As of 2019, 65% of Americans prefer to shop online. In our last article, we explained at a high level that half of US online shoppers make buying decisions based on high-quality product images. In this article we explain what that means and the biggest reason why many businesses miss the mark. _______
The number 1 reason a product photo looks bad; or even more detrimental, unreliable is simple. It is due to incorrect lighting. _______ The pictures we compared at the top look so different because they were lit differently. Let's break down the difference and explain why professional product photographers invest thousands of dollars into lighting and countless hours just getting it right.
Step 1: Shape
Product Photography lighting is meant to give your product shape. It should make your product look 3D in a 2D space.
The secret is what photographers call "gradients". If you notice on this bottle of hot sauce you see light fading from light to dark from the outside in. This is defining the shape of your product.
This is important for a major reason. The reason why 45% of customers still prefer to shop in the store is that they can hold the product, and examine it. Your product photos are the closet option you can offer online buyers.
This technique cannot be accomplished without professional photography lighting equipment.
Step 2: Texture
Most products are made of various materials and textures. Professional photographers have to understand the different types of lights to make them look the same as they do in customer's hands.
This bottle is an excellent example. The glass is shiny, the label and cap have matte, foil, and glossy surfaces. Each has to be planned for and lit differently. To throw out more photography lingo, it's the difference between hard light and soft and know when and how to use them.
Step 3: Reflections
Reflections are a key part of product photography, but what is common are photographers that don't know how to block unwanted reflections. Or even worse, someone who isn't a photographer using a cell phone under natural or room lighting. In those scenarios you don't have a good way to control the outcome of your photo.
Professional product photographers will use methods of reflecting light to add style to your product. Like we did on the picture on the right. Notice the soft reflection on the left edge of the bottle. Additionally, we reflected light through the right side of the bottle to show that this a white wine in a dark bottle.
Once again, this comes down to building the customer's trust. Trust in your business, trust in your product. When a customer is browsing online sales sites they don't read every word. They don't even see product descriptions until they have a reason to click the link or the photo to open it.
According to an article from Treefrog:
“A professional, modern looking website can immediately build trust and guide visitors to take action. When it comes to web copy, people rarely read a piece of content word for word. On the other hand, images stick with readers longer and are more likely to give you a greater return on your content investment.”
Is your photography giving your customers the right message?
Thank you for reading! We hope you enjoyed this blog. Check back for more installments.