Whether it’s capturing childhood memories, showing off your holiday snaps, or proving you met Tom Hanks, photographs play an important part of our lives. Online listings are no exception.
The quality of your product photographs directly impact your sales. These top photography listing optimization tips will have you shooting like a pro in no time.
The importance of photography listing optimization
As a customer, you already know the importance of product photography. They show you what the product is and whether it’s relevant to your search. But, as a seller, do you know the full impact that a single photograph can have? Photographs don’t just play a part in the buying journey – they lead it.
1) Search ranking
Good product photography can increase your search ranking through SEO-optimization of the image file itself, and by attracting the right customers to your products. This will in turn reduce your bounce rate and improve your customer reviews.
Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster by the brain than text, meaning that your product photograph has a head start over all of the text in your listing. It’s the first thing an online shopper sees and processes when searching for items. Good product photography immediately captures attention, stopping a buyer in their tracks, and compelling them to find out more.
93% of shoppers consider the appearance of a product to be the deciding factor when buying items, and it’s not surprising. Online shopping is a weird and wonderful world where you can access almost anything but can touch nothing. Photographs help shoppers to imagine the item in their hands, determining if it’s the look, shape, size and feel that they want.
While your listing photographs are unlikely to make their way into anyone’s family albums, they do help to create an ongoing relationship of trust. If the delivered product is identical to your photographs, it demonstrates that you’re a brand who cares and who can be trusted. This is the foundation of a long-term customer relationship.
Photography listing optimization tips
Ultimately, great product photography showcases your products in the best possible way to attract and satisfy buyers. And, the best part is that great photography doesn’t need to be hard or expensive when you follow these photography listing optimization tips.
1. Use the right equipment
Investing in the necessary photography equipment is crucial for producing professional-looking photographs. As a minimum, you want:
Good quality cameras no longer cost the earth, and you might even be able to get by with a decent mobile phone camera, to begin with. Carry out some research, look at some example results, and get buying.
A tripod is as essential as the camera itself. You’ll be taking photos using a small aperture, meaning that you need a steady camera to prevent blurriness. A tripod creates stability and focus, as well as creating consistency across all of your images.
We’ll get onto the importance of the background later, but first, you need to invest in a white or light backdrop by creating a shooting table using a paper sweep, or by buying a light tent.
Speaking of light, if natural daylight is limited in your studio, it will be worthwhile getting two softbox light setups – using one as your main light and the other as your backdrop.
Finally, retouching your images is what can set them apart from home snaps to professional photoshoots. Find the best editing software for your budget and invest time into learning how to use it.
2. Creating the right setting
Once you’ve got all the gear to get going, you next need to create the right setting to make your photographs ‘pop’.
A white background is essential for product-only photographs. It creates a consistent look, that is easy on the eye and minimizes background distractions to make the product the center of attention. You’ll want a number of these photos, at different angles.
Natural backgrounds are used for in-context photographs that show your product in a natural setting. This background aims to give the shopper a feel for size, how it might be used, and what other products complement it. You’ll want one or two of these photos.
A soft and natural light is best, but not always possible. If your photography area is dark or full of shadows, use studio lighting to showcase the product.
Some items might need to be propped up to be photographed properly. For example, necklaces work well on a bust, and clothes should be on a mannequin or person.
3. Provide variety
You have your equipment, the perfect setting is created, now you just need to know what photographs to take.
Ideally, your main product image should be a white background photograph of the product in full. This should be complemented by additional white background images showing different angles and a couple of in-context images to give customers a real-life feel for the product.
Lifestyle images, photos that help shoppers picture your product in their everyday life, can be more valuable than product-only images. You can invoke emotions by helping others visualize your product in their own hands, imagining it with friends, at the beach, on the couch, smiling, laughing, and more.
However many photographs you choose to take and upload, the key to professional photography is consistency. Your photography style is part of your brand image, and the more professional your photographs look, the more professional your brand becomes. Create company guidelines on things such as background, image size, lighting, and lifestyle shots, and include these in any brand or style documentation.
Other things to consider
You’ve taken the perfect product snaps, using the above advice, but it doesn’t stop there. You need to ensure that your images are optimized, follow the rules, and are high-quality.
Use your product’s keywords in the image file name, title and meta description, as well as ensuring that the image is of a suitable quality without slowing your website down.
Follow marketplace rules
Any images included in online marketplace listings such as Walmart, Amazon or eBay, must comply with their product imagery guidelines. You’ll be able to find these in the seller guidelines.
360-degree photos, virtual reality, and augmented reality are becoming increasingly common in eCommerce. Keep on top of the trends to ensure that you don’t fall behind.
Beautiful photographs help to engage, convert and bring back online shoppers, and with the right tools and techniques, they’re easy to achieve with even the smallest of budgets.