5 Qualities of Great Ecommerce Product Images Photos


What makes for a great product photo? That question has many different answers, depending on your purpose 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. A product’s main image (also known as the hero image) should show off exactly what is being sold on the page.

If you use scenery beyond just a plain background, ensure 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 uses user-generated content to develop the right use of context for its target market

Nike does a great job of showcasing its 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 its products with a chance of getting featured on Nike’s online store.

See how Sierra Designs shows its tent in use

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

2. Well lit

All great product photos are well-lit. Shadows or dimly lit photos can make customers 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 greatly affects how your colors appear in the finished image. You can achieve well-lit photos using either natural light or artificial studio light.

3. Clean background

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

The Pro’s Closet uses a plain white background for its product images

The Pro’s Closet understands its target audience. They’ve done well to remove any distracting backgrounds. Instead, 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 expected of any online retailer, and many of the ecommerce platforms available today have minimum resolution requirements to ensure picture quality.

Mango’s customers can zoom in and still clearly see its products

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 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 might see a lot of use are good for close-up shots.

Product detail shot from Recycled Firefighter

The product photos from Recycled Firefighter show 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 detailed products, consider 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, ensure that you feature all the different versions so that customers can see exactly what they are getting.

Concluding statements

The foundation of any product photo starts with its purpose. However, excellent ecommerce product images can also be characterized by five qualities: product and audience-focused, well-lit, clean background, high res, and details. Mastering all five elements puts you on track to creating stunner product photos consistently. 

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