Lights, Camera, Amazon! Nowadays, it’s easy to be seduced into thinking that with your snazzy smartphone, you have everything you need to create professional-looking images to showcase your brand on Amazon. However, one inadequate tool in the wrong hands can lead to seriously wonky-looking shots that will harm your product and brand more than help.
It may sound obvious, but professional photographers don’t just have the skill; they also have all the kit. Phone cameras may have come a long way, but they will never match the superior skill and keen eye of the photographer, the pin-sharp focus of a professional camera, or the lights, flash heads and backgrounds that come with a studio set-up.
Here are the top 5 reasons why it’s a good idea to leave photography and creative composition in the hands of professionals when it comes to photographing your products for Amazon.
1. High Quality
Nothing can beat the resolution quality or shallow depth of field that professional photography can produce, and this is integral on an e-commerce platform like Amazon or Walmart. To start, high-quality images allow the zoom feature to be enabled on the listing page – imagine customers wanting to focus on an aspect of your product, and instead of seeing sharp detail, they’re faced with a screen full of blurry pixels. That’s a big no-no. High-resolution images are also an incredibly versatile asset for all of your marketing needs. Yes, designers can zoom in to show off a particular detail or feature, but printers can also blow the images up to the size of a billboard. Crucially, images with the resolution of a postage stamp won’t sell your product and will likely cheapen your brand. Accurate photography reduces the dreaded Amazon returns and gives customers confidence in what they are purchasing.
2. Attention to Detail and Composition
No, we’re not still talking about the detail in your image; a professional photographer will also project manage the finer details of your shoot, planning and executing all the logistics to ensure you get the most out of your session. A seasoned pro photographer thinks on their feet when it comes to problem-solving. If they are anything like our excellent photographer at eCommerce Nurse, they will know precisely how to get around any issues that may arise.
Your photography's composition (layout/styling) is an art form. A skilled photographer will know exactly what will work on camera, and they can keep things in mind like ‘copy space’ for the graphic design. For example, flat lay photography is a popular marketing style where creative composition (knowing what to put where) is key – the expertise and know-how a professional photographer brings to this scenario shouldn’t be underestimated.
You’ve heard the old adage ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’; this applies not only to your GCSE maths exam but to photoshoots for Amazon too. Pre-production consists of good direction and a strong photography brief. Shoots aren’t just magicked out of thin air on the day; a good photographer will expect a detailed shot list in advance. Thorough pre-production ensures you get the most out of your shoot day without leaving anything to chance.
Of course, there’s always wiggle room for a little inspiration to capture some off-the-cuff gems that seemingly appear out of nowhere, primed for their moment in the spotlight, but, generally speaking, the best shoots have everything laid out. At eCommerce Nurse, for example, we ensure that the first main product image is at the correct angle to show off the product and give depth and dimension. To make sure your product stands out on the detail page but also on search and category pages. We also always like to include lifestyle shots that provide context to your product. A hand operating a coffee machine on a kitchen surface, for example, will not only show the product in use in the intended environment but also gives immediate context to the size of the machine, bringing the dimensions to life without having to grab a tape measure and their imagination. Seeing someone running on a treadmill in a room, for example, with perhaps a sofa or a sideboard in the background composition, not only breathes life into the product, it subliminally suggests these treadmills are made for home workouts whilst helping to see their size compared to everyday items. Lifestyle images help customers imagine your product in their homes and add life to what could otherwise be a dull detail page.
The shot didn’t work? Need to fix something in post-production? There are two sides to this coin. There’s the unrealistic belief that anything can be fixed in post (insert the back of an elephant meme with a client saying, ‘Can you turn it around in post?’). On the flip side, professional photographers are often Photoshop editing wizards! In the past, we’ve hit issues with not having all the colourways of a particular product range delivered by a client, and our photographer has been able to shoot the product and realistically colour match to the other colours our client needed. That kind of problem-solving can save time and money on reshoots. The post-edit stage is also necessary to cut out product images to ensure they go on a pure white background to be Amazon compliant. Some apps may do the cut out for you, but they often reduce the dimensions and leave a soft edge that isn’t perfectly accurate, especially on intricate outlines.
Need a fancy location, but your budget won't budge? Perhaps your furry subject is camera-shy and wants to chase their tail instead of giving their best 'Blue Steel'? Post-production with a pro also provides an excellent opportunity to realistically superimpose your product into place or use. Confused? Take this blanket, for example; we needed to show a large dog sitting on the blanket to demonstrate scale, but we didn't have access to a large dog... Our photographer used a room setting to shoot the blanket; then, with a little Photoshop magic, he sourced an image of a Bernese Mountain Dog sitting happily, superimposed on our client's blanket. Ta-dah! The finished result, without breaking the bank or having to sweep up after Fido.
Every platform will have its own rules and requirements regarding imagery. However, a good rule of thumb is that quality, consistent photography across your product range is essential for brand cohesion; consistency builds trust and maintains credibility across all platforms, but it’s especially vital for Amazon. What’s wrong with the DIY user-generated content (UGC) approach to images? Absolutely nothing! It has its place… on social media. However, a mixture of professional and UGC-style photography used on Amazon can benefit your brand.
A crucial difference is that a quality professional photographer will also have the lighting knowledge to know exactly how to illuminate your product; they can also troubleshoot if your product has a reflective/shiny finish, for example, or is particularly dark and needs bringing out with lighting. Sticking with your professional photographer also means they keep notes on projects to ensure the same lighting style is consistent across the whole range or will have the experience and expertise to copy lighting from other photographers. Relying on natural light to showcase your products or lifestyle photography is an awesome style but tricky to replicate throughout a range. Shoot days are booked come rain or shine, and relying on the weather to be consistent can be problematic. Good studio lighting can replicate natural light but without the weather-dependent caveat.
Get in Touch
If your current brand images are more reminiscent of a 20-year-old Polaroid than a pin-sharp packshot, get in touch. Our eCommerce Nurse professional photographer is on hand to show off your best angles. Get ready for your close-up!