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10 Masterful Tips to Nail Your ECommerce Fashion Shoot

Every fashion brand needs a standout lookbook to put their products in buyers’ minds and drive sales. But you can’t just snap studio photos of your clothing and call it a day – eCommerce requires a whole new set of photo shoot skills. In addition to upping your photo production game, you need to stand out from the pack. Optimizing your product photos can give you an edge on the competition and boost your sales.

If a potential customer can’t see the appeal of your product in its online presentation, they won’t buy it. Unfortunately, that has been the case for too many eCommerce sites selling fashion-forward clothing, shoes, accessories, and other articles of clothing. Poorly lit or shot images leave viewers uninspired about buying whatever it is you’re trying to sell them. And that also applies to visual aspects like color and composition as well as details such as texture and fabric quality.

To ensure the success of your eCommerce fashion shoot, you need to think beyond the standard white background, find the right balance of light and props, and take photos that show off your pieces without coming across as artificial or unapproachable. From pre-planning to post-production, these 10 hacks will help you achieve professional results every time.

Plan Your Shoot Carefully

Make sure you know your brand’s visual identity inside and out. What is your site’s aesthetic? How will your photos fit in with your branding strategy? These questions come first because they’ll inform everything else about your shoot. What kind of wardrobe do you want to feature? What colors do you want to use? Are certain pieces off limits due to fit or availability issues? Any shoot style can work in a pinch, but if you want your images to look consistent and professional, you need to plan ahead.

Ensure that Your Images are Not Too Dark or Too Light

The wrong light can make or break a product photo. If your photos are too dark, you’ll lose all the beautiful details of your piece; if they’re too light, they’ll look washed out and unappealing. Even if you take an excellent product photo, it will be ruined if it’s not properly lit.

Get Experimental with Props

Giving your shoots some extra context with props is a great way to take them from boring to bold. Whether you want to feature items that are already available on your site, or you’re looking to create an aspirational mood, adding in some extras can give your photos a real boost. If you’re including products from your site in your shoot, make sure they’re in good shape and aren’t over- or under-staged. For everything else, try curating a selection of items like books, flowers, or artwork that reflect your brand’s aesthetic.

Lighting is Key

If there’s one thing to remember for every eCommerce photography shoot, it’s that you want to have an in-depth understanding of how the lighting in photography works. Although you might be tempted to grab your flashes and start blasting, all that dark-room studio lighting can come across with too much intensity. Try to keep things natural and attempt to block any harsh shadows that may be coming from your source, whether that’s the sun or a table lamp. 

Show Off the Products’ Fabric, Texture, and Intricate Accents

If you want to create a formidable lookbook for your eCommerce fashion store, there are four key features that must be the focus of your photoshoot – color, composition, texture, and fabric. You should be sure to show off the products’ fabric and texture by using a variety of shots. A simple way to do this is to shoot in different lighting conditions: natural light, overcast daylight, ambient indoor light, and flash. Also, pay attention to the background. If you want to bring out the texture of a sweater or dress, opt for an even simpler background like a soft background instead of busy wallpaper or upholstery.

Product details are another key element of your fashion photoshoot. Fashion e-commerce accounts for 23 percent of the total online retail sales in the United States alone. In order for your eCommerce store to stand out amongst the stiff competition, your product images must convey real value and appeal to online shoppers. You want to make sure that your photos reflect the product accurately so it’s not misrepresented to a potential customer. If you are selling jeans and show a close-up of the label, but the jeans don’t have labels on them, it can reflect poorly on your brand and hurt your image. Product details and accents may not be as noticeable in person, which is why it is important for you to show them in your product images.

Add an Artistic Flourish to Your Product Images

If you’re feeling the urge to add a little artistic flair, there are a ton of ways you can go about it, like adding color filters or shooting at different shutter speeds. Some filters can help you push your brand’s aesthetic and make your photos pop. Try adding a retro or vintage look to warm up your photos and make them feel more natural. If you’re going for more of a modern vibe, you can use a cold filter to achieve a crisp, edgy look. 

Mixing in lifestyle shots with your product photos can offer viewers a better idea of how the piece will look on them and from different angles. If you’re selling a dress, for example, shoot it on someone wearing the dress and show her walking around. This will add an aesthetic value to your product and also build aspirational value for your brand. 

Shoot Different Angles of Each Product

You want to get a variety of angles for each product so you can show off all its features. Take the time to shoot from different perspectives. If you’re selling a shirt and it has a collar, you would want to photograph it from the front, back, and whichever side has the most eye-catching detail. A good rule of thumb is to take at least 10 photos per product type. That way if one doesn’t turn out well, there are other options to choose from. It also gives viewers more of an idea about what your product looks like and how it could be styled with other pieces in their wardrobe.  

Show the Full Outfit with Your Merchandising Photos

One mistake that retailers make is only highlighting a single item in their merchandising images. For eCommerce fashion photography, it’s better to showcase the entire look and show how the items work together. This is a great way to encourage customers to purchase multiple items from your store. You can also take this a step further by showing outfits with other products from your store as well. 

Product placement is also important for eCommerce fashion photography as you want to make sure that the clothes don’t obscure your branding or logo. When designing your product photos, remember that you’re not just selling the clothes, but an entire lifestyle or attitude. You want people to feel excited about what they might wear if they purchase your clothing and accessories. Make sure to include a variety of body types in your models so that shoppers can see what the clothing looks like on different figures and shapes instead of just models with a specific body type or size.

“A good way to differentiate your site when it comes to photos is to show the customer how they can wear the product. This can also lead to increased average order value if you give the customer the opportunity to buy the other products included in the outfit look,” says Andrew Leibowitz.

Know When to Go Flashless

Not all shoots need a flash, but if you want to achieve a bright, crisp look, it can be a useful tool for balancing dark spaces. But there are times when a flash isn’t the best choice. If you’re shooting in a heavily colored environment, a flash can easily clash and overwhelm your photos. If you’re not using a flash, try to shoot on a cloudy day when the light is more diffused. This will help even out any shadows and prevent your photos from looking too dark or dull. But keep in mind that the best light source is the sun, so if possible, try to shoot in the early morning or late afternoon when the light is most even.

Combine Bright and Dark Shoots

If you’re trying to do one super-bright shoot and one super-dark shoot, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Instead, try to mix things up a bit and shoot both bright and dark pieces to create a balanced lookbook. If you have a darker wardrobe, try shooting it first while the sun is still low in the sky. The sunlight is gentler at that time of day and will help prevent your pieces from looking too dense and overpowering. And if you have a lighter wardrobe, try to shoot it when the sun is at its brightest. This will help add some brightness to your photos without looking washed out.

Compelling Fashion eCommerce Photography Can Boost Your Brand Image and Online Conversions

Your product images are not simply a display of your collections and different fashion items, they add value to your brand image and personality and help customers relate with your brand better. With the evolving technological landscape and its impact on photography services, new mediums for product display are popping up, including videos, 360-degree view, and super zoom, but only 28% fashion brands are leveraging these. 

With the growth of new-age fashion photography studios and AI-driven photography solutions, technology-forward fashion brands are moving towards optimized AI-supported photo shoots and on-model imagery.

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Arunava Acharjee

(Product Marketing Manager)