January 10, 2017 Jessica Merrill

Is Bad Product Photography Killing your Online Sales?

good product photography - strong estate marketing

No matter what platform you’re selling on, photos are one of the first things a shopper notices, and they can make or break a sale instantly. Blurry and poorly-lit photos scare customers away, while a clear, attractive, uncluttered photo encourages them to take a closer look! Here are 6 common problems that often kill sales:

Problem #1: Your photos are too busy

Cluttered product photos were all the rage a few decades ago, but now, negative space is necessary to a good product photo. Backgrounds are often distracting and confusing, drawing focus away from the item you’re trying to sell. There’s no need to spend the time and money to stage a complicated set– simply place the item against a white or solid-color background, or use Photoshop to edit out the background completely.

In order to have a clean, consistent look across their site, Amazon.com requires that all main images have pure white backgrounds. Other selling platforms may not require this, but it’s always a good idea to use a white background if you want your product photography to look clean and professional.

Although there’s definitely a place for non-solid backgrounds (for example, a swimsuit photo looks great with a beach in the background!) it is important that the background is uncluttered, appropriate for the item, and not distracting in any way. If you forget all the rest, just remember this: a cluttered photo confuses the eye and distracts shoppers from what you really want them to see: the CTA button!

Problem #2: Your photos are too small

The zoom feature is a great way for shoppers to interact with the product photo, and most shoppers like to see the details before they buy. The zoom feature is only enabled if your images are large enough (a minimum of 800 pixels on eBay, or 1000 pixels on Amazon.) Amazon even states that the zoom feature has been proven to enhance sales.

Problem #3: Your photos are too dark

Light and bright is in! Although this may differ from product to product (moody lighting does suit certain situations) the majority of product photography should be relatively light and bright. This includes the white backgrounds that we already talked about, but also includes the light that is hitting the product. Poor lighting causes shadows, blurriness, and inaccurate colors. Bright light exposes all the details, brightens colors, and makes the image clearer and sharper– all good things! Photos that are shot indoors often suffer from lots of shadows, blurriness, and an orangey tint, all due to artificial lighting. Professional photography equipment and post-processing in Lightroom and Photoshop is often necessary to create great indoor photos.

Problem #4: Your photos are too bright

There is a fine line when it comes to product photo lighting, and washed-out photos can be just as bad as shadowy ones. When images are too bright, they lose detail and color accuracy. Reflective objects may have an unsightly glare.

Whether too dark or too bright, photos with bad lighting are unattractive and unprofessional even to the untrained eye, and can turn shoppers away before they even give your product a chance. Professional studio shots are the best way to get well-lit indoor photos.

Problem #5: Your photos are inaccurate

There are several things that can go wrong here. First of all, make sure that the product in the photo is the one you are sending out! If the product has changed in any noticeable way, reshoot it and upload the new photos to the listing. Customers do not appreciate it when an item isn’t the same as pictured, and it will show up in their reviews!

Another common mistake is to upload photos that aren’t true to color. A photograph is a tricky thing. Depending on lighting, over-editing, or other factors, an item might show up differently on the screen than it does in real life. Once again, this will show up on customer reviews… “The picture showed it as dark red, but it is much more purple in real life!” For clothing, accessories, and furniture, a slightly-off color is a deal breaker for many customers, and will lead to a string of returns or bad reviews.

Problem #6: You don’t have enough photos

A successful listing shows the product from a variety of angles. Customers don’t just want to see the front of the item. They want to be able to picture it on all sides: front, back, side, top, inner workings. The more photos you have, the more informative the listing. If all of the customer’s questions are answered by the listing, they are more likely to buy!

Some items are limited in the number of angles you can provide. Maybe they’re two-dimensional, look the same on all sides, or they are a common household item that everyone is familiar with. These types of products benefit from photos of the item in use. Hire a model and photograph them using the product in a variety of situations. This helps shoppers to picture themselves using the product– a great way to encourage them to buy!

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