Types Of Product Photography
When it comes to marketing, presenting the right product photos to your customers is essential for communicating the desirability of your products. High-quality images using good natural lighting and photo editing software are incredibly important.
Your product photos are the first experience your customer has of the product they will receive and so, making your products look good is the first step to successful product photography.
In this article, we're going to be taking a look at the different kinds of product photos, including product only images, white or light backdrop images, and comparative shots, as well as why professional product photography is important in e-commerce and some product photography tips.
What is professional product photography?
Before we dive straight into the various types of product photography, we should, first of all, know the meaning of product photography, and what it is used for.
Product photography is the commercial photographs used to capture a product in its best photographic representation to facilitate a sale with your eCommerce brand.
In the photography industry, product photography is a very important niche. Including all kinds of photography, like lifestyle photos, food photography, and single-product images, it is used for the promotion and dissemination of products.
Product photography helps to capture the interest of the target audience by showing a product and highlighting specific product features, to encourage fast purchases. It is for this reason that the product photos need to be amazing images.
When you visit an e-commerce website, the visual appearance of the website, not the big words and grammar, is what you first note. A study has shown that the human mind processes images 60,000 times faster than text, suggesting that when shopping online, most decisions are made based on a product photo, not a description.
As an online store owner, when a customer lands on your products page, they usually form their first impression based on the quality of the product photos there. If the product photos are of low quality or they don’t accurately match the products you are offering for sale, you might lose customers.
Simply put, a very catchy product picture helps to build solid trust and connect you with your customers.
The different factors of product photos
For you to understand the types of product photography better, and which type of product photography is suitable for individual products, we have to discuss the types of product photography based on different factors:
- Based on the number of objects in a frame: This can be single/individual product photography or group product photography.
The former is arguably the commonest in the eCommerce world, it involves only one object appearing in a shot. The latter on the other hand involves a group of objects appearing together in a frame.
Group photography is very rare though, especially in eCommerce product photos, though a professional photographer may be able to advise you on what is best.
Other factors that affect the type of product photos used include:
- Size: This majorly covers products of either normal size, large or micro size. For normal size, products from the food, skincare, haircare, tech, and fashion industry typically fall under this product photography. Large-sized products, such as automobiles, etc., often require extensive efforts to carry out the product photography shots.
- Purpose: Appearing in this category are packaging shots and 360 shots. 360 shots are the latest trend in product photography. This kind of shot is always captured from an angle of 360° which gives the customer the ability to see how the product looks from every angle.
- Props used: This includes mannequins, hanging, etc. Mannequins, for example, are another popular layout for product photography. This is mostly used in the clothing industry and allows detailed shots of clothing for the site.
- Based on the info provided in a shot: This includes infographic and promo images. For any eCommerce business owner that uses SEO tools a lot, a well-developed infographic will quickly move your stuff up Google images ranking.
Product photography types
Now we have an understanding of how the decisions are made, it is time to learn more about the different types of product photos and how they can be used to your advantage.
Studio photography is created in studios. One big advantage of studio photography is the ability to control the lighting, contour, contrasts, and highlight certain aspects of the item. This gives way to the use of good natural lighting as well as artificial lighting to highlight specific product features and enhance photo editing.
For studio product photography, you only need to focus on one thing, and that is clarity!
You have to try to make the shot as realistic as possible. This is because the products might get returned if what you shoot doesn’t look anything like what you are selling to your customers in real life. Natural light is a great way to ensure that products look as close to reality as possible and artificial light should only be used as a fill light when needed.
Though photo editing software should always be used to clean up and enhance images, it shouldn't be used to alter the image beyond recognition in professional product photos.
Although this type of product photography is not as creative as other types of product photography, it is used to reflect the reality of the product well to show customers what they are getting when they purchase.
White Background Photography
White or light backdrop photography is the easiest and clearest way to present your products in a way where the products will be portrayed in a non-distracting and very clean way. In fact, well over 75% of products on Amazon are presented this way.
This type of product photography requires a very simple setup in comparison to say lifestyle shots as it requires only that you isolate the product and make it the core focus of your shot. As is usual in a product photo, natural light should be the main light source in white background photos and post-production photo editing should be used to clean and optimize images but never alter them.
These kinds of product shots are usually used for products that come in varying colours or sizes. One of the best product photography tips for this kind of product is to photograph them all together.
This kind of product offers further information than product-only images as it allows customers to compare and contrast the products. This comparison could be the key deciding factor that pushes a sale.
Special products that are not sold separately makes use of this photography layout a lot too as it shows all that is being purchased in one product photo.
A comparative product photo places a related object next to the product to address a specific aspect of the product you are selling. This is usually the size of the product in comparison to the other object but could be colour too.
Presenting the actual size or colour in comparison to another object is another way to communicate the reality of the product to customers. For example, a picture of a man holding a bag... The bag is the product... Man makes use of bags. The two clearly complement each other and divulge the purpose and size of the product.
The Process Shot
This type of shot often shows the processes or workmanship that a particular product undergoes. If perhaps you make your own products, you should try to do a process shot. This type of shot help to build trust and connection with the customers.
Utilise product photography lighting setup tips to ensure your product looks good from all different angles during the process shot as you are still trying to sell your product. It may also be worth moving to a surface with a light or white background to increase the clarity of this shot and reduce any clutter that may create harsh shadows.
The importance of product photography in e-commerce
Your product images are incredibly important to your e-commerce brand image. Below we have listed the reasons it is imperative you take the time and expense to book a photo studio for a photo shoot to create professional images for your eCommerce website.
- It gives your customers a clear image of what they will be getting. This is particularly important in order to prevent a “What I ordered Vs what I received” scenario. Remember to use good studio lighting and take multiple shots to find the one that best represents your product.
- Product photography will help you cement your brand identity.
- Mobile audiences have access to pictures/images more than any other form of advertisement, meaning you're presenting great images to your target audience no matter how they're looking at your product pages.
- Simply put, product photography increases conversion rate as it plays an important role in the decision-making process. The expense it takes to shoot product photos will be covered by the increase in sales from presenting your good product-only shots, as well as others, to your customer.
- It helps you inspire trust in your customers. When there is solid trust between you and your customers, it will make them buy from your eCommerce store with confidence. Product shots that are true to reality can help to garner that trust.
- A high-quality image helps to create the first big impression. People often believe that high-quality product pictures mean the product itself will also be of high quality.
The importance of product photography in the e-commerce sector can’t be overemphasized. The importance is just as immense as the quality of the products themselves.
In short, the better the stuff looks, the more you will sell.