A quick way to tank your new online store is using bad product photography. Slapping up low-res images with bad lighting and sloppy attention to detail is doing a huge disservice to your brand. Making the wrong impression is likely to send your site viewers away looking for one of your competitors who sell the same or a similar product. They need to be confident that what they are viewing on your site is an accurate portrayal of what will show up at their door.
Here are a few tips to keep your product photography on point:
It may mean investing in a professional photographer if you and your team do not have the capabilities. On the flip-side, you may need to purchase some higher-end photography equipment if you are going to shoot in house. All of the investments that come along with starting and maintaining a business, especially an inventory intensive business, can add up quick. However, purchasing higher-end inventory that command a higher retail price point dictates that it is even more crucial to have professional looking images where people can clearly see the product they will be purchasing. This is not the time to upload images from your Grandma’s ancient flip phone. Make sure you have a plan for lighting and photography or find the right professional who knows what they are doing. Your images need to compel people to purchase. Utilizing quality, accurate imagery that is paired with detailed product information will also help keep your return merchandise numbers lower. Of course there will be some instances where the fit is wrong, but with accurate information and imagery you can try to help bridge the gap that comes with not being able to try on and see the product in person.
Will your product show finger print smudges? Do the sneakers you are photographing have shoelaces that need to be tied in a visually appealing way? Are you photographing some sort of apparel item that needs to be lint rolled or steamed? Is there some sort of prop that you will need to clip something back or hold something up? Are there shots that consumers will want extra detail on? Is there an embroidery embellishment, finishing detail or surprise pocket that would be helpful to see? Think like you are your customer and give them exactly what you would want to see. Make it right.
So…we admit it…we are total freaks about this. We aren't sorry. We think this is so important! You need to make a plan and then remain true to this plan for every product that you shoot. There may be some variation across categories. For example, you may need some different detail views for a coat (inside lining, pockets, etc.) than you would for a high heel shoe. However, you will probably notice some views that are pretty consistent throughout your product lines (front, each side, back, detail, etc.).
The above images are an example from a product shoot we did for one of our clients. We worked with the client to ensure that we had a plan to get consistent images showing each view their customers would want to see. Next, we shot beautiful, high-res images of each of their hundred's of shoes, outerwear, handbags, denim, lingerie and swimwear all sticking to the consistent views that we had planned. To help make sure that you can get consistent angles each time, consider marking out guides that will be covered by the product, but help line things up in the same manner each time.
Photo Editing and Prep
So...now you have those awesome new photos. Now what?! Time to get them into a photo editing program like Lightroom or Photoshop. Hopefully you kept in mind this step earlier on in the process so you eliminated as much need for edits as possible. These photo editing programs are amazing and the possibilities are virtually endless, but at the end of the day, the less post-editing that you need to do the better. You just want to get your stuff online so people can get to purchasing. That being said, don't miss opportunities to make edits to coloring or touching up imperfections that will matter.
Once your product is looking stellar, it is now time to prep each view for the website. Develop a consistent file size, image placement and image naming strategy for all of your images. Consistent image size and placement helps ensure that as your customers are viewing your products next to each other on your shop's main grid, the bottoms of the products line up. Details like this may seem nit-picky to some, but you really want people to focus on the actual product and form their opinions on that and not be distracted and have their focus potentially pulled by any inconsistencies.
Make sure that each launch of new products on your site is representing your brand and it's offerings in a way that you would be proud of and one that is helping your business be successful. Need some help with this execution? The team at 10twelve has experience launching and maintaining several e-commerce websites of our own, as well as executing this same process for our clients. We treat our client's businesses like our own. Let us help make your product stand out and help your business grow with well-executed photography that then translates into a website, collateral and other pieces. Give us a call to discuss your specific business needs.