Converting your website visitors into buyers has much to do with product photos. This eCommerce photography ultimate guide aims to help you take great product images that convince users to click on your photo and add your item to the cart. So read this ecommerce photography guide to maximize your ecommerce photoshoot.
Not everyone is a professional eCommerce photographer. You can perfect your eCommerce product photography by reading this ultimate guide. It will cover what Ecommerce photography is, its benefits, types, history, and much more. Of course, you will get a step-by-step process of taking eCommerce product photos.
Let’s start the ultimate guide to Ecommerce photography!
What is Ecommerce Photography?
Ecommerce photography, also known as eCommerce product photography, is a photography category focused on producing high-quality, commercially viable pictures of products for use online for sale.
It is a type of commercial photography in the online shopping industry. So, this Ecommerce photography ultimate guide aims to help online store owners produce product images that sell.
Attract Customers With Stunning Ecommerce Photos
Importance of Ecommerce Product Photography
Here’s an interesting stat for you. 75% of online shoppers rely on product photos when deciding whether to purchase.
Ecommerce product photography is crucial for any online business.
Customers of an eCommerce store cannot physically see or feel the products. So, your product photos need to do the selling for you.
Furthermore, professional product pictures can increase user engagement with your website and build customer trust in your brand.
Continue reading this ultimate guide to ecommerce photography to know the benefits of taking good quality photos for your products.
Benefits of Ecommerce Photography
Now that you know what eCommerce photography is and why it’s essential, here are some benefits you get.
Ecommerce photography is advantageous for:
- Small Sellers
Benefits of Ecommerce Photography for Businesses
As a business owner participating in online selling, you will massively benefit from professional eCommerce photography.
Ecommerce product photography helps businesses:
- Increase Interest In The Product.
- Tell More About The Product Than Most Descriptions.
- Increase Product Sales With High-quality Product Images.
- Give Their Ecommerce Store A More Creative Look And Feel.
- Use Ecommerce Product Photos For Social Media Marketing.
- Secure Your Brand Identity With Your Style Of Product Photography.
Benefits of Ecommerce Photography for Small Sellers
Small sellers on Facebook Marketplace, Amazon, and other peer-to-peer (P2P) or customer-to-customer (C2C) marketplaces can find it challenging to stand out.
Good quality product photography will help small sellers:
- Stand Above Competitors
- Stand Out to Customers
- Boost Online Visibility
- Boost Credibility
Benefits of Ecommerce Photography for Buyers
How do buyers benefit from eCommerce photography?
Buyers Benefit from Ecommerce Photography As They Can:
- Use the Product Images as a User Guide
- Visualize How Owning the Product Feels
- Guage the Product Quality Based on the Look
- Get a Good Idea of the Product Variations Available
Let’s move this eCommerce photography ultimate guide forward with the next topic.
Types of Ecommerce Product Photography
This ecommerce photography guide has convinced you about the importance and benefits of eCommerce product photography. What types of product photos should you take?
Types of product photography for Ecommerce stores depend on many factors.
Ecommerce Product Photography Based on the Number of Objects:
- Individual Ecommerce Product Photography
- Group Ecommerce Product Photography
Product Photography Based on Size & Dimensions:
- Regular-Sized Ecommerce Product Photography
- Large Product Ecommerce Photography
- Close-Up / Macro Ecommerce Product Photography
- Scale Ecommerce Product Photography
Ecommerce Product Photography Based on Purpose:
- Ecommerce Product Packaging Shot
- 360 Ecommerce Product Photography
Product Photography Based on the Props Used:
- Hanging Ecommerce Product Photography
- Mannequin Ecommerce Product Photography
- Flat-Lays Ecommerce Product Photography
Ecommerce Product Photography Based on Marketplace:
- Amazon Product Photography
- eBay Product Photography
- Etsy Product Photography
- AliExpress Product Photography
- Rakuten Product Photography
Now that you know about the various types of eCommerce product photography, let’s get more information about this category.
History of Ecommerce Photography
What are the origins of eCommerce photography? The history of eCommerce photography is obviously linked to the birth of online shopping and eCommerce. Furthermore, eCommerce only took off after the evolution of the Internet.
Early eCommerce photography began with online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy in the mid-’90s. These eCommerce marketplaces had basic product photographs with white backgrounds.
Product photography grew in tandem with eCommerce websites. As the popularity of these platforms grew, sellers began to offer better, more detailed product photos.
What is the Future of Ecommerce Photography?
The future of eCommerce photography is virtual photography.
What does virtual photography mean?
Virtual photography, or 3D product photography, creates images of real objects using graphics and 3D modeling. The result is a high-quality, 3D virtual product that customers can interact with.
Why is virtual photography the future of eCommerce?
Customers can view their products online in more detail with virtual photographs. For example, consider a living room sofa on an online marketplace. Customers can see different styles and color variations and try the furniture in their living rooms.
An excellent example is the AR Furniture App, which allows users to try out furniture items via their smartphones virtually.
So, you can expect eCommerce photography to move fully into Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality for immersive user experiences.
Ecommerce Photography Trends
There is ever-increasing competition in the online shopping industry. Knowing how to present your products in your online store best can lead to higher click rates and sales. So, this ultimate guide on Ecommerce photography will help you understand the latest trends in the online marketplace.
Let us explore some of the trends in eCommerce photography.
Ecommerce Product Photography Trends:
- 360-degree Spin Imagery
- Minimalist Product Photography
- Augmented Reality Image Capture
- Natural Lighting In Ecommerce Photos
- Less Editing For Authentic Product Images
- Levitating Products For A Sense Of Surrealism
- Use Geometric Shapes For Ecommerce Products
- Monochromatic Color Schemes In Product Photos
- Contemporary Still Life Ecommerce Product Photography
Ecommerce Photography Tools
Having the right equipment is crucial for eCommerce product photography. So, this eCommerce photography ultimate guide summarizes all the equipment you need for a successful photoshoot.
Tools for Successful Ecommerce Photography:
- Set the Scene
- Photo Editing Software
Gear for Ecommerce Photography
The most common gear for shooting product photos includes:
- Remote Trigger
Lighting for Ecommerce Photography
Lighting is essential to avoid unwanted shadows and reflections. Also, lighting gives depth to your 2D image.
Lighting Tools for Ecommerce Photography:
- Light Stands
Set the Scene for Ecommerce Photography
Camera gear and lighting are important. However, your eCommerce photos will only look attractive with a well-set scene.
Set the Scene With These Tools:
- Air Blaster
- Table / Floor
Photo Editing Software for Ecommerce Photography
After shooting your eCommerce photos, you must edit them for perfection. For example, you can remove the background, do color correction, use the ghost mannequin for apparel photos, create shadows, and do photo manipulation.
Ecommerce Photo Editing Software:
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Lightroom
Get Product Photo Editing from Experts
In-House vs. Outsourced Ecommerce Photography
Every new business faces this dilemma when they start to grow. Do you do product photography in-house or outsource it to experts?
There is no simple answer to this question. This eCommerce photography ultimate guide can only give you some pointers.
Renting a professional photography studio will only be worth it if you have many product photos to take. For example, if you take 8000+ images annually in the US, a photography studio may be worth it.
However, it might be best to use a DIY setup or outsource to professionals for a lower amount of product photography. Keep in mind that a DIY setup might have a lower-quality photo. In that case, you might have to outsource photo editing to fix your imperfect product images.
How To Do Ecommerce Photography?
That was a lot of background information on eCommerce product photography. Now, let’s start with the essential topic, how to take an eCommerce photoshoot?
Ecommerce Photography Step-by-Step Process:
- Set Up Your eCommerce Photography Studio
- Style Your Products and Shots
- Optimize the Lighting for eCommerce Photography
- Take Ecommerce Product Photos From Every Angle
- Perform Ecommerce Photo Editing
- Prepare Your Images for Uploading to Your Ecommerce Store
Let’s explore each eCommerce product photography step in more detail.
Set Up Your eCommerce Photography Studio
If you sell a lot of products online, you will benefit from having a dedicated eCommerce photography studio. A well-organized eCommerce product photography studio will help streamline your eCommerce photoshoot and produce professional-looking images.
What do you need to set up your eCommerce photography studio? This ecommerce photography ultimate guide will help you choose the right equipment for your needs.
Equipment for eCommerce Photography Studio:
- White Background
Let’s explore each piece of eCommerce photography equipment in more detail.
What camera do you need for eCommerce product photography?
If you have a DSLR camera, then great! However, you don’t need a fancy, professional camera with various lenses to take good product photos.
An iPhone is an excellent tool for eCommerce photography. You can use the iPhone’s advanced cameras to take awesome product photos. In that case, your eCommerce photography studio setup will matter more.
Thus, you will need to perfect your lighting and background and use eCommerce photo editing software to perfect your images.
