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How to shoot product photography and use it to increase conversions

How to shoot product photography and use it to increase conversions

How on point is your brand’s product photography?

It’s an important question, as 93% of consumers say imagery is the make-or-break factor in their online purchasing decisions.

High-quality photos and videos are a must for Shopify stores, so we’re turning to an ecommerce photography guru for advice. 

Randi Ward is a Senior Production Success Manager at soona, a virtual photoshoot company specializing in ecommerce product photography. She’s got the scoop on improving conversions with visual content. 

Below are Ward’s product photography essentials extracted from her Black Friday webinar collaboration with Seguno. 

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The nuts and bolts of good product photos

Ward distills product photography setup and success into five points: 

  1. Good lighting and a clean background are all you need. There’s a beauty to simplicity.  
  2. Shoot the product from multiple angles. Clarity drastically reduces surprises once the order arrives. 
  3. Be consistent in your aesthetics. Achieve unification with the same background, positioning and the like.
  4. Create high-resolution photos. “Zoom-in-ability” lets shoppers see the details and read the fine print. 
  5. Check your competitors’ content. Then one-up it.
Screenshot of Mox Skincare's homepage header, featuring four images of product bundles
The same aesthetic carries across all of Mox Skincare's product photography 

2 ways to make your product photography work for you

We’ll assume you’ve put the work into shooting lovely product photos or hired a professional service to do it for you. Now comes debuting them to the world. 

You’ve got two predominant ways to make those product photos work for you: through your Shopify website and performance-based marketing. 

Your Shopify website


Statistics show it takes just 50 milliseconds for a person to form an opinion of a webpage. Photos play a heavy part.

Your Shopify website should educate and excite shoppers about your brand and products. The same goes for any marketplace site, such as an Amazon storefront. 

Websites contain three opportunities for incorporating beautiful product photography: 

  • Header image
  • Category image
  • Product detail page images

The header image, aka banner shot, consumes the top chunk of homepage real estate and is the first glance into your brand. Use it to promote new product launches, big sales, or hitch onto a holiday. Make updates at regular intervals so that returning visitors have something new to see. 

Ward’s best practices for header images include the following: 

  • Leaving enough space so you can provide context with text.
  • Sizing it properly so that you’re cutting off no content. 
  • Adding a touch of life with a model — be it a full-body model or just a hand — helps shoppers envision using the product and comprehend its size. 
  • Experimenting with a rotating slideshow to create a dynamic experience. A video loop can also hook shoppers to stay longer.  
image of a hand reaching out with a puzzle piece, hovering over a puzzle in progress
Goodfit’s large header image features rotating images, including the one above 

Shoppers see category images when navigating your Shopify site. Category images reveal the breadth of your offerings by providing a peek into product groupings. 

Once again, the top tip is consistency. You want cohesion in matters of style and proportion. For example, don’t mix product photos with white backdrops and those with colored ones. 

8-image grid of different puzzle boxes
Each of Goodfit’s category images features a colorful background with the
puzzle box and supporting props

Product detail page images come into play after clicking on an individual product. These photos show the details and tell the product’s story (remember zoom-in-ability?). Ward recommends: 

  • Five to six images per product on pure-white backgrounds
  • Two “lifestyle” images showing the product in use or placed within an environment 
  • One gif for movement 
Three photos showing the same puzzle from different perspectives: the box, the puzzle shown as completed, and the completed puzzle, box and bag of puzzle pieces
Goodfit includes multiple images on its product detail pages

Performance-based marketing 


Product photography is paramount in steering people toward your website or store page through marketing outreach. 

Ward’s top advice is the same for any marketing initiative — email newsletters, organic or paid social media, digital ads or SMS. Implement A/B testing. 

Say you’re embarking on an Instagram Story ad. Take your creative and tweak it slightly for an alternate version, like swapping out a pet model for a hand. Run both ads and see which drives higher conversion to your website. 

Keep testing. For example, if the pet performed better than the hand model, change the background color of the pet version. Conduct another experiment between the two pet ads. The goal is to find the formula that works best.  

Ward’s other strategies for performance-based marketing include: 

  • For paid advertising, use vertical or square ratios, concise text, and movement through a gif for greater engagement.
  • Include a call to action button that directs viewers to the exact spot they can make the purchase.  
  • Integrate social proof, such as user-generated content. It’s human nature to seek others’ opinions. Consider that 80% of U.S. shoppers put weight into recommendations when making a purchase. 
  • Recognize that not all content forms are ideal for all platforms. For instance, a video designed for TikTok will perform better there than on Facebook. 
Side by side images with the first of three bars of soap and the title "Take your pick," and the second of soap with the box and fruit, and title of "citrus sun"
The Earthling Company relies on crisp product photography for its Instagram Story

Enhancing visual content elevates your brand 

Optimized product photography goes a long way in convincing shoppers that your brand and products are legit.  

That said, broadly examine your Shopify store’s imagery. Ask yourself these three questions: 

  1. Is your brand consistent? Does your Shopify page match your social media page, paid advertising and email marketing? 
  2. Does the content on your Shopify store tell a story? Would a newcomer understand what you do and sell?
  3. Does your content suit your brand? Do you play into your personality?

You’ve got some work to do if you answered “no” or “somewhat” to any question. 

When you confidently say yes to all, you’ve positioned your product photography to support — rather than hinder — your conversion goals.  

Interested in using soona for your product photography needs? Use code seguno at checkout to get your first photo free.
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