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5 Things to Consider When Photographing Products for Online Stores

How To

19 July 2017

If you’re making a repeat purchase or buying something definite like a book or CD, the online representation of the product only needs to be good enough for you to be sure you’re ordering the correct item. But if your requirement is something more personal or subjective - a top that will go perfectly with these jeans - an outfit that strikes the right note for your interview - or, one that many parents may recognise, a t-shirt with a label that isn’t scratchy - what you can learn about the item online suddenly becomes key to your buying decision. So for some retailers - fashion and apparel in particular - the product photograph is crucial.

1. When should you take the photograph?

Imagine you want some new jeans. You have a picture in your head of exactly what you’re looking for, so you do an online search for ‘skinny black jeans’. When browsing the results, how likely is it that you would click on a product showing ‘image coming soon’? Unless the store offering this is one of your favourites or the price is tempting, chances are you’ll scroll past this one without a second glance.

So when should you take the photograph? Before you post the product for sale.

There are circumstances where selling a product with no photograph may not be such an issue, for example, a product that is stocked in multiple colours could be offered for sale without a photograph of every colour, particularly if you use the same colours for other products. But if you can show a photo this is always better.

2. How can you make sure everything gets photographed?

Sometimes, particularly in fast-moving industries such as fast fashion, the photo will be taken as soon as a sample of the product is received into the warehouse (before the full shipment of stock). For others, photos are taken of a product the first time that SKU is received into the warehouse. A good process for this is essential to avoid ‘no image available’ products on the retailer’s website.

Some Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) will allow you to indicate on the product information if that product needs to be taken to the studio for photographing or not.

3. What makes a good photograph?

Clear, high-quality images that show the potential buyer what they need to see such as overall shape and colour.

Consider separate shots of special features such as buttons or detailing on the rear of the garment. Close-ups of the fabric can convey texture, thus giving a good idea of how the garment may feel - another deciding factor for many when weighing up the pros of one garment over another. 

The more information the photographs provide the better - if buyers know exactly what they are getting they will buy more confidently and be less likely to return products because they were ‘not as expected’.

4. What are product photography good practices?

There are many factors to consider here, including:

  • Preparation of product
  • Size and resolution of image
  • Camera
  • Lighting and background

A wealth of material advising on this exists online, such as this product photography guide   and Apparel Product Photography blog from Shopify.

5. How will you keep track of items being photographed?

When a product is delivered to your warehouse for the first time, you will need to take one of the product items away to your studio for photography. This means that if you received a quantity of 10, you only have 9 available for immediate sale. Depending on the processes involved in your studio, the item being photographed may be perfectly saleable once the studio session has finished. If it is, a method of getting that item back into the pick face and showing up in the available stock figures is needed. WMS users can handle this by making the studio a location of a type that can not be sold from, such as quarantine location.

Why not try our fashion & apparel Fulfilment scorecard to see how your warehouse management and fulfilment strategy stacks up against your competitors? Or  if you’d like to discuss with one of our Fulfilment Consultants the ways in which the Peoplevox WMS could help you with your fashion or other ecommerce business, please get in touch.