagram. Not on an online store where a product’s being sold.

Some filters can make images look sharper, that’s true. But they will simultaneously present your product in ever so slightly different colours.

A filter added over a product photo will also damage trust and make a potential buyer question the quality.

7. Use your macro

Most cameras have a ‘close up’ mode, also known as macro. Look for the little logo that looks like a Tulip.

This mode is often used to focus at a short distance to show off smaller details.  It’s a great mode to use for jewellery and other detailed products. The overall result is quite astonishing and creates a completely different perspective. Your product photography can take on a new life.

8. A sense of scale

No matter how creative you get, don’t forget that the one goal of your photos is to sell. Your customers may get confused and leave a sale if your photos aren’t clear. 

Your product description may state that your coffee mugs are 85 cm high, but what’s 85 cm compared to a teaspoon, or a coaster, or a human hand?

A bracelet that’s 3 cm wide looks very different when it’s actually on a wrist. Don’t deceive your customers, give them some good quality product photos that show a sense of size and scale.

9. Show off all your variants

It can be frustrating for a potential customer if what they’re interested in is available, but they can’t see it. Show it all. If your t-shirts come in 5 different colours, show it in every colour. Every product style should have its own picture.

10. Don’t delete your product photos

Don’t get frustrated and delete something because you don’t like it. Just because your picture looks average on your phone doesn’t mean it’s going to look bad when it’s had some editing done.  

By keeping everything that you take, you’re able to see what worked and what didn’t. The image you delete may, in fact, be the best one of the entire shoot.

11. Editing

Taking a photo is just the beginning. Touch-ups and editing are just as important as taking the photo itself.

To get started, load your images into Photoshop or Lightroom. If these aren’t available to you, try Pixlr Editor, the free, online version of Photoshop.

Take a look at the colours in the image in comparison to the real product. Are they the same? Are the reds more orange in the photos or are the blues more green in reality? Be careful and don’t go too far. Gentle adjustments are all you need.  

Remember, you want your product photos to be honest, not to make the product look different.

Looking for more tips and tricks on how to make your online presence one worth noticing? Head to the SumUp blog for more tips and tricks.

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Anna Marie Allgaier