If you’re an internet retailer, then you understand how product photography can be the life and death of your eCommerce business. Good product images matter. A lot.
According to more than 75 percent of eCommerce shoppers, product pictures are “very influential” in choosing which online products to buy. Twenty-two percent of product returns occur as a result of a product not looking like the image presented online.
Visitors to your site must lean on your product photography to have a feel for your brand’s quality. Hence, low quality photos can sabotage first impressions. Conversely, high-quality, well-optimized images relieve buyer skepticism, deliver a better shopping experience, and can drive increased sales.
To avoid the former and achieve the latter, here are seven ways to optimize your product images and improve your eCommerce outcomes.
1. Use the Right Lighting
The first key to definitive image quality is light. With the correct lighting, it’s easier to achieve beautiful results and simplify post-processing efforts.
There is natural light and studio light.
Natural light is handy on a budget, but relying on it can be tricky as time of day and weather can threaten lighting consistency. On the other hand, studio (or indoor) lighting can give you more control over the shooting process, but it may require a bit of an investment. Studio lighting includes tools like fill lights, light boxes, reflectors and LED rings—not a desk lamp.
In either case, it’s important to employ and manipulate your light source to capture clean, true-to-life coloring with softer, evenly distributed shadows and show off your products in the best way possible.
2. Select the Right Camera
Most professional photos are taken on Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras which allow you to adjust elements such as lens focus, exposure and shutter speed. If you are able to, you can take advantage of the cheaper prices on DSLR cameras and invest in a great model for as little as $300.
If you’re on a tight budget, you can still capture amazing product photos with a smartphone camera. Just make sure to use the aforementioned proper lighting and follow the rest of the tips shared here.
You also can maximize the quality of your smartphone photos with apps like VCSO and Camera-2.
3. Stabilize with a Tripod
Besides bad lighting or improper photography equipment, using your hands to hold a camera can deliver blurry, terrible images. Tripods, therefore, are a good tool to keep on hand.
Steadying your camera with a tripod helps deliver consistency and stability especially if you need to capture an entire product in wide depth and get a crisp image.
A decent tripod is a low-cost investment—ranging $20 to $300—that you can use for several years to capture great product photos.
4. Prep Your Product Shot
Before taking any snaps, make sure to look over and properly stage your products. Check over your items for any blemishes, stains, dents or imperfections.
For example, if you sell clothing then make sure each article is wrinkle-, lint- and dust-free. Remove price tags and stickers. If positioning on a mannequin or model, pin or position the clothing for an ideal and accurate fit.
When it comes to HD photography, be sure to remedy as many small imperfections as possible. This will save you editing time on the back end.
5. Ditch Unnecessary Distractions
As you prep your shot, make sure your products are the focus of attention. This means not getting carried away with accessorizing with elements your site does not offer.
If you sell outerwear, don’t pair an overcoat with a mystery pair of shoes and leave your customers wondering where they can purchase the shoes that don’t appear anywhere else on your site.
This same logic applies to any sales item. If selling silverware, don’t pair with dishware that isn’t in your inventory. While such a presentation may offer great product ideas, you must ensure that your products are the star attraction.
6. Always Retouch
Great product photos rarely happen automatically. To achieve crisp, clean imaging, some retouching is always required.
Image editing software like AutoClipping can help you remove backgrounds, correct shadows, and fix minor blemishes. The trick is not to edit too much. Don’t be misleading about your offerings by changing colors, shapes or textures. Doing so can erode customer trust and discourage repeat customers.
A great way to produce clean, simple imagery is to remove backgrounds completely. Images with transparent backgrounds can be repurposed for flyers, banners, brochures and other uses.
Another useful retouching idea is to crop all images to the same size with identical margins. This goes a long way to create a streamlined product page layout with consistent photos.
7. Optimize for SEO
Your retouched product photos don’t just make your site look good; they can contribute to your search engine optimization. For this reason, it’s important that your images don’t take too much time to load, are properly named, and include the correct keywords, meta data and alt text.
Downsize your images to get load times of two seconds or less, minimize your bounce rate and maximize your conversions.
Keeping in mind that Google images accounted for 22.6 percent of all internet searches in 2018, use key words and metadata to help search engines read your images. Alt text, which describes what the image is, is also critical because it assists the visually impaired and improves SEO rankings.
Boost eCommerce Traffic by Boosting Product Photo Quality
Clean-cut, consistent, clear, crisp imagery is necessary for converting curious shoppers into repeat buyers. When taking photos of your products for your eCommerce site, don’t forego proper lighting, equipment, preparation, editing and SEO if you want your business to survive and flourish. Using the tips above—even if you’re just starting out or how a limited budget—you can capture the images you need for your online business to succeed.
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