The Importance of Product Photography
Are you selling yourself short in your online business?
If you own a business that uses an online platform like BigCartel.com or Etsy.com or using your own website with platforms like WooCommerce, then you rely on a description or a photo to sell your product. You are selling yourself short if you do not use professional photos for promoting your business. This goes for services and tangible products alike.
When you have a retail location, clients who come into your store get to see, touch, and feel your products to decide whether or not they want to make a purchase. For an online based business, you cannot rely on the item selling itself; that luxury is replaced with having to use images to sell your products. For all kinds of web-based or home businesses; whether you want to post an item for sale, an instructional article or tutorial (free or for sale), or a personal blog post, etc., having photos will ALWAYS make it more appealing. Having great quality photos makes all the difference. Whether you hire a product photographer, purchase a stock photo*, or take the time to actually learn proper photography skills, there is an evident positive effect on sales. The distinct advantage for using your own photos is when it comes to one of a kind items and tutorials. With items so unique, it becomes very difficult to find an accurate stock photo. Plus, the uniqueness of the items is often what gets the sale, so why not showcase it in all its glory? Having the advantage of being able to capture images that match exactly with your specific publishing is nothing short of perfection. Having great photography skills makes all the difference.
Even DIY Product Photography is better than none!
A local baby photographer here in Ottawa, sells photography props on the side of her newborn portrait business and has let us in on a few secrets. “It is always much easier to sell an item with one of the images I capture with my high tech camera, rather than the usual instagram cell snap of the item sprawled on the floor or prop. BUT those don’t even compare to when I have an in-use studio photo of my items (an added benefit of being a baby photographer!).” If you’ve taken it upon yourself to learn photography skills for your product photos, congratulations and good luck. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a huge studio or thousands of dollars worth of equipment to photograph your items. All you need is a small space with a lot of fresh natural light, a camera that can be set to manual mode, and a suitable background setting to match the feel of your brand (ex: don’t use industrial sheet metal if your brand is organic and natural).
Need help with learning those skills? Contact us for more information on the Intro-to-Product-Photography-for-Small-Businesses courses being offered this summer. Read more on product photography tips & tricks.
Decided that learning photography is too much trouble? No problem! We also offer various packages for product photography. Purchasing professional images of your products is the next step towards a thriving business! Contact us for details.
Need more convincing? Take a look at this case-study from Pure Natural Newborn Photography.
Check out this adorable little sage green romper (top left image). Well, it sorta seems cute, right..? But, if I didn’t tell you how soft and cuddly the cashmere was, you would have no idea. In a store you would be able to feel it and see the gorgeous green. But not in a cell snap under questionable lighting. However, if I showed you this pair of rompers (bottom left image), still taken with a cell phone, but captured in much better composition and lighting environments, you would be much more inclined to purchase because you can see the correct colour, the proper sizing proportions, and especially because it’s combined with other items it could be used with. Inspiration sells! Now, if you saw these in-use images (two right images), I am confident you would be much more likely to buy the item than if you had just seen than that first photo. Why? Because you can see everything you need to know about the item: you can see the correct colour, you can see the sizing (newborn or 6 months sitter sizes), you can see the intended use of it, and you can see how soft and fuzzy it is (its attributes). So, if those matched your needs (and your style!), you’d be ready to buy. And since these are one-of a kind items, it would be extremely difficult to find a suitable stock image*.
Here is a other example: Offering multiple photo versions with different angles and composition helps sell the product. This particular example offers a simple cell snap, an inspiration snap, and a snap of a professional in-use image. Combined with the high-res version of that professional photo, this this beauty is certain to sell!
The trick is to apply this concept to everything else. Always provide professional, in-use images whenever possible, and you will see an increase in sales. I promise (compared to not using images or just cell snaps). Professional images that are engaging and relevant will always help sell the experience in addition to the product, event if your product is YOU (in form of a service). You also want to make sure you are selling the FEELING of what you can offer, in addition to what products and services you provide. Humans are visual creatures, AND we all want great experiences that make us feel good. On top of having great products, great service, and great advantages, you need to offer a great experience. I could write a whole other post on this topic alone!
To keep things short.. Here are a few scenarios:
Operate a real estate agency?
Absolutely hire a professional photographer to capture images of the properties you are selling. Not only do those images help sell/rent the property faster, but they can actually increase the perceived value of the property! Often by much more than the investment of hiring the professional. They know exactly what to photograph, what time of day to do it, and how to make the most of awkward spaces. Here’s a great example of why you should always hire a professional real-estate photographer: agent vs. pro.
Run a floral arrangement business?
Capture images of different arrangements and use those images to sell the idea of getting their own custom bouquet made (encourage creativity or one of your popular pieces).
Own an event planning company?
Capture detail shots of all of the tangible work you put into the event (like table settings or venue decor), and candid shots of attendees mingling (make sure they are smiling and having a good time).
Run a jewelry or accessory store online?
Capture macro images of the art pieces, in addition to your target clients wearing them (make sure they are partaking in activities that relevant to the intended use of the accessory).
Offer a cleaning service?
Use images that show what you do, like a person dusting the baseboards (it shows that you know details ARE important!) or mopping the floor (no giant puddles because that shows carelessness).
Run a DIY Tutorial blog?
Capturing professional images as you proceed with your tutorial and will absolutely raise the bar and create a sense of authority for you. BONUS if you also capture video! (again, another post topic altogether!)
Take your new-found gold mine of information, and take the required steps to boost your business this year.
Need help with learning photography skills? Email stephanie@theSEOsquirrel.com with the subject line ‘CLASSES’ for more information on the Intro-to-Product-Photography-for-Small-Businesses courses being offered this coming winter.
Think that learning photography is too much trouble? No problem! We also offer various packages for product photography. Purchasing professional images of your products is the next step towards a thriving business! send us a message to get things started.
We have previously worked with Pepsi Quebec, Photographers, Yarn & Fabric Shops, and various other vendors.
*Disclaimer: It is advised to never use photos you simply find online in an image search to sell your products because to do so breaks many copyright laws, and tends to be misleading, and to NEVER EVER use stock photos to advertise a photography business (because that is a serious case of fraud!).
Rules to live by for using images in print or online:
“IF YOU DID NOT CAPTURE THE PHOTO YOURSELF, ASSUME YOU CANNOT USE IT. IF YOU DID NOT PAY FOR PERMISSION TO USE THE PHOTO, ASSUME YOU CANNOT USE IT.”
STEPHANIE DE MONTIGNY
Website Management & Local SEO | Business & Branding Photography