why product photography is essential for e-commerce

Personal care products are pictured in a flat lay arrangement with leaves and tea.

When you’re playing the content optimization game, it’s necessary to pay attention to visual content as well as written. You often have mere seconds to catch and keep a visitor’s attention. (This is why it’s essential to include easy-to-skim bullet points in your product descriptions.) Coupling your content with an attractive photo helps to pique interest and keep a potential customer on a product page.

how to optimize product photos

The best type of photo to use can vary by industry and application. A lifestyle product photo will often show a product in use, paired with attractive people and backgrounds that create aspirational emotion. If you’re selling a technical, medical, or B2B item that relies heavily on specifics, photos that illustrate size and functionality may be more appropriate.

Regardless of photo content, two main elements are key in all e-commerce product photos:

product photography tip #1: take photos with clear, bright lighting

Professional photos are always a great choice, but you can still achieve good lighting during a DIY photoshoot. Natural light is always a great choice — try to take your photos in full sunlight and watch out for shadows! If you are facing the product and have your back to the sun, you may accidentally cast a person-shaped shadow over the whole thing. If you are not able to shoot in natural daylight, try to purchase or build a small lightbox that will help you create even, diffused lighting indoors.

product photography tip #2: show multiple product views

Your product page is standing in for a friendly retail sales associate. Providing the customer with various images to view can help to offset the fact that they can’t see or hold the product. If the product opens up, show the interior and exterior. If it’s a textile item, use a close-up shot to show texture. When possible, show the product in use or placed in its typical environment (such as a coffeemaker in a kitchen, or a women’s handbag worn on a model while shopping).

product photography for dropshipping

Many dropshipping businesses use product images provided to them by the manufacturer. Whenever possible, it’s preferable to use original product photos. There’s a good chance that other businesses are dropshipping the same products as you, and a manufacturer photo won’t help your site stand out in search results. You want your website to be the one that pops out in a sea of Google Shopping results with the same picture.

Some product manufacturers will include their logo or a watermark on their images. Even if you have permission to use the manufacturer’s image as-is, these marks can create confusion for the customer.

how product photos influence SEO

Because photos are visual content, they lose their value if a person (or computer system) cannot see them. Alt text and captions are two text-based ways to enhance product photo content for all visitors.

Alt Text – This is a small piece of metadata that you can assign to a photo during upload. Alt Text is a great chance to work in your primary keywords, as well. Aim to write one short sentence that describes what’s happening in the photo — not just a string of words stuck together. If you are unsure of where to place alt text, use it as the name of the image file.

Captions – Image captions should accompany a photo or appear when a cursor selects the picture. Use one to two full sentences to describe what is happening in the photo, even if it’s as simple as a product sitting on a shelf. What color is the product? What does the shelf look like? These details will provide value to anyone who cannot see the photo clearly due to internet issues or vision impairment. The caption can be read aloud by many assistive devices such as screen readers.

If you’re ready to improve your e-commerce SEO, why not kick things off with a content audit? Dig deep with a professional SEO content audit or get started right this second with some self-auditing steps that can reduce your bounce rate.