Product Photography Blog

The importance of Visual Content

MercurialX Superfly 6 Elite IC - shot by Traffic Jam Studio for Nike, working in collaboration with Arts Works Post Production

  • Sales increased by 23% in 2017 for the top 20 online-only retailers in the UK
    Online sales continue to increase at the expense of traditional brick & mortar stores
  • People remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read and 80% of what they see
  • 93% of consumers consider visual appearance to be the key deciding factor in a purchasing decision
  • The human mind processes images faster than text - a picture really is worth a thousand words, or more!

The importance of visual content for your eCommerce site should not be underestimated. Is there a better way to show the benefits and features your products have to offer? Not according to Wyzowl - people remember only 20% of what they read, 10% of what they hear, but 80% of what they see. Not only is it more difficult to describe a product than simply photographing it well, but people are also less likely to remember what they have read versus what they have seen.

We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words - well that’s because the mind processes images faster than text. If you want to engage your existing and potential clients, it is more important than ever to have the right visual content. Imagine how much that picture is worth in £ terms.

According to Etsy, 90% of consumers said the photos were “extremely important” or “very important”when deciding to purchase.

A high quality photo shows the quality of the products you have to offer, representing the quality of your products and ultimately your brand, in turn generating trust between you and the consumer. Would you really spend your £s based on a blurry, badly-lit photo presented to you on a product page?
Scotria Modular Sack Bag - shot by Traffic Jam Studio

The growth of eCommerce

With sales at the UK’s 20 biggest online-only retailers increasing by 23% in 2017, according to research by professional services company RPC, it’s definitely the right time to review your visual content and how you use this to promote your brand across multiple channels.

Dark Arts Coffee and Accessories - shot by Traffic Jam Studio for Nick Dart Design.
No matter the size of your brand, if you hope to make an impact with your eCommerce platform, Social Media and other channels, you must have standout photos to show off the products you offer. From shooting for sportswear giant Nike to independent purveyors of all things vape, Vape Superstore, we at Traffic Jam Studio understand photography, how it is used and how to create it.
According to justuno, 93% of consumers consider visual appearance to be the key deciding factor in a purchasing decision - if you’re selling your own products or if you’re an eCommerce store selling a range of products by different brands, you need quality visual content to make you standout from the crowd and secure that critical ‘add to checkout’ click.

Shoot in-house or hire a pro?

Whether you shoot in-house or use a professional, there is no question that great quality photos are needed to showcase your products. There are clear pros and cons to either approach, but unless you’re already a great photographer, there will be a steep learning curve, an initial investment in the right lighting/camera etc. and you’ll need a place to shoot. Though some brands do this very successfully, it tends to be the brands who have made this part of their long-term strategy, have the time and budget to invest and have someone dedicated to shooting as part of their responsibilities. Unless you’re in a position to do this, the results, in reality will be poor versus what a professional studio can deliver. Even if you are in a position to shoot in-house, photography will not your sole focus, so again a professional photographer will most likely deliver higher quality images.

Vape Tanks shot in-house by a client of Traffic Jam Studio
Compare the photo to the left, shot by one of our clients before they engaged with us to shoot for them, to the photo shot by us for the very same client. There is a clear difference between the two adn we trust you to tell which one we shot:)
Combo RDA Vape Tank shot by Traffic Jam Studio for Vape Superstore

If you do decide to shoot in-house, ensure that:
  • The composition of the image is good - a great angle to show as much of the product as you can, whilst keeping the product attractive and pleasing to the eye
  • Make sure the image is in focus - blurry images are not going to help sell your products
  • Use consistent lighting across all your products and ensure the white balance is correctly set
  • Cut the image out using post-processing software like Photoshop - they do not look good with some washed out grey background
  • Don’t make your product look better than it is in real life - you might sell it, but only for the customer to be disappointed when it does not match their expectations set by your photography
  • Don’t make the product look worse than it does in real life - they might be pleasantly surprised by finding the product is better than it looked online, but it is less likely they will get to that stage as the poor photo will put them off buying the product
If you do not have the right kit, the right skills (photography and retouching), or at least enough time in invest to acquire those skills (after all, you’re already flat out trying to maximise your business), then it is definitely worth thinking about outsourcing your photography to a professional.

