Updated: Jul 25
Do I Really Need Professional Photos For My Online Store?
You may ask, "What's the difference?" And in this blog we will show you the difference that professional photography can make, not only to the appearance of your online store, but also in your sales.
The top row of images was shot on an iPad Pro on the same day as the photo shoot, in the same clothes, same model (me), and same outside lighting. I did not have studio lighting in the room that I took the pictures, but I did add some lighting.
Professional Photography - What You Get
Here are some of the main differences in professional photography and amateur product photography.
Lighting and Color
The lighting and color balance in the home shot images is clearly a little off. Lighting helps show off the fabric and details of an item. It also helps the shot look more professional. My home shot lighting definitely looks amateur hour.
Color is obviously really important too when making a decision to purchase clothing online. Some items it may not be as important, but I think we can all agree that when you receive something in the mail that's not the same color as what you thought you were getting, it's a disappointment.
Using clear, crisp images for eCommerce is a must. I am always a little suspicious of slightly blurry products. As you can see, the home shot image is not as clear as the professionally shot image. Having to flip the camera around on the iPad to get the shot also reduces the quality. If you must do home shot product images, try to set the camera up for forward-facing shots to increase image quality.
With professionally shot photos, there is significantly less editing time. Less editing time saves money. It is also more difficult to edit lower quality images. As you can see around my arms on the edited home shot image, the line is not straight. It looks like my arms have an ocean under them. There is also no perspective since there is no shadow. It would be very difficult to artificially add a shadow that looked natural.
Angles, Posing, and Sizing
Using a professional photographer also means that you will get better, more professional angles and poses. It was a bit challenging to hit the button on the iPad and then jump back into place. There was very little time for any posing on my part, even though I was using a timer. I have done other home shot product images for my own personal use and I would never admit to how much time I spent setting up the camera, balancing it on boxes and books, getting the right angle, just to have the wind blow and the iPad drop shut just as the camera snapped the photo. I'm not a professional photographer, but I like to think that I have a good eye for product shots and even still, it's very hard to get the shot that I want by myself.
Showing products on a person can also make a big difference. It's hard to tell sizes without having any kind of reference in the image. Here is an example of my home shot product image and a professional taken and edited shot. Which one would you be more likely to buy? The second image lists that the hoodie is a medium on an adult. That's a lot more helpful than just showing a medium laid out on the floor.
Showcasing Your Products
Here's another example of optimal and less than optimal product images. The top shot of the Minions shows that the product is squishy, where the bottom one does not.
The Wonder Woman socks look a lot more like socks than the product laid flat on the ground. Lastly, the yoga pants look totally different in the 2 shots. The color us actually teal, not blue and the top shot shows off the color detail and fit much better on a real person versus the mannequin.
How to Make Your Online Store Look Professional
The short answer is to be more professional. How do we do that? We believe that showing your products accurately, clearly, professionally, and with a frame of reference will create a more professional online appearance, help gain customer trust, and increase your sales. We are in the process of creating case studies for our latest professional product image photo shoots and will provide some hard numbers as soon as we have them!
What else can you do to look more professional online? Have a clean website.
What does having a clean website entail? For even our more detailed, vintagey looking clients (like My Vintage Gypsy Teas) we still follow the basic rules:
Fonts - Limit your fonts to no more than 2 or 3. Try to use one font for headings, one for body copy (if it must be different), and maybe one more for special call out areas. Fewer fonts will also make your website load faster.
Colors - Every month is not Pride Month and while we love colors, they can be distracting, especially on eCommerce sites. Try to use color for your "add to cart" button or to note something special about a certain item.
Imagery - Make your site about what you are trying to sell. While the picture of the baby tiger may be adorable and got a million likes on Instagram, unless it's wearing the shirt you are trying to sell, leave it on Insta. Use images with the same color palette and look and feel. See examples below:
Here are some examples of what to do and what not to do with your imagery. Similar look and feel:
These images all have cool colors and a slightly muted tone. They are all realistic in nature and evoke a sentiment of relaxation and vacation.
Here's another great example of images that go together.
Not a good blend of images:
The second set of images, while still suggesting a vacation vibe, vary in look and feel. The first image has a warm tone, natural look and a slight blur. The second image is crisp, with a dark background, and staged. The third image is an illustration and doesn't fit at all.
Professional photography can really help build your brand and boost sales; and having a clean website to go along with it goes a long way with shoppers.
Need Help With Your Online Store?
We would love to help you with your eCommerce site!
You can also view 2 Wix events we contributed to for more suggestions: