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.


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May 1, 2010

Link Love: The Most Valuable Small Biz Articles Posted This Week


Every day I check out the 100s of subscriptions in my RSS feed about marketing, PR, advertising, branding, social media, and a host of other topics of interest to small businesses that sell online. Most of what gets posted isn’t earth shattering but I reserve Fridays for the best reads of the week. So here you have it, the most valuable things I read in the business blogosphere this week:


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April 21, 2010

The Best Thing I Did For My Business Part 7: Stimulating the Senses

Filed under: Case Studies — Tags: , , , , — Meredith @ 8:05 am

In past articles I’ve written about strategies you can use to sell scented or edible items. Such products present a unique challenge for online commerce because your customer can’t taste or smell your product before they purchase. Etsy seller dasweetzpot sells handcrafted jams and jellies and found an increase in sales with two different strategies:

1. Mouth watering promos
“I created postcards using my jams being served on delicious foods. The photographs are not only amazing, but mouthwatering. The postcard has a coupon code for customers to go online, make a purchase and receive a free gift.”

2. Facebook Connection
“I have a presence in FaceBook. There I place recipes on how to use the jams in various dishes. The photographs alone are driving new customers to my online market site. ”

Do It Yourself
Use product photos that appeal to customer senses. Build community amongst customers and get them to share how they use your products or suggest ways your products can be used. Blogs and social media are a great way to help customers become part of your brand community.

Tried This Tactic?
Had success selling scented or edible products? What worked for you?

<< Read Part 1: Self-Promotion
<< Read Part 2: Twitter
<< Read Part 3: Giving Customers VIP Deals
<< Read Part 4: Expanding Your Line
<< Read Part 5: Success by Association
<< Read Part 6: Well-Timed Campaigns
Read Part 8: Harnessing the Press >>


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April 2, 2010

Link Love: The Most Valuable Small Biz Articles Posted This Week


Every day I check out the 100s of subscriptions in my RSS feed about marketing, PR, advertising, branding, social media, and a host of other topics of interest to small businesses that sell online. Most of what gets posted isn’t earth shattering but I reserve Fridays for the best reads of the week. So here you have it, the most valuable things I read in the business blogosphere this week:


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

March 19, 2010

Link Love: The Most Valuable Small Biz Articles Posted This Week


Every day I check out the 100s of subscriptions in my RSS feed about marketing, PR, advertising, branding, social media, and a host of other topics of interest to small businesses that sell online. Most of what gets posted isn’t earth shattering but I reserve Fridays for the best reads of the week. So here you have it, the most valuable things I read in the business blogosphere this week:

Also, I selected a winner for my FREE 3 for 30 Giveaway. Congrats to Helen and thanks for spreading the word about Smaller Box.


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February 22, 2010

The Case for Adding Human Models to Your Product Photos and Web Design

Filed under: Branding,Ecommerce — Tags: , , , — Meredith @ 5:04 am

Image by Art Comments

Here and there you’ll see debate crop up about whether customers want to see human models on websites or in product photos. The naysayers will usually have a germaphobic argument about not wanting to buy something another human touched/wore/looked at/etc. There are definitely those people out there but it’s probably not most people. After all, most of us buy clothing in stores that’s been tried on by other customers, so we’re used to the idea that someone else may have had an item on before we purchase it.

If you sell something like earrings or underwear, it makes sense that customers might be wary of buying that type of item if it’s been worn. In those cases, you can still use a model, just be sure to indicate to customers that the item they’ll receive is not the exact item in the picture. (Chances are you won’t even have to make a note of that unless you sell on a site like Etsy. We all know when we shop on the Victoria’s Secret website that the underwear on the model is not the exact same item that we’ll get in the mail. Otherwise VS might have a very different kind of customer base.)

So why do I advocate for using human models? Two main reasons:

    1. Scale and Fit
    If I see a pair of dangling earrings sitting on a white background it may be hard to imagine how they’ll look on a person. Even if you tell me how many inches long they are, it helps to see the earrings in an ear so I instantly understand if they’ll dangle down to my shoulder or my jawline.

    If I see a tote bag on a chair it might be hard to imagine if they bag is going to just hold a loaf of bread and a bag of oranges or if I can fit my entire haul from the farmer’s market in there. I can get a better sense if I see the bag slung over a human shoulder.

    Clothing should be a no-brainer. Unless a model is wearing it, I can’t tell if the dress comes to just above the knee or all the way down to mid-calf. I can’t tell if the empire waist is fitted or loose. A mannequin might solve some of those problems but a mannequin probably can’t address point number 2, below, speaking of which…

    2. Lifestyle/Relatablity
    Human models help customers identify with your brand. A customer wants to feel like the product they’re buying is made for someone just like them. Stores like Talbots and Forever 21 might both sell plain white tank tops this summer, and if you saw them photographed on a mannequin they might be almost indistinguishable. We know those stores have radically different audiences, and part of the way they signal to consumers who they’re trying to woo is models.

    If your target audience is a preppy looking, all-American, clean cut bunch use models that look like that. Pick models that are your customers’ age and share your customers’ style. If your brand is edgy and punky you might want models with blue hair and nose rings.

    A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article on the importance of using visual cues to help increase your brand’s affinity with your target market. Your choice of models can be extremely helpful in this regard.

    Also make sure that the models you choose have the same body type as your target audience. If you sell plus-sized items use plus-sized models. If you sell fitness items, use athletic models. If you sell maternity, make sure your models look pregnant. Even if you sell something like skin care items, incorporating a happy looking model in a bathtub into your web design can help sell the idea that your product is enjoyable.

So, all this talk of models might seem intimidating. How do you find them and get good shots of them? Here are a few places to look.

    1. Friends and Family
    Use friends and family ONLY IF they’d be an appropriate choice as models for your brand. If they would be, this can be a pretty inexpensive route to go.

    2. Craigs List
    You can find just about anything on Craigs List, including inexpensive models. You might not get professionals but you don’t necessarily need that. An aspiring model might be willing to work for a fairly low rate to help build her portfolio. If you aren’t confident in your photography skills, you might also find photo majors at your nearby university willing to do the work at a lower rate than a professional photographer. Keep in mind that you’ll get what you pay for so if you need things to be perfect, consider working with pros. If you’re willing to take a chance on people that are new to modeling or photography you can probably save some dough this way.

    3. Stock Photography Websites
    Sites like istockphoto.com have a large assortment of photos that you can use for product images or website design. If you need a picture of a baby in a generic looking bodysuit or a girl in a bathtub, this option may be your best bet. You probably will have to sift through a lot of images to find images you want to use, but if your needs are fairly generic this is definitely the cheapest and easiest way to get pictures of models.


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February 12, 2010

Link Love: The Most Valuable Small Biz Articles Posted This Week


Every day I check out the 100s of subscriptions in my RSS feed about marketing, PR, advertising, branding, social media, and a host of other topics of interest to small businesses that sell online. Most of what gets posted isn’t earth shattering but I reserve Fridays for the best reads of the week. So here you have it, the most valuable things I read in the business blogosphere this week:

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