Ullac Painter Pants - shot by Traffic Jam Studio

How many photos to shoot?

Whether you decide to shoot in-house or engage a Commercial Product Photography studio like Traffic Jam Studio, make sure you have enough photos to show all the features of your products - how will your potential clients know what features your products have, at a glance, if they are not on show? When we shoot for Ullac Denim, who “make dead nice gender neutral clothes” we don’t shoot just one image, we shoot between 4-6 images per garment, helping to push their potential customers to make that essential ‘add to basket’ click.

Given that your visitors are not able to physically pick the product up and take a closer look at everything that catches their eye, it is essential you provide the right amount of visual content to allow them to make an informed decision. Aim to have at least 2 overview images of the entire products and between 2-4 detail shots, giving them the feeling that they’re up close and able to see all the details, like the drawstring for these Ullac Painter Pants.
Ullac Painter Jeans Detail - shot by Traffic Jam Studio

Social Channels

There is no reason you have to go all in if you decide to shoot with a professional or shoot in-house. Some of our clients shoot their own social content and do a really great job of it too! What's more, as well as using that social content across their various social channels, there is no reason some of those images cannot be added to the product page - add some lifestyle context to the item being sold. You can also use some of those product photos to push across your social channels. It is not one way. The more images you get out there, the more buzz you create.

Great product photos, in focus, white background, great colours, consistent white balance and nice bright lighting are the best way to showcase your products on your eCommerce site. They can also be used to push your products and brand across your social channels, but what you also need are some great lifestyle shots to compliment what you have and really push your brand message to your potential customers.

Attitude Vape lifestyle shoot - shot by Traffic Jam Studio
These photos we shot for Attitude Vapeare a great example of some lifestyle and scale photos (how does your product look to scale). These are great for your social channels - ultimately leading to more sales of your products.

Attitude Vape Scale Example - shot by Traffic Jam Studio

Why you should consider not providing your product photos to your resellers

One of the best ways to create a buzz for your products is to have as many photos of your products out in the wild as possible. These photos can all be from a single provider or multiple sources - a combination of your photos (in-house or by a professional), reseller photos and customer photos. If you’re providing your photos to your resellers, all the the photos your potential customers will see will largely be the same - nothing is going to stand out if all the images they see on all the eCommerce sites and various social channels are just the same photos you’ve already added to your own site and social channels.

Wallet by A-COLD-WALL* - Shot by Traffic Jam Studio

NikeLab's A-COLD-WALL* Collaboration shot by Traffic Jam Studio

By ensuring your resellers need to shoot photos of your products, you also ensure they shoot more for you, helping to maximise the number of uniquely different product photos there are for your potential customers to see - at zero cost to you.

That does not have to be an absolute rule though, use your best judgement, if you strongly believe your brand will benefit by having your stock photos on more reseller sites, then of course you should do so.

Don’t dismiss free content

Don’t forget you’ll also get some great free content too; photography can arrive on your feeds from your fans and customers. Why not use some of their photos? We’ve seen some great brands do this on Instagram Stories. The images may not be as polished as you’d want to have on your main instagram page, but it’s a great way to not only engage with those customers/fans of your brand, but also help get the message out that others love your products too.


Whatever you decide to do, in-house or professional photography, your images represent the perceived quality of your products, so make sure the quality truly represents your brand and make sure they’re plentiful enough to reach as many of your potential clients as possible.
  • eCommerce is growing, massively, not only in the UK but globally. With great products, eCommerce site and great imagery, there is no reason why those images cannot target a global customer base
  • Great visual content increases the perceived quality of your brand and products - ultimately leading to more sales
  • The right number of photos, including detail shots, will improve the experience for your customers and help them make that all important decision to ‘add to basket’
  • You can shoot in-house or use a professional - however you decide to do it, make sure they are good enough to represent the quality of your brand and products
  • Branding is key to every decision you make as a company - at the heart of branding are great images. You need to grab the attention of your customers with great social content to encourage then to want to see more, then have great product images to allow them to take a closer look at what you have to offer
  • Great product photos are in focus, usually with a white background, great colours, consistent white balance and nice bright lighting

Show more posts

We use cookies to make this site better. If you'd like to read more, please see our Privacy Policy. By clicking dismiss and/or continuing to use this website, you accept our use of cookies.