6 tips for taking product photos in 2024

Woman taking product photo

Learn best practices for creating great product photos to increase your ecommerce sales and revenue in 2024.

Why are product photos important?

Product photos can make or break a sale. High-quality photos can bring products to life and are help customers evaluate and learn about your product.

Product photos are images used to promote and display products and services online, showcasing a variety of different angles and use cases.

Appealing yet accurate product photography also helps keep return rates in check. Have you ever received a product that looked nothing like its product photo? Having a beautiful yet realistic image of your product is important to maintain customer satisfaction, a positive brand reputation, and avoid the extra cost and labor that comes with returns.

Woman looking at computer.

Woman looking at computer.

Equipment you will need to take product photos

How can you take great product photos that stand out and entice customers to purchase, while on a budget? Here are some things you’ll need to take high-quality product photos:

  • Camera: Invest in a high-quality camera. That may be a DSLR or simple point-and-shoot camera. You can even take product photos with a smartphone. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive camera or come with lots of gadgets, but find one that you can easily use that also produces realistic pictures. You can even buy some quality cameras used or second hand.
  • Tripod: Using a tripod rather than your hands can help keep your camera still and avoid blurry pictures. Many great tripods start at around $25.
  • White background: This will serve as your primary background for product images. Create a seamless background by using a thin sheet of flexible yet sturdy white material attached to a table with clips, with the other end placed or taped against a wall. These can be purchased at your local craft or arts store.
  • White bounce cards: These can help augment the light and fill in shadows. They can also be purchased at your local craft or arts store.
  • Light tent or lightbox: This is a wireframe box with translucent walls that helps evenly distribute light around the object in focus. The product is placed inside the box.
  • Table or flat surface: This is necessary to create an even surface for your product and any other accessories so they don’t appear lopsided.
  • Chair: You can take pictures of smaller items on a chair. You can do this by pushing the back of a chair against a wall, taping a flexible white background to the wall above the chair, allowing it to fall over the chair to the ground. This creates a clean transition between vertical and horizontal planes for taking photos.
  • Stand-mounted sweep: For larger product items like furniture, opt for a stand-mounted sweep, which is a white background that curves to provide a seamless background. Alternatively, use large white craft paper taped against a wall to create a seamless sweep.
  • Tape or clips: Great for a variety of uses, these help keep your background and your products in place.
Business owners taking product photos

Business owners taking product photos.

How to take product photos

Attract customers with quality product photography by adhering to a few guidelines related to composition, styling, background, and more. Here are some things to consider for ecommerce photography.

1. Highlight key features through composition and styling

The composition of a photo serves as a visual guide to highlight specific features or benefits of your products. This can be expressed through different camera angles and the position of the product in the frame (top-down, three-quarter, head-on, overhead, or adjusting the distance of the product from the camera). In every angle, the product should be placed centrally. Composition can also make the frame of the image look dynamic.

Product styling communicates your brand values and helps convey emotion. It helps customers get an idea or feeling of what your brand is like. Styling includes lighting, colors, textures, and additional elements not included with your product like added objects to help convey a message.

For example, if you were selling holiday cookie cutters, the photo may include a plate of fresh baked cookies and sprigs of holly in the background.

Here are some different types of product photography shots you may want to showcase in your listing:

  • Individual: Contains only one object or element in the frame.
  • Group: Showcases more than one product, like a kit or a collection. For example, a collection of wine bottles.
  • Lifestyle: Shows your products in action. These shots tell the story behind your product and show your customers how they can use them in their daily lives. Styling is crucial to lifestyle shots.
  • Scale: Helps customers gauge the actual size of a product. Product descriptions may list the dimensions of an item, but it can be difficult for customers to know what that looks like in practice, especially without a frame of reference. Scale shots give customers a better idea of the actual size of a product by comparing it with other everyday items.
  • Detailed: Products with small details like jewelry may require a closeup, detailed shot to help highlight specific product features.
  • Packaging: Many customers care about packaging and knowing how the product will look when it arrives. If your brand has beautiful packaging, show it off so customers know what they can expect from the full experience of your brand.
  • 360 product photos: If you’re an advanced photographer or outsourcing to a professional, consider 360 product photography. It involves capturing a 360-degree product image set, then putting the images together into an interactive product animation that allows customers to rotate and zoom to inspect product details from every angle.

