Three E-commerce Photography Routes to Boost Commercial Success

Discover how professional photography can give you the edge
A fashion shoot for an online clothes company, with a woman wearing a denim jacket and black tights poses in a photography studio.

As global e-commerce continues to grow, it becomes increasingly important for brands to invest in the digital experiences they provide. From search engine optimisation to web user journeys, brands are continuously looking to improve customers’ experience with their online store.

E-commerce product photography is a critical part of the experience you offer, serving as much more than just an online shop window. Successful brands use digital images as a cornerstone of their marketing strategy, recreating the detail of a hands-on experience by capturing the product's features, colours and textures, but also taking the opportunity to craft rich visual narratives.

Effective e-commerce photography should both inspire your customers to buy and convey enough information that it leaves them with a clear understanding of what they are purchasing. But while accurate feature-rich imagery is important to every brand, your e-commerce photography strategy will be unique to your business.

Are you selling cars or fashion, boutique or volume, luxury or mass-market? Getting to the right solution for you is about understanding how all these factors (and more) impact your priorities.

The Evolving Landscape of e-commerce Photography

The last twenty years have seen a steady shift from in-store to online shopping, transforming e-commerce stores into the destination for driving brand revenue. In 2023 most (61%) of in-store shopping trips began online, a 25% increase even from 2022,1 showing how e-commerce experiences even affect purchases ultimately made in person.

Evidence suggests that e-commerce photography is one of the most important factors in a brand’s online presence, influencing whether a consumer opts to make a purchase or navigates away from the page. In fact, 90% of consumers believe that the quality of product photos is extremely important when making a purchase. 2

In this fiercely competitive landscape, approaches to product imagery have evolved rapidly, led by the most innovative brands on the market. Customers navigating e-commerce stores can now expect to be able to see high definition imagery, rotate and explore angles and features, customise and try on products – all through their device screen.

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Delivering these feature-rich experiences is no easy feat. From stock to store involves multiple complex, fast-moving stages: stock transportation, creative direction, product shoots and back end technology integration. In this challenging environment, it’s important for brands to understand how their photography solutions can impact success.

“Sites that consistently have high-resolution product images are viewed much more positively by users – the site feels more polished and professional, and users are more confident purchasing products.” - Baymard Institute3

A set made up of various homeware items being photographed by a man with a Canon EOS R6 camera and Canon RF24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM lens.

E-commerce Trends Shaping Photography Needs

While every business is aiming to sell, factors from stock type to scale affect priorities when it comes to e-commerce photography. Working closely with our customers, we identified three types of brand strategy for e-commerce photography. Understanding each business’s unique strategy can help them to identify the right solution to support them:

Streamlining your Operations to Support Larger Itineraries

Online customers want to stay abreast of the latest trends and place value on variety and choice. With this in mind, some brands choose to prioritise giving customers a large number of products to choose from on their e-commerce store. But this isn’t easy – behind the scenes, these organisations are typically investing a huge amount of time and budget in managing extensive and diverse stock lists. To stay on top of the flow of products, these brands prioritise:

  • A quick e-commerce photography workflow
  • Efficient volume handling
  • Consistent visual output that requires minimal post-production edits.

  • To address these needs, automated photography solutions have become an indispensable new route for busy businesses. As a relatively new technology, you might be unaware of the benefits they offer to in-house studios over traditional photography studio set-ups.

    Automated solutions combine digital cameras with supporting workflow technologies and rigs to shoot products automatically, without the need for a full studio team.

Brands can pre-prepare a set and capture hundreds of photographs per minute of a product, reducing the number of staff and time required to get professional results.

What's more, as the shots to capture can be pre-programmed and repeatable, brands can be certain that the output – including angles of capture, aperture, zoom, backgrounds and lighting, as well as crops and resolution – is consistent across multiple products, minimising the volume of post-production work required. This control allows brands to create a cohesive online presence, even while processing large stock volumes at speed.

