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Beginners guide to eCommerce product photography with AI (best practices)

Updated: Feb 8

In the fast-paced world of e-commerce, product photography plays a crucial role in attracting customers and driving sales. The quality of your product images directly impacts customer trust and influences purchasing decisions. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the best practices of eCommerce product photography, helping you create visuals that will leave a lasting impression on your target audience.


Laptop on a white table with a business presentation on the screen

AI image of an online business presentation made on caspa AI


Understanding the Importance of Product Photography in eCommerce

When it comes to online shopping, visuals are everything. Customers cannot physically touch, feel, or try on the products they see on the internet. Instead, they rely solely on product images to make informed buying decisions. A picture is worth a thousand words, and in e-commerce, it may even be worth a thousand sales.


Product photography plays a crucial role in the success of an online store. It is not just about taking a simple snapshot of a product; it is about capturing its essence and presenting it in the most appealing way possible. The right product image can evoke emotions, create desire, and ultimately convince a customer to make a purchase.


The Role of Visuals in Online Shopping

High-quality product images act as a virtual storefront, enticing customers to explore your offerings and stay on your website. In an overcrowded online marketplace, compelling visuals can effectively grab attention and set your products apart from the competition.


Imagine you are browsing through an online store, looking for a new pair of shoes. As you scroll through the page, you come across a product with a blurry, poorly lit image. Instantly, doubts start creeping in. Is this a reputable store? Can I trust the quality of their products? On the other hand, if you stumble upon a product with crisp, vibrant images that showcase every detail of the shoe, you are more likely to trust the store and consider making a purchase.


Moreover, visuals can convey important information that words alone cannot. They can show the size, colour, texture, and even the functionality of a product. This visual representation helps customers visualise themselves using the product, making it easier for them to imagine owning it.


How Quality Images Impact Customer Trust

Trust is a vital factor in online shopping. Customers need to trust that what they see is what they'll get. By providing clear, detailed, and accurate product images, you can establish authenticity and build trust with your potential buyers. High-quality images instil confidence in customers, leading to higher sales conversion rates.


When customers see a product image that accurately represents the item they will receive, it eliminates any doubts or uncertainties they may have. It reassures them that the product is of high quality and meets their expectations. On the other hand, if the product images are blurry, poorly lit, or do not provide enough information, customers may question the credibility of the store and hesitate to make a purchase.


Investing in professional product photography can significantly impact your online store's success. It shows that you value your products and your customers, and it sets a high standard for your brand. By consistently providing high-quality images, you can differentiate yourself from competitors and create a positive shopping experience for your customers.


2 women wearing glasses - eCommerce lifestyle photos

eCommerce lifestyle images of a women wearing glasses (product) created on caspa AI


Essential Equipment for eCommerce Product Photography

To create stunning product images, you'll need the right equipment. Investing in the following essentials will ensure professional-level results for your e-commerce store.


When it comes to product photography, having the right equipment can make all the difference. Not only will it help you capture the fine details of your products, but it will also allow you to showcase them in the best possible light. So, let's dive into the essential equipment you need to take your e-commerce product photography to the next level.


Choosing the Right Camera

A camera with high-resolution capabilities and adjustable settings will allow you to capture fine details and showcase your products in the best possible light. Consider investing in a DSLR or mirrorless camera for optimal image quality.


When it comes to choosing the right camera for your e-commerce product photography, there are a few factors to consider. Firstly, the resolution of the camera plays a crucial role in capturing the intricate details of your products. Higher resolution cameras will allow you to zoom in on your images without losing clarity, ensuring that your customers can see every little detail.


Additionally, having adjustable settings on your camera is useful for product photography. This will give you control over the exposure, aperture, and shutter speed, allowing you to experiment with different lighting conditions and create the perfect shot.


Importance of Lighting Equipment

Lighting is one of the most critical aspects of product photography. Investing in adequate lighting equipment, such as strobes or continuous lighting kits, will help you control shadows, highlight product details, and create a professional look.


When it comes to lighting your products, there are a few options to consider. Strobes, for example, are powerful flashes that provide a burst of light, perfect for freezing motion and capturing sharp, detailed images. On the other hand, continuous lighting kits offer a constant light source, allowing you to see exactly how the light falls on your products before taking the shot.


Regardless of the type of lighting equipment you choose, it's important to understand how to position the lights to achieve the desired effect. Experimenting with different angles and distances will help you create the perfect lighting setup for each product, ensuring that every detail is beautifully illuminated.


photo frame on a plain white background followed by photo frame in a living room for an eCommerce lifestyle product photo

Before & after image of a photo frame, lifestyle photo created on caspa AI


Selecting the Perfect Backdrop

The backdrop you choose can significantly impact how your product stands out. Simple, solid-coloured backdrops, such as white or grey, are popular choices as they minimise distractions and ensure the focus remains on the product itself.


When it comes to selecting the perfect backdrop for your product photography, simplicity is key. Solid-coloured backdrops, such as white or grey, are commonly used as they provide a clean and uncluttered background that allows your product to take centre stage. These neutral colours also work well with a variety of products, ensuring that your images have a timeless and professional look.


