A Product Photo Editing Guide for eCommerce Conversions
Last year turned out to be a successful year for eCommerce sellers worldwide. While the year saw a surprise drop in revenue from online sales, the number of online shoppers rose as usual. The year witnessed an increase of approximately 315 million new eCommerce shoppers compared to 2021, bringing the total to around 4.1 billion. And that trend is only set to continue, meaning your eCommerce business can give you great rewards if you can tap into that potential.
While the competition makes gaining market share a pain, you have a lifeline in the form of product photos. Properly edited photos can significantly impact purchase decisions and help convert customers.
This can be a rewarding year for your business if you get your product photography strategy right. This blog will help you understand all you need to know about product photo editing, the most prominent trends expected to rise, and the role of eCommerce image editing services in this matter.
The Importance Of Product Photos For eCommerce
It is said that necessity is the mother of invention, and there is undoubtedly a need to have photos of the products you want to sell online. Here are some of the reasons product photography for eCommerce exists and is essential:
Lack of Product Tangibility Online
One of the most important reasons is that while eCommerce overcomes many of the drawbacks of brick-and-mortar shopping, like queues and stock insufficiency, it fails to provide an opportunity for a customer to get a feel of the product before its purchase. Hence, the customer needs a substitute for that experience since the tangibility factor plays a vital role in its sale in physical stores.
Product photos are the substitute. They may not be able to give the prospective buyer the experience of touching the product, but they certainly enable the viewer to get a good look at the product. Based on how well the shots have been taken and presented, the customer can see even minute details like the texture of the product’s surface.
With the inclusion of short product demo videos nowadays, customers can also listen to how the product sounds, like musical instruments and sound systems. Hence, the buyer can get an idea of the product’s physical characteristics despite the inability to hold and feel a product physically.
They Help Visualise The Product Without Misunderstandings
Every product online is accompanied by a detailed textual description. You can include many details about the product, ranging from its dimensions and technical specifications to the brand’s intent.
Yet, it cannot replicate a product image’s effect on the prospective buyer, no matter how eloquent the product is described. When the buyer is forced to use their imagination to get an idea about what the product may look like, there is room for misunderstanding.
It could lead to them getting the wrong idea about the product’s look and feel. And when they receive the actual product, it may not match their idea. This mismatch in expectations will lead them to return the product and give your brand negative reviews, hurting your prospective sales. Product images help you avoid this scenario.
Images Are an Appealing Key Factor
Humans are visually driven creatures, so no matter how well your product’s description is, your customers will only notice the product if it has photos. Statistics back this up, with 83% of a 2018 survey’s respondents stating that product images are vital to their purchase. Product images are thus proven to enhance the appeal of products significantly if they are improved using product photo retouching services. You can include all sorts of effects to make them seem irresistible, increasing conversions.
Product Photos Are Important For SEO and PPC
Online buyers aren’t the most patient; they want to reach their intended product page and buy it. Thus, when they search for it on Google or their preferred eCommerce site like Amazon, they will likely select their product from the top results shown.
Therefore, these sites have tailored their algorithms to place those product pages on top that have everything a user may need to purchase. Product photos are one of those crucial components. Thus, if you want to gain good brand visibility and get your product to rank high on search results pages, you should get your product photos game on point.
Besides organic marketing like SEO, you also need product images for paid marketing. Much of paid digital marketing happens by employing the pay-per-click model. These ads show up in many places, including search results, and they provide a single window for customers to reach their favourite products’ pages.
While there are text ads, the image-laden ones fit the format best and entice leads to click on them. This is because they present the product as is to that person instead of letting them visualise an image of it through the description.
They Aid Brand Building and Enhance Credibility
Since online shoppers rely on product photos to make their purchases, they look favourably upon brands that provide the best photos in their descriptions. If they find this a consistent occurrence, their brand trust will improve along with their brand loyalty.
That sets a positive feedback loop where they make more purchases from their favoured brand, thrusting the brand up search rankings and bringing in more customers. This situation enhances your brand’s credibility and skyrockets conversions.
Further helping increase brand credibility is the ability for customers to include images of the product they’ve received in the feedback section. These images and videos, in conjunction with positive reviews, give confidence in new customers about your brand, compelling them to go ahead with their purchase.
Photo Editing Options and Trends For 2023
The steady march of technological improvements has yielded a variety of options for eCommerce sellers to showcase their products online creatively. Using these to your advantage can set you apart from the competition and instantly connect you with your target audience.
Here are some product photography editing techniques and trends that can enhance your product lineup’s appeal this year.
