5 Qualities of Great Product Photos


What makes for a great product photo? That question has many different answers, depending on what purpose you have when you step behind a camera. Luckily for retailers, we don’t have to be Ansel Adams to take amazing eCommerce product images.

1. Product and audience focused

The product is what you are selling, and what the customer cares about. Your main image (also known as the hero image) for a product should show off exactly the thing that is being sold on the page.

If you use scenery beyond just a plain background, make sure it enhances the appeal of the product being sold.

Background scenes should put the product into the right use of context for your target market. This will create a stronger personal pull toward the product, because the shopper will feel like it was made for them.

Nike does a great job of showcasing their product photos in-context. Instead of taking their own photos, they engage their customers and use user-generated content.  Nike encourages their own customers to take photos of how they’re using their products with a chance of getting featured on Nike’s online store.


Source: Nike AU

Sierra Designs also does a good job at this. They know exactly who their customers are and what their customers are looking for. They used in-context photos to help their potential buyers visualize how they can use their products in real life.


Source: Sierra Designs

2. Well lit

All great product photos are well lit. Shadows or dimly lit photos can make a customer feel like they are buying from a Craigslist posting rather than a trustworthy retailer.

Lighting will set the tone and feel for the shot. Additionally, it has a huge effect on how your colors will appear in the finished image.

3. Clean background

Clean backgrounds allow the product to take all the attention. Pixc recommends and creates plain, white backgrounds for images on your product pages. There are use cases for other colors and scenes, but most of the time, a plain white background is your best bet.


Source: The Pro’s Closet

The Pro’s Closet understands their target audience. They’ve done well to remove any distracting backgrounds. They show off the bike and the high-impact areas that matter most to everyday bike users.

4. High resolution

High resolution images allow customers to zoom in on your images and provide a smoother, more polished image all around.

This is now pretty much expected of any online retailer, and many of the eCommerce platforms available today have minimum resolution requirements to ensure picture quality.

High resolution images allow the shopper to zoom in on the detail. This will reduce the number of requests you receive from potential customers as they will no longer have to ask you questions about the product. Your photos should answer all their questions. 

5. Details

Showing off details of an item with specific shots is even better than just being able to zoom in. Areas that customers interact with or that might see a lot of use are good for close-up shots.


Source: Recycled Firefighter

The product photos from Recycled Firefighter shows off the most important and functional part of this men’s everyday carry pack.

It’s all well and good for the outside to look good, but how the bag holds and organizes your gear matters too.

If you sell products that have detail, think of including photos of the buttons, zippers, stitching, controls, straps and handles.

Your images should focus on what customers care about. If you offer colors or other variations on a product, make sure that you feature all the different versions of your product so that customers can see exactly what they are getting.

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