Photography: A Great Photo Sells A Thousand Products


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A Great Photo Sells A Thousand Products

The most important thing in an online store is the photos.

There, I’ve said it. I’ve played my Ace in the first hand.

I talk to a lot of people about setting up online stores. More often than not, they’ve already made their mind up about what shop system they want to use (Shopify or WooCommerce or BigCommerce or BigCartel). While this is an important part of the process, rarely has the same amount of consideration been given to their photography. It usually ends up being “one of the things to sort out as we go”.

It’s understandable – these days with DSLR cameras being readily available (not to mention our phones), it doesn’t seem to hard to get a ‘quick snap’ of your products and upload them. Why would you need to stress about photography? It’s as easy as point and shoot!

Everybody judges the jook by it’s cover

I was always told “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” Repeatedly. But, since I’m human, this is nearly impossible. I understand the adage, however, when it comes to marketing and selling, it’s all about the covers – and books know this best.

Online stores are prime examples of this. Customers are coming to your store to check out what you’ve got for sale – they’re ‘window shopping’. The job of your website is to sell them on the product. The better the photos, the quicker the product will sell. It’s that simple.

In putting together ‘Bare Bones’, I started with the photos. I knew that I could use them to promote my brand before I had even finished the online store. I also knew that I could design the site AROUND the photos, to make the most of them.


So, I concentrated on getting two different types of photo sets together for Bare Bones.

  1. Brand Photography and
  2. Product Photography

Today, I want to quickly explain the difference and importance of the two.


Brand Photography

My friend Darryn Altclass says:

Brand Photography in a nutshell tells the story of the brand visually. It connects the viewer with the brand aspiration-ally and shows the reason why people want and need it.

This type of photography is usually staged or shot on location. For Bare Bones I used an old workshop and made use of props – even delved into some hand modeling. The setting doesn’t need to be elaborate or expensive, but the quality of the photos really matter.



I chose to work with Kieran Moore, a brilliant photographer, who I knew would understand my brand. I got a collection of photos together that I liked, from similar product shoots & brands, and we talked about what we could do with my wallets. I called in a favour from a friend and we used his workshop to take the photos. I was really happy with the result and I’ve been able to use them: across facebook / instagram as promotion, in articles, on my online store and in blog posts.

Before I’d even set up my online store, because the photos were so impressive, I was able to sell my products directly through instagram & facebook. People saw them and didn’t want to wait for the online store to be built.

Everybody judges ‘a book by it’s cover’ online. Make sure you have the best version of your brand / product presented online for this inevitability.

I highly recommend budgeting for a professional photographer.


Product Photography

This is simply, photos of your products.

It might seem obvious, but having clear, well light, detailed photos of your products is vital to selling online. Customers want to see what they are buying. More often than not, they are buying online cause they can’t access it in a store. The better the photos, the easier it will be for a customer to feel confident that they know what they are buying.


One of my clients that does this the best is ‘The Horse’. Their products are beautifully constructed and it’s always been a priority of theirs to make sure that the photos show that. Each product is professionally photographed in a controlled setting to make sure the light is even, the backgrounds are consistent and the colours are true.

This not only gives the user a great indication of what the product will physically look like, but it helps when comparing and deciding between two products.

Product Photography is a different process to brand photography. It requires a fixed lighting and backdrop setup in a controlled environment. In many cases, it might mean using a different photographer – one that specialises in product photography and has invested in all the gear.

It can be hard for some businesses to justify professional product photos. If your website is set up to sell many different products that turnover quickly, then it might just be too hard and expensive to organise.

In that case, checkout this article about how to achieve beautiful product photos yourself.

Having the best photos of your product and brand will capture the attention of your key demographic.

People respond to great photos instantly. That’s the premise of instagram – people love great photos!

If you can convey, in a beautiful and visually stunning way, the value of your product to your customer, then the shop platform, the price (within reason) and competing products won’t matter.

In summary: get good photos.

Are you running an online store? What’s your biggest challenge – I’d love to hear about it. Email them through!

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