The Importance of Product Photography

Have you ever looked at an advert online and thought to yourself "there's something not right here..."? As a consumer you don't have to be a professional photographer to notice when a business hasn't quite hit the mark with their advertising. A lot of times this happens when you see a photo and assume it's from a customer review, yet when you click on it, you realise it's actually the main picture provided by the brand! 

Grainy, out of focus, poorly composed photos will be one of the largest pain-points for a company who are wondering why their products aren't being engaged with online. In 2021 there's just no excuse for 'bad' photography, because even the most basic smart phone has auto focus and a whole range of photo editing options built in.  

In a century where we consume with our eyes and then our wallets, it's no wonder that a great photo can really boost your sales!        

Back in 2018 a US market research company discovered something interesting; 83% of smart phone users found product images and photos to be "very" and "extremely" influential. Wait, that's not the surprising part – by comparison, just 36% of people that responded to the survey found that video influenced them. So, these two visual mediums have drastically different affects on the target audience. One of the reasons for this is that a photo gives instant impact, whereas a video relies on an engaging thumbnail (a photo itself) to hook the consumer, before they watch the advert. 

Another point in favour of the photo above video is that it provides a seamless scrolling experience for your potential customer. You can put everything they need to know in one image, a shot of the product, brand logo, price and a link. If the person likes what they see they can simply click on it, or if they're not sure they can scroll past, and then scroll back to see the information. Whereas a video, they would need to break their concentration and choose to watch it. 

Consistency is the key. 

Before you start planning your product's photo journey – be that advertising, examples, or general social media engagement – you need to think about your long-term plan. It's all very well gripping people with a professional photo shoot for an advertising campaign... but, if you can't keep up that standard consumers will take note and may be drawn elsewhere. 

If you set your standards high and then can't deliver across Instagram, Facebook, TikTok etc, people will wonder if the business is trustworthy. After all, if it appears that you can't afford to take the time and effort to create beautiful photos of the products you believe are amazing – why should the consumer trust you to provide them with high quality items? A lot of this decision-making is made within a split second of viewing the image. 

You are creating a 'need' impulse for the potential customer. 

When thinking about composing a photograph or a series of photos to advertise your brand, you should always be aware that 'need' is better than 'want'. Someone who wants something is a passive buyer, they might add the item to their cart but not purchase it. A customer who needs something will feel that unless they have this item, their life will not be complete, it is essential to their happiness, and therefore they are more likely to buy it. 

A good way to show this in a photograph is to put the product in content of how the every-day person will use it. For example; you have a handbag and the USP is that it it made from vegan leather. For this product you might choose to show someone outside with friends at a vegan cafe (make sure to show the salads and veggie burgers on their plates etc, and a vegan menu or something to reaffirm that it's aimed at that demographic). You will make sure that the person is touching the bag, or maybe getting their purse out to pay – re-enforcing that it is useful. The lighting will express that it's a sunny day, the people are happy, healthy and vibrant... 

All of these touches will subconsciously create a 'need' in the demographic you are targetting. The little nuances such as seeing the truly vegan food on the plates puts trust in the company that yes, they are who they say they are and they're not just a ruthless company trying to make profit. Going the extra mile gets noticed. 

Lively lighting, amazing angles. 

Now you have decided on the composition, and how you will attract your customers, you will need to ensure that the photo itself is of extremely high quality. If you are employing a professional photographer or influencer to help you, always check the work they have carried out for our brands.  How are they lighting the products? Do they use a simple ring light set up, or a spot light? Can you see anything reflected in shiny surfaces? What size are the photos that they will provide you and in what format e.g. JPEG, PNG, RAW? 

If someone is sending you JPEG files remember these are compressed, which means the computer 'squashes' the file to make it slightly smaller and save disk space for you... but it loses some quality. Common issues with JPEG files is that they can become grainy or have glitches in them compared to the original. Edge definition gets lost too! 

The best way to ensure you or your photographer get the best final outcome:

- Check that the lighting is highlighting the best aspects of your product, remember that consumers want to see every side of the item.

- Ensure that the angle you have taken the photograph from is flattering for both the product and the people/objects in the photo.

- Create a narrative, a story, within your photo to really sell the 'need' to the customer.

- Include pricing and measurements in a way that doesn't mask the product. 

We hope that this insight into achieving the perfect product photo has inspired you. By taking into account all of the information provided, we are sure you will be able to improve your adverts in no time.