eCommerce Photography: A Picture Is Worth a 1000 Words

With the rise of eCommerce, the importance of visual media has increased. Some best practices for successful eCommerce photography.

The Rise of the Visual

Digital channels such as eCommerce platforms and webshops have been the key market share winners in many product categories over the last decade. While voice commerce may be the next big thing in terms of ordering a product, visual media like photos and videos are still the key element that sell your product to consumers.

Our brain loves visual information. Yet when judged by the quality of pictures used to promote products, digital shopping reality on open marketplaces like Amazon or Ebay often doesn’t reflect this.

Research shows that people form their first impression within a mere 50 milliseconds. That’s less than half a glance! And making that impression count rests on the quality of your images.

Increasing Importance of eCommerce Photography

If you are selling your products via your own webshop or via marketplaces, you will be familiar with the varying requirements of the different channels when it comes to good eCommerce photography.

If not, let me tell you that this is not a topic to be taken lightly. You will be confronted with requirements on how many images you are allowed and expected to show, from what angle(s) they need to be shot, whether on a mannequin or as a ‘hollow man’, with a model or without, with a video or without, and the list goes on.

And not only will the requirements vary between channels, platforms will also be more than happy to change their eCommerce photography guidelines over time. If you have worked with online channels, particularly fashion marketplaces like Zalando, you know that it can be painful and costly to meet and keep up with their requirements.

Zalando in particular has recognised the importance of great product photography and therefore typically imposes the highest standards.

ecommerce visual guidelines

(Source: Zalando)

eCommerce Photography Best Practice: Image Quality

To exemplify the effects of eCommerce photography well done, have a look at these two images of similar pillows. Which one you would rather buy, all else being equal?

eCommerce photography comparision

(Source: Amazon)

If you chose pillow B, you are among the majority of people. And if you ask yourself why you found image B more appealing, we are already right in the middle of the discussion about good eCommerce photography. Better angles and better post production (e.g. shading) make pillow B look that little bit comfier and more relaxing.

Imagine what this might mean for your conversion rate. Raising it from 0.25% to 0.5% might make all the difference between a profitable Amazon seller account or a waste of your precious time and money.

One thing is certain: high quality eCommerce photography is a key element to get right if you want to successfully convert online browsers to buyers. Let alone be admitted into the most professional online sales channels like Zalando.

eCommerce Photography Best Practice: Storytelling

The next level of eCommerce photography excellence comes when you are selling products with difficult-to-explain benefits.

Let’s return to the example of the pillows. Both of them claim to have great temperature regulating functionality, but only one of them integrates this into the way they create pictures. Based on the understanding that pictures speak more than words, and that most consumers use mobile devices to browse, they place great effort on getting all purchase-relevant aspects across in pictures.

To tell consumers about all important aspects of its pillow, this brand creates visuals that typically follow the logic of a sales pitch and each picture focuses on a different highly purchase-relevant aspect of the product.

visual storytelling

(Source:,, on

The first two images focus on getting the thermo-regulating aspects of the pillow across, as well as the specific sizes and its high score on a test comparing similar pillows. The remaining pictures then go on to show various details of the inner pillow and its ingredients, how to properly sleep on the pillow, a mood shot and some more pics and a video to round off the story.

ecommerce photography storytelling


Who Should Create Your eCommerce Photos?

Unless you live under a rock and still take pictures at home with your own camera or mobile phone, you will be aware of professional services in your area.

If you outsource this to a professional studio in Western Europe, you will know that eCommerce photography can be quite costly and a major factor in determining the profitability of your business. Especially if you are a small to medium sized business or selling items with a lower retail price.

In recent years, however, professional photo studios have established themselves in Eastern Europe. Today, they offer top quality photography, including all services like models, locations and so on at extremely competitive prices, beating even the eCommerce photography services offered by some of the marketplaces like Amazon or Zalando.

eCommerce photography shoes


Hoping that you have found some inspiring visual images and ideas in today’s article and look forward to seeing you around again soon for more brand inspiration – enjoy!

About the Author:

Christoph is a consultant in strategy development and process optimisation for fashion brands and retailers. He has more than 15 years of experience as a consultant, line manager in the sports wear industry and in e-commerce marketplace distribution. Read more of his work here and get in touch with him on LinkedIn to talk about your eCommerce photography!

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