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Easy to Avoid Mistakes with Images in ECommerce Websites

Upendo Ventures: Easy to Avoid Mistakes with E-Commerce Photography

Surprisingly, a lot of it continues to be relevant even today. With all of that in mind, it still catches me off guard when avoidable issues are in a store. In this case, we're going to talk about product images.

In this article, we're going to focus on the low-hanging fruit. These are things that are not difficult to do. Any store of any size, on any platform, should be able to these things - regardless of your technical ability.

Quality of Images

First and foremost, the image quality needs to be great. You don't need to be or contract a professional photographer - though, it would make this easier. You just need a high-quality camera and good lighting.

You don't need a full-fledged SLR or DSLR. You may be surprised that the newer models from iPhone and Samsung are quite good for this. If you want to use a real camera, companies like Borrow Lenses make this very affordable by allowing you to rent the good stuff until you're ready to purchase it.

Lighting can be tricky if you don't pay attention. In general, natural light is best, but not in high-noon conditions. Depending on the size of the product you're photographing, one or more ring lights can do, or an affordable lightbox is perfect.

If your product is virtual, like software, you can do the same thing with screenshots. Tools like Jing and SnagIt are great for this. You can create professional screenshots in minutes with no experience whatsoever.

Oh, and I realize that many of you may be tempted by adding watermarks of your brand on your images. Honestly, this does little to nothing to help visitors interact with and purchase from you unless they already know you. The average visitor wants to just see the image. If you look at any large brand as an example, though they have a lot to lose, they never do this.

Number of Images

The number of images is really important. Just having one great image will rarely sell someone online unless they're already loyal to your brand or familiar with the product. Instead, you need to imagine yourself with the same product as if you were in the store looking at it yourself. What would you do if you were deciding to buy this in-person?

Imagine if this was a jacket... Get close up photos of the zippers, buttons, pockets, tags, sleeves, inner lining, and even the seams. People can't pick it up themselves, so you need to bring it closer to them (so to speak). You literally can't have too many photos. (Okay, maybe you can, but I'll get you'll get tired of managing the photos far before prospective customers do.)

People in Images

As much as you can, include other humans in the photos of your products. These people should be smiling and cover a range of genders, races, and ages.

Even if you're selling candles, get a photograph of someone smelling it up close with a smile. If it's a wreath or something else you wouldn't hold, have a photo of them staring at it with friends and family - everyone is smiling and happy, of course.

If you're selling a virtual product like a subscription or software, a person sitting in front of a computer very clearly using your software/service is a great way to show happy customers engaged with your product.

People need to see themselves with the product you're trying to sell to them. This hands-down the best and easiest way to make this happen.


I know many of you read the last section thinking, where can I find a model? Models are expensive and it will just be a lot more work. You'd be right if that's exactly what you tried to do. Simply put, you don't need to do that.

Instead of finding and paying models to work with your products and brand, find amateurs or up-and-comer types. They might not even be modeling yet, but you could see them perhaps being one in the future. Hiring people from college using an app like Fiverr would make this super-simple and affordable.

Speaking of Fiverr, this can also be a great way to find an "intern" that's still in college and maybe even majoring in something photography-related to do some or all of the photography work for you.

Even better, have some of your friends (or passionate customers) fill in and make a day of it. You'd be surprised at what people would do for you in exchange for a slice of pizza and a glass of wine - and the ego boost of being your model. Just remember to have them sign a digital consent form (you find a ton of examples of this online).

In Closing...

The bottom line here is that you always know how many customers you're getting. What you don't know is how many you're losing and why. If you won't put your best images forward, this is almost a guaranteed way to ensure your online store doesn't grow.

I hope this gives you some ideas and inspiration for growing your online store using imagery. You'd be surprised at how much impact great images will have on your revenue.

Oh, one more tip... Sometimes you might need to take dozens of photos of the same thing before you get the one that you feel is perfect. This is normal. Don't give up! :)

What do you think though? Is there another easily implemented trick I missed? Let me know in the comments.

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About the Author

Will StrohlFounder & CEO
Upendo Ventures
Overall, Will has nearly 20 years of experience helping website owners become more successful in all areas, including mentoring, website development, marketing, strategy, e-commerce, and more.

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