How many product photos do you need for your website?

Or rather, how many shots of each product will drive conversion? Because ultimately, that’s what it’s all about: sales.

- Too few views and the customer doesn’t get all the information they need to make the purchase.

- Too many views and the customer may feel overwhelmed and move onto another option.  

 

But with the right balance, brands can improve:

  • Conversion percentage

  • Customer satisfaction

  • Product return rate

 

The key here is - of course - finding the right balance of product imagery.

VYAYAMA shows its crop top alongside a model wearing the product, which gives the customer a clear understanding of what it looks like when worn

VYAYAMA shows its crop top alongside a model wearing the product, which gives the customer a clear understanding of what it looks like when worn

There is something to be said for comparing the online shopping experience to the offline one. If a customer is thinking about buying a new shirt in a brick-and-mortar store, they will (in no particular order): feel the fabric, see what other colors are offered, check out the stitching or how it’s made, look at the washing instructions, take the shirt off the rack and try it on, etc. Together and independently, these can all be decisive in whether they end up buying the product, or not.

In e-commerce, it is the role of the product detail page to do as much of this heavy-lifting as possible. To give the customer all the information they need to move them down the purchase funnel, and get your product into their cart. A lot of that information can - and should - be delivered through product photography.

 

So how many product shots do you need?

Actually, there is no hard-and-fast number.  Instead brands should be asking themselves: what kinds of product shots should I have?

 

While there some obvious shots every product should have - front, back, inside, top-down, etc. , each product is also unique in some way, with different elements you want to highlight.  In such a way, any product photographer worth his salt should be thinking about the below 3 considerations to help you sell your product:

 

Arias New York uses one product shot to show both the stitching and lining of a jacket

Arias New York uses one product shot to show both the stitching and lining of a jacket

1) Focus on the Details. You must have detailed product visuals for your website. This is particularly essential for bigger ticket items. It’s a great way of reinforcing your value proposition, as well as the quality and/ or product authenticity you offer. Some examples:

  • Silver hallmark on a piece of jewelry

  • Unique lining of a tailored jacket

  • Leather quality in the insides of the shoes

  • Non-greasy texture of a moisturiser


 

2) Think Tactile. Oftentimes these are critical differentiating features for brands - something that gives them a competitive edge - and yet it can be incredibly hard to convey these to customers online.

 

Writing “the beautifully treated canvas”, or “made with a unique blend of fabrics” in the product description does not do enough to convey the product’s quality and craftsmanship. 

The secret is to make sure the lighting and product positioning has been set-up to really capture the texture and feel of the product. As you know, the more you can help your customers understand the product, the more likely they are to buy. Be sure to scrutinise the photographer or studio's previous work to make sure they have are able to accurately communicate the tactile qualities of your product. 

One well-shot visual can showcase a range of textures and pigments. CoverFX demonstrates the consistency of their foundations, really pushing the tactile qualities of the cream, powder, and liquid

One well-shot visual can showcase a range of textures and pigments. CoverFX demonstrates the consistency of their foundations, really pushing the tactile qualities of the cream, powder, and liquid

 

As one of our client’s told us: “the moment our customer’s feel our custom-made material, they fall in love with it. Being able to portray the textural quality and supple material through the photography has improved our e-commerce sales dramatically!”

 

3) Include Scaling Shots. By giving customers a visual reference to product size, many brands have seen return rates decrease by as much as 5%. In fact, it is the number one cause for product returns for many brands.

Using models or props can be instrumental in giving context or scale to a product image, as well as adding some personality, as seen in this e-commerce imagery from The M Bag

Using models or props can be instrumental in giving context or scale to a product image, as well as adding some personality, as seen in this e-commerce imagery from The M Bag

Scaling shots are particularly important to use when shooting jewelry or handbags because the sizes can vary considerably, whereas shoes, for example, have universal sizings.

There are standard ways of capturing product scaling shots - by simply styling a handbag or necklace on a mannequin, or by showing a model wearing the items, the customer should get an immediate understanding of product sizing.

Another approach is to use props to help scale the product. This can be anything from showing how thin an iPad is by including a pencil in the shot, to placing a magazine inside a pocket of a handbag. Props also give the brand an opportunity to show a little personality too, which is never a bad thing.

 

iPad used a pencil in a scaling product shot to reinforce their point of difference

iPad used a pencil in a scaling product shot to reinforce their point of difference

Scaling shots can also be used to show product functionality: The M Bag highlighted a specially designed pocket in one of its clutches by shooting it with a New York subway card in it…

The M Bag injects some fun and charm into this product shot, while also giving a sense of size and functionality

The M Bag injects some fun and charm into this product shot, while also giving a sense of size and functionality

Or you can demonstrate the versatility of a bag by shooting it being worn over the shoulder, across the body or detached from the strap to be used as a clutch.

 

These 3 considerations may seem obvious; but it’s amazing how often brands neglect to implement them -usually seeing the incremental product photos as an unnecessary expense. But as we have learned, the potential lift in sales from the addition of one or two more looks can be worth the investment many times over.

It’s also worth remembering what exactly makes a good product photograph - or, how to identify a BAD photo. You can learn more about it here in our post on THE 4 C’S OF PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY

Any questions or thoughts? Please reach out to us at hello@thelinestudios.nyc, we'd love to hear from you.