By, Trish Hodgson 

Product photography is an art, and especially when starting up their first e-commerce website, more and more small businesses are choosing to do their own photography. Product photography is SO important when you are selling online.  It’s the main way your customers will get to see your products and an essential step in their purchasing decision. Ultimately, your photos will determine whether or not someone will choose to click “Add to Cart”

If photography isn’t your thing, you can outsource to a product photographer, but if you are willing to give it a go yourself, here are some handy tips to get your photos (and your website) looking great. 

1. Start with the camera you know how to use

While a fancy DSLR Camera will always be a powerful piece of equipment- the best camera is the one you already know how to use. For most people, the camera you know best is your smartphone camera. Nowadays, you can take great photos with your phone, especially for digital photography that you will use for your e-commerce site. However, if you have the skills and the know-how to use a DLSR camera, go for it!

2. Avoid blurry images

There is nothing worse than your customers logging onto your website to view your amazing products- but they can’t see them for blurry photos. The two main culprits of blurry images are either movement or low resolution.

 - Movement: any movement when you snap your picture can make the finer details blurry. If you have a steady hand, that’s great- but if not consider investing in a tripod.

 - Resolution: Ensuring you have the right resolution for web based images is important. For digital images, 72dpi and RGB colour space is what you need. This means your products will look as great online as they do in real life.

3. Consistent image size & alignment
When creating your product photos- think about how they are laid out on your webpage. Are they in a grid? Are they in a list? Either way, most of your product photos should be the same size keep them looking aligned in your layout. Saving your images to the same size (with the right resolution) helps ‘line up’ your photos so they look neat and tidy.

4. How does your product sit in the frame?
Consider how much space in the frame your product will use, and how this might look compared to other products in your collection. Consistency across all photos of the same product helps your customer to know they are the same size. Using a template or guidelines can help you in making sure the same amount of space is used in each frame.

5. Say no to busy backgrounds

Thinking about which parts of your website you want to standout; your products are what you’re hoping will draw your customers attention. Heavy, patterned backgrounds, either in your main product image, or in the background of your website can be very distracting and won’t showcase your products in the best way. Consider a neutral, consistent background across all your images. White is a popular choice, but if it is consistent and speaks to your branding other colours or textures can also work.

6. Light it up!

Great lighting can really lift your images. Sunlight from a window is an affordable way to achieve good lighting when photographing your products if you do not have a lightbox. Dark photos won’t portray the true colours of your products, and details can get lost.

7. Edit edit edit!

Chances are you will never nail a perfect photo on the first take and your images will need some editing. Think about whether your images represent your products colour and details the way they are in real life. Do you need to enhance your saturation or exposure to get a great looking image? Three editing tools or apps I use are Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop and Snapseed.

8. Use multiple photos on your listings

Often, using more than one image for your listings will help your customer to understand your product. Your main image should draw them in, while your secondary images should show how your product is used, how big it is, other angles and even styled with complimentary products. Think about a piece of clothing- are you more likely to buy online if you can see a person wearing it?

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