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Marketplaces

Product Photography Guide for Marketplaces

We all know that a picture is worth 1000 words. Could it also be worth $1,000?

If you are talking about your store’s product images, $1,000 could be pretty easy.

No matter what marketplace you’re selling on, your product photos are critical to your conversion rates. No one wants to buy from your store if you have a Craigslist-worthy, half-shadowed product photo that looks like it was taken in a garage.

Don’t take that the wrong way, either. By all means, take your product photos in the garage. Your customers never have to know. You just have to get the set up right. We’ll show you how.

The Importance of Investing in High Quality Images

There are numerous benefits to investing in high quality product images. Not only do better images make customers feel more confident about what they are buying, but they can also imply that your products are of high quality.

Professional-looking product images can also increase conversion rates and decrease return rates. When you include multiple photos of the product, shot from different angles, the customer is less likely to question what the item looks like. For example, a photo from the back or the bottom if you were to photograph the sole of a shoe, or the inside, if you were photographing a tent.

There is nothing worse than receiving that item you have been waiting a week for, only to realise that it doesn’t look like the product in the photo.

Capturing a Great Product Photo

1. Choose your camera

You don’t need to go blow your budget on a new camera for amazing images. Most likely, the digital camera (or phone) you take holiday pictures with is good enough.

If you have an iPhone or higher-end Android phone, you actually have a fine camera to capture the images you need. It might not get the exact same result as working with a professional photography studio, but many online sellers who use a smartphone for their photographs end up with great results.

Iphone Photography
iPhone Photography. Source

2. Get a tripod

You will want to invest in a tripod of some sort. These are an inexpensive investment that will pay off big. Eliminating camera shake will give you much better photographs and consistency of composition.

3. Use a white backdrop

Your best results will come with a clean, plain white backdrop. Some great affordable options include a foam poster board, clean white bed sheet, light tent or photo backdrop.

Photography studio
Set yourself up a make shift photography studio

4. Lighting

If you are not a professional photographer, you are much better off using sunlight than artificial lighting. Not only is it free, but if you get your setup right, you’ll get great results with natural light that mere mortals like us could never get with a complicated lighting rig.

You’ll want to find a spot near a window. Set it up so that light is coming in from either left or right of your product and backdrop. If the light is too bright or direct, you can use a white sheet as a diffuser to soften the light on the product.

You may need a reflector to bounce light back onto the darker side of your product and eliminate unwanted shadows. Again, that can be as simple as a white poster board if you are in a pinch.

Window Light Photography
Window light photography. Source

5. Photograph multiple angles

You should take a lot of shots. Make sure you get multiple photos of front, back, sides, and angles in between.

Just keep taking photos of everything customers might want to see and from any unique perspective that you think would be interesting.

You don’t have to use every image you shoot (and you shouldn’t) you’ll be thankful for having lots of options to choose from when you start editing and selecting pictures. You’ll definitely have some bad shots, and having plenty of shots will let you be choosy and you can add the extras to a photo library that you can use for social media later on or in your email marketing campaigns.

Molten Store Products
Molten store showcase a variety of shots, including some with the products in use, Source

6. Photo editing software

No matter how great your photos are, you’ll need to edit them. There may be bits of background which marketplaces such as Amazon will not allow for, or shadows to remove. It’s also good to have the ability to polish up your work before putting it on display.

There are a lot of options for editing depending on whether you have the time to edit them yourself or not.

If you want to edit the photos yourself, Adobe Photoshop is your best known and most expensive option. Gimp and Darktable are free, open-source alternatives to Photoshop.

If you don’t want to do any work and focus on the more important tasks of your business, Pixc provides on-demand product image editing within 24 hours.

Image Guidelines for Marketplaces

Unfortunately most marketplaces have different product listing requirements which can make it time consuming for you. These usually focus on size and resolution, though some also have standards on content and composition.

Here’s a quick primer on what you’ll need for the biggest and most popular marketplaces.

Amazon

Amazon is intensely focused on standardisation of all listings and customer satisfaction.

Image requirements are no different and are the most stringent of any ecommerce platform. These are taken directly from Amazon’s product image requirements, which can be found here.

For the main product image

  • The image must be the cover art or a professional photograph of the product being sold. Drawings or illustrations of the product are not allowed.
  • The image must not contain gratuitous or confusing additional objects.
  • The image must be in focus, professionally lit and photographed or scanned, with realistic color, and smooth edges.
  • Books, Music, and Video/DVD images should be the front cover art, and fill 100% of the image frame. Jewel cases, promotional stickers, and cellophane are not allowed.
  • All other products should fill 85% or more of the image frame.
  • The full product must be in frame.
  • Backgrounds must be pure white (RGB 255,255,255).
  • The image must not contain additional text, graphics, or inset images.
  • Pornographic and offensive materials are not allowed.

For additional images

  • The image must be of, or pertain to, the product being sold.
  • The image must be in focus, professionally lit and photographed or scanned, with realistic color, and smooth edges.
  • Other products or objects are allowed to help demonstrate the use or scale of product.
  • The product and props should fill 85% or more of the image frame.
  • Cropped or close-up images are allowed.
  • Backgrounds and environments are allowed.
  • Text and demonstrative graphics are allowed.
  • Pornographic and offensive materials are not allowed.

Technical Requirements

  • File types- TIFF, JPEG, GIF, and PNG
  • Size- At least 1000 pixels on one side
  • Color Mode- sRGB or CMYK
  • File Names- Must consist of a product identifier (Amazon ASIN, 13-digit ISBN, EAN, JAN, or UPC) followed by a period and the file extension. No dashes, spaces, or additional characters.

eBay

eBay is one of the oldest online marketplaces, and has considerably looser restrictions than Amazon. You can have up to 12 images, with a minimum of one. Unlike Amazon, there is little restriction on the content or composition of images.

  • File types- TIFF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP
  • Size- Minimum of 500 pixels, recommends at least 1600 pixels
  • JPEG quality should be 90 on the 0-99 scale
  • File size- Less than 7MB
  • Linked images must be hosted on an SSL secured site (HTTPS)
  • No borders
  • No added text or artwork
  • Any watermarks for claiming ownership must cover less than 5% of the image and no higher than 50% opacity.

Google Shopping

Google shopping allows users to search for products on online shopping websites and compare prices between different vendors. There is more on the Neto blog about Google Shopping and how you can use it to sell more.

  • File types- TIFF, GIF, JPEG, BMP, and PNG
  • Size- At least 250x250 pixels for clothing, 100x100 for any other product type
  • Maximum resolution of 64 megapixels
  • Maximum file size- 16 MB
  • No text, watermarks, borders

Etsy

  • File type- Not specified. JPEG recommended
  • Size- At least 1000 pixels wide
  • All images consistent in size
  • Product centered in image, as images will be auto-cropped to create gallery and thumbnail views

Alibaba

  • File types- JPEG, JPG, GIF, and PNG
  • Maximum file size of 3MB
  • Recommended image size of 1000x1000
  • Unlimited number of images allowed

Rakuten

  • Images not required (but, seriously, who is buying without one?)
  • File types- JPEG, GIF
  • Size- 500x500 pixels minimum
  • Clean, white background
  • Maximum of 10 images per listing

There are so many marketplaces for you to sell on however no matter where you sell your product photos are one of the most important factors. Customers can’t pick things up to see and feel for themselves, and pictures are the best way we have to fight that drawback of online shopping.

Focusing on high-quality images is a solid investment in the future of your business, and it’s one you should make today. If you want to take your current product photos to the next level, check out Pixc’s free trial and get your first image for free.



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