The Fundamentals Of E-Commerce Photography

Salcombe Design Company are experts in building e-commerce websites; we’ve fixed the bad and the ugly, we’ve improved the good and in today’s post I’m going to explain how we make the great. There’s a lot that goes into setting up an online shop and often the important things are overlooked when you build it yourself. So, like your fairy godmother, I’m going explain The 5 Fundamentals of E-Commerce Photography so that you can learn how to improve your brand’s digital presence.

First up is product photography. In essence this is when your products are shot against a white background from various angles to showcase their quality, colour and material composition. This is essential no matter what you’re selling online. Take a look at the large retailers and the fastest growing start-ups and you’ll see they all showcase high-quality product photography. Below are a few shots from premium accessory brand Tamara Harvey to emphasise what I mean.

Tamara Harvey x Salcombe Design Company E-Commerce Website  PhotographyjpgView Tamara Harvey's range of British-made leather accessories by clicking HERE.
The great thing about quality product photography is that it’s timeless; you don’t have to change it with the seasons and any photos can be used on social media, for creating line sheets and on print marketing materials. I strongly believe product photography is the best return of investment because no savvy online shopper would trust a website with dodgy, poorly lit photography – and certainly not for purchasing premium goods. Look at the two images below, which one looks more professional and would install confidence in the customer? Now consider the price tag. Based solely on the photography which handbag looks like it’s worth £200?

Salcombe Design Company Fashion Photography Content Shoots in Devon and the UKjpg
Click HERE to view the Tamara Harvey black leather tote bag

If you do no other type of e-commerce photography then you must do this! It’s the fastest way that savvy consumers decide which brands gets their cash. You could have fantastic products but if the photography is poor then your sales will be too.

With a network of professional photographers and links with studios, Salcombe Design Company can take the stress away from sourcing high-quality product photography. If you’d like to know more or to request a quote, get in touch today by clicking HERE.

Model photography.

For those with limited budgets or operating outside the fashion and general lifestyle sector, you don’t need to worry about model photography. Yet for the aspiring jewellery designers, make-up or fashion brands, model photography is the second most important if you wish to sell online. But why I hear you ask. Take a look at the photos below, again from our partnership with Tamara Harvey. When buying a handbag, especially at a premium price point, customers want to know its size in comparison to the body before they purchase. They also like styling inspiration and to see design features that may not come across in product photography such as the length of shoulder straps.

Tamara Harvey x Salcombe Design Company E-Commerce Website  Photography 2jpg
View Tamara Harvey's range of British-made leather accessories by clicking HERE.

The cost of model photography is higher because you need to hire a professional model, a stylist and often a make-up artist on top of a photographer and studio but don’t worry because we handle all that for you.

These sorts of images can be used across social media, on your e-commerce website, given to stockists, used in look books and work great for digital marketing campaigns. They are a great investment and can really improve the provenance and sales of your brand.

Still Life Photography.

Unlike model photography, still life is applicable to a wider range of sectors and products including restaurants, hotels, homewares and electrical goods. We’ve all seen still life and when it’s done property it’s a thing of art.

Salcombe Design Company Fashion Photography Content Shoots in Devon and the UK 2 2jpg

Photo credit. Left: David Jones Australia. Right: Maciek Miloch

The greatness of still life photography is its versatility. You can use images on individual product pages, as hero images on your home page, post them to social media and more! Shoots can be very time consuming as compositions have to be correct and additional props are often sourced. Photoshoots are creative collaborations and we consult our clients every step of the way to make sure they love the final images.

Street Style Fashion Photography

If you have an eye for styling, a good camera and a friend willing to model, street style photography is something that many start-up fashion brands can create for themselves. But be warned, finding a friend who is confident to pose in public can be hard! There’s a reason influencers get six figure brand deals after all! Just remember, your photography skills need to equal your eye for styling and your friend’s talent for modelling!

Salcombe Design Company Fashion Photography Content Shoots in Devon and the UK 3jpg
Photo credit: Toni Garn for InStyle Germany

All e-commerce photography needs to be tailored to your brand and the products you sell otherwise it’s a waste of money and time.

Street style photography is often merge with social photography - images for social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest. Like model photography, it allows customers to see a product’s potential styling options and size against the body.

Lifestyle Photography

As I’ve said before, the type of company you are and the products you sell will determine what photography you need.

Salcombe Design Company Fashion Photography Content Shoots in Devon and the UK 4jpg
Photo credit: Serena & Lily

These images look unplanned and easy but a lot of time and consideration will go into composition. Great lifestyle photography, especially for homewares brands, must be effortless and follow the brand’s aesthetics. These images work well alongside traditional product images on the brand’s website but can also be posted to social media and used in traditional print marketing materials such as look books and notecards. Really, when you have a great image the opportunity for uses is endless and as long as the products aren’t too seasonal then lifestyle images can be used all year round. Hurraahh!

Hero Images

I’ve left these till last but that doesn’t mean they’re any less important. Your company’s home page has to be striking and make a lasting impression on your customers. It also has to be clear, concise and colourful. Hero images are often called banner images and are the first image the customer will see when they land on your home page. The composition of the hero image will vary depending on your products and should change regularly to keep your customers interested and your website fresh. Sometimes clients request their hero image to have text overlaid to promote a new product launch or a seasonal sale.

Tamara Harvey x Salcombe Design Company E-Commerce Website  Photography 3jpg
View Tamara Harvey's range of British-made leather accessories by clicking HERE.

So, there you have it, a quick breakdown of the fundamentals of e-commerce photography. If you don’t have a fashionable friend to model or you don’t want to jump in front of the camera yourself, get in touch too see how Salcombe Design Company can help your brand with photography shoots in Devon and London.

If you’d like to read our post on the 8 Things Which Make E-Commerce Websites Great then click HERE.

I hope you found this post insightful. If you did please share on social media and follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@salcombedesigncompany). If you’re interested in a new, modern, mobile-friendly e-commerce website then get in touch using the contact form HERE. To read more of our blog posts click HERE.

Photos are sourced from Pinterest or from Tamara Harvey and have been credited where possible. They do not belong to us.