This article was originally published by Samuel Anoke Ebanja on the Wazota Blog. Wazota is an online marketplace that allows sellers to open shops and upload pictures of their products. When buyers see products they wish to buy they can click on these product pictures and talk to sellers directly through Whatsapp or SMS.
Good photography is crucial if you are selling products online, and it is not hard to see why.
In a shop the buyer can walk in and handle what they want to buy. They can feel it, weigh it, look at it from different angles, sit on it–even taste it and smell it! All these weigh in on the buying decision.
But things get a little tricky online.
Online, the buyer cannot feel the clothes you want to sell, they can’t scent your perfume or coconut oil, they can’t taste your takeaway meals, they don’t know how your shoes look from a different angle.
All they have are the photos you take–and that is why good photography is important for your online retail business.
Your photos replace the 5 senses which the buyer usually relies on when shopping online.
Take good photos and you sell well. Take bad photos and you don’t sell.
Simple as that!
At Wazota we are big about aesthetics and making the products and shops of our sellers look as enticing as possible to give them the best chance of succeeding and making money via our platform (Take a look at screenshot title pic!)
To help you do same, we gathered a few tips on how to make photos work for your business rather than against it and also, where appropriate, we mention a few examples of product photography done right.
Keeping it Simple Works (Case Study: Eloli)
Simple,minimalistic photos that avoid any clutter are often the hallmarks of a strong brand. More importantly though, simple, strong, and clear photos eliminate the distractions that come with clutter so that the focus is solely on the product. This elevates the value of the product and the brand while creating a product photo that is versatile enough to be used for many situations.
A good example of simple photos doing wonders is Eloli, a Cameroonian luxury fashion brand that emphasizes strong lines and edges in their design. Their photos are simple, allowing the quality and elegance of their designs to speak for themselves.
The Right Background Can Add Depth and Context (Case Study: Molonga Naturals & Chef Nina)
White backgrounds work but they can be boring. With a little creativity your background can increase interest in your product and also create a connection with those who identify and recognize themselves with your brand.
As always, the focus should be on your product so that it is the first thing that anybody sees. But at the same time, you can add a background that adds to the overall sensation of your product or the image of your brand. The more consistent you make this background across your photos, the better.
Two examples of photo backgrounds that rock are Molonga Naturals and Chef Nina Cuisine.
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Molonga Naturals is a cosmetic brand that emphasizes healthy natural products like homemade coconut oil over manufactured products. As such their product photos are usually shot against a natural background that adds to the brand vision.
On the other hand, Chef Nina is a home meal ordering service run by the completely inspiring Nina Ngassa. To emphasize the home meal aspect of their cuisine, their photos are usually shot in settings that are reminiscent of kitchens all over Cameroon.
Show Your Product in Use (Case Study: KCollinz Designs, Louis Fame)
Taking photographs of a product in use, as opposed to photos of just the product itself can work to your favour in many ways, not least of which is that it shows what the buyer can expect after the purchase.
Seeing the product in use can be one of the most powerful ways to convince a potential customer to buy.
Two brands that put this to maximum use are Louis Fame and KCollinz designs.
Both of these brands produce and showcase African designs with an urban twist.
Louis Fame focuses on modern luxury fashion, furnishing them with a hint of Cameroon culture to produce something stylish, unique, and African.
KCollinz on the other hand is obsessed about bringing hand-drawn African designs to the mainstream by fusing culture and style with creativity.
Both brands benefit from showcasing their products on people in colourful, real life situations.
Be Careful with Lifestyle Photography (Case Study: Rinash Waist Cincher & Stone Collection)
Lifestyle photography is great so long as it does not distract from the product itself. Ideally, your photograph should either showcase a benefit of your product, show fit and size using a model, explain features, or promote your brand.
Two brands that use lifestyle photography to great benefit are Rinash Waist Cincher and Stone Collection.
Rinash waist cincher sells a unisex waist narrowing product, and because the brand is all about health the product pictures usually showcase the founder wearing the waist cincher during workouts.
Stone Collection is a lifestyle fashion and accessories brand creating original designs for urban women. Their product photos tend to have a trendy edge, showcasing young women clothed in their designs.
Both instances leave the viewer in no doubt about what to expect once they purchase.
Details Matter–Show The Product from Different Angles
Nothing gives the customer a feel of the product more than pictures that showcase the product from every different angle. Remember: your pictures replace the 5 senses which the customer would otherwise use in a shop in the market.
Take pictures of your product so that whoever is viewing has a 360 view of the product. This instills confidence in the buyer and reduces the frustration that comes with decision making when buying online.
And there you have it! 5 tips and several examples to help you take your photography game and your online business to the next level.
In what ways have you used photography in your business? Share with us in the comment section below!