Improving your product pictures

As most of you probably know, building your online store is no small effort. There is so much to think about and plan at the start — and a whole new set of issues to consider once you start selling! One of the most common questions we hear from our new merchants is this: “How do I make my pictures or slides look professional?”

Achieving professional photos can be a daunting step. You want your site to look and feel trustworthy, you want your homepage to “pop” and welcome customers into your business, but you don’t know exactly how to do it. Don’t get overwhelmed - you don’t have to be an expert photographer to achieve these goals. Simply embrace the desire to learn the basics, and take it from there!

Here, we offer some helpful tips to kick off that important step and get you well on your way to beautiful product photos! Read on to see how…

Question 1: I’ve never taken product pictures before, how do I get a bright white (or black) background?

Getting a bright background simply requires a light box to illuminate your products. While you can buy a readymade light box from your favorite online photo store, you can also build your own as a low-cost alternative.

For detailed instructions on how to create a homemade light box, check out this YouTube video.

For some additional, photo-improving knowledge, try out these free beginner’s tutorials in Photoshop & Lightroom, which can teach you the best methods for making even the darkest photos come back to life! You may not be a professional photographer or editor, but these tools will be an invaluable resource as you start your online store.

Question 2: I already have my own pictures, how can I make them look better?

Some new business owners will already have product pictures, perhaps from a drop shipper or third party provider, but may want to make some changes to them. If you fall into this category and simply want to edit your own pictures, there are a number of free photo editing tools that will help you spruce up your photos in no time. Check out these to start:

If you’re a student or teacher, make sure you take advantage of the discounts Adobe gives you on programs such as Photoshop, Lightroom and more!

Question 3: I’m going to add a product picture in my slideshow — that’s okay, right?

Many first time customers don’t understand the relevance of the slideshow feature. This section is your way of making a first impression for users on your site — so you want to make sure it accurately reflects your brand clearly and concisely. Use this unique section for a purpose: the slideshow or single graphic should drive customers on a purchasing path and should include what’s most important to you that your users see. Promote any new products that you’re offering, the latest sales in your shop or anything else that you want your users to know about. Including promotional text like, “Free Shipping on All Orders” or “Summer Sale” can engage your shoppers. Make your slideshow images clickable and relevant. We also recommend creating new slideshow images on a regular basis to keep things new and fresh. Make your slideshow work for you!

Memorial Day Sale slideshow

Question 4: I don’t have a DSLR Camera, can I still take good pictures for my site?

Homepage graphics and product pictures can easily be taken using an expensive DSLR camera or simply by using a smartphone. As long as it’s a clear, marketing-centric photo, you’re on the right path! Finding ways to make your site more aesthetically pleasing can only improve your chances of keeping a potential buyer on your site.

Looking at these two photos, which one would you say is better at selling the product and making you want to purchase?

 

Product picture

The item on the left coveys a bright white background, which brings the product to the forefront. The graphic on the right is unclear as to what’s being sold, since there are three different options. The background takes away from its clarity and may drive traffic away. The easier it is for your customers to see what they’re purchasing, the more likely they are to stay on page and continue down the purchasing path. You have 8 to 10 seconds to keep their attention, make it count!

Looking for more resources and advice on product photography? Check out one of our previous posts, Your DIY Product Photography Resource Guide. And feel free to add any additional questions in the comments below!