Know The Essentials: How to Use Your Product Images To Increase Your Conversions

As you already know, in most Amazon searches you are given a HUNDRED of product images showing options for more or less the same product. So breaking it down to the the front page alone, with so many options, what is the deciding factor between which of those top listings get a purchase?

Not easy to answer?

There will be many varying answers, but the concept that decides whether or not a customer buys a product is this…

“The product that is purchased is the one whose listing does the best job at building trust and instilling the confidence that it can fulfill the the needs of the customer.”

In this post, we will go over exactly how that is done with your product photography. Showing you:

Product Image Conversion Techniques

  • It’s about THEM, not You
    • Convey the Benefit
    • Add Credibility/Reduce Risk/Build Trust

Breakdowns of These Techniques in Practice

      • The Good and The Bad

Deciding To be, or not to be… the Photographer

    • DIY or Hire it out?
      • The 80/20 to DIY Product Photography
    • Hiring it out
      • What to look for in a product photographer
      • Our recommendations
      • Where to go for photo editing?

By the end of this post, you will not only know the essentials to converting product photography, but how to do it or where to get it done to get your product images to turn your visitors into customers.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column p_top=”10″][vc_column_text]

If an Image is Worth 1000 Words, What’s Your Product Image Saying?

Remember Amazon has some restrictions/requirements that you as a seller need to follow with your product photographer. So while there are many techniques that can help you improve your product sales, Amazon has some specific rules that you need make sure your strategies fit within.

You can find those guidelines here: Amazon Image Guidelines

Here’s a glimpse of some of the specifications:

Photo Requirement

List Single Items

Book Loader Feeds

Accepted File Types JPEG (.jpg), GIF (.gif), and PNG (.png) JPEG (.jpg), GIF (.gif), and PNG (.png)
Maximum File Size 10MB 10MB
Image Resolution 72 pixels per inch 72 pixels per inch
Minimum Dimensions* 200 x 200 pixels One side must be at least 200 pixels but the other may be less
Maximum Dimensions* 2000 x 2000 pixels 10,000 x 10,000 pixels
Maximum Dimension Ratio* 5 to 1 (2:1 or 1:1 preferred) 5 to 1 (2:1 or 1:1 preferred)

All photos submitted will be scaled to 500 x 500 pixels irrespective of the size and dimension ration of the photo provided. Photos that do not have a 1:1 dimension ratio will be padded with white space on the shorter sides.

So as we go through the following content just be sure to keep these in mind.

Now that you know that, before you go out to buy an expensive camera with fancy features, put on a scarf, dawn those black rim glasses with some skinny jeans, and call yourself Creative Director…

There are essentials to understanding how to effectively do product photography that conveys a message convincing a customer to buy. Firstly, always remember…

It’s About Them, Not You

The importance of this statement cannot be stressed enough. You will find hundreds of posts on what the best practices are for product photography, but of all those guides this needs to remain at the top of your priorities

As cool as your company or product may be, what decides whether or not the purchase is made is dependent upon your ability to convince the customer how the product benefits them.

Kissmetrics (a website that prides themselves on conversion strategies) states this well:

“Many people buy for emotional reasons. If you make them feel just right, they’ll take action. The same rule applies when choosing images”

At this point, you may be thinking.

“Obviously… Tell me something I don’t know…”

I can feel the eye roll through the computer.

 

I get it. It’s sounds so obvious.

And while conceptually, many people understand this as an unequivocal fact, why is it that too often we see glaringly huge failures of the execution of this in practice?

Why is that endless amounts of businesses fall into the trap of telling people why their product is cool and simply stopping there?

Well to understand that let’s first go through the strategy most used to to connect with the customer.

Convey Benefit Through Context

This is the strategy that we always see and are most used to everyday in commercials and infomercials.

Why are Bounty paper towels better than the average brand? Because in every commercial we see for Bounty their product is cleaning up some everyday mess showing it’s superiority over the bargain brand.

Peep Laja (the conversion expert over at ConversionXL.com) explains this as giving context to the product.

“Context matters. Don’t just show the product, show it in context. Let me imagine using it.”

So with Bounty the context we are given in the commercial is everyday mothers cleaning up messes from their messy kids.

To take this point home, let’s take take a look at product image examples from other popular brands applying the same technique.

