Shopify Product Photography: Creating The Best Product Images

By Ricky Hayes | Oct 02 2020 |



How To Create The Best Product Images For Your Shopify Store

A lot of the time, the decision to buy is made while viewing the product page. There are usually a bunch of details about a product, but one that always stands out is the product images.

There are many ways to present this visual aspect and the product images you use are the key. Features such as zooming, scrolling through slides, etc. enhance the presentation. A theme like Debutify allows you to use add-ons like Product Tabs to refine these pages.


1. Draw A Plan For Desired Shots

When you think about each product page, write down all the kinds of shots you want to get. This will help you to make sure you have nothing missing after the photoshoot. The plan also guides you on things like what to wear for lighting purposes. Set a timetable.

Seek a professional product photographer for your product images. Identify any required props or extras. Here’s more on how to prepare and conduct a good photo shoot for your Shopify store.

2. Get The Quality Right

According to tests by eBay and requirements set by Amazon, here are some things that make a picture usable in selling; A full view of the product – The entire product must be present in the frame.

No additional features – Do not place extra text, watermarks, symbols, etc. in the frame of the product image. Pure white backgrounds – The color surrounding the product within the frame should be white (RGB (255, 255, 255)).

A professional look – This involves taking the picture in a neutral manner. Basically not trying to make it look cheeky, scary, or carry a particular voice or mood.

This is similar to keeping excessive smiling or frowning from a passport photo. The product must be well-lit, in focus, and looking real. The image shouldn’t contain supplementary objects, especially those with no clear connection to the product.

3.Choose A Format

There are three major types of file formats for images; PNG, JPEG & GIF. Each of these provides its own level of quality. When dealing with a product that has very many colors, consider the PNG (Portable Network Graphics) format.

This format has two types (PNG-8 and PNG-24) for more flexibility. PNG-8 allows for 256 different colors, producing a smaller file size. PNG-24 accommodates millions of colors and is preferable where quality is more important than size.

The JPEG/JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) format allows for the mixing of blue, red, and green light. With this option, you can also adjust the file size, but this will directly affect the picture quality.

GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) only allows 256 colors, but they are good for cases involving motion. Think of them as small, light videos.

4. Consider the Size

It’s important to have at least 1000 pixels of width or height, according to Amazon. Think of it this way. With a large image, you can create small copies when need be.

If you try enlarging a small image, you’ll quickly degrade its quality. Some studies also show that more white space can lead to more sales. With a large image, you can create different copies and run tests at the same time.

The attributes of the image that gets more conversions will help guide you on what sizes to go with.

5.Offer Multiple Angles

In some cases, sales are easier to make when a customer can hold the product images in their hands and inspect its details. Identify the types of products that look different when viewed from various angles.

Come up with a number of shots to be taken. Make sure they are distinct from each other. Every shot should have something that isn’t available in another shot. Take the bottom, top, and sides.

Where necessary, show parts of the interior. To display multiple angles in a friendly way, you need a theme that structures these options neatly. This may be using a slide strip or a whole separate button.

6. Show Available Colors And Styles

Some products come with various casings or finishing. An example is an external hard drive. One may have a glossy exterior, while another one may be the same in everything but with a dull exterior.

Other categories include clothes and footwear. These tend to come in different colors. You need to be able to give the customer an idea of what the product looks like in the color they desire.

Where possible, you can display smaller, less pronounced images of the other styles and colors. In other cases, you may have to use a navigation menu or selector of sorts.

7. Emphasize Material And Other Details

Many products are made using parts of different materials that are put closely together. Due to color, lighting, and size, it may be hard to tell that a curtain rod has metal and rubber, or plastic and wood. Take up-close pictures of those parts, especially if they contribute to the product benefits.

This practice also comes in handy when dealing with synthetic versions of certain materials like leather and fur. While artificial versions may look very similar, an up-close of the original material can still sway a customer.

Just like some people believe they can know certain notes are fake without UV light showing security marks, the same goes for products. Up-close images showing details are good for complex products like electronics.

Customers are able to see the presence of small switches, cooling vents, types of ports/inputs, etc.

8. Give Context

In many instances, customers shop for products with some sort of comparison or question in mind. They may want to know, how big a gadget is in their hand or pocket, how low a bag hangs etc.

Especially for products where sizes aren’t commonly noted. There just aren’t as many people aware of their phone’s thickness as those who know their shoe size. Start by showing the main product image with a white background.

Show another image of the product placed in space or held. An example is a microwave on a counter or a television on a stand.

There are many ways to show scale. Some include taking a picture of the product next to a door, chair, or table. You may also take it with a human being in the frame to give a sense of the size.

9. Enable Zooming

You most probably won’t be able to take up-close images of every square inch of a product. And in any case, that would be exhausting for the customer to go through and keep track of. Enable the customer to zoom into/enlarge different images.

This option is important for the faces of the product that have a lot of detail. With certain designer bags, shoes, and other items, things like stitching are important. Not only do they contribute to the overall style, but they also help tell a fake from an original.

Zoom can also come in handy for people with short-sightedness if their glasses aren’t nearby.

10. Try Dynamic Viewing

Some shoppers don’t like to keep scrolling and zooming. Consider using a GIF or video in which the product is rotating 360 degrees. You can also give an option to “View Slideshow”.

Here there’s a periodic change to a different angle. One advantage of slideshows is that you can use extra aspects to catch the shopper’s attention. If your slideshow is a little fast, this isn’t necessarily a problem.

Some viewers will attempt to click the back arrow and interrupt it. When you flash something attractive in front of someone’s eyes and quickly take it away, they may be more triggered to get a longer look.

