Ways to improve your shopify product photographs

Small business owners juggle many roles, and “product photographer” is one of them. While smartphones today give excellent picture quality, composition and lighting are still the photographer’s decision. Here’s the first, in a series of quick reads on some simple, but often ignored, aspects of smartphone photography that can help your product photos stand out.

The smartphone camera has made everyone a photographer, the result of which we see on our social media pages everyday. While selfies and casual photos of friends and family give us joy and appreciation, the story is different when we use it for commercial purposes. Research says over 70% of small business owners use their smartphones for clicking product photos, owing to convenience and cost. Given the critical role of product photos in garnering shopper attention and conversion, we set about examining the reality of the situation. 

The very motivation that resulted in is our desire to harness the power of mobile phone photography for the common man, and we simply did that - we spoke to small business owners to understand their realities. This knowledge series is about sharing our findings, and telling you how this inspired us to create - one of the most versatile smartphone tools for e-commerce sellers using \

This was one of the most recurrent themes that was expressed by our respondents. What does this mean? 

“A unique, high quality product photo shoot should be your primary focus. It’s no wonder that the most successful online retailers use high-quality, professional product photos” - says Amazon in their Seller Guide. The mobile phone camera has its limitations when it comes to composing a photograph. A wide angle lens often causes distortion of the product, the closer you move the frame. Perspective Distortion is in fact the most common defect found in product photographs found online. Here is an example:

The most critical photo in the portfolio is the one that gives the most true to life depiction of the product, while occupying 70-75% of the frame. And the closer you move to the product the more distorted it becomes, and farther you move away, more details are lost. 

We analysed thousands of product photo listings and found that there are about 3-4 “angles” that work well for most categories. Our AI engine got to work and suggested the top in each category we studied. And we promptly reverse tested it and found that the subjects responded better on all aspects tested - click rates, engagement (time spent scrolling), add to cart and buy. 

There are many blogs and tutorials on youtube on how to be mindful of this while shooting. Or one could simply hire a professional photographer. One involves you as a small business owner investing time, and the other money. 

Armed with this knowledge, and backed by research, our “frame-it” guide (tentative name, let’s brainstorm) was created. This intuitive feature guides you to take photos with minimum distortion and suggests the most evocative angles for the selected category. 

In the upcoming blog let’s talk about how critical lighting up the product is while clicking it.