Product Images – Do’s and Don’ts for your online store
It’s happening! Your online store is built, it looks amazing, and now it’s time to start photographing your products and uploading them to your website. You put your products on a table with a nice background, take out your cell phone, point and shoot. Great. Now you transfer the images from your phone to your laptop, open your website and upload them to the media library. Ok, stop right there. There are 3 steps you have missed that are absolutely essential in order for your images to:
- Look good (Quality)
- Allow users to zoom in to see more detail (Resolution)
- Load quickly on the page (File Size)
Let’s look at each of these.
In my previous post I wrote about how to take great photos with your cell phone, but there are a few things to consider to ensure that the quality is excellent.
Firstly, check your settings and make sure you are shooting at the highest possible resolution. This results in more pixels and less compression. Look for the Settings menu in your Camera app and select the highest quality JPEG setting.
Get as much light as you possibly can onto your product – outside is often the best but away from direct sunlight that can create harsh shadows. More light = better quality images when customers are zooming in to the detail. Consider buying or building a Light Box for small objects like jewellery, electronics, foods, and accessories. Light boxes are white cubes with LED strips around the inside, an open side to shoot through, and a small white or coloured infinity curve inside.
If you are making your own human-sized infinity curve backdrop, avoid the use of fabrics with creases or seams, which will always be noticeable in the photograph. Use non-reflective fabric like velvet, fleece or felt that absorbs light and won’t show creases. You want to showcase the product, not be distracted by a wrinkled background.
Ensure that the images you have selected are in focus and that there is no camera shake. Zoom into the images to see if it remains sharp. If it’s not, take another shot.
Use a USB cable to transfer your images from your phone or tablet to your computer. Avoid sending them via WhatsApp which compresses images when sending. If the images are going directly to your web developer, then email or Dropbox the images directly from your phone.
Pixel size is so important, but many people don’t know what pixel sizes mean and how it affects their product images. Think of pixels as small dots that make up everything you see on your screen. The text that you are reading right now is 17 pixels high. A high definition computer screen is about 1920 pixels across by 1080 pixels high. All popWeb sites are designed for screens that are 1920 pixels wide.
For some perspective, the image below is 200 pixels wide and 200 pixels high.
This is considered a very small image size. It’s only 10% of the entire width of your screen. If you want your customers to have a good look at your product, this is too small.
So how do you know what the pixel size or resolution of your image is? Well, every image on your phone will have “metadata” or “details” attached to it. Open your Gallery and click on an image to open it. Then look for a menu icon and select Details or Info. On your laptop simply right-click on the image file and select “Properties” and then select the “Details” tab. Use “Finder” and “Get Info” on an Apple computer. You should see something like this:
Amongst other information, the resolution of this image is 4128 pixels x 2322 pixels and has a file size of 1.08MB. It’s way too big to upload to your online store and will take a long time to load. People using mobile data will use too much data. You will need to resize and/or crop the image. To do that there are various apps native to Windows and Mac that can do it. Google “how to crop and resize images on….” for help.
The size of an image file is measured in KiloBytes or KB. 1000 KB = 1 Megabyte or MB. The lower the resolution (less pixels) the smaller the file size, and the lower the quality. So, although keeping file sizes small is very important especially for mobile data users, it’s a fine balancing act between quality, resolution and file size.
A general rule is to keep image File Sizes between 100 – 300 KB. To do that, the Resolution should be less than 1500 pixels wide and 1000 pixels high.
Our images are usually 1000 x 1000 pixels for square images, and 1000 H x 800 W for fashion or modelled images. It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, so if you’re unsure, feel free to contact us for some advice.
At popWeb we offer an image editing service where we not only crop and resize, but we also adjust the exposure and colour balance to ensure that your products look as good as possible.