The Age of the Internet Has Made Product Photography More Crucial Than Ever


productphotosMost everyone is well aware the powerful impact images can have. Our culture even expresses the idea with an idiom — “a picture’s worth 1,000 words.”

What most people don’t think about, though, is that we’ve become so accustomed to high-quality pictures, less-than-attractive images can have an equally powerful, but adverse effect. They can turn potential online customers away.

In an age where there are over 110,000 English-speaking e-commerce sites competing for consumers’ attention, which now only lasts eight seconds in comparison to the 12 second attention span consumers had in 2000, high-quality product photography has become more crucial than ever.

So important is product photography that Amazon recently received a patent on a specific setup for its own take on white-background photography. What’s more, Airbnb thrives on high quality images, going as far as to offer users free professional photography services.

Quality product photography is important not only because it captures consumers’ attention, but also because it allows consumers to overcome the lack of sensory experience involved in online shopping.

“The biggest obstacle to online shopping is that consumers want to see, touch and sometimes try on items they’re considering. As a result, online retailers have invested heavily in providing more visual information,” says Editor-in-Chief Don Davis from Internet Retailer magazine.

“That includes allowing consumers to zoom in on product images, see items from a variety of angles and in a variety of colors, and adding product videos that show a model wearing a dress or explaining how to set up a power tool,” he explains.

David Nawrocki, the founder of Retail Studio Effect, offers three product photography tips. First, he says that retailers should shoot on a cloudy day, as the cloudy sunlight provides the best diffused light. Secondly, the photos’ perspectives should be eye level — not looking down or above on the product. Thirdly, a tripod should be used to steady the camera, creating sharper photographs.

“Product photography for web or commercial purposes requires a serious camera, but a serious camera doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars,” says Fred Tilner, Marketing Executive at 42nd Street Photo, a popular New York City camera store. “There are many DSLR cameras under $900 that would do a great job and with the proper lighting and background produce wonderful images.”

With high quality product photography, online retailers can be more competitive, grab consumers’ attention, and overcome the lack of sensory experience.

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