For example, let’s say you sell plant pots. You can take an individual photo of just one plant pot, another of a plant pot in a group (perhaps displaying the various colors, styles, or sizes you offer), another featuring someone placing a plant in your pot (lifestyle), and a detailed shot showing a closeup of a feature, like a removeable tray.

Take a look at products similar to yours to get inspiration for composition and styling, as well as the variety of shot types they feature.

2. Use a white background

For product photography, shooting with a white background creates a clean, simple look and keeps the focus on the product. A white background enhances the colors, textures, and details of your products, without distracting the customer.

For more creative photos or lifestyle shots, you can introduce more color and texture to the image in the background. Using a colored, textured, or lifestyle background creates contrast and mood, and it can help signal the mission or feeling of your brand.

As a best practice, always have white background images of your product, and then consider adding additional, colorful or detailed ambient backgrounds.

3. Put your product in the best light

Quality lighting is key when shooting product photos. It helps to accurately represent the product’s colors, texture, and details to the customer.

You don’t need additional lights to take a great image (although we’ll talk about that too). Sometimes, using natural light that comes through a window can be sufficient. Play around with what time of day the light in your home, office, or studio works best for the type of images you want to achieve.

If you don’t have access to adequate natural lighting, try artificial lighting to create a consistent look in your product shots. It’s more predictable than natural lighting, and you can shoot at any time during the day. You can control the light strength, warmth, and direction.

In either case, using white foam board bounce cards can create a more balanced and flattering exposure for photos, especially on sunny or cloudy days. They enhance the light, fill in shadows, reduce contrast, shape products in photos, or brighten and create even shadows.

4. Set up your product shot

Now it’s time to create your product photography setup:

  • Place your product in front of or on your chosen background. Make sure it’s centered and flat. Glue dots, tape, and clips can help keep small products in place, while hangers, mannequins, or a model can help with clothing and jewelry.
  • Adjust your lighting of choice, either natural or artificial. If using natural light, place your backdrop and shooting surface close to the window. If the light is too intense, diffuse with a sheet or paper draped over the window. If using artificial lights, place your primary light in front of your product, and another positioned behind or above your product. You can use one or several lights to achieve your desired look, and use white foam board bounce cards to fill in or augment shadows. Document your lighting positioning to remember it for future shots.
  • Set up your tripod in front of the prepped product.
  • Attach your camera to your tripod and adjust the white balance found in your camera settings to the same Kelvin temperature as your natural or artificial light. For a sharp, focused look, set a smaller aperture (the lens opening that admits the light) for a wider depth of field.
  • Turn flash off.
  • Adjust your camera settings. Set your camera to “raw” if your camera has this setting. If not, set it to the highest quality image setting, like JPEG. For the size, choose large, and for the quality, select superfine if available.
  • Have the product fill 85% or more of the frame. To do this, make sure your tripod is positioned close enough so the product takes up space, but not so close that customers don’t understand what they are looking at or product features are cut off—unless it’s intentional to highlight a specific feature.
  • Take multiple photos at different angles. Play around and adjust. Make sure to highlight key product features as well as the overall product.
Man editing/looking at his computer

Man on his computer.

5. Edit and enhance your photos

You have your photos, now it’s time to put on the finishing touches with these tips:

  • Adjust tone, brightness, and contrast: Utilize the tone and color adjustments in a photo editing software. This can make a dark photo brighter in case your lighting wasn’t enough, darken an overly bright image, or soften an exposed image. You can also manipulate shadows in a lifestyle image if desired.
  • Enhance colors: The colors in a product photo may get affected by a variety of factors, such as background, lighting, or something else. For example, a color can look washed out in a raw image or reflect on the background and change the tone. Use color enhancing features to make adjustments as needed.
  • Sharpen images: Sharpening emphasizes the texture of a product image. It can identify edges and add contrast. This is particularly helpful for blurry images.
  • Crop photos: This can help achieve consistent shape and size across all photos. Cropping can help improve composition or eliminate accessories or other elements that aren’t important to the product.
  • Remove unwanted items: Sometimes, an item used to style an image, a spot on a background, or an issue with the product (like wrinkly clothes or a glare on sunglasses) can be distracting. While some reflections are essential, others are unwanted. If you aren’t able to remove unwanted elements by cropping, use masking and selection tools in photo editing software.
  • Don’t skimp on retouching: While you may be on a budget, if you’re not skilled in photo editing and retouching, it may be worth hiring a professional to make sure you get the most attractive shot possible. An overly edited, under edited, or poorly edited photo can hurt your sales.
  • Product image requirements: Make sure you are adhering to the product image requirements of the specific website or marketplace you are selling on and following product detail page rules. The Amazon store has unique technical and content requirements for images to ensure that customers see accurate, helpful, and high-quality images. For example, every product in the Amazon store must have at least one image. We prefer images larger than 1,000 pixels on each side to allow for zoom, which can enhance sales. We also prefer images are provided in the JPEG file format.