11. Display Customer-Owned Versions

While the main image should be a professional one, you can have pictures from previous buyers included.

Firstly, this instills confidence in the customer since they can see that a number of people have bought the product. ModCloth and Sephora allow customers to submit pictures of the products they’ve bought.

The shoppers can also add a brief review of their experience using the product. The other benefit is that customers usually make additions to these products that inspire others.

A sofa may look a bit dull on its own, but with one buyer placing multicolored pillows/cushions in a systematic way, it can gain more life.

12. Involve Models

Models help add to the beauty of certain products, especially in the field of fashion. An overhead image of a satin dress laid down on the floor may not be very convincing.

An image of a curvaceous woman in that same dress gives a better idea of how tight the waistline is, how much of the shoulders, back, or chest it shows, etc. Models also go beyond making products look good.

They can shed more light on the practicality of a product. For example, you may view a tool carrying belt with several compartments. But if it’s put on a human body and they are all filled, it may start to look a bit inconvenient. By using models, you can also tap into certain narratives that are commonly used by ads to win people over.

When you show a china or glass set being used by a family, that can help you appeal to certain mothers and others amongst shoppers. Keep your target audience in mind.

Make sure you select models that look similar to the people you’re trying to sell to.

13. Use Proper Naming

Good product images aren’t entirely about the visual part. Pay attention to the way your images are named. Erase the device-generated names common with cameras e.g. “DSC054” from the image title field. Enter a new name, preferably with a major keyword included.

Go to the other metadata fields like the caption, image alt text/alt tags, etc. Try to include as many of the relevant keywords as possible. Additionally, include these images in your store’s sitemap.

This is a file that gives search engine web crawlers an overview of your web pages and the way their content is organized. Here’s more about adding images to sitemaps or creating separate ones.

14. Manage The File Size

High-resolution images tend to have a larger file size. This can lengthen the loading speed of the pages on which they are posted. Start by rendering/exporting your raw copies to a resolution that isn’t higher than what you need. If 1080 x 1080p is enough, don’t upload images that are 6000 x 4000p.

The next step is to create smaller copies for your mobile website. Additionally, use plug-ins like WP Rocket for WordPress, or their equivalents for other platforms. These combine HTML, JavaScript, and CSS files, reducing the background tasks on your website. This will help to improve your page load time.

15. Select Proper Thumbnails

Thumbnails are important in view cases where you’re not actually on the product’s page. This may be a section like “frequently bought together”, “related products” or a full-on category page.

The product is going to appear much smaller. Ensure you select the image which has the most clarity when it comes to details. Try the main front or top views.

Avoid using angles that leave out a lot of details or make it harder to know what product it is. Here’s how to change thumbnails for media on your Shopify store’s product pages.

To get full control over your Shopify store thumbnails, try the free Debutify theme’s dashboard for friendly store building. Download Debutify today – it’s completely free!

16. Avoid Filters

Filters may give your pictures more personality on social media, but they aren’t good for product images. You want to make sure that the photo customers see is just about the same as the product.

In cases where you’re dealing with a multi-colored product like sneakers, your filter may throw off the viewer. Shoppers who are very particular about colors will quickly notice the difference between the picture and what they want.

Furthermore, with the coming of visual search, it is important for your products to look at their actual self in images. A photo search may not prioritize your page since the colors differ from those in the image submitted by the searcher.

17. Demonstrate Through Images

This technique works well for products with detachable parts. Take photos showing the product in different states. Where possible, add arrows and other markers to show switches, screwing mechanisms, joints, etc. These how-to images can be put at the end of the slides or have their own mini-section.

They also help to give the customer a better understanding of the product’s makeup.

18. Be Consistent With Branding

First, look at your page features and make sure that the kind of images you’re producing will blend in well. This is especially important for the less neutral images like those submitted by buyers and other context images.

Second, take note of the style you used for each product. The light settings, angles, coloring, and another post-production editing. Store these presets. When you have new listings, keep their style consistent with the one used across a category.

If you have a signature style that is used throughout the store, try to stick to it for most products.

Even slight changes in brightness or contrast may be subconsciously noticed by the viewer which can affect perception. Try to come up with different styles and standards for various product categories.

The way you shoot women’s clothes may not be the same for power tools. This involves doing research on customers. Find out what colors produce particular feelings within them.

If you’re dealing with a niche product, educate yourself on the culture amongst its fans. For example, gothic wear shouldn’t give off the same upbeat vibe as a summer sundress.

Figure out what kind of editing enhances the aura that a particular product was meant to produce.

In Conclusion

There are three major areas to focus on when creating the best product images. The first is production. This is mainly about planning your shots, organizing the photo shoot, and sourcing the right talent. Photographers, lighting engineers, models, etc.

The second part is the store’s technology. Not only do you need a great theme, but you may also have to add some Shopify apps. These come with slide and carousel features among others for better product presentation.

You’ll also need to learn more about optimizing your images for better search rankings. Study sitemaps and SEO. The third is the customers. Use your website data and other sources to learn as much about them as possible.

Categorize them according to location, age, and other attributes. Once you have a better understanding of their preferences, use it to guide you during photography. Also, apply these lessons to your store design.

When you check all these boxes, your product pages will get and retain more traffic. With the right theme, you can support your listings with effective CTAs that help you convert more.

Debutify comes with add-ons like the Sticky Add to Cart which help you do just that. Download Debutify, the top-converting free Shopify theme, today.

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Written by

Ricky Hayes

Ricky Hayes is the Co-Founder and Head of Marketing at Debutify - free Shopify theme, helping dropshippers build high-converting stores in minutes. He is a passionate entrepreneur running multiple businesses, marketing agencies and mentoring programs.


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