May 17, 2010

7 Examples of Top Notch Product Photos and Why We Love Them

Filed under: Ecommerce — Tags: — Meredith @ 7:31 am

We can talk all day about lightboxes and Photoshop when it comes to product photography and it’s important to understand the technical aspects of getting a great photo, but I feel like not enough attention is paid to discussing product photo staging and styling.

It goes without even saying that if you can’t put together proper lighting and photo retouching your product pictures are not going to sell your products, but there’s more to a picture that sells than setting up a lightbox and fixing colors in Photoshop. Really good product pictures tell a story and help customers imagine themselves owning your products.

I think the best way to understand what makes a really good product photo is looking at great product photos. Here are some examples of what I mean.

High Waist nylon lycra roller derby shorts by Miss Fancypants

Which sexy little pair of shorts do you want to own, these or the ones in the picture above? They’re the same pair of shorts. The pair above looks like more fun though. You can imagine how they’d fit. They’re being worn by a sexy edgy model gossiping on the phone. The picture is fun and it makes the product seem like more fun.

Manuka Honey Drizzle by Bella Lucce

How tantalizing is this bath elixir? You don’t even need to read the product description to imagine how sweet and natural this stuff must be. It’s going to make you smell like lemons and honey, how refreshing, right? Bath and body products are tough to sell online since customers can’t touch or smell the item so images like this do a great job of conveying the product experience by likening it to things the customer is familiar with.

Life’s a Picnic Chefs Apron by BellaBeeDesigns

So what if you’re always in sweats and your floor is covered in cheerios and legos. Buy this apron and you’ll be transformed into Martha Stewart. A perfect hostess who serves dinner on real plates instead of the paper kind. Your home will be tidy, well-lit and color coordinated. Well, at least that’s the narrative of this product photo. Customers see this product in action and can picture an idealized version of themselves using it. While this photo of the same product gives the customer a clear idea of what they product looks like, it doesn’t have the same fantasy attached to it as the image above.

Laptop Bag by Snap

This laptop bag photo is great for two reasons. One, you immediately understand how big the bag is in relation to a person because a person is holding the bag. Two, the photo is a lifestyle shot. The person who has this bag is clean, modern, together, organized, urban and chic. Look at their tiny bright monochrome apartment. Look at their stylish black outfit. Can you just see yourself going to work at a Manhattan design firm with your macbook in this laptop case?

Whirl Serving Dish by Kim Westad

Check out the platter above. Can’t you see it sitting at your next fancy cocktail party? Your friends will marvel at the unique design as they pour themselves a glass of wine. The picture helps you imagine this product in use in your home. While this photo of the same product clearly depicts how the item looks, it has no narrative. It’s hard to imagine what you might do with such a weird-looking plate. The photo above, however, makes it seem like a perfect fit for your next party.

Sans Culotte Top by Locher’s

In terms of cultivating a brand aesthetic, it’s tough to top Locher’s. Their beautiful website gives the feeling of entering an airy, romantic boudoir, and they complete the look with stunning photographs. Check out the picture above for their Sans Culotte shirt. You can just imagine being transformed from a plain Jane into a sex kitten the minute you put this product on.

Cinnamon Chocolate Malt Biscotti by Whimsy and Spice

This product photo gets you in the mood for a coffee break. The coffee cup is lined up next to the cookies and as an added bonus the customer gets a peak at the product’s package design since a package of cookies is waiting in the background. This is a terrific way to showcase a product in action and include a peak at the stylish package design the customer will enjoy with their purchase.

Great follow up read to this post about understanding what it is you sell.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

This content is copyrighted. See my content sharing policy here.


  1. Great inspiration! I took the advice of people who said get rid of everything in the background and just focus on the product. This approach is good for follow up shots where people want to see product details, but it doesn’t bring things to life the way these example do. I guess I have some new photos to shoot.

    Comment by Marie Young — May 17, 2010 @ 1:07 pm

  2. Marie I think photos without backgrounds can actually be very effective too. I primarily use that kind on my ecommerce website but I also do have some what I’d call “lifestyle” pictures featured on my site too. (Like the images from this article). A combination of the two photo types is nice.

    Comment by Meredith — May 17, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

  3. omg..loving the tips here!!! Thank you so much! Gave me a new way of thinking!

    Comment by jenn — May 21, 2010 @ 3:41 pm

  4. Thank you so much for this article, it’s been so helpful. Gives me a new point of view. I will definitely think and work on it!


    Comment by Selin — May 22, 2010 @ 12:11 am

  5. fabulous photography, they totally capture the essence of the product. It’s amazing how quickly you can learn to take good pictures if you are willing to explore and keep in mind what it is that you want viewers to capture. Photo’s should tell stories…

    Comment by joy elizabeth — May 22, 2010 @ 2:58 pm

  6. Great article! Indeed helpful in how to make product more appealing. Thanks!

    Comment by Sol — May 23, 2010 @ 2:56 am

  7. My product photos are what I most struggle with. Thank you for all of the great tips. Soooo helpful!

    Comment by Carol — May 23, 2010 @ 9:43 am

  8. great inspiration & ideas. thank you!

    Comment by Katie — May 23, 2010 @ 11:54 am

  9. Fantastic, armed with this new knowledge I hope to improve. Thankyou!

    Comment by Always Sunday — May 23, 2010 @ 7:28 pm

  10. Brilliant advice – thankyou!

    Comment by Octavi — May 24, 2010 @ 5:09 am

  11. Love these photos! especially the biscotti! so clever to have the name in blurred a bit in the background!

    Comment by Sea Babe — May 24, 2010 @ 12:25 pm

  12. This was a great article! I love the examples of the great photos as well as the photo of just the product. A great way to compare the two. This is a great way to teach us visual learners!

    Comment by Emily — May 29, 2010 @ 10:05 pm

  13. […] 7 Examples of Top Notch Product Photos and Why We Love Them […]

    Pingback by Smaller Box :: Blog :: So Long, 2010; Gazing Towards 2011 — December 27, 2010 @ 2:22 pm

  14. […] Are they clear, sharp, crisp, professional and attractive? […]

    Pingback by Smaller Box :: Blog :: Is Your Online Shop Actually Ready for Marketing? — January 24, 2011 @ 8:56 am

  15. Great advice and idea, thanks.

    Comment by Ingrid — February 1, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

  16. I love the photo’s and advice and I too am exploring with fun photography for my product. However I thought the one advertising the Sans Culotte Top was a bad example as I actually thought they were selling the underwear, it popped to much for my liking and the top was overshadowed by it.

    Comment by Jen — February 1, 2011 @ 10:22 pm

  17. Thank so much. Some of my photos do need help. I will use this advice for sure.

    Comment by 1treeyoga — February 2, 2011 @ 11:31 am

  18. […] company’s image. Don’t bother with indoor lighting and a cheap camera. You want your photos to look compelling. Like a great web design, great product photos impress all kinds of online visitors from customers […]

    Pingback by Smaller Box :: Blog :: 7 Little Tricks For Making Your Company Look Like a Big Deal — June 29, 2011 @ 8:39 am

  19. I am so new, that the “paint” is still wet ! So, I’m reding everything- and thisarticle was particularly good. Thanks
    Charlene Geller

    Comment by Charlene Geller — July 12, 2011 @ 11:30 am

  20. […] is rock solid before you invest in advertising. Have good products, have good branding, have good photos, have a good website, have an idea of who your target customers are. If you just pour money into […]

    Pingback by Smaller Box :: Blog :: 4 Immutable Truths About Advertising Your Business — July 21, 2011 @ 6:10 am

  21. […] Smaller Box – 7 Examples of Top Notch Product Photos and Why We Love Them […]

    Pingback by Creative Business 101 – Photography Resources | tortagialla - Blog of Artist Linda Tieu - Design and Illustration — September 1, 2011 @ 1:01 am

  22. lovely pictures great piece thank you

    Comment by muge — November 7, 2011 @ 12:47 am

  23. […] The fix: Hiring a professional photographer is going to be the safest way to ensure great product photos. They have the proper cameras, lighting and other equipment to get great shots and the experience to stage your products in an appealing way. […]

    Pingback by Smaller Box :: Blog :: Your Baby is Ugly! 3 Important Things Your Friends Aren’t Telling You About Your Biz — December 5, 2011 @ 9:12 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment