The Ultimate Guide to Taking and Optimizing Ecommerce Product Images

According to DigitalCommerce360, 51% of users prefer to conduct their shopping with online e-commerce shops.

While that number is increasing, it still leaves a gigantic portion of the world preferring to shop offline in real brick and mortar stores.

To see, feel, and try products before they spend their hard-earned money.

And that is one of the biggest e-commerce struggles:

Overcoming hesitation and roadblocks like the inability to try the product before buying it.

But thankfully, images allow us to capture the same sentiment. But it isn’t easy.

E-commerce images can make or break your conversions.

We’ve all come across sites where the images aren’t good. They don’t showcase the product, and they don’t make us want to buy the product.

In e-commerce, images are everything.

You need to know how to take the best product shots if you want better conversions.

Here’s how to take amazing product shots on a low budget and optimize them for better SEO and conversions today.

Why premium e-commerce photos are critical for driving better sales

We all love Amazon. It’s our saving grace, right?

And that’s not just a “saying” or an assumption. People are truly addicted to Amazon, including me.

According to Statista, the net revenue of sales for Amazon in 2017 was 177.87 billion dollars. Yes, that’s billion, not million.

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Since 2012, Amazon Prime growth has virtually skyrocketed. I bet you could text five of your close friends and at least three of them would have Amazon Prime subscriptions.

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According to the latest studies, Amazon is slotted to account for nearly half of all e-commerce sales by 2021. And that’s just Amazon alone compared to all other e-commerce stores combined.

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So, what’s behind their success?

Simplicity and ease of use. You can order products with a single click and have them delivered on the same day with Amazon Prime Now.

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Free two-day shipping is a massive selling point for Amazon buying too:

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Amazon makes the buying experience enjoyable and easy. With hassle-free returns, free shipping, and often lower or price-matched products, it’s a no-brainer to buy from them.

But even with all of this insane growth and value, a 2017 study by Retail Dive found some interesting results:

49% of consumers prefer retail stores to online shopping because they can “see, touch, feel, and try out items.”

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People still love the traditional retail experience of going to stores to test items before buying.

And it makes sense.

You don’t want to wait for a product to be shipped and delivered only for it to be a bust and not fit or work.

That means another week for returns and another week for delivery.

It sets you back tons of time and effort that could have been solved by a simple drive to the brick and mortar store.

eMarketer found similar results to the Retail Dive study, finding that in almost every single industry, shoppers in the United States prefer to purchase in-store:

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And these studies are very recent!

While it seems that online shopping is taking over, customers are still heading to their local shops to purchase items.

This presents a big problem and opportunity for online e-commerce shops:

Images are more important than ever.

You need to be able to communicate the same value and experience as touching, feeling and experience the product in a store.

You can’t simply slap a few images on your products and call it a day.

They need to be planned out and taken with intent. They need to communicate value and showcase how and why the product is going to work for the consumer.

Let me show you some examples of the best e-commerce sites right now and how they use images to drive online sales in a market that still loves offline buying.

What we can learn from the best e-commerce stores about product images

When it comes to good e-commerce product shots, you know one when you see it.

I bet you could think of at least five stores that have incredible product photos.

Maybe some that have even influenced you to buy or see that brand in a more favorable light.

Yes, good e-commerce photos are that powerful.

There is perhaps a no better example of amazing e-commerce photos as GoPro. They are the masters of getting you to buy through amazing visuals.

And it’s not just their amazing photos, but the strategy behind them.

For example, when you first land on a product page, you are met with the standard product shot that you expect to see:

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This is wonderful. It plays directly to their brand image while also giving a high-resolution photo for consumers to view.

Scrolling down, you also see the product in its prime use case scenario:

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With the product in actual use, consumers can visualize themselves using the product.

Scrolling even further, you see the GoPro on a table next to a smartphone:

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This photo conveys a dual purpose:

  1. The product is super small and compact enough to carry with you anywhere you go.
  2. GoPro has a mobile app to connect your footage to your phone instantly.

Incredible.

All with a few simple photos, GoPro showcased the product design and features, consumers using the product and it’s compact design that appeals to its fanbase.

E-commerce photos are more than just product shots. They are visual representations of how your product is supposed to be used, and they also convey the spirit of your brand.

Another amazing company that dominates e-commerce images is Alex and Ani.

First, they showcase the product with up-close high-resolution photos, allowing users to see every small detail on their jewelry:

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Next, just like GoPro, they display their bracelets in action to inspire style ideas in potential buyers and showcase what outfits and lifestyles match up well with that specific product:

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These e-commerce product images are far from standard photos. They evoke emotion and promote the brand mission.

With these examples in mind, you should now have a clear idea of where your e-commerce product photos need to be.

Brainstorm more on how you can show your products in creative ways.

Can you show your product in action?

For example, being used as your customers normally would use it? Or even shown on a customer like Alex and Ani do?

Once you’ve nailed down a few creative ways to showcase your product, it’s time to learn how to take better e-commerce product images even if you don’t own expensive equipment.

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