There are hundreds of merchants selling the same items at varying price points with different delivery and refund terms on major ecommerce marketplaces. There are a few aspects you can leverage to outperform that cut-throat competition: better refund and delivery terms, better price, and more eloquent product description. However, product photos for Amazon are still one of the most critical high-ROI success factors.
A few cents in the price point doesn't get buyers clicking – not even great seller reviews have quite as much power when it comes to converting the onlookers into buyers.
Moreover, a high-resolution image hints to a user about the quality of the item itself, while a poorly done blurry messy image will definitely scare clients off, driving them to assume, that the item may be of subpar quality too.
Squareshot team has produced hundreds of thousands of images for ecommerce giants like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart, and we are happy to share some of our learnings.
Amazon product photography requirements
When in Rome do as Romans do. When on Amazon, do as Amazon says, – and better than the other merchants.
Rules may be boring, but in the case of this ecommerce giant, their best interest coincides with your best interest: they wanna keep their online store the #1 choice for the customer, – and you want those people to purchase from you.
So every rule and guideline comes from millions of A/B tests that the UX/UI designers did to find the best converting formula. Just follow them.
Main image background
When you start uploading images for your Amazon product listing, you will see that there are the main image and other images that you can upload. This main one should be shot against the white background, to create the clean uncluttered look we all enjoy when scrolling Amazon. The item should take at least 80% of the shot.
Amazon product image size
The smallest size for an image on an Amazon listing should be 500 px for the shortest side. The zoom feature is optimal when the shorter side is 1600 pixels, but it is available to images whose shorter side is 1000+ pixels. The maximum size on the longest side is 10,000 pixels.
That said, we believe this is extreme file size and not environmentally friendly too. Even though Amazon is the biggest cloud service vendor in the world, there's no reason why anyone would need to upload such heavy files for product listings.
Recommended image formats
These file formats are acceptable on Amazon:
- JPEG [.jpg or .jpeg]
- TIFF [.tif]
- PNG [.png]
- GIF [.gif] - not animated
The JPEG is the format of preference though.
Image guidelines for clothing
As Amazon’s women's clothing category on its own has 17 subcategories, they had to come up with separate recommendations for making clothing images for Amazon.
Major takeaways include:
- The main image MUST contain only one product shot front without accessories or props.
- A model needs to have shoes on unless it's a swimwear category.
- A child image is a variant of the main image and should look pretty similar to the main image, usually, the difference is the color of the same SKU.
- Half-face crops are OK for models and diversity of all kinds is welcome on the platform: gender, race, and age just to start with.
- You can keep the crop either rectangular or square, but the platform recommends using the square crop as it provides to features more of your product.
- It’s critical to keep the aspect ratio consistent for your listings.
- Alternate images cannot use promotional text [“free shipping”, “sale”] that can be inserted into the page by Amazon widgets like Manage Promotions tool.
Ecommerce photography for Amazon: Types
These types of images are mundanely used by Amazon product photography studios:
Main Image - Product image on white background
[the shot of a single product on a white background that takes up 80% of the shot. Every main image is allowed to have a child image for different colors and up to 8 alternate shots].
Back shot & angles
[back shot is pretty critical and must follow the main image closely and it’s a non-negotiable must-have. Multiple angles help provide a more well-rounded image of a product].
[one of the alternate images can be a group image of a series of products, collection, or a color spectrum].
Close Up Shot
[Showing details of your product helps raise trust and reduce your return rates as well - if you are selling cheap T-shirts it's OK to show a seam that's not perfect to mold expectations.
Premium clothing photography needs a lot of close-ups to demonstrate the high quality of the product and intricate design].
[Lifestyle images help bridge the gap between online and offline shopping. Use models and context to help potential buyers picture the item as part of their lives].
Product specification & Infographic
Use graphics and ruler marks to advise users about the size and product specifications. Use text sparingly and with taste.
Before & After
If you have some effect that a product produces - you can do a before / after shot. For example, a hair straightening iron or some cleaning product calls for such an image.