Use a good-quality tripod to keep your camera steady during the eCommerce photoshoot. Tripods are available for professional DSLRs, Mirrorless Cameras, and smartphones like the iPhone.
A tripod helps the eCommerce photographer reduce blur in the image. Furthermore, a steady tripod will make your images consistent if you take many shots of different products from the same angle.
Good lighting is crucial to excellent eCommerce product photography.
Using natural lighting for an authentic-looking product photo would be best. So, window light is recommended for good lighting with soft shadows.
This Ecommerce photography ultimate guide will help you optimize your lighting in the section below called “Optimize the Lighting for eCommerce Photography”.
A table provides a stable surface to place your product. You can use a clean desk or table for most eCommerce product photography. On the other hand, you can use a clean floor for larger products. Just remember that you want your table (or floor) to get the most amount of window light.
If you have ever shopped online, you will have noticed that product photos typically have a white background. The reason is that many online stores (like Amazon) require the main image to have a pure white background.
You can purchase a white sweep to use as a background.
What is a sweep?
A sweep is a backdrop that curves down into the floor, providing a seamless background system.
On the other hand, if you are on a budget, you can get white craft paper or poster board and stick it on your table.
What is a reflector?
A reflector in photography is a tool to redirect light onto your subject. It bounces light in the direction you want. Thus, reflectors are also known as “bounce cards.” Also, reflectors fill the dark side of a frame with light. Therefore, they are also called “fill cards.”
For eCommerce product photography, you can use a white material or metallic object to bounce light onto the far side of your frame. The result? Softer, more natural-looking shadows.
How to Set Up Your Table for eCommerce Photography?
You can set up your table now that you have the required eCommerce photography equipment.
- Start by placing your table next to a window (for natural light).
- Then, place your background so the product gets lighting from the side.
- Side lighting helps highlight your product’s shape and textures.
- Mount your reflector on the side opposite your window to reflect light onto your product.
Use the table setup described above to take great product photos easily. In addition, you can easily swap out products to take multiple images quickly. Now, this eCommerce photography ultimate guide will help you style your products for better image quality.
Style Your Products and Shots
Pure white backgrounds are great for your main product photos (and a requirement). But you can experiment with different props, angles, and styles to make your body images (the photos inside the listing) look appealing.
There are many different eCommerce product photography compositional techniques. The two most common ones are:
A diagonal setup is suitable for eye-level photos where your camera points directly at the product from an “eye level.”
How does that work?
The best way to imagine the diagonal setup is a tic-tac-toe grid from above. You need to place your main product in the center square of the grid.
The next step is to place your props on the grid. First, a taller prop should be behind the product, on the left or right side. Then, your shorter prop should be in front of the product, on the left or right side.
The diagonal may seem strange when viewed from above. But, try now taking a shot with your camera at eye level with the product. Again, remember to use a depth of field (or bokeh) to make the background slightly blurred.
You will get a professional product photo that adds visual interest without distracting from the main subject.
The “C” is a photography composition suited for flat products like paper goods and artwork.
What is the “C” composition?
You place your product and props in a “C” or crescent shape while leaving the middle area empty. Remember to click the product photograph from the top-view perspective.
A brilliant product photo that showcases your item well. Next, this eCommerce photography ultimate guide will help you optimize your lighting.
Optimize the Lighting for eCommerce Photography
Lighting is a crucial element in getting great product images. You should always use natural lighting (the sun). Also, the placement of your lighting matters. Too little lighting produces sharp shadows, which is usually bad for product photography.
When using natural lighting, the timing affects the amount of light in your photo. Typically, eCommerce photographers prefer the “golden hour” for the best lighting.
What is the golden hour for eCommerce photography? It is the time before sunset and just after sunrise.
However, you can use artificial lighting if you don’t have access to a location with ideal natural lighting. Generally, you can use two identical softboxes (soft box lighting) to light your scene.
One softbox can act as the key light (to light your product), and the other can be the fill light (to soften shadows).
Assessing Your Shadows
Whether you use natural or artificial light for your eCommerce product photography, you will get shadows.
The goal is to assess and adjust the shadows so that your product photo looks natural and appealing.
Typically, you need to observe two things about your shadows:
The shadow location depends on your object’s position and light position.
Simply put, a light source on the right of an object will cast a shadow on the object’s left side.
So, if you have an object surrounded by tall props, ensure the prop’s shadow isn’t landing on the short object.
