When you set up your WooCommerce store, you want to make sure your photos sell your products as well as your SEO campaign. This might seem simple, but with a few handy tips, your photos will outshine all of your competition.
Take Great Photos
The first step to showcasing great photos is taking great photos. I follow two simple rules that always bring me fantastic results:
- The subject must take up at least 2/3 of the frame.
- There must be a chosen focal point.
You don’t need a DSLR to make the photos on your site look great. I use a relatively high-end point-and-shoot for my photo sessions: a Panasonic Lumix LX5. It has a vast collection of manual controls, yet it also has an ‘Intelligent Auto’ mode, for those times I don’t want to mess around with focus and aperture values.
Following the first rule, I make sure that the subject (in this case, the product) takes up more than 2/3 of the frame. I don’t want to stuff the product into 95% of the frame, as that would appear too crowded. WordPress and WooCommerce also work some cropping magic for catalog / archive page images, so you don’t want to give your site no room to work with your photo.
In the case of this iPod, it needed to occupy 2/3 of the frame vertically, since it’s not wide enough to cover 2/3 of the frame horizontally. Taking photos like these a bit off-center is also a great way to give some character to your photos.
Choose a Focal Point
Next, you want to give your photo a focal point. You don’t need one photo that shows your complete product all in focus, as long as you have enough detail shots of your item. Choosing a focal point gives your product photos a great bokeh effect, and it moves your photos from amateur hour into hobbyist / pro territory.
This photo of an arch wire conveys everything a potential buyer needs to know about it. You can see its shape from the center focal point and you can see the two stops on it. The great bokeh effect on this photo gives the arch wire a feeling of ‘newness’ it would not otherwise have.
Crop the Photos
Once you’ve taken the photos of your products, you need to decide on an aspect ratio for all the photos in each of your products’ photo galleries. This is basically portrait vs. landscape. I particularly prefer landscape (or square) for online shop photos. If you want landscape photos for all your products, you need to crop them all at a 4:3 ratio, meaning 4 units width for every 3 units height.
I use iPhoto for my photo cropping, but you can use your personal tool of choice. Set the crop ratio to 4:3, and expand that selection to make your photo fill the frame as best as possible.
You can choose how to crop your images, but take a look at a couple of your favorite online retailers first, to see how they crop their photos for best online viewing. You don’t want your customers to have to squint to see the details of your photos.
Export Photos for Compressed File-size and Quick Load Times
One of the most important aspects of your e-commerce store is how quickly it loads. If your customers are waiting around too long for your site to load, they’ll go shop somewhere else.
Although monitor resolutions are changing by the day (thank Apple’s ‘retina’ devices), I generally stick to a pretty standard rule of thumb for image sizes and compression quality. I’ll export from iPhoto at 900px wide (maximum), and use JPEG High quality compression.
This isn’t always the case, however. For instance, for the photos in this article, I only exported them at 600px wide, because they won’t be expanded any larger than that, per my design. I use 900px wide on e-commerce stores so that when customers click on the images to view the photo detail, they will not miss anything.
If a customer is viewing my site on a 13″ MacBook Pro, and his browser window is not expanded all the way, 900px will be plenty of width to fill his browser window for a zoomed in photo.
Go Make Great WooCommerce Photos!
Your photos are your most important asset, when you are selling products online. They show the quality of your products, and they give customers an idea of what your product will be like during ownership. Don’t cheap out on this important aspect of your e-commerce site!
Don’t want to do it yourself? Hire me to build your e-commerce site for you!