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Pylyp Sukhenko

How to photograph eyewear for higher CTR

in this article

Eyewear product photography is in top demand for several reasons: the rise of ecommerce, the addiction of users to screens resulting in deteriorating sight, the globalization of the market, the elevation of looks as a social status symbol. People need and want more glasses: the accessory that looks good on Instagram and helps to see better. 

Whatever the reason for the rising popularity of images of this fragile ecommerce product, we reckon it’s only the beginning. According to the Grand View Research report, the global eyewear market is set to grow at a CAGR of 8.5% from 2021 to 2028, sitting comfortably at $147 billion in 2020. That’s a lot of growth from a rather high number.


Is this too far-fetched to suggest, that product photography is one of the moving forces behind the growing online sales of glasses and sunglasses? 

Not really.

In the era of ads, banners, and visual saturation, it takes a nice eye-catching image to grab the customer's attention and convert it into a purchase.

As we see it, any ecommerce business is one photo away from a sale.

Squareshot specializes in product photography and we have made hundreds of images of glasses: both prescription and UV-protecting ones. Based on this vast expertise, we are delighted to share some of the secrets of how to produce a perfect photo of eyewear.

Types of eyeglasses: the common denominator for the concept shoot 

Eyeglasses come in all shapes and forms with single lenses, bifocals, trifocals, and even progressive lenses.

They can have full-frame, semi-frame, or be totally frameless. Some have no handles either, by the way. The materials used for the lens as well as for the frame vary vastly depending on the budget, purpose, and durability.

But the main classification of the types of eyewear is based on the purpose they perform: if it's medical, to protect from the sun, or to reduce digital eye strain while working on a PC. These are the main categories:

  • Prescription glasses [medical device to help people see better depending on their medical condition]
  • OTC eyewear – reading eyewear [to aid seeing close, like a book]
  • Sunglasses [UV protective or with polarized lenses]
  • Safety glasses [medical use, scientific, construction, etc.]
  • Digital protection glasses [blue-light blocking]

Knowing what it is you need to shoot helps to come up with the right concept of the photos.

What is important for glasses product photography

Surgery-room spotless sterile cleanliness

We are sorry to bore you with the basics, but even if you think your pair is clean, chances are – it may have come into contact with a hair that has been blown onto a lip gloss or with fingers and has some prints on it.

No prints from fingers or lip balm?

Speck and dust may have come their way.

There is no way you can produce a shot that will not require any editing of spots and dust specks, we know. But keeping your glasses as clean as possible is your goal during a shoot anyway. Have the cloth and the canned air by hand at all times in your studio.

Concept – the firm foundation

First, there was an idea.

Around it evolved the entire photoshoot. 

Indeed, the concept is pivotal to the entire process: from planning the shoot to buying props, casting models, choosing the photographer, and finalizing the photo editing stage.

In order to write up a perfect brief for your product photo studio ensure you: 

Have a clear understanding of the:

  • user persona [this will help to choose props, models, concept];
  • budget [the premium eyeglasses usually take up premium budgets to produce imagery and need more of the hero shots, lifestyle, and model images];
  • the main purpose of the item [prescription piece and sunglasses call for a different approach in terms of creativity and style];
  • have studied the existing body of similar photos & found references;
  • defined the colors, fonts, props, materials, model profiles aligned with your brand book or visual company representation;
  • know how you are going to sell, through which channels: the website, marketplaces, social media, email, or influencer marketing [this will define the number, types, and size of images, GIFs, and videos you may require];
  • make sure to check the portfolio of similar works by your photographer and check if they have a brief format, they prefer clients to fill out [or is it a free-style enumeration of the number and types of images, references, deadlines, budget expectations].

Lighting & diffusion: the glare fighters and foes-turned-friends

One of the main difficulties and focus matters in glasses product photography is how to avoid glare that comes from the reflection of the light sources on the set.

In a nutshell: it’s all about the shape and size of the glasses, and the distance and the angle between objects, as well as the intensity of light.

Is it possible to reduce the amount of the glare and reflected object on the surface of the eyepieces to the minimum, or in a manner that requires no post-production manipulation? 

In most cases, this is a mission possible. 

Read on to find out HOW a few paragraphs later.

Focus stacking: the software trick that saves time to produce one sharp image out of a series of partially sharp images

A 3/4th angle is probably as popular as the front shot in glasses ecommerce photography.

The main concern with the type of the product image is the fact that a macro shot only allows one part of the object in focus at a time.

This is why a photography technique called focus stacking is often employed to produce ¾ angle images that still have all parts of the object in focus.

