Matt shared his thought process on taking product photos for your ecommerce website. First, he said businesses need events to happen. That could be communicating a message or a feeling. Photos, videos and copywriting are all tools for achieving this.
Now, when Matt and his team start to take photos, they always start with a question. “What’s the job?” What job/purpose does this photo need to achieve? They approach the question by trying to solve this through imagery.
According to Matt, the job of the photos will differ depending on their location on the website. He gave an example of a homepage image. Its purpose could be to showcase the products. Maybe it is to build trust and credibility. That means we should show that the products exist. A photo of a person using one of the products might seem credible.
Another example was a banner image on a specific product page. Matt advised taking a close-up photo of a hand holding the product. Its job will be to show the visuals of the product, including its relative size compared to the hand. In a general sense, it communicates what the product is with a little bit of detail.
Matt said this question helped his team to gain many insights. There were even times when they realised there was no need to change the photo. [If you currently cannot afford professional photography, you can follow this question while holding your phone.]
The next topic was about showing your business’s ‘magic dust’ in visuals. Matt brought up one of his past clients, Didgeridoo Breath (DB). Before they made the change, DB’s website only showed photos of the products alone. They also had a photo gallery showing their shows, but you had to actively dig deep into the website to find the page.
Matt and his team decided to experiment. They attempted to put photos with big smiles on DB’s website. The DB team held their instruments with big smiles and wacky poses. These photos were placed in the dropdown menu and almost all of the other pages. As a result, their sales increased. This also had a secondary benefit. The tone of email enquiries had changed. Everyone sounded more excited and bright.
Technically, what the DB team is doing has not changed. They continued doing the same stuff with the same people. But through Matt and his team’s photos, they have now clearly communicated their activities to the world. Matt summarised it as, “the pictures that you choose and use will impact your business in ways that you won’t expect.”
He said to find your business’s ‘magic dust’ and turn it into visuals for people to bond. Visuals can include photos, videos and illustrations. If you are not sure whether the visuals are representing your ‘magic dust’, here is a good practice. Try replacing your business name with another business name. If the visuals still make sense, you haven’t gone deep enough. When you are stuck, ask your existing customers what they think makes your store special.
The next topic was about business outfits. To ecommerce stores, their business outfit is their branding. It is their choices of design, words, pictures, and everything shown in their store. Matt shared his experience when he first started his photography business. Some of the photos on the websites were old and of lower quality. His lack of confidence showed when he said to a client, “please don’t judge the website.”
Matt advised fixing sections on your store that chip away at your confidence. He also said to continue fixing them bit by bit instead of making it a big project. Anything you do to make yourself feel better will pay off in many different ways.
Matt shared a short story. When he and his team take photoshoots, the photos come out on a big screen that the clients can see. When they see their beautifully taken products, some tear up. Some clients comment how proud they feel seeing their products taken by a professional. After the photoshoots, Matt said he saw their use of words changed. They sound more confident.