With the theory out of the way, let's get down to practical tips and best practices for making a quality picture for Amazon.
How to take the best product photos for Amazon
Naturally, there are hundreds of tricks that a product photo professional will use, these are some of our most popular guidelines:
Tell a story
You will have uploaded up to 10 images per each item listed, going from the formal dry-ish factual main image to vivid lifestyle shots, educational infographics, and detailed closeups.
Unfold your story with each photo, giving context to your item every step of the way.
Use text sparingly
Don’t clutter your shots with lots of fine print or heaps of font-bolded CTA across your image.
Text is only auxiliary to the image, don't let it overwhelm and steal the spotlight.
Use brand colors, font, and size. Comic sans? Rather not.
If your designer is no digital Picasso yet,—or you have to DIY product photos for Amazon over budget constraints,—go minimalistic and classy, rather than using limiting cursive or creative fonts.
Get a lifestyle image to bridge the gap between online and offline sales
Make a potential buyer picture an item in their life. Get a model riding a bike, place a spoon on a kitchen table with cute placemats, and lay out the toolkit for car repair next to a car with a garage blurred in the background.
Use models and appropriate locations that resonate with the product, brand, and price point.
Use colored backgrounds & props on other product images for ambiance
The MAIN image should be all factual, but you can sure employ some sentimental triggers in OTHER product images.
Pastel colors work great as the backdrop for baby product images.
Use similarly-styled kitchen products to accompany your kitchenware items.
Consider making Instagram-like collages with classical props like a glossy magazine, a cup of coffee, or a vase with a bouquet to create the ambiance of the morning.
Attention wears off - place your images strategically
10 product photos per listing are quite a lot. So not all users will see your 10th image, so will drop off. Many will survive only to see your first 3 images.
Are you getting the gist? Your first two images should be your two most critical for sales. The first three - should be the best three. And so on.
When ordering your photos, order them knowing that each following picture gets fewer and fewer hits.
A/B test for CTR
Amazon is a leading ecommerce marketplace for a reason, one of them being they provide merchants with all the tools necessary to gauge and improve their performance.
A/B test your images to see which ones get more hits.
Another idea is to conduct an A/B test in a Facebook ad manager. This way you will be able to get fast results without much impact on your merchant scores or ratings.
Get ready with a plan & item list
First things first, preparation is half the battle won. In the matter of product photography, having a well-organized plan means savings, as you pay for a studio rental, photographer, equipment, models, etc.
A detailed plan with the schedule, deadlines, costs, people responsible, and the list of items needed on the set will help you save time and money.
Tripod, lighting, studio, equipment
Needless to say, doing product photography for Amazon entails the regular suspects of success. A tripod for steadiness and angle consistency. A good set of lighting equipment for a perfect shot on white background for Amazon. And the list goes on. [Read out the full guide on how to prepare for a photoshoot]
So if you have budgets for high-quality equipment, a well-lit photo studio, and professional product photography services as a packaged deal, we recommend you do that. The ecommerce business is highly competitive and if there's one battle you need to win - it's the visual one.
eCommerce photography for Amazon: Higher Image Quality = Higher Sales
Amazon marketing is a complex web of rules and best practices. You have so much to do with pricing, product descriptions, delivery terms, refund policy, and competitive positioning - just to name a few of the mission-critical tasks.
However, quality product images can become a perpetual sales stimulant, whereas poor imagery leads to eternal demise. In the eyes of a user, bad images = sloppiness and unprofessionalism.
Want to set your Amazon shop for success? Start with good professional images, and DIY the rest. Is it OK to DIY pictures for Amazon? In all honesty, not at this point of development of the marketing place. It could work 5-10 years ago, but at this stage of the platform's genesis, you can hardly see DIYed photos on the first page of the search results.
The good thing is that when you try selling your products on Amazon, you start with a small batch of SKUs as you get to know the platform. This allows budding Amazon salesmen and saleswomen to invest a reasonable amount of marketing budgets into studio-level product images and appreciate its value personally through sales.
Looking for a reliable photo service provider? Chat to your manager to see how Squareshot can help.