Brands can also benefit from using automation in their surrounding workflows, aiding businesses in swiftly processing large stock volumes, for example – automating the uploading and tagging of product shots to destinations without support from a team. It’s important to consider – do you have a business need for bespoke, creative shoots? Or is your primary need consistency at scale? If so, an automated solution will likely be the right solution.

Artistry in e-commerce

For many brands, creativity holds a significant role in their identity – from outdoor fashion shoots to influencer beauty campaigns. Their photography style is more likely to be model-centric, include custom backgrounds or be guided by a bespoke creative vision from a director, editor or client with a specific brief.

For these brands, total creative freedom is essential to inspiring and exciting their audience with fresh ideas; meanwhile they need the control to accurately deliver against a vision. This is best achieved with handheld cameras and a professional team as there are no limits to the creative input. However, it is worth noting some automated solutions offer a certain amount of flexibility allowing creativity and the presence of live models and specific lighting.

Customers for these brands seek inspiration while shopping, valuing the creative execution in shoots, including the design, framing and mood they can evoke as part of the brand’s storytelling. Creative, high-quality images play a crucial role in:

  • Capturing attention
  • Emphasising product value
  • Boosting sales
  • Reducing returns
It’s crucial to invest in cameras with the ability to:
  • Deliver accurate colour fidelity
  • Ensure true-to-life model skin tones
  • Faithfully reproduce items and fabrics, providing customers with an authentic representation of their purchase.

Pioneering the Future of e-commerce

Not every business needs to prioritise beautifully curated backdrops, or to provide their customers with huge amounts of choice. Is your priority wowing your customers with an exceptionally immersive online experience? There are multiple reasons you might choose this route.

Luxury brands selling extremely high value, prestige products understand that their customers expect nothing less than a premium experience – whether walking into physical premises or interacting with an e-commerce store.

For these customers, showcasing innovation is crucial to protecting the brand’s image and meeting customer expectations.

For others, detail is the incentive for innovation. A car is a complex and expensive purchase and a customer looking to buy online requires a much more detailed experience to reach the barrier for conversion than one buying home furnishings. Meanwhile, some brands simply make innovation part of their unique strategy, such as footwear brands that champion their flexible online customisation tools.

The power behind these online experiences is cutting-edge photography technology. Here, automated solutions are essential. To enable customers to explore every angle, ‘try on’ a product or to customise it online, brands need to capture 360-degree shots of each product to replicate a virtual version – doing so manually would be time-consuming and technical, while an automated solution can achieve it in minutes. For brands embracing this route, automated solutions provide enormous time and cost savings as well as technical capabilities.

A set made up of various homeware items being photographed by a man with a Canon EOS R6 camera and Canon RF24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM lens.

Taken on a Canon EOS R6 with a Canon RF24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM at 1/100 sec, f/2.8 and ISO3200.

Finding the right solution for your brand

All brands will have individual priorities when it comes to the e-commerce landscape. and therefore need to tailor the approach accordingly.

Where a luxury boutique may place importance on creative photography that looks to inspire, high-turnover fashion brands will want to see consistent, accurate and efficient pictures produced quickly given their wider target audience and higher stock inventory. Despite these varying emphases, the common thread binding successful brands is quality images that establish and maintain a compelling online presence.

Choosing the right partner for e-commerce photography is crucial. Businesses need more than high-resolution images; they require a photography solution that seamlessly aligns with their unique priorities and workflows.

Canon, a trusted name in photography, provides pioneering image solutions for e-commerce. We offer the scale and flexibility to support any environment, from manual, creative shoots to automated solutions in collaboration with our partners – and hybrid approaches in between. Through imaging technology, we empower our customers to compete in the fast-paced e-commerce landscape, capturing attention, inspiring passion, and swiftly transitioning from capture to commerce.


Photo, video and software solutions to enhance your products

Create cost-effective and high-quality content to bring your product to life and drive your brands forward.

  1. WorldSync
  2. Etsy
  3. Baymard Institute

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