Apple is one of the kings of product marketing. Let’s take a quick look at their product.

 

Apple-Example

At first you notice, simply the sleekness of their product. However, in addition to that they subtly showcase what you could potentially be doing with their computer.

The screen displays their video editing software with video of their ski trip queued up. With this context, you are given the image of you yourself editing videos of your one life to share with the world.

Apple knows that their brand has become very much a symbol of status for people to show the world. So within the context of their brand, this product image very much so fits within fulfilling the desires of their customers.

Another company that is amazing at showcasing benefit through context is GoPro.

 

gopro-example

They very much tout themselves as a camera you can take anywhere, and capture almost anything with. This image conveys that utility and durability immediately.

They further it on their own end that with images and videos of of professional athletes doing amazing things and capturing it all with a GoPro. More context and benefits to the user.

So as you’ve seen, you have giant, successful companies applying this principle, but how is it different than any other company that makes those claims? Why do other companies fail where these companies succeeded?

Well it’s the next step that makes that difference.

Build Credibility/Trust

Every company knows selling the idea of why you need their product, but the reason the companies we just went through succeeded with those techniques is because they have built trust with the consumer.

Every consumer purchasing these products are confident that these benefits each of those companies are promising will be met.

And you don’t need professional athletes or marketing experts to accomplish this. How do you accomplish that through your own product images?

Here are a few tips.

Use High Quality, Authentic Images. Avoid Stock Images.

The image below is attempting to showcase the context of what their product does and even adds the cool factor of an Aston Marton to the image.

 

Example-Bad-Image

Why does it fail? It showcases the benefit within context of its use, right?

While they do convey the benefit, authenticity in the image is glaringly lacking. It simply shows me it’s function, but in no way has proven to me with a cool Aston Martin wallpaper that it can execute well on the function that it is promising.

 

Example-bad-2

In addition to that, does this photoshop job do anything to convey quality to you? Does it give you any indication that it will make you feel that you are going to be fulfilled with this purchase?

See where I’m going?

Let’s take a look at another product and how it’s done well. What better images to use than Amazon’s own product as a good example?

Who else would know how to sell products on their platform better than themselves. Below you will find AmazonBasic’s silicone mats for baking.

 

amazon-mat

Clean image. Showcasing its function in context of it’s use. Simple and clean, without overly apparent photoshop/digital editing.

 

amazon-mat-2

But these images aren’t fancy sexy! Where is the cool factor? Why isn’t Ramsey Gordon using it to hit some poor up-and-coming chef?! Why isn’t it showing me it’s ability to bake a 9 tier wedding cake? Wouldn’t that be more awesome?

Or even better…  Why not an Aston Martin Cake!

 

AstonMartinCakeMeme

Why not? Because it DOESN’T NEED to be. It’s AUTHENTIC. It’s not trying to be something over the top and it is because of this you are given a perceived sense of transparency and trust their product a bit more.

Call Out Image Graphics

One specific technique that builds trust to truly speak to the fears or desires of the customer through showing how your product addresses current their needs or solves their problems.

One way to do this is an image what product photography rockstar Jeff Delacruz (from POWphotography.com) refers to as a Call Out Image.

Call Out Image: a diagram using graphics to point out features of your product.

 

callout-example

Notice in the image above, it has lines indicating various physical features accomplish various functions. The highlighting of the anti-slip design, solid state, etc.

But they just don’t stop there. They take it a step further, and tell you why that exists.

“Antislip Design for better grip”

“Zoomable Design for different applications”

Prior to this, did you think that these were factors you would consider in your purchase of a flashlight?

This more technical description to convey to the consumer not only how these features specifically solve their problems/pains, but puts the seller in a position of authority of solving problems the customer might not have even considered.

Further enforcing the trust and confidence the customer needs to make that purchase.

Tip:

Don’t know what the pains are?

Look into the reviews of your competitors, what do their customers like? What do they hate? Incorporate how your product addresses those in your image.

So now you’ve seen these various techniques. Let’s take a closer look.

Next, we will take comparing similar products implementing these techniques and see how which makes you confident in your purchase.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column p_top=”10″][vc_column_text]

The Good, The Bad, and The Lazy

In the previous examples, you were given good and bad examples of techniques used on different products. Every product is unique and has their own unique customer base. Comparing techniques between different products from different markets can be similar to comparing apples and oranges.

