10 Tips for Great Product Photography in 2021

All eyes are on ecommerce like never before. We are in a time where anything and everything is at our fingertips, and we can purchase with a simple tap of a button. It’s hardly surprising that more than 75% of people shop online at least once a month. With a pool of potential customers that big, how do you ensure you’re not only capturing the attention of your target audience but driving them to purchase?

It’s simple: your visual content. 

Think of your product photos and videos as your resume. No matter where your consumer first comes across your brand, your content is your photographic first impression. Your visual content is their introduction to who your brand is, what product you’re selling, and how it will impact their lives. In the scrolling era, it’s vital to any ecomm business to have content that stops the scroll and encourages customers to learn more. 

So, how do you get scroll-stopping content?

Here are 10 things to consider when creating your content in order to reach maximum effectiveness, no matter what platform you use:

1. Make a plan

Before diving into creating your content, it’s incredibly important to create a plan. This means doing a little introspection and analysis on what content you currently have, how it’s working, and where you want to go next. It’s not as daunting of a task as you might think! Start with answering these questions:

  • What is currently working? What is not working? 
  • What goals do you want to accomplish with your new content?
  • What type of content is missing? Do you have product-on-white? Product-on-color? Lifestyle?
  • Is there a primary location this content is going to live? (Think: Amazon has specific requirements that you don’t have to follow for social media or Shopify.)
  • Do you have group or collection shots?
  • How effectively do you feel your images are telling your product story? Could it be better told with use of a model or fresh ingredient props?
  • From social media, to paid media, to website, to email, to other selling platforms: is your content consistent throughout the entire customer experience?

Once you have your answers, you’ll have a pretty good grasp of what content you’re missing and what content you’ll want to capitalize on. From here, you can create a mood board and shortlist to organize your thoughts and execute on your new vision.

2. Be Consistent

Have you ever been scrolling through Instagram and seen a product image that stopped you in your tracks? You’re suddenly so excited to learn more about this product that you’re almost ready to purchase without investigating further. You go to the company’s profile and see more amazing images that are ramping up your excitement even more! You get to the website to purchase and you’re not seeing those same awesome images but now you’re questioning if this is too good to be true. You begin to doubt the company and feel like you were duped.

This is why consistency is so important.

Online shoppers operate on blind trust, which is why making the sale can be so difficult. One chip in that trust foundation and you may have lost that customer before having the chance to prove the value of your product. Having consistency throughout your entire customer journey gives consumers the feeling they are purchasing from a company they can trust.

3. Tell a story

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, which is more than enough to tell your entire product story.

We’ve all heard the phrase “product storytelling” being tossed around, but what does that actually mean? At the most basic level, it means you are setting expectations of your product.

Through your product photos and videos, you should be demonstrating exactly what your customers can expect when they receive your product, from texture to smell to durability to functionality.

Look at your current set of photos and videos. What message are they sending? What feelings are they invoking? If your answer was nothing and none, then it’s time for a content update!

4. Engaging the senses

One of the easiest ways to ensure you’re conveying a message and inspiring a feeling through your content is to engage the senses.

Imagine you have a new moisturizer. If a customer was shopping for your product in a brick-and-mortar store, what would they do before purchasing? They would test it. They would check out its consistency, its texture, how long it takes to absorb, how it smells, and how it looks on the skin after being rubbed in.

According to BigCommerce, 58% of people don’t purchase because they aren’t able to try a product. When shopping online, customers don’t have that testing luxury, which means it’s up to you and your content to bridge that gap for them. Having photos of the moisturizer next to a beautifully styled set of ingredients provides the shopper with a mental connection to what it will smell like.

This is also where video becomes a big player. Showing a model applying the moisturizer will answer all those pre-purchase questions a shopper might have. It’ll give them confidence that they know exactly what to expect when it arrives.

Learn more about how to engage the senses with your content here.

5. Introduce color

Product-on-white is a necessary box every ecomm seller has to check. It’s a great place to start with your product-only shots. It’s distraction-free and simple. But it’s not always memorable. That’s why product-on-color can be a great tool.

Product-on-color serves the same purpose as product-on-white. It can showcase your product in a simple, clean way. The biggest difference is, product-on-color allows you to show off your brand personality more than a blank background.

You can experiment with colors, too! Adding in two or three complimentary (and on-brand!) colors to your backdrop can change the dynamics of your content in a big and valuable way. 

6. Play with props

Props are a great way to add depth and show context to your content. They also serve as supporting characters in the story you’re trying to convey. Let’s say you have a line of spa products. You want to send the message that your products are the must-have for ultimate relaxation. To do that, embrace earthy, stress-reducing colors and feature one of your products styled on a soft, textured towel surrounded by driftwood and a pale green air plant. 

7. Explore lifestyle shots

Lifestyle shots are the one-two punch that can take someone from browsing to purchasing. These kinds of shots engage the senses through props and show your product in use and in context. Talk about painting the full picture for your customers!

The best way for someone to imagine your product fitting into their life is by showing them. 

8. Get the fam together

Similar to product-on-white, product-only shots are essential to your ecomm business. But, oftentimes, group and collection shots are forgotten. Mixing and matching your line of products together helps your customers think bigger about what they need. Maybe they came to you for shampoo, but if you show them you have shampoo, conditioner and a heat protectant, they’ll be more inclined to purchase the entire line.

Group and collection shots are also a key component to holiday gift buying. If your products can be used as a gifting opportunity, you may be leaving money on the table by not including collection shots in your marketing.

9. Add movement with GIFs

Did you know? According to a recent report published by Facebook, adding subtle movement to your digital ads can improve your conversion rate by 17%? That’s a huge leap for hardly any extra work! Adding GIFs into your marketing strategy is a great way to stop the scroll and highlight some of your product’s best features. 

10. Optimize for mobile

No matter what content you have or create, it must be optimized for mobile. These days, shoppers are buying more often through mobile devices than through computers, and that balance is only going to continue to lean more and more toward mobile shopping.

“As users get more used to digital tools and products due to the pandemic they will get better at interacting with ads and demand a better user experience. That means no broken links, confusing CTAs, slow pages, or desktop-only websites,” says Google’s brand manager, Bruno Delfino. 

In other words, buyers have a new standard of what they are willing to deal with when it comes to their online shopping experience.

The great thing about content creation is, you don’t have to do it alone! Working with companies, like soona, that specialize in professional photos and videos can make the content creation process so much easier. 

soona is the fast casual content revolution you’ve been waiting for. soona makes creating professional photos and videos easy and affordable. 

If you’re located near Denver, Minneapolis, or Austin, you can book an in-studio shoot. Not near one of those cities? soona also offers virtual shoots that are changing the content creation game. All you have to do is book your shoot, ship your product, and join your shoot live from anywhere.

You can collaborate with your soona crew and provide live feedback as you watch your images appear in your soona dashboard in real-time. Photos are $39 each and videos clips and GIFs are $93 each, and you only buy what you love. Once you checkout, your edited content is returned to you in 24 hours. Learn more at soona.co.

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