This is usually achieved by taking several shots with the different focus starting from the furthest point of the object moving forward. Both camera and the object must be fixed at the time of taking this series of shots. The only thing different is the focus settings and the lighting sometimes.

A program, like a Helicon focus or an Adobe Lightroom stacking function, is then used to stack those images together and allow the software to choose the sharpest part of the object in a series. The resulting image is then sharp in its entirety.

Choosing angles for eyewear shots: the functional role and the creative appeal

These are the most popular angles for the shooting of eyeglasses of all types:

Front shot with glasses leaning on handles

You take an upfront shot for the online store and marketplaces. Moreover, ideally, you will have markings on the table where you place the pair of glasses – so that they look uniform and nicely lined up on a page. 

On the backstage side of things, a photographer may use blue tack to fix the glasses to the surface and use markings on the table to position glasses for the uniform representation of the entire series.

See how Diesel sunglasses look all nicely lined up on a category page for example. A straight-on image of the eyepiece leaning on the handles is the classic of the glasses photography for ecommerce.

Flat lay straight-on image with handles folded in

The other variation includes a flat lay image with the handles folded in, so that a user can see the interior design and inscription on the handles, as in this example from eyebuydirect.

Not only can the user see some of the branding and technical information, like the "Rainbow" series, "eyebuydirect" brand, and "made in China" manufacturing data, they can also appreciate the shape and design of the handles. 

Note, the shadow of the handles is there while the shadow of the frame is not – yet you get the dimensional look from the shadow of the handle alone without overwhelming the image with nuance.

3/4th angle is the next best thing, that gives dynamics and allows it to feature a brand logo and some inscriptions on the outside and inner side of the handles.

And yes, focus stacking is required as described above for this angle.

This pair of opulent Gucci sunglasses as featured in DesignerOptics is a good example: you get a glimpse of the logo, brand inscription, as well as metal inner element on the handle.

Zoom in on a detail worth the focus

Closeup or focus on details is mostly used for handcrafted or premium segment eyewear, whereby there are intricate details appealing to the eye by design in a pair.

Check out these zooms in by David King – that allow users to appreciate the fine detailing of these premium sunglasses.

There are more popular angles when it comes to making pictures of the eyewear, like the practical backshot and the irregular angles, which allow for maximum creativity.

How to shoot a model with glasses on and avoid glare

We thought you’d never ask!

This happens more often than not. It has to do with eyewear ecommerce photography as much as with regular pictures of the models, speakers, interviewees who wear glasses in their life. So, this issue extends way beyond the topic of selling eyewear online in fact. It’s the pain of too many photographers and videographers out there.

These are our best tips:

  • Place a light source above the subject with glasses on [this helps to ensure that the reflection is seen from way below where your camera is positioned];
  • Place the source of light slightly at an angle, not right above the subject [which will also ensure the object is lit enough yet without obvious glare reflected on the glasses];
  • Use a big source of light with diffuser [if you use a big diffused source of light, chances are it will reflect in a manner complementary to the shot, not detrimental];
  • Use a reflector card to fill in with light the sides of the object, which lacks light due to the source of light being positioned too far to avoid the glare.

It may take a few test shots to set up the softbox, reflector, and the object in the glasses in a manner that allows for minimum glare yet sufficient exposure. You may need to experiment with the distance the equipment is positioned towards the object as well as the angle and intensity to come up with the perfect setup.

How to edit glasses product photos

Depending on the complexity of your shoot setup, concept, the background used, angles, props, model, etc., the post-production stage may vary and take up from half an hour to days of editing.

These are regular actions you’ll need to perform during the editing process of the image with eyepieces:

  • Remove background
  • Pretty up or remove shadows
  • Remove any spots and speckles on the surfaces
  • Merge images with focus stacking functionality so that to ensure all parts of the object are in focus
  • Clean up the reflections and glare in the glasses
  • Tweak exposure and color settings
  • Resize according to the channels of distribution

How much does the glasses product photography cost?

When it comes to pricing of the product photography, things differ depending on the geo, professional level of the chosen studio, quality, experience, creativity – on top of the myriad of technical aspects we spoke about extensively in this piece.

The danger is that a quality image may be hard to tell to a person uninitiated in photography, but it takes its magic toll in high conversion numbers on the website and social media.

We will charge anywhere about $50 per image, but the price goes down with our subscription packages though. That said, we carry full responsibility for the quality of our work and have an extensive portfolio to prove our worth for your ecommerce store.

Wondering how much would your product photoshoot cost when commissioned to a professional photo studio guaranteeing perfect results? Talk to our team – it’s free and would be beneficial for anyone in ecommerce: from shop owner to digital manager.

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