Holiday Series: Be Picture Perfect

photo-2We don’t have to tell you: The holiday season is a huge time for online merchants, like you. It’s the time when shoppers are busy making their lists, checking them twice—and buying like crazy.

For you, that can mean lots of sales. (There’s a reason why the last part of the year is the most lucrative for merchants.) And with all that potential traffic headed your way, we put together this 2015 Holiday Series to help your products look their best—and to help you have a very merry holiday season. Our first topic? Product photography.

Really, You May Need Help

Take a hard, critical look at the photographs you use to represent your products. Even if your suppliers offer stock images for your products, you’re better served taking your own pictures. This makes your photos stand out in search results, especially if other merchants are selling the same products.

Setting Up Your Studio

Getting the perfect shot doesn’t require a huge investment, but there is certain equipment that will help bump your photos from so-so to totally pro.

  • Your camera: While your phone might be great for snapping shots of your family at the zoo, having a camera dedicated to product photographyand taking the time to learn to use all its featurescan boost the quality of your photos. Whether you go with a DSL-R or a smaller point-and-shoot, look for one with built-in flash and rechargeable batteries.
  • A tripod: Everyone occasionally gets shaky hands while taking photosavoid this by finding a tripod that fits your camera to ensure steady shots.
  • Lighting: Natural lighting or the flash on your camera will most likely be all you need, but for smaller products you should invest in a light box (or you can make your own) to eliminate glare and make sure your products look their best. 

Products Should Take Center Stage

When you’re staging photographs, be sure your product is the focus of the shot.

  • Backgrounds: Your backgrounds should be a solid neutral colorbeige or gray for exampleto avoid distracting from the product. Use rolls of smooth paper (available at your local craft store) or a plain colored wall around your house. Even your bathtub (assuming it’s clean!) could provide a white background in a pinch!
  • Accessories: If you include other items in your shots (say you’re selling a table and you stage the table with a lamp or books), include a note in the product description clarifying that the other items shown are not included or may be available separately.
  • Watermarks: Avoid using watermarks or other branding items (whether added digitally or not). These distract from your product, which should be the focus. Also, images with watermarks are less likely to be shared on social media—and you want your shoppers to share your products as much as possible.

Find OpenSky’s Next Top Model

Lifestyle photography—or images that show the item being used in a real situationcan drive more clicks than photos taken on plain white backgrounds, so hire or enlist someone you know to be your model for a day.

  • Keep it Real: A model wearing a fitness watch should probably also be wearing running clothes or yoga gear, not a business suit or little black dress, while the opposite is true for fine jewelry. Make sure your model’s entire outfit fits the product.
  • Does it Fit? You may need to enlist the help of more than one friend to make sure the clothes you’re selling fit your model in an appealing way. Clothes that fit Jane well may not fit Susan the same way, and you want your products (and your friends!) to look their best in your photos.
  • It’s all in the Details: Consider including your model’s measurements in the product description so people can get an idea of how your clothes should fit them. This is in addition to fit notes like “slim fit” or “runs true to size.” And, of course, if your friend is modeling rings or bracelets, make sure their nails are clean and neatly manicured.

Tech Specs

After you’ve done all your hard work, make sure your photographs fit OpenSky’s technical requirements. Ideally, your images should measure at least 544 by 544 pixels, but to enable the zoom on the Product Page, they should be at least 1,248 by 1,248 pixels. Save them as .JPG or .PNG files, and make sure they stay under 5MB each.

See OpenSky’s technical requirements here and get tips on touching up or resizing your photos before you upload them here. Need some inspiration for lifestyle photos and backgrounds? Get it here.

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