A lot goes into building a beautiful online store. Great product descriptions, a stand-out brand story, and BEAUTIFUL product photos. Do you know the ones that I mean? On-brand backdrops, high-quality images, and food that makes your mouth water?
The truth is photos sell!
You want your online store to reflect your brand, quality, and story. More importantly, you want your online store to do the talking for you. Your online store should be better at selling than your best salesperson at the market.
How do you get there? Great photos!
Need some help? We have compiled some of our best tips:
Consider Your Device
It all starts with your camera. You are unable to change the quality of a photo after it’s been taken. You can clearly tell the difference from a high-quality photograph taken by a DSLR camera versus a photo taken by an older digital camera or mobile device. Make sure you are using the best device available to you. Don’t have access to a camera? The hardware on newer models of smartphones are changing the game for photography and can produce high-quality sharable photos.
Note: if a photo looks blurry or grainy, it’s not the best quality. The higher the quality, the more professional the photos appear.
Pick the Best Subject
Use produce that is bright in colour and has the least amount of blemishes. We all know there’s nothing wrong with a piece of fruit that has a few bumps and bruises, but for marketing purposes, pick your best-looking products. Additionally, determine how you are going to represent the product. This means whether you only showcase one unit or a handful, or whether the product is cooked or uncooked in the photo. Depending on your branding and product type, the representation may change.
Create a Background
Take your photos with natural scenery. Small-scale farming practices are all about natural and ethical production of food. Taking a photo of your final product with natural scenery in the background helps connect the product itself with its production. If that’s not possible, consider using natural fabrics, textures, and tones as the background of your photos—this will help make the link to handmade and natural production.
Helpful tip: Amazon has photo studio "boxes" for an easy, white background with great lighting. Find them here in a range of sizes and prices.
Be Mindful of Lighting
Avoid shadows. When you take a photo of something straight from above, shadows occur and can dominate a photo. Adjust the angle of shooting, to reduce the intrusion of shadows in your pictures. Additionally, always use natural light. Flash photography and artificial lighting can be very hard to work with and often don’t look that great.
Photo composition is a skill that photographers take a career to master. The difference between a beautiful and average photo is how the elements of the photos are placed within the frame. For beginners, make sure you are focusing on one element (your product), and always have something in the foreground or front of the frame and something in the background. This will give your photo depth and make it appear more professional. Also, consider taking the photo from different perspectives and switching the angle.
Hire a Professional
Depending on which phase you're in with your business, this may be an option. Photographers are masters of visual storytelling and are able to create pictures that unlike what you're able to do with your smartphone. If you have the budget to hire a professional, we would definitely recommend considering this. At the same time, get them to take professional shots of the farm, your team, your animals, and yourself to use on your website!
Let's hear from an expert. Longtime professional commercial photographer, John Spaulding, has got you covered in this episode of Carrot Cashflow.
If you’re in a pinch:
Use your Logo
If you don’t have the time or resources to take product photos yet, consider using your logo as the product photo! This will not market a specific product; however, it streamlines your store and makes sure you don’t have any blank spaces or those ugly image replacements.
The rule of thumb is it is ALWAYS better to showcase your products over using stock images, but if you cannot take pictures, we'll let it slide. Just this once!
Make sure the photos you pick are of high quality and accurately depict your products. This is a huge one! You don't want to confuse the shopper. For example, if you’re selling strawberry jam, be sure the photo of jam doesn’t have another logo on it and is actually blueberry jam.
These are some helpful royalty-free stock photo sites to help you get started:
After you have uploaded your new photos to your store, make sure you check the results!
With your Local Line store, you can do this by clicking the View Store tab in settings. Check the see if the quality is high enough and whether any photos are pixelated. Bad quality photos can harm your business rather than benefit it!
John Spaulding, along with 50+ farmers and experts were interviewed in our new book, Ready Farmer One!
Learn how to craft your message, target customers, run your operations, and ultimately, how to make a healthy profit doing what you love.