However, don't be afraid to experiment with different textures and materials for your backdrop. For certain products, a textured or patterned background can add visual interest and create a unique atmosphere. Just make sure that the backdrop doesn't overpower the product and remains complementary to its overall aesthetic.


Investing in the right equipment for your e-commerce product photography is essential for creating high-quality images that will attract customers and drive sales. By choosing the right camera, investing in lighting equipment, and selecting the perfect backdrop, you'll be well on your way to capturing stunning product images that will make your e-commerce store stand out from the competition.


Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for you eCommerce product photos

AI imagery has been exploding from last year and although it’s still early days, integrating AI into your eCommerce product photography process can undoubtedly help propel your business. By uploading your plain product photos into an AI product imagery software such as caspa AI, you can use text prompts to generate whatever you like in the images. Statistically, lifestyle images with human models perform significantly better since this allows customers to envision themselves using your product. It could be difficult, time consuming and expensive to hire models of different races, sizes and demographics to represent your business and this is what AI is becoming great for.


Benefits of eCommerce product photography with AI

The initial benefit of integrating AI in eCommerce product photography is the time & costs associated with the tradition product photography process. After surveying a hundred eCommerce and small business owners, we learnt that using AI to create product images was 20x cheaper and 30x faster than alternative solutions. A few more benefits include:


  • Creating different backdrops rapidly to see which leads to higher sales

  • A/B testing visuals on social media based on your user demographic to see which drives the most impressions

  • Integrating varied lifestyle images of your products to give a more professional aesthetic

  • Including AI photo-realistic models that represent a range of customer demographics (especially if you are or plan to become a global business)


teddy bear on a plain white background followed by teddy bear with an AI child sat next to it for an eCommerce lifestyle product photo

before and after photo of a teddy bear, the photo on the right is generated on caspa AI 


Setting Up Your Photography Studio If you don’t use AI

If you decide against integrating AI product photography and continue with the traditional route, creating the right environment for your product photography is crucial. Consider the following factors to set up a functional and efficient photography studio for your e-commerce business.


When it comes to setting up your photography studio, there are several important considerations to keep in mind. One of the first things you'll need to think about is the ideal space requirements. It's essential to dedicate a specific area in your office or home where you can set up your photography studio. This area should have enough space to manoeuvre around your products comfortably and accommodate your lighting and backdrop setup.


Once you have your space, the next step is to arrange your lighting setup. Proper lighting placement is key to capturing beautiful product images. Experiment with different lighting angles, shadows, and reflections to enhance the visual appeal of your products. By playing around with different lighting techniques, you can create stunning images that truly showcase the details and textures of your products.


It's also important to create consistent lighting conditions for a cohesive look across your entire product catalog. This means ensuring that the lighting setup you choose can be replicated for every product you photograph. Consistency is key when it comes to creating a professional and polished look for your e-commerce business.


Another crucial aspect of setting up your photography studio is positioning your product. Product placement plays a vital role in showcasing its features and functionality. Experiment with different angles and perspectives to find the most flattering angles for your products. By highlighting unique selling points or key features, you can capture the attention of your target audience and make your products stand out from the competition.


Remember, setting up a photography studio is an ongoing process. As you gain more experience and learn what works best for your products, you may find yourself making adjustments and refinements to your setup. The key is to be open to experimentation and continuously strive to improve your photography skills.


 white sofa from different angles in a living room

eCommerce lifestyle images of a white sofa (product) from different angles created on caspa AI


Mastering the Art of Product Photography

Creating visually appealing product images is an art form whether you implement AI solutions or otherwise. As you embark on your e-commerce product photography journey, keep these key considerations in mind to capture the essence of your products successfully.


Understanding Angles and Perspectives

Different angles and perspectives can significantly impact the way your products are perceived. Experiment with overhead shots, close-ups, and 360-degree views to provide comprehensive visual information to your customers. Showcase your products from multiple angles to provide a complete understanding of their appearance and dimensions. Use human models whenever you can to bring your lifestyle photos to life and allow your customers to see themselves using the product.


Achieving the Perfect Focus

Ensure your images are sharp and have the perfect focus to capture your customers' attention. Use the appropriate focal length, aperture settings, and autofocus techniques to emphasise key areas and keep the product in sharp focus.


The Role of Colour and Texture

Colours and textures play a crucial role in product photography. Pay attention to how different lighting conditions and backgrounds may affect the colour accuracy of your product images. Capture the texture of your products in detail, allowing your customers to imagine the tactile experience of owning and using the product. Consider A/B testing different images to see which ones have the most impressions and conversions - if you’re stuck for ideas, check out similar brands for inspiration. You can create a mood board on Pinterest (or similar sites) and use other examples to help you brainstorm more ideas.


By following these eCommerce product photography best practices, you can create visual images that will elevate your online store's presence and generate higher conversion rates. Remember, your product images are often the first point of contact with potential customers, so make sure to invest the time, effort, and resources necessary to make them stand out and don’t be afraid to test out new tools to help get you there.


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