E-commerce photography:
picture perfect!

When selling products in the online medium, the idea is to connect with the consumer. It is critical to acknowledge that product images are the first point of contact with the audience/customer. A less than perfect image can affect buying decision... remember that the first impression can make it or break it. Is your product photography perfect to grab the attention and therefore desirability? Read on to find out more...

Some websites settle with a default picture of the item. Higher number of product images, ensuring different angles attracts customers. Not to mention that better image quality has high impact on customer purchasing decision. Some products need details to be shown - pockets, zippers, needlework. The craftsmanship can exhibit why the product stands out. Often the insides of the item are not showcased, imagine a piece of luggage - where interior images matter. In other cases the size and scale cannot be understood if not photographed with a model. You may shoot a laptop in the hands of a model to show how small it really is, for example. Thus, the image can be understood in context. However, some products demand to be shot in the natural environment, for eg. jackets for the outdoors. Here it is important to note that the photo has to be taken with a shallow depth of field. In this way, the product is on focus, not the environment.

After organizing products and shooting area, some make the mistake of not adequately preparing the items. Be prepared to spend adequate time prepping each item — even the smallest speck of dust will be visible in a product image. For example, if the item is jewelry, it is best to wipe down the pieces every time they are touched. Wearing cotton gloves may save time and reshoots. Specific clothing materials need ironing before the shoot to avoid looking crumpled.

Inconsistent shooting is best avoided. Consistency is the key in product photography, and variations from product to product or shot to shot will distract your customer. So your lighting and the cropping style are best to remain the same in all the shots. Try to keep the background similar as much as possible, too. For most products, the “infinity curve” is an ideal way to have blank whiteness in the background with no horizon. Such a plain white or light gray background keeps the focus where it should be: on your product. For a sleek, modern look, you may use flat piece of white acrylic. Not to mention, all backgrounds must be clean and tidy. Also, unnecessary props remove focus from the item itself.

It’s difficult to shoot highly reflective objects without capturing distracting reflections. Who wants to see a reflection of the camera on the shiny gadget? Adequate white screens in the studio can help rid of this problem. The size of images will vary depending on your website’s template, but 640 x 640 pixels is one standard size.

Shaky images are produced due to shooting without a tripod… a tripod is a huge investment that can enhance quality and consistency. Which lens to use? This depends on the items - but wide angle lenses are best avoided. Once this specification is selected, research on the best distance to shoot from, to represent the subject as it appears in life.

Wrong white balance makes the item look different under a range of backgrounds. Photos with bad light look gloomy, often not very clear and with a lot of grey, plus the colors can be faded as well.

You can go a step further and add on a video of the product; if the item is more complicated with moving parts and pieces, this video will be huge bonus on the website.

While it is easy to fix mistakes in post-production processing, advanced editing is time consuming and requires a high level of proficiency with cloning and healing tools. Thus it is ideal to correct as much as possible manually before the ecommerce photography shoot. Remember that massive changes will alter the features of the item. If you heighten the color, texture and boldness to an unnatural level, it will distort the expectations of the buyer. Surely you want to avoid a high product return rate - something that happens because a shirt bought online is not the exact shade of blue.

Do note here that retouching done by someone less skilled can do more harm than good. If you lack the time or skill set to brush up your own images, consider hiring a post-production processing company for convenience. You can find companies specialized in Image retouching. They will cover different areas of image retouching such as background removal, retouching, color correction, and other technical fixes. If you stay always in rush by clients, the good news is there are companies giving 24 hours support for each day of a year.

Speaking of visual marketing, studies have shown that 90% of information that comes to the brain is visual, and images are processed 60,000 times faster than text. Make use of this data and present the perfect shots that attract customers and loyalty. Great images can affect the credibility of your company tremendously.