E-commerce 2018 product photography guide: all your visuals from A to Z

What impact does an image have on potential clients? How do you create standardized, innovative visuals in-house for your online storefront?  What are the technical solutions and the latest trends to help you stand out from the competition? Learn the answers in this 2018 guide to e-commerce photos. You’ll find analysis and advice from e-commerce expert Gregory Beyrouti* and from Laurent Wainberg*, founder and CEO of PackshotCreator.

E-commerce visuals: the first step to build trust

Your product image is the first thing that determines whether or not a website visitor stays on the page.

It’s the first and only point of contact between the product and the potential buyer. “With online shopping, an internet user may have numerous fears like shipping delays or getting the wrong size… Displaying high quality visuals is the first step to building trust with a potential client. With HD products images, website visitors get to see the quality and details of the product in full. It reassures them and might convince them to make the purchase. By contrast, a low-quality image looks amateurish and makes it much harder to get conversions when your competitors are doing a better job,” explains Gregory Beyrouti.

More and more businesses are displaying their products online, whether on their own websites, directly or via cross-channel sales, or on e-commerce platforms. That goes for every industry: household appliances, jewelry, culinary ware, fashion, even furniture. In the current climate of competition, it’s crucial to find new ways to stand out.

The latest trends in e-commerce photography

We’re constantly seeing new drivers of growth and innovation in online retail. in February this year, Nike experimented with its first Snapchat flash sale. The Air Jordan III Tinker model shoe, officially due for release the following month, was exclusively made available for purchase via the mobile app. Nike used the social media app to share a QR code which app users could scan to access the flash sale. The shoe sold out in under 30 minutes. Meanwhile, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has just launched Image Search to allow users to search for products based on photographs, as Google and Ebay have already done.

“What matters is speed and reactivity in creating and publishing photo content, and that goes for businesses of all sizes. In the past few years, social media and influencers have become essential outlets for this type of content. Having been in the product photography business for over 15 years, I’ve seen the market evolve. Now, for instance, project managers understand the concept of photography workflow and everything it entails,” adds Laurent Wainberg.

What are the three rules for producing great e-commerce visuals in-house?

1.Photorealistic results

Photorealistic results require high quality products images. These are characterized by accurate color rendering and fine detail. They help to cut down on returns and above all to provide visitors with a the kind of picture that’s worth a thousand words. Next comes standardization: “Any disparity in terms of the resolutions, formats, backgrounds or trimming of the images takes away from your credibility as an online retailer. Using software to manage the production of photos and animations allows you to produce standardized images by eliminating differences and more importantly, I lets you produce a high volume of images for any media,” explains Laurent Wainberg. The same parameters can be used throughout the production process, with identical backgrounds, framing, exposure, lighting, and formats for all your images in one series.

Photorealistic results let website visitors zoom in on a photograph and explore the texture of the leather in detail.

2.Choosing the right type of visuals for the product

There are several options depending on the type of product and the means of distribution (website, product photography for social media, catalogues…). For product descriptions, it’s best to go for simplicity and quality. Displaying a photograph of your product on a pure white background lets your website visitors focus on what counts: their object of desire. To go further, you can try displaying different angles and adding a magnifying glass to reveal the fine details of a household appliance, the texture of fabric, the logo on eyewear frames photograph or the stone on a ring. Product macrophotography is the best option for jewelry, technical components or eyewear. For photographing clothes, there are several good options.

The most common technique is shooting on ghost mannequins to show volumes. On the other hand, flatlays are ideal for displaying and laying out clothes and accessories for social media images. Influencers very much appreciate this type of image.

Flat lay photography table for flat lay clothing product photography

There are lots of ways to make your products visually stand out, from compositions to 3D modelling.

3.Be reactive and stand out from the competition

“Producing visuals in-house lets you save time, manage your budget and be highly reactive when needed. Not having to depend on an outside service provider is a big advantage. But it depends on you having the right competencies in-house…” explains Gregory Beyrouti. Based on this, in-house photo shoots provide the best range of options to make your products stand out.

“There are lots of different software-operated photo studios. They allow even total beginners to master the process of producing multiple types of images. Currently, more and more of our users are embellishing their e-commerce websites with multi-angle photos and 360° interactive animations. It lets them showcase their products in an interactive format while providing maximum visual details. Elements like scripting, zoom and annotations encourage viewers to appropriate the product, and they also make it possible to pool information in a single image,” points out Laurent Wainberg.

These 360° products animations in HTML5 format work in any web browser or operating system. When converted to GIF format they can also be used on social media, increasing engagement with your posts. Visitors also highly value the use of 3D products images. For example, you can integrate photorealistic spherical animations or 3D models into a real environment (augmented reality) or a virtual one (virtual reality).

Plus besoin de connaissances spécifiques en photographie de produits, le logiciel PackshotCreator se veut intuitif et facile d’utilisation.

Vous souhaitez vendre vos produits sur Internet ou améliorer les visuels de votre e-shop actuel ? Découvrez maintenant les gammes de studios PackshotCreator !

*Sondage réalisé en Europe entre les 15 et 30 Octobre 2013 sur un échantillon de 149 utilisateurs de sites e-commerce et 137 utilisateurs de solutions PackshotCreator ayant réalisé leurs visuels produits eux-mêmes.


What in-house photography equipment is best for your e-commerce store?

Whether you’re a new or experienced online retailer, whether you use your own website or an e-commerce platform… there are solutions to suit every different case. “Invest in a good camera as well as a mini photo studio right from the start. These investments will give you true independence and total freedom that will pay back your investment in the medium term,” confirms Gregory Beyrouti. When it comes to equipment, you can choose between two types of studio that will let you get started and produce several different types of visuals. The mini photo studio equipped with a turntable is software-operated and has its own lighting system.

Some types of photo studios are used to photograph very specific subjects…

In-house photo studios for every type of product

“It’s a versatile, ideal alternative. The second solution is to use a 360° turntable with a lighting system and cyclorama backdrop. This system is more flexible, especially when it comes to shooting products of different sizes, which may sometimes be very heavy. These Packshot studios also allow you to produce still shots, multi-views and 360° animations, even professional quality 3D images. PackshotCreator offers automated photo studios for every different size and type of product. Some are designed for timepieces and jewelry photography. Others are dedicated to shooting clothes and accessories,” explains Laurent Wainberg. “Coming up to 2020, online sales revenue is projected to hit 4 trillion euros worldwide. What that means is now, everyone can have a piece of the pie,” adds Gregory Beyrouti. “In-house product photography is a great way to get the best piece!”

*Gregory Beyrouti is the co-founder and CEO of Wiziship, a made in France e-commerce solution startup which is turning 10 years old in 2018. This serial entrepreneur led a digital agency from 2004 to 2010 and founded the Guides Shopping startup in late 2016. Online retailers can receive daily tips and advice from his newsletter, and can also get in touch with him simply by sending him an email reply.

Laurent Wainberg is the founder and CEO of PackshotCreator, the European leader in equipment and services dedicated to bringing product photography in-house. Since 2002, PackshotCreator has equipped and assisted more than 8,000 businesses in 35 countries.

Become the photographer of your products

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the three rules for successful internal e-commerce visuals?

Succeeding with in-house visuals will be the key to online sales. Visual homogeneity is one of these three rules to be respected.

How to choose the type of visual adapted to the photographed product?

Depending on the type of product and distribution media, there are many possibilities.

How to be reactive and stand out from the competition?

Having an in-house photo studio will allow you to control your budgets, your visuals, and to be reactive in the creation of visuals for new products.