What does shadow “quality” mean? The shadow quality asses how soft or hard they are.
Soft light creates subtle shadows that blend gradually with your background.
Hard light produces crisp shadows with a sharp transition from shadow to the background.
Generally, soft shadows are preferred for product photography.
So how do you create soft shadows?
Place your product photography set up right next to the window or artificial light source.
If you want hard shadows, keep your product at a distance from the light source.
Furthermore, the size of your light also plays a role in the shadow quality.
Small light sources like a smartphone flash or ring light create hard shadows because they concentrate light over a small area.
So, use a large light source like big windows or artificial lights to create soft shadows.
Another way to soften your light is to use a diffuser. Diffusers are objects placed between your light source and your product to soften the light. They work by reducing the intensity of the light and spreading it over a larger area.
You can combine your diffuser with a reflector to soften your shadows by spreading the light over a bigger area.
Take Ecommerce Product Photos From Every Angle
Once you have set up your studio, styled your products, and fixed the lighting, you can start taking Ecommerce product photos. This ecommerce photography ultimate guide will help you take the best images.
Good eCommerce photographers take product photos from every angle that might be relevant to customers.
The purpose of eCommerce photoshoots is to capture images that create a vivid mental image of the product you are selling. Since customers cannot view your items in the store, you must give them the best views of your product.
You can take shots like close-ups, eye-level pictures, and birds-eye views.
This eCommerce photography ultimate guide will help you take the best shots by covering:
- Focus, Stabilization, and Consistency
- Changing the Product’s Background
Focus, Stabilization, and Consistency
As mentioned in the setup section, you will massively benefit from using a tripod for eCommerce product photography. You will minimize blur and get a consistent angle across multiple products.
Now, let’s talk focus.
If you are using an advanced camera, you will have control over the shutter speed and aperture.
These settings help adjust your focus and exposure to get the perfect product photo.
Use a small aperture and slow shutter speed to have your entire product in focus for a crisp look. The aperture is adjusted using the f-stop setting. A higher f-stop results in a smaller aperture. But, ensure you use a tripod for these settings, as even small movements can lead to blurry images.
However, you might want a blurry look around your product. In that case, you need to shoot with a shallow depth of field. That means that your product will be in focus while everything else gets a gorgeous blur. You can achieve this by using a low f-stop, like f/2.8 to f/4.5.
Changing the Product’s Background
Once you have taken gorgeous photos from different angles and camera settings, you can try different effects by changing the background.
Mix and match different vertical and horizontal backgrounds to get a lot of content with minimal effort.
Why do this?
You can click product photos with different backgrounds for use on different occasions. For example, you can shoot a Christmas-themed background for the holiday season.
Perform Ecommerce Photo Editing
If you’ve followed the steps above, you have some great product photos! However, your job isn’t over. You can start retouching your images to make them more polished.
Contrary to popular thought, you don’t need expensive photo editing software to retouch your eCommerce photos. Instead, you can use free online photo editors or mobile photo editing apps to make light edits.
Here are some things to consider for Ecommerce Photo Editing:
- White Balance
- Brightness and Contrast
- Color Saturation
You should already have sharp photos if you have used good lighting and a tripod. You just have to lightly sharpen your product around the edges for a more defined look.
The white balance is the level of red and blue tints around the white areas of your photos. In general, commercial photography should be warm to bring a sense of coziness to the photos. So, adjust your white balance to make it look warm or cool according to your intention.
Brightness and Contrast
You can adjust the brightness of certain areas to highlight them more. However, a high brightness level can give your image a “washed out” look.
Contrast is the separation of light and dark parts of your photo. Increase your contrast slightly to give your photo more depth. But, just like brightness, ensure you don’t overdo the contrast. Excessively high contrast can reduce the range of colors in your image to make it appear flat and lifeless.
Increase the color saturation of your eCommerce photos to breathe life into them. As a result, they bring out more colors that reflect how your product looks in person.
You can perform Ecommerce Photo Editing yourself or get eCommerce Product Photo Editing from professionals. Once you have edited your photos, you need to prepare them for uploading to your eCommerce store.
Outsource Ecommerce Photo Editing to Experts
Prepare Your Images for Uploading to Your Ecommerce Store
You can have the best quality product photos for your Ecommerce website and have them damage your store.
Ecommerce websites need to load your webpage with the product images. Large photos will slow your eCommerce website down, resulting in a negative user experience.
