Your customer should be able to compare your products while browsing your site without coming across different sizes, angles, colours and lighting - make it easy for them!
Examples of good and bad product images
Here are some examples of ceramic mug images from a range of different websites. I have used similar products for the sake of, well, consistency of course.
Liberty.co.uk offer clean, evenly lit images. The only issues are text alignment where the price can appear on the top line and mixed use of lowercase and uppercase text guess what, inconsistent!
Marksandspencer.com : Well done M&S, light grey box defines each image and all products are shot on a slightly reflective white laminate adding depth, without distracting from the product.
Muglamania it's all a bit mixed up here with alignment issues and random groups of mugs thrown together. Also, the text is a bit small and cramped beneath the images.
Hudsonandmiddleton.co.uk: Oh dear, all kinds of issues here, not least one mug is a cutout on light blue, the other on white and they have a different crop. The text varies in size and looks cheap, not inspiring trust and considering the mugs costs £13, hardly convincing. Also the sharpeyed among you may have noticed the lack of space after ‘(blue)’ on the second product’s text always proofread twice!
Chinaetc.co.uk: Excellent work here with clean images and good use of text size, colour, alignment and colour with eyecatching circular banner.
Hammade.com : And finally something different (and very refreshing) from HAM. A fine combination of lifestyle and on white shots beautifully designed and giving the customer everything they need at a glance. This approach would not work so well with a large range of products, but for a boutique it’s perfect.
As you can see even large, seemingly highend sites have trouble creating a consistent look and can fall prey to simple mistakes.
How to shoot consistent images
The factors at play ‘in camera’ during your shoot include: angle of camera, lens type, aperture, lighting, background, shadows and highlights. In processing you should aim for a standardised approach covering: crop factor, sharpening, saturation and finally how you save for web (size and quality). It’s likely you will be shooting your images over a period of time, so it’s recommended to use the same photographer and studio setup if possible.
Most ecommerce sites go for on-white shots, these can be either:
Complete ‘cutouts’ (where the entire product is removed form the background and placed on a new white canvas).
Product sitting on a background that is anything from white to light grey, but not cut out, rather featuring shadow and/or reflection depending on surface material.
In addition to your images consider how your product title, price, description and other text aligns in relation to your images and what type, size and colour of font you are using.
Your web platform should allow for multiple fonts and a variety of layout options, so experiment with different configurations, speak with your designer and do some user testing.