Why great product photographs matter

So, you have a great product…you can talk about its features and benefits and why your ideal customer should purchase it with passion and belief; so why would you not add a great visual to strengthen your proposition?

Impact of poor photographs:

I’m sure that you, as a customer, whilst shopping online have searched for a product and skipped past the results with poor photographs. What does that poor photo imply about the seller? They don’t care enough about their product? They won’t deliver quality goods? That holiday cottage or hotel will be terrible? We have all read hilarious stories about online shopping fails based on poor images.

Of course, none of those assumptions may be true about the product or business but we have already formed an opinion based on the image way before we have even looked at the details, including the price. Etsy’s customer research has shown that 90% of the buying decision is based on the photographs of the product.

Photography BlogWhy do photographs matter?

The Etsy statistic shows that product photos matter in our highly visual age of online research and shopping. Online platforms enable us to show more than just the ‘what it is’ shot. With increasing competition in the marketplace those additional shots can be the ones that make your product stand out above the rest. Amazon’s requirement for all product shots to be against a white background, meeting their criteria and providing uniformity of appearance on screen, is interesting. Savvy sellers know that they need to add other shots to draw the potential customer to their product rather than anyone else’s. It is not surprising that companies such as Not on the High Street have very high standards for their product photography.

What makes a great product shot?

  • Well exposed and lit product
  • Backgrounds and props enhance rather than detract from the product
  • Image provides a sense of scale of the product
  • Colours are rendered accurately
  • The product is in focus (even if the background isn’t)

These are all the technical aspects of a great photo but what about the more creative aspects?

As well as the ‘what it is’ shot you may need:

  • Detail shots that show the feel or finer details of your product
  • Lifestyle shots that enable your customer to imagine owning and using your product
  • Shots that create a feel for your business both in terms of the product but also your ethos

These images help replace the customers’ other senses when shopping remotely – smell, touch, taste and emotion. How will it feel to own this?

Working out what photos you need:

  1. Understand the aspirations and lifestyle of your ideal customer – what will grab their attention?
  2. What are the key selling points of your product – how could this be demonstrated visually?
  3. Do you need images of any packaging?
  4. What are the criteria for your website or selling platforms for images? Most will have specific dimensions that need to be used in order for your photos to display properly.
  5. Look at the competition or other sellers in your typical marketplace – what ideas can you adapt for your own images? Don’t copy them directly otherwise you won’t stand out from the crowd.
  6. What photos do you need for social media feeds? What works well on the platform you wish to build your presence on?

Any professional product photographer should work with you to establish the look and message of the photos that you are paying for. It should always be a collaborative process.

What if you can’t justify the expense of a professional photographer?

Learn how to do it yourself and invest in the equipment that can deliver the results you need.

NB: Weigh up the costs of that equipment and your time both in terms of learning and actual shooting/editing time against hiring a photographer on an ad hoc basis.

Better photographs will drive more sales, so it really is an investment rather than an expense.

A great product shot is what grabs your customer’s attention and then holds it long enough for them to read the details.

If you would like help creating great product photographs, please do not hesitate to contact me to start a conversation about how we might work together.

Sarah Holmes – 07510 282327 | mail@sarahstephens.photography |www.sarahstephens.photography

All photographs ©Sarah Holmes. All photographs reproduced with the kind permission of the clients.


Wendy Jennings Creative can provide persuasive marketing-focused copywriting to enhance your product visual imagery.