Increased Colour Intensity and Variety
Colours that pop out of photographs tend to grab the viewer’s attention. This fact will be used extensively in 2023 to enhance product photos. Besides going for a variety of colours both in the products and background, their intensity will also be increased to create better contrast.
One of the best examples is RGB lighting. It has become the mainstay of multiple home gaming products and Smart Lighting. You can use short Gifs to showcase the full RGB spectrum capabilities of such products in all their vividness and intensity.
A lighter-coloured product set against a dark background is also a popular choice in this age of dark mode gaining popularity. It will work well against shopping websites, mobile apps’ dark web pages, and app backgrounds. The contrast also helps highlight the product vividly and clearly, especially on displays that use HDR and OLED-based technologies, which are increasing in number.
More 360-degree Photography
360-degree product photography has been a boon for online shoppers since its integration into shopping portals. Where earlier they had to scroll through multiple images to get a complete view of a product, they can now get it all in just one.
Since all possible viewing angles are present in such images, no customer will be left wanting better views in the available still image lineup. The interactivity of a 360 deg image also helps improve engagement. With more time the viewer spends on a product, they are more likely to convert.
This type of photography also saves product photographers from including multiple still images separately, leading to the chances of them missing out on placing the appropriately angled image in the list of images.
More HDR Blending
High Dynamic Range technology has been a game changer in photography. It helps display the minutest details of all objects in the photo, and the contrast range makes the entire image look stunning. HDR blending takes multiple shots of the same subject under various exposure levels and blends them using sophisticated tools to get that high contrast effect.
This technique will find greater use for product photography in 2023 as more gadgets are starting to have HDR-capable screens. Even mobile devices generate the most online traffic and are becoming HDR-ready, including in the mid-tier range. So you can take full advantage of this fact and make your products stand out.
Increased Mobile-first Approach
The world’s internet traffic is increasingly being routed through mobile devices as their ubiquity and popularity grow. Until the second quarter of 2022, mobile devices accounted for 58.99% of web traffic worldwide.
eCommerce transactions, too, were done via these devices, mainly through dedicated apps of respective marketplaces. This trend will only continue as more of the world’s population moves online using mobile devices.
Thus, you should edit your product photos to fit the screen size and format of mobile devices. Mobile photography helps as it’s easier to take pictures and capture videos in the appropriate screen orientation and resolution for mobiles.
The advanced camera technology in modern smartphones makes it easier to disregard DSLRs. The phones will also include rudimentary to moderately-advanced photo/video editing capabilities, thus making editing a breeze too. DSLRs don’t offer these features and could be better at recording videos.
You should also compress the files to accommodate mobiles’ need for quick load times. Since the devices could have the insufficient processing power, using high-resolution images with large file sizes could affect load times and app function.
This, in turn, makes for a poor UX. The key is finding the right balance between maintaining the high detail levels in product photos and keeping their file sizes to the limit where they won’t affect the load times and photo quality.
Increased Use Of Moving Content
The use of video to augment product photos has increased annually. Their additional abilities, like audio and format variety, are the reasons behind this rise. This trend will continue into 2023, with explainers, product reviews, influencer/lifestyle, and other videos making up more of the eCommerce marketing scene.
Besides video, short GIFs and animations are also in vogue, especially regarding PPC advertising. They are now an integral part of the product image lineup across eCommerce platforms, providing an attractive alternative to still images. They will gain importance as consumers demand more from marketers to get their attention.
The permeation of this content type has become possible in recent times due to the expansion of the internet at low prices. Smartphones have also become more powerful, providing the capability to run such content without trouble, even at the low end. Thus, marketers can access a wider berth of the target audience than before with increased engagement, leading to better conversion rates. 2023 is set to push this further.
The normalisation of Augmented and Virtual Reality Integration
Promoting products in virtual environments like games is nothing new. But the coming year is said to take this to a new level. Tech companies are vying to make virtual environments like the Metaverse a must-have for everyone. And there’s plenty of space in such VR environments for advertising using a host of product image formats.
With processing power concentrated on the server side, you have practically unlimited scope to present your products creatively. Professional product image editing services can render real-time content in VR with any combination of editing techniques. Getting on this bandwagon early gives you a market edge as you can learn and adapt to this new landscape before the competition.
In parallel with VR, there is the ongoing development and integration of Augmented Reality for eCommerce purposes. The new year is said to further consolidate this trend due to, once again, the growth of technology and demand for new purchase experiences. The most visible example of AR use in eCommerce is integrating the virtual try-on feature for products.
