The importance of product photography for ecommerce websites

In my new role at Gibe Digital I spend many hours visiting ecommerce sites, across multiple industry sectors, and I’m amazed that I continue to find so many ecommerce sites with poor or limited product photography. For example, a premium shoe retailer’s nicely-designed website featured a beautiful handmade leather boot, on sale for £150. When I reached the product page I was astounded to be presented with a single side shot of the product. What is the toe shape? What does the back of the heel look like? What do the laces look like from above? What kind of sole does the boot have? All these important questions went unanswered, with the likely result that possible sales were lost.

The importance of product pages to an e-commerce site should never be underestimated. These pages represent a final ‘push’, a last chance to convince the customer that the product they are considering is right for them. As we all know, visitors are influenced by photography when shopping online, and pictures really do sell. Therefore I wanted highlight key product shots that should be included on the product page.

Show alternative shots

Show multiple product shots on each product page. This will (a) display product benefits, (b) show features and versatility, (c) highlight any USPs and (d) convey a sense of scale. Consider key angles for each product, for example the toe shape for a pair of shoes, the inside of a handbag or the back of a jacket. It’s important to understand the needs of customers during their decision-making process; multiple product shots show customers that an ecommerce site is working hard to address these needs, with the aim of making their buying decision as easy and straightforward as possible. Visit for great examples of alternative product shots.


On fashion websites it has now become the norm to show items on a model as well as flat or on a mannequin. Show on-the-body shots to aid size and fit (stating the model’s height and garment size for reference in each case). It is also worth deciding whether or not to show the full shot of the model or to crop out their face. The latter is in fact cheaper, but you need to consider whether this is the look you want for your brand. Visit Atterley for examples of on the body shots.

Show details

Show close-up detail shots, especially if selling premium quality items, to draw users’ attention to key features such as fabric weave, special features, branding or other detailing. See an example above from Bang &Olufen. These shots are an effective way to communicate the unique qualities of any products that may be difficult to describe with copy. In addition, where brand values focus on qualities like heritage, craftsmanship or tradition, detail shots can also help to convey a sense of these values. 

Show in natural environment

Alongside studio shots, you should also consider lifestyle photography. If you are selling a waterproof coat, for example, show it being worn outdoors in the rain; if it’s a running shorts, show it on a runner pounding through the countryside (see an example above from my sports brand of the moment, Tracksmith who excel and using fantastic lifestyle photography through out their website). Lifestyle shots are equally as important as studio shots because they show the product in use, helping to create desire for the product and telling the brand story. In short – as their name suggests - they sell a lifestyle.




About the Author

John Williams avatar

John Williams, Sales and Marketing

John was once a client who joined the Gibe team for several years to help us with sales and marketing. He left Gibe to return to the world of freelance marketing and is once again a wonderful client for Gibe.