6. Optimize ecommerce photos

Once you’ve edited and enhanced your photos, one of the last steps to creating an engaging product photo is to optimize them. But what does that mean?

Image optimization refers to the process of modifying and delivering high-quality images in the optimal format, dimension, size, and resolution for the device accessing them. Optimized images lead to faster website loading times and more visibility in search results.

So how does it work? Here are some tips:

  • Reduce image size: Keep the smallest possible file size that will not sacrifice image quality. Compressing images to a smaller size can reduce loading time when a customer visits your page or clicks the image. Image content delivery networks are image optimizing tools can also greatly reduce image file sizes.
  • Consider image format: In general, JPEG, GIF, and PNG files are image file types for the web that can be compressed. JPEG is the standard and most frequently used image because it allows for more color, and it can be compressed to small file sizes while retaining image quality. GIF images work well for icons and thumbnails, and they support animation. While they have larger file sizes, PNG images offer higher-quality images with greater color depth, and they permit translucent backgrounds.
  • Include clear images names: When naming your product images, think about how a customer would describe the product while searching online. You can use image optimization plugins to find what keywords customers frequently use. Use descriptive titles, which tells search engines what your product image is about.
  • Utilize alt text: Alt text isn’t visible on the product detail page, but it describes the image to visually impaired customers and is ranked by search engines. Alt text also impacts the search engine optimization (SEO) of your site and helps your product appear in search results. Alt text should be a simple sentence describing the image that includes 1 to 2 keywords.
  • Include thumbnails: Using thumbnails can improve product page SEO and allows customers to preview multiple products.
  • Use image sitemaps: Sitemaps for images are tools that offer more details about the images on your website. Image sitemaps are a way of telling search engines about images on your site to improve SEO.
  • Offer mobile and responsive images: Optimize your product photos for mobile. Many customers shop on their phones, so providing them the best experience where they are can help convert to sales. Responsive images load properly on a desktop, tablet, or mobile. Optimizing images for all three can improve the user experience.
Did you know?
Anyone can use Amazon SEO to grow sales
You don’t need to be a search optimization specialist to take your sales to the next level. All Amazon sellers can use keyword research and other SEO methods to optimize product listings and drive sales.

If you’re a brand owner enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry—a free resource to help build and protect your brand—you can also access advanced SEO resources like the Search Query Performance dashboard and Top Search Terms dashboard.

What to avoid

We’ve covered what to do to create high-quality product photos, but it’s also important to address some mistakes to avoid:

  • Not having a white background: In most cases, product shots should be taken against a white background (RGB color values: 255, 255, 255). This is an industry standard and also a default setting with Amazon.
  • Overpowering accessories, models, or backgrounds: Think product first. If you are using a model, accessories, or creative backgrounds in your product image, remember less is more. Make sure they don’t take the attention away from your product.
  • Overly creative angles and positioning: Composition is important, and in most cases, the simplest positioning and angles are best. Stick to standard dead-on front shot, back shots, side shots, overhead, closeups, and 45-degree shots. Keep in mind the rule of thirds, which means you place your product in the left or right third of an image to leave the other two thirds more open.
  • Low resolution images: Resist the urge to have a low-quality or poorly compressed image. High-resolution images are more appealing to customers’ eyes, provide better details about your product, and can help convert shoppers into buyers.
  • Poor exposure and lighting: Lighting is key when it comes to product photos. So if you didn’t get the perfect lighting in your photo when shooting, correct it with photo editing software.
  • Not using a tripod: An affordable tripod is easy to find and worth it to avoid blurry images.
  • Not optimizing for SEO: Make sure to optimize your product photos for SEO. After all the hard work you put into styling, shooting, editing, and optimizing a great photo, the last thing you want is for customers not be able to find it because of poor SEO (not using alt attributes or improper file naming).