What we will do now is compare how these concepts are applied to the same product, and considering this is a post about photography, why not take an a closer look comparing photography products.

Below you will find two different lens attachments for an iPhone:

Comparison-1

In this first image, despite selling about the same product each seller took a different approach. To find what is right for you, think about what your customer would best connect with, and test it.

All you need to make sure of in addition to that is you want to follow Amazon’s guidelines. No graphics, just a plain clean image of of your product on a white background.

Example A shows a clean product image give one item to focus on. Example B gives an image of a what you receive as a package. Each photo will connect with a different type of person, and the only way to find out which type of person is more likely to purchase is though testing.

Moving on…

Comparison-2

Both listings show what is included if you purchase.

Take note of the labeling of everything Example B offers. Complete transparency as to what you are getting. Showing you not only what you will get with the set, but takes it a step further.

The image is used as opportunity explain to the customer exactly what they are getting with their package. Building trust and authenticity, thereby reducing the perceived risk.

Though Example A, does the same thing, the difference in execution is apparent. Neatly arranged, but for a buyer does that inform me anymore about the product?

Next let’s take a look at how each approach the close up shot quality shots of their products.

Comparison-3-A-1

Example A approaches this strategy with high quality pretty photos, very clean, sleek and cool. Conveying an idea of quality and style.  Not a bad approach. Let’s take a look at what Example B did.

Comparison-3-B

Alternatively, Example B approaches the images with a Call Out Image with this up close shot their product, but focusing less on style and capitalizing on the chance to explain the benefits of their product.

Which photo does better to reinforce the concept of building trust and reducing risk by providing more knowledge? Which connects better with you? Which makes you more comfortable with the purchase?

Hard to tell? That’s because each took different styles to build trust. One tried with with high quality, sexy product photography while the other has done so by showing you exactly what you are getting and how they are solving your pains.

Let’s keep going, and take a look at how they convey benefit through context.

Comparison-4-ExA

Example A provides stock photos, that were obviously not taken by the camera. As sexy as it is, it is focusing on the idea of looking good versus actually serving the customer. And if you go back to the other photos, all it’s done to try to sell you on is the idea of looking good without ever actually proving it can perform on the function it’s promised. Which is a lens for your phone to give you better shots you are looking for.

Like the bad example with the Aston Marton, they focus too much on cool imagery to convey the function instead of authentic imagery.

To top it off Example A (though not shown in our example) touts itself as telephoto lens for your camera. Which means is used for close ups and features an entirely contradictory function of using wide-angle, fish eye stock image of Belize. Noticing a trend in the way Example A attempts to convey benefit? Most of our examples show these images relying heavily on superficial aspects to convince the customer to buy. Showing minimal investment in understanding the needs of their customer. As a consumer do you get any indication that gives you confidence that you’ll get what you pay for?

Let’s see how Example B does:

Comparison-4-ExBExample B’s images lets you know EXACTLY what you are getting with their product. No cool snowboarder. No island paradise. Images of it’s promised function in action. Not only before and after, but a comparison of them versus their competitors.

Would you feel confident with this purchase?

After comparing both, it is apparent that they both conceptually understand the the principle of conveying the benefit in context. However, when it comes down to it, it becomes glaringly apparent which one is more trustworthy.

In the beginning of this article, I spoke about understanding your customer. How the products people choose to buy out of the hundreds of options are the ones that convince the customer that they can fulfill their needs and hold true to that promise.

You’ve been shown seen how that should and shouldn’t be done. Now you know the principles to follow to create images that convince your customer to buy.

What now? Feeling a bit overwhelmed when it comes to photography?

Do not fret. In the next section we’ll go over just how to get these photos, whether or not you choose to hire it out or do it yourself.

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To Be, or Not to Be… The Photographer

The choice between doing it yourself or hiring it out is a decision that is solely dependent upon where you are at with your business and what is best for you at this moment in time.

In this section, we will go over:

  • How to evaluate Pros and Cons of DIY vs. Outsourcing

  • Tips on how to do both:

    • Do-it-Yourself Product Images

    • Hiring it out

Now here’s most likely what your pros and cons chart looks like.

 

ProCon

As the old saying goes…

“Time is money”

How much money that time is worth is entirely up to you as a business owner. Evaluate which one you feel will give you a greater return on investment and decide.