Customers today are using apps to see how a product will look on them or in their house by digitally applying it on the respective surface. This technique needs quality product images to succeed, particularly its 3D version, whenever available. This trend will continue into the new year, so you should edit your product images to cater to this facility. 360-degree 3D modelling of products is necessary here.
Greater Push Toward Minimalism
Keeping things minimalistic may seem to contradict the very purpose of product photo editing, but it isn’t necessarily so. Since the Windows logo went flat and carried that theme to everything, minimalistic design has captured the public’s eye. Editing many artefacts into product images and videos may seem like a good idea to stand out from the crowd, but it may have the opposite effect.
Too many things crammed into one image can distract the viewer from the product itself. Using bright and contrasting colours may help pop the image and remove the sheen from the product. It helps to keep the rest of the things in a product image or video to a minimum if you want the product to have maximum visibility.
Hence, you should push your product image editing further along the path of minimalism. This may require more photo editing to be applied at times. Product images taken in the real world with many objects in the background exemplify such a situation. 2023 will demand more of such simplicity for your product photos and videos.
Some Old Techniques Will Remain The Gold Standard
2023 can be considered an evolutionary step for product photo editing rather than a revolutionary one. This is because of the continuation of photo editing techniques that have been the norm for years.
eCommerce has significantly benefited from the Ghost Mannequin technique that removes the physical mannequin from images and retains the product. This will remain a vital part of product photography, so you should use it liberally. Clipping Path is another technique you can’t do without since removing unwanted objects and backgrounds from images is essential.
The enhancements with portrait photo editing will remain, with models requiring face retouching and body reshaping to enhance the appeal of the products they are presenting. Other evergreen techniques include, among others, Light Rebalancing, Color Correction, Angle Adjustment and Realignment, and Blemish Removal.
Tips To Get The Best Product Photo Editing Results
An appealing and informative product photo needs a lot of planning and effort across the pipeline to bring to reality. Adopting a few practices can get you such images by minimising resource wastage and making the process more efficient overall.
Prepare Your Store For It
The key to a successful sale is your selection of products and brand theme. Selling products that are in demand at the moment or will fill a gap in the market makes for a smart business move. Enhanced product photos then become an accessory rather than your only lifeline.
You should also have a budget for the editing process, a marketing strategy that tells you what kind of editing your photos will need, when, and how much. Your brand identity must be present in your photos for exclusivity, including logos and theme colours. Have complete awareness of all variants of every product so that you can easily add them at the last hour.
Learn about upcoming and recent trends in the field presented above and anything else you can gather from the competition and the market. Incorporate them into your photo editing blueprint to stay with the trends.
Choose Your Outsourcing Partner
It would help if you had an in-house editing team to perform your product editing tasks as a seller. While this may give you greater control over the process, it will also stretch your resources, bringing down profit margins. Any shortcoming or mishap will result in severe losses. The better choice is to outsource the editing process to a professional product photo retouching services provider.
You get multiple benefits like cost savings, quick turnaround times, and the necessary expertise to pull off stunning images and videos. They can even guide your planning process and help you select the best technique for your needs. You can select your ideal outsourcing agency by running a background check about them, looking at their past performance, and checking their current services and price points.
Be Aware Of Every eCommerce Portal’s Product Photo Guidelines.
You should know about all applicable guidelines for every eCommerce portal you use to run your business. It is necessary as violating them will incur fines or bans, affecting your revenue and brand reputation. Following them also helps render your images on their apps and websites quickly, helping with UX and SEO. The guidelines are available on dedicated pages of respective platform links:
Keep The Lineup Refreshed
Product specifications, design, and other aspects will change with time. Your product photo lineup should also change accordingly. Otherwise, the customer could buy a product different from what they saw in its images, which is bad news for you.
Keep an eye out for corresponding product photos whenever product refreshments occur. Get such images from the manufacturer or elsewhere. Also, be aware of new editing techniques you could apply to those images. Do a periodic assessment of your product photo lineup to maintain awareness of this factor.
2023 presents more opportunities that eCommerce businesses can utilise to grow globally. It would be best if you prepared for those in advance. Get your product photos edited to reflect the present and upcoming trends while fulfilling their core purpose, and your revenue potential is bound to be realised. Hiring an eCommerce image editing service provider will be just the move you need to make to overcome all related challenges easily and stand out in the market.
Author Bio: Kathy Butters is a content strategist at PhotozWorld, a leading photo editing company providing dependable and affordable services.