Advice for brands

Product photos not only inform shoppers about your products, but they also help to tell the story of your brand.

Make sure to maintain a consistent visual style that helps distinguish your brand. This applies to both product images against a white background and lifestyle images (even when showing different use cases). You want your objects to be placed in the same spot against the background and your camera at the same distance from your product. You also want a customer to be able to recognize the look and feel of your product and brand.

Additional product photo resources for brands

Now that your product photos have been shot, edited, and optimized, there are several ways to enhance your product listings to boost traffic and sales.

Brands that enroll in Amazon Brand Registry can get access to helpful resources below like A+ Content to better engage with customer.

Habit Vitamins lofi ui product detail page

A+ Content

Showcase your products and tell your brand’s story with A+ Content and 3D models—an advanced option for adding video, enhanced images, product-comparison charts, and other features to your product photography on your product detail pages.

Basic A+ Content can increase sales by up to 8%–and well-implemented Premium A+ Content can increase sales by up to 20%.

Did you know?
Interactive hotspots let customers engage more deeply with your product images
Product hotspots, included in Premium A+ Content, can zoom in on key features of a product. Interactive hotspot modules highlight different aspects of a product image with text. Customers can interact with products by hovering over hotspots and learning details about how the product fulfills a need. Design hotspots to engage customers and help them understand why a product is worth purchasing.

3D models and augmented reality

Give customers an immersive shopping experience. Let them see a product from all sides with View in 3D, or give them the opportunity to see it in their own space with View in Your Room. You can also let customers see themselves in shoes and eyewear in real time with Virtual Try-On.

On average, customers who viewed a listing with a 3D model were 2x more likely to make a purchase after viewing the product in 3D or trying it on virtually.

Interactive AR and 3D Experiences | Amazon Accelerate 2023
Our suite of augmented reality (AR) and 3D shopping experiences bring your products to life, allowing customers to interactively engage and realistically evaluate items. From virtually trying on shoes to evaluating makeup and visualizing items in their own home, customers can use AR and 3D to see products in detail from any angle. Our interactive shopping experiences have not only increased engagement with more than 80% of customers likely to use these experiences again, but they’ve also led to +1.5-3x improvements in purchase conversions. Join us to walk through Amazon’s AR and 3D experiences and understand the steps required to enable this content for your products. You’ll also get insight into new platforms, partnerships, and technologies (via the Amazon Seller app) to help you create 3D assets.

Service Provider Network

The Service Provider Network is a directory of third-parties, vetted by Amazon, to help you manage and grow your business in the Amazon store. From getting great images of your products, to improving your chances of increasing sales in the Amazon store, Amazon service providers can assist with every step of selling online.

Product photography FAQs

Do product photos increase sales?
Yes, your ecommerce brand can see higher sales and conversion rates with product photos. They not only help customers learn about and evaluate your product, but they can also increase the visibility of your listing through SEO.
How can I take product photos with a smartphone?
Utilize the product photography setup tips mentioned above, and also make sure to:
  • Choose your smartphone wisely: Aim to use a newer model with a 12-megapixel camera or more.
  • Smartphone tripod: Use a tripod specifically geared towards smartphones that has a grip specific to the phone.
  • Use the rear-facing camera of your smartphone: The rear-facing camera is usually higher resolution than the front-facing camera. Selfie-mode or flipped camera mode can result in odd angles and lower quality results.
  • Set up white balance: Touch the WB button on your phone, and then touch a white background (the white background you used in your product photography setup).
  • Set up exposure: Tap the exposure button on your phone and then touch the product.
  • Keep the product in focus: Tap the focus button, then touch your product to properly focus.
  • Lock camera settings: Tap each setting again to lock it into place. This stops the smartphone camera from automatically adjusting the settings.
What are Amazon’s photo requirements?
Every product on Amazon must have at least one image, and we recommend having at least six. All images must be:
  • 500 to 10,000 pixels on their longest side
  • In JPEG, TIFF, PNG, or non-animated GIF file formats
  • Clear, unpixellated, and have no jagged edges
Learn more about Amazon’s photo requirements on Seller Central.

Ready to start taking photos?

Great photos are key to making a good first impression with customers. Start using these product photo tips to attract customers and drive sales.

Mickey Toogood
Mickey Toogood
Mickey Toogood is a Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Amazon. He’s passionate about connecting sellers with ecommerce opportunities. He also loves books, travel, and music.