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Invest In Your Retail Product Photography

Posted by Michelle Halsey on August 8, 2017

What instills your confidence in a product when you're shopping online? According to MDG Advertising's award-winning infographic, based on data mined from marketing and news sources such as National Retail Federation and The New York Times, it's high-quality imagery. 

Hubspot broke down the infographic with these findings:

"67% of consumers say that the quality of a product image is 'very important' in selecting and purchasing a product (compared to 54% who feel the same way about long product descriptions and 53% who give ratings and reviews the same credence)."

So...what defines quality product photography?

Screenshot 2017-08-07 22.04.29.png

We can't "kick tires" when we're shopping online. However, with a series of high-quality, properly-illuminated and professionally-styled images we can view a product from various angles, zoom in with close-up detail shots and see images of the product in use.

Product photography should answer these customer questions: Is it quality? How does it work? Will it suit my particular needs? Did I learn something positive about this product I hadn't expected? 

In-house our outsourced commercial photography?

You generally have two options: Manage your imaging operations in-house, or bring a professional photography studio on board.

The former requires a significant investment in equipment, lighting, backgrounds, software, experience, and training. It's an option often adopted by small companies who think they're saving money when in the end, they're usually left with headaches and sub-par images. 

Do you know what kind of equipment you need, or how to properly light your product? How about all the tricks of the trade to make sure fabrics drape properly, color correction is optimized for the screen, and image resolution and size are appropriate for your website?

Screenshot 2017-08-07 22.02.22.pngLarge photo equipment retailers market a number of studio equipment packages especially for this niche, so it's not unreasonable to consider the in-house option if you have the time, energy and capital. But given the importance of quality photography to online consumers, you're probably better off bringing in a pro. 

Hiring a professional photographer isn't as simple as making a quick Google search, or even asking for referrals. You'll want to ask to see portfolios demonstrating repeated success with products similar to your own. You'll need to know how to navigate contracts and image licensing.

  1. Will the photographer handle post-production to your specifications?  

  2. Have you defined those specifications in a style guide?

  3. Does the photographer not only know how to take great pictures but represent your product accurately and consistently? 

  4. Can your studio handle your brand’s volume and production timelines? 

Screenshot 2017-08-07 22.03.27.pngArt direction, creative styling, and organization

Another important aspect of product photography is having a plan to maintain continuity and to adhere to your company's message. This is where art direction comes in. A good art director will work with your marketing team, your website developers and your product photographers to ensure the images remain true to your brand. Good art directors understand what images provide shoppers with the best user experience, and what visual messages will maximize conversion rates. 

Often, art and creative direction are interchangeable, though the former handles the more technical aspects of a project's overall image, while the creative director is more "big picture." 

How will you organize your digital files? Digital asset management can be a time-consuming chore. You'll need a system for cross-referencing files with documentation, releases, usage history and content, and a means of managing and safely archiving file types. 

The third option

Whether you're launching your first product line or re-evaluating the image of your established brand, you may be evaluating your current and future needs for dynamic imagery. As a smaller business, you know the can-do, DIY approach wears thin when you're already wearing many hats, and larger companies know that in today's economy, the bottom line favors outsourcing. 

What if your creative department, imaging and archiving professionals, e-commerce platform, and website developers were all part of one well-oiled machine? What if all of these services were available from one strategic partner? 

Technology is ever-changing in today's ecommerce industries. Companies focused on developing their own products don't have time to keep a finger on the pulse of imaging trends, optimizing conversion rates and online marketing best practices. Outsourcing the tasks crucial to online branding and customer confidence allows companies to focus on great products and efficient supply chains.

All-inclusive online marketing firms allow companies to outsource the tasks crucial to online branding and customer confidence while retaining integrity and continuity of vision within the brand. Just as you live and breathe your products and your niche, these companies thrive on the cutting edge of emerging photography and videography best practices. They know who to hire for specific shoots, which presentation style will best capture your audience's attention, and how to visually broadcast your message across the digital landscape 

Which option best suits your vision? 

Full Service Ecommerce Solutions - One Click Away

Onestop Internet is an end-to-end ecommerce solution provider.  Onestop partners enjoy studio services set up to deliver excellent representations of their product in an efficient and consistent process that is designed to minimize the time to market. 

Topics: photography, video, Retail, Ecommerce

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