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A Guide to Ecommerce Photography That Sells

A Guide to Ecommerce Photography That Sells

Last Updated:  
March 18, 2024

Let’s face it. When you’re online shopping, what are the odds you pay attention to the copy over the images? Probably really low because we’re mostly visual people. That’s not to say copy isn’t important, because it absolutely is, but most consumers are naturally drawn to visuals first. Subconsciously, we think, “What you see is what you get.” And if we’re not happy with what we’re seeing, we’re off the site and onto the next.

That said, the big question of the day is, “What type of photos should I have on my site and how should I lay it out to convert customers and sell, sell, sell?”

Ecommerce photography that sells

Think about ecommerce photography like selling a house. When selling a house, it’s important to post photos that highlight the house itself and its top-selling features of the home—the exposed brick, working fireplace, marble countertops. It’s also important to show photos of the home (or host an open house) staged with furniture, wallpaper, and some feng shui. You want the prospective buyers to see the beauty of the home while seeing themselves, their things, and their lives in it too.

Ecommerce Photography Content

This is the same for ecommerce photography. You want to curate images and lay them out so they highlight key product features, show how they can be used/consumed/worn in real life, all while telling a story and eliciting the “vibe” of your brand. Today, we’ll break down different types of ecommerce photography and how to use them so you can, not only skyrocket revenue, but build a connection between your customers and your brand.

Strip down your ecommerce photography

Sticking to our home-staging analogy, product photography is like photos of the empty home. It captures the home itself, the exterior, the different rooms and angles. That said, product photography is exactly what it sounds like—they’re product images, which typically live on your PDPs (product description pages). You can also test running them on ads and landing pages, as different audiences may resonate with image types differently. Depending on what type of product you sell, this is arguably the most important because this is where browsers are channeling the “what you see is what you get” mentality.

Ecommerce Photography Content

Let’s take a look at the pan that took millennials by storm—the Always Pan from Our Place. There are many components to the pan, but they’re perfectly captured in this single product photo of the pan, “deconstructed.”

When shooting product photography, it’s important to not leave anything to the imagination. A few key rules to follow when shooting product images:

  • Shoot the product against a solid-colored background that will lay nicely on your product page. The key here is that there are no distractions around your product. The only thing that a shopper’s eyes should go to is the product.
  • Take photos from multiple angles. There’s nothing like insufficient product images to turn off a prospective purchaser. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you sell supplements, you’re not selling capsules or powders with product images. However, for products where aesthetics matter, capturing the angles of your product matter too (e.g. clothes, shoes, luggage, handbags, furniture, even kitchenware).

If you can include a product video, that’ll win you brownie points with your customers. A video of a model wearing the shirt you’re selling, a video showing all angles of a suitcase… Not every brand needs a product video, but if your product is worn or used in motion, they’ll take you far.

Ecommerce Photography Content

MZ Wallace’s Metro Tote bag has so many compartments and space, this video actually sold me (I actually bought it and I love it).

Bring your goods to life with your photos

Back to our home-staging analogy. Lifestyle photos are like photos of the staged home, furnished and feng shui’d. It’s meant to help you visualize yourself and your life in the home. Lifestyle photography does the same thing to your product; it brings it to life. They’re images of your product with human elements in it, whether they’re clothes being worn at a party, supplements being fake-taken in the kitchen, sneakers worn on the track field. Seeing the product utilized in real life situations (despite the fake staging) naturally helps the prospective customer picture themselves in the photo or at least in that situation.

There’s more versatility in where to place lifestyle photos around your website. The homepage hero banner is a good spot for a lifestyle image—show the product and give personality to your brand, off the bat. You can also test lifestyle images vs product images on ads and landing pages, but any page that’s centered around a campaign is a good place for lifestyle images.

Ecommerce Photography Content

Whereas product photography is more “analytical” and straight-forward, lifestyle photography is where you can be creative and even abstract, leaving some things to the imagination. A few tips to take with you on set:

  • Make it believable. If your sneakers aren’t designed for running a marathon but are more for a leisurely walk, don’t shoot a running campaign.
  • Educate with the photos, especially if there are aspects of your product that are harder to use or understand. If the supplement should be taken first thing in the morning, shoot your model taking the supplements in bed, from the bedside table, with the sun shining. Sure, you will communicate this in words as well, but visuals are more fun.
  • Think about the seasons. If your product isn’t seasonal, make sure you have a good batch of lifestyle photos that aren’t seasonal. It’s fun and on-brand to run some seasonal photos too, especially around the holidays, so don’t hold back! Just make sure you have content to swap in when the snow melts.
Ecommerce Photography Content

Under contract… Sold!

Now that you have your product photos and your lifestyle photos and have laid them out throughout your site and maybe even in some campaigns, you’re ready to sell the goods. But remember, ecommerce photography isn’t a one-and-done project.

It’s important to keep images looking fresh and up-to-date with your branding.

Keep a variety of images on-hand, whether they’re lifestyle images with models, holiday campaign images, or product images in different views. This will make it easier for you to make quick swaps on site or ad creatives when the time comes. And if you're looking for a platform to help you generate real-time creative reports of individual ads, ad groups or creative types - give Triple Whale's Creative Cockpit a try!

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