The beginner’s guide to ecommerce photography
What is ecommerce photography?
Ecommerce photography is a skill not to be underestimated. The mathematics of it are simple: the better the product images are on your website, the more appealing you are to a customer. A well-shot, detailed photograph can supercharge the success of a product in an instant.
Why is it important?
Consumer trends show an increasing desire to shop online out of convenience and speed. With more brands and businesses choosing the internet as their main place of business, it’s vital that your web space is as aesthetically pleasing as possible. Ultimately, your website is your shop window and as we all know, first impressions are paramount.
But, where to start? We’ve compiled a list of some of the basic things to know about ecommerce photography. Follow these guidelines to begin your journey as an ecommerce photographer.
The ecommerce photography basics
Picking your tools
As we’ve stressed before, knowing what camera works for you is the first step in achieving a beautiful shot. Without feeling comfortable with your kit, the process of the shoot and the results will be clumsy. Similarly, understanding exactly what your camera can do means you can unlock its full potential.
As technology develops at a rapid pace, there are options for everyone on every kind of budget. As a seasoned and experienced ecommerce photographer, Spencer Cobby recommends the Nikon D850 which is a dSLR camera. We’ve written a guide to the best cameras for product photography here.
Don’t forget to think about lightboxes and sweeps. You’ll reap the rewards with beautiful, blemish-free photographs against a perfectly white background.
Tripods are also invaluable. Having a good quality one for your camera or phone will standardise your shots, meaning they’ll look consistently good throughout. Creativity is so important when it comes to photography but if you want to produce effective ecommerce photography, consistency really is key.
Asking the right questions
Once you’ve chosen your best tools to work with, it’s time to start asking questions. What do you want your shoot to achieve? What product are you selling on your website? How do you envisage the final result? Taking time to brainstorm beforehand is critical because by reflecting on what you ultimately want to achieve, you will find the style of your work. You’ll also carve out a to-do list of things that will help you to be organised on the day of the shoot.
With a style in mind for the website, it’s important to stick with it. A consistent, harmonious commercial site is a powerful marketing tool.
Of course, choosing your style depends on the product you are selling. There are a million different ways to sell something so, it’s a good idea to understand how your competition do it. Taking time to study the market means you can then identify what does and does not work.
Some products work better in context i.e. situated in the location a consumer is likely to place or use them. Others, however, work well against a simple white backdrop. Having an idea of what you like in other people’s work is the best way to help refine the style of your ecommerce photography.
Why not take a look at our top 12 inspiring ecommerce sites that boast incredible product photography? One of our favourites is a Shopify store, Studio Neat. Have a look at this image of their wood dock for charging Apple devices.
Go big on the detail
Once you’re happy with the style of your work, it’s time to get creative with detail. Celebrating the small details of a photograph or a product can add personality and really highlight the unique selling point of your work.
Photographing a product from as many angles as possible will go a long way to make up for the lack of physical contact a customer would have in-store. Include as many colour and size options as possible too – don’t leave a potential customer guessing. Online consumers need to be able to virtually experience a product as fully as possible. One of our favourite e-commerce stores is Colville Leather, an expert in showcasing every angle of his beautifully handcrafted leather accessories.
It takes effort to communicate the product in its entirety, but it demonstrates dedication to user-experience and makes the purchase process quicker. Photographs against a plain, white backdrop are good for demonstrating shapes and sizes of a product.
Products placed in a styled shot help the customer imagine the product in the context of their own life. Remember, ecommerce photography is often used to sell a lifestyle.
Edit, edit, edit
You’ve completed the planning and shooting phases of your project which now means it’s time to edit. A good editing process will mean you achieve the best results possible.
You’ll need to retouch your shots, making adjustments to the contrast and brightness, saturation and vividness, a little at a time.
As we’ve already said, consistency is key so, during the edit, focus on getting rid of any of the blemishes that might otherwise tarnish your photography as a whole. Make sure that whatever edits you make, apply them to every shot.
There are no hard and fast rules to being successful in this industry. But keep researching and honing your creative efforts and skills and you’ll find out what works best for you.