Regardless of the one you choose, in the next section we’ll go over the essentials to accomplishing both.

DIY: Do it Yourself

How well these are done depends on your own skill level and you will have to evaluate whether this investment is worthwhile for you and your business. There are multitudes of articles out there that will give you a hundreds of different techniques.

As a result, it can understandably be easy to get lost in an overload of information, but what I’ll do ehre give you the 80/20 on best practices on product photography. 80% of the results from 20% of the work.

The least amount of steps you can take that will have the greatest effect on your product photography, regardless of whether or not you have a DSLR or iPhone.

Don’t Make Biggest Mistake With Lighting

Lighting is a huge part of photography. There are posts longer than this that can simply talk about lighting alone.

What you need to know is one of the most popular mistakes that beginning photographers make when shooting product photography is a mistake with lighting.

What is it? It’s using flash.

For most cases natural light is the easiest way to get good lighting conditions, without breaking the bank.

Set up your product and equipment near a large window to allow for ample light in your frame without it being in direct sunlight and you’ll be good to go.

White Background

This is a must. As it applies to Amazon.com’s image requirements. Luckily you can get this various solutions without breaking the bank.

There are tons of resources to create this. An example of just one of the DIY products would be the seamless background paper from Savage.

Close Up Detailed Shots

This is what gives your customers the chance to see the details of your product and get a good idea of your product.

As for techniques on how to take it on an iPhone versus DSLR, here are some great tutorials for that.

iPhone:

Shopify has an awesome approach to using both smartphones and DSLR:

Digital Editing

As important as taking the photo is. The step of editing of the photo is just as essential.

Here’s a list free applications you can use:

You can find tons of resources on editing a photo after you are you’ve taken your photos. Just search a tutorial for whichever software solution you decide on.

Outsource It

Alternatively, outsourcing is a great way of getting quality images that meets your needs and save time by allowing you to focus more time on your business.

Sourcing Product Photography:

When looking for a photographer to do your product photography. It’s important to pay attention to their specialty.

Now what exactly is it you want to pay attention to when looking for a product photographer?

  • Personality

    • Look at their website. Does it convey the quality you are looking for?
  • Their Portfolio

    • Do they offer the aesthetic that you are looking for with your product? What type of products do they specialize in?
  • Fees and Delivery Timeline?

    • What services do the fees cover?
    • What is there timeline from receiving of the product to deliver of images?
  • Post Processing Requirements

    • Simple brightness/contrast and color balancing should be a given, but more complex editing such as masking out of backgrounds or specific image retouching.

Luckily for you, just for this content launch we’ve lined up a limited time deal with an awesome photographer, exclusively for our AMZ Tracker users.

Jeff Delacruz from Photos on White Photography is a talented photographer who shoots both fashion and product photography and is a regular contributor to Shopify’s blog on all things product photography. He gives awesome customer service, and is genuinely a great guy that wants the best for his customers. Additionally, he is certified in shooting product photography for Amazon.

He provides a free trial to all new customers, where the first image is free.

Just for our AMZ Tracker customers for this blog launch he’s agreed to give a limited time 20% off discount.

Here’s all you need to do.

  1. Go ahead over to his website powphotography.com.
  2. And enter this code: AMZTrackerPOW20%off

This offer expires in 3 weeks from today on July 6th, so take advantage of this exclusive deal while it’s hot.

Photo Edit Outsource:

Alternatively, consider taking the product photos yourself, but outsourcing the editing instead. Here are some great resources for removing the background on your photos.

If you decide you want to go a bit further and do images like Call Out Images, Jeff Delacruz from POWphotography.com highly recommends using freelance websites such as Upwork.com. There you can find an affordable freelancer that can do your graphic design for you.

That’s A Wrap!

There you have it.

In this guide you’ve been given breakdowns and examples of key principles and practices to teach you how to convert your page visitors into customers with your product image.

Remember, all these techniques are rooted in you as a seller understanding your audience’s needs and wants AND showing them you can follow through in fulfilling those needs.

As there will never be a photo that convinces 100% of your customers to buy there isn’t and will never be a 100% technique that works for every product.

It is up to you as a business owner, to dig deeper test understand your demographic and learn what connects best with them. These are just the essentials to give you that head start.

Now go out there and kick butt!

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