That is why you must prepare your images before uploading them to your eCommerce store. So, after photo editing, you should compress them so they can load quickly in your Amazon, eBay, Shopify, AliExpress, Rakuten, and other online marketplaces.
For example, Amazon requires images to be at least 1000 pixels x 1000 pixels. So, you must abide by these rules while keeping your file sizes small to optimize loading speed.
Common Ecommerce Photography Mistakes
You should have a solid idea of how to take product photos for eCommerce. However, you should remember to avoid some common Ecommerce product photography mistakes.
This eCommerce photography ultimate guide covers a few brutal mistakes a rookie eCommerce photographer might make.
Major Mistakes to Avoid During Ecommerce Photoshoot:
- Not preparing the products properly.
- Shooting only a few angles of the product.
- Not having enough preparation and checking the shot list.
- Not performing eCommerce photo editing after the photoshoot.
- Having incorrect lighting causing unwanted shadows and reflections.
Ecommerce Photography Tips
So far, you have learned how to take eCommerce photos and common mistakes to avoid. To help you further, this eCommerce photography ultimate guide will provide you with some crucial tips to improve your product photography further.
Essential Ecommerce Photography Tips:
- Watermark Your Images
- Photograph The Entire Product
- Remove The Product’s Background
- Keep Your Products Front And Center
- Adjust Your Product Photo’s Exposure
- Showcase Each Product Color Variation
- Increase The Sharpness Of Your Product Image
- Add Reflections For A Mirror-like Appearance
- Include More Than One Image For Each Product
- Keep The Sizing Consistent In Your Product Photos
More Photography Tips
Want to read some of Retouching Labs’ other photography tips? Here’s a selection of top tips from the experts at Retouching Labs.
Real Estate Photography Tips
The real estate photography tips include the best gear, preparation guidelines, photography tips & tricks, and editing tips.
Wedding Photography Tips
The wedding photography tips include the best equipment, photography tips & tricks, and general advice.
Ecommerce photography is a crucial part of an online store’s strategy. Use the information in this eCommerce photography ultimate guide to elevate your product photos. As a result, you can help customers better envision what your product looks and feels like.
Your product photos are a medium to showcase the item’s best features. In addition, customers can use the product images to determine if they are worth buying.
Thanks for reading the ultimate guide to eCommerce photography. You can read more about eCommerce photo editing and get help editing your photos from us.
Ecommerce Photography FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ecommerce Photography.
Ecommerce product photography produces high-quality commercial images for selling products and services online. Therefore, product photography remains a crucial aspect of online selling.
Ecommerce photography helps increase conversion rates by showcasing the products’ best features. Furthermore, it helps develop a brand’s visual identity. Good ecommerce photos can place products above the competition.
Set Up Your eCommerce Photography Studio
Style Your Products and Shots
Optimize the Lighting for eCommerce Photography
Take Ecommerce Product Photos From Every Angle
Perform Ecommerce Photo Editing
Prepare Your Images for Uploading to Your Ecommerce Store
Use natural light and side lighting.
Showcase your products when in use.
Showcase your products’ most important features.
Create a streamlined workflow and use a dedicated studio.
Product photography is crucial for any ecommerce business. As your customers cannot physically see or feel the products, product photos need to do the selling for the business. Thus, providing professional product imagery increases customer engagement with the website and builds trust in the brand.
Ecommerce photos can cost around US$50 per image, depending on the photographer’s experience. However, photographers commonly offer packages for a specific number of images, which lowers the cost per image.
There are two main types of ecommerce product photography:
Clean-cut, white background product images.
In-context, lifestyle product photos.
An ecommerce photographer has many responsibilities, including:
Planning the eCommerce Photoshoot
Setting Up Lighting and Backdrops
Taking eCommerce Photos from Different Angles, and Setting
Plan the Photography Studio Layout.
Identify Your Starting Cost.
Optimize Your Workspace and Workflow.
Purchase the Required Equipment and Gear.
Set up the Perfect Backdrop.
Organize Your Lighting Equipment.
Set up Your Tabletop Photo Studio Kit.
Choose Post-Production Processing and Workflow Handling Software.
Make a Detailed Plan for Ecommerce Photo Editing.
Remove the Background and Replace a White BG to Focus on the Product.
Retouch Imperfections Like Wrinkles and Spots.
Add Realistic Shadows for a Natural Look.
Crop Unwanted Items.
Take a 3D Product Photo to Show It from All Sides.
Apply a Mirror Effect for a High-End Look.