How to Take Great Pictures for Your Boutique Website
We all know that looks can be deceiving. Unfortunately, that old adage can be a major disadvantage to you if you primarily sell online.
Your products could look amazing in real life, made with high-quality materials in on-trend styles.
But if the photos you use to market your products and your overall brand aren’t great… well, potential customers might turn up their noses and assume your products themselves aren’t anything special, either.
If you have an online presence at all, the photos you use for your website are super important.
(And if you don’t have an online presence… well, you could definitely use one!)
For one, great photos act like your hardest-working salesperson, showcasing your products in their best light and helping your customers feel more confident checking out online, even when they can’t touch or try on your products.
But beyond that, the photos you use also communicate something about your brand. Throughout your website, you may use photos that don’t focus 100% on your products at all – photos that show off your ideal customer, aspirational lifestyle photos, stock photos that add a human touch to informational pages, etc. And like it or now, your customers will make judgments about your brand and your products as a whole based on these images. (Or based on the fact that you don’t feature any photos of actual humans at all!)
Photos can contribute positively to product sales, visual marketing, SEO, your company’s personal brand, and the growth of your business. So if the photos you’re currently using aren’t up to par with the gorgeous brand you’re setting out to create, it’s time to change that!
Even if you don’t own a fancy camera or you haven’t even mastered the art of the selfie yet, it’s possible to get awesome photos for your boutique website that feel on-brand and present your products in the very best light.
Sure, if it’s within budget, it can really pay off to hire a professional photographer to create some beautiful images for your shop. But you don’t have to be an expert to get some great photos. A few easy fixes and minimal (if any) equipment can make a huge difference. (You might even have friends ask, “Who did you hire to take those photos?”)
Learn why good photos are so important for your website and how to take better pictures for your boutique’s website.
Why are photos so important for my website?
Photography is an integral part of your brand’s identity and messaging. Just like the tone of voice you use, the colors you incorporate, and the name of your boutique and products, photos instantly communicate what your brand is all about. And photos don’t just have an intangible effect – studies indicate that including better photography on a website can increase conversions (aka sales!) by as much as 161%.
Pretty pictures are always nice… but if you’re trying to sell products online, they’re a total non-negotiable. 67% of online shoppers say the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product. In fact, they tend to value product images even more highly than other content, including product descriptions and reviews.
Think about it: Most of your customers will never get the chance to see your products in person before buying them. Your website may be the first place they ever even come in contact with your brand at all. That means your photos need to paint a clear enough picture of your products, how your products are used, and the sort of lifestyle your products are designed to fit into that your customers can visualize your products in their everyday life.
Good photos on your website can also improve search engine optimization, making your content more likely to be found through Google searches. This can be incredibly powerful for reaching new potential customers. Studies show that articles with relevant images get 94% more views compared to articles without, and consumers are 60% more likely to contact a business that has an image show up in local results.
Finally, high-quality photos can help you create brand recognition. Photos communicate mood, colors, values, and personality faster than the written word can. Showing actual on-brand photos of your products, your business, and your team can help people forge a connection with your brand and instantly recognize it should they come across it again. (Learn more about how to create a brand for your boutique here!)
How to take great pictures for your boutique website
If you’re interested in taking better photos for your website, you’re going to have to do a little bit more than just point your phone & snap a quick photo. Here are a few general photography tips to help you elevate your next at-home brand photoshoot, including iPhone photo tips, equipment tips, shot list tips, and photo editing tips.
iPhone Photo Tips
- Get to know your camera’s features – Panoramas, live photos, flash, timers, grid lines, leveling, portrait mode, etc… there are so many impressive features smartphones have nowadays! Before you set up your next photoshoot, experiment with different shooting modes. (Learn more about special iPhone photo features here!)
- Lighting is everything – turn off the flash & seek out the natural light! Take photos outside (especially during “golden hour,” an hour or two after sunrise and before sunset!) or near a window for best results.
- Clean your lens – your phone doesn’t have a lens cap, and too often it gets dirty or smudged sitting in your pocket all day. Before you start shooting, wipe the lens off with a soft cloth or even just the inside of your shirt.
- Stay focused – Tap on the subject of your photo to make sure it’s in focus before shooting away.
- Consider getting a DSLR camera – You don’t need a nice camera to get great photos, but it sure can help. If you want to start upgrading your website and social media imagery or you’re really interested in photography in general, this can be a great push.
- Take a photography course – Nice equipment is only helpful if you know how to make the most of it. Take a class online, sign up for a local course, or watch loads of YouTube videos to learn more about your camera’s settings.
- Get a ring light – Supplied customers swear by this one! Available for cheap on Amazon, a ring light is a great way to secure better lighting all day long. It’s useful for both photography and video creation!
- Use a backdrop – Having a clean backdrop allows you to keep the subject of your photoshoot front and center. Purchase a set of colored backdrops online, or simply use an empty white wall or a bedsheet.
- Visit a studio – You may not be investing big bucks into hiring a photographer, but you can still take advantage of local studio spaces in your area to make your photos look more professional. Many photography studios feature neutral light and aesthetic backdrops and are available to rent out by the hour.
- Decorative props – In addition to the products you’re planning on photographing, consider other visual elements you could incorporate to add interest, like tablecloths, jewelry, display pieces, etc.
- Models – Models aren’t exactly equipment, but they’re a must for many photoshoots! Ask friends or models to wear or display your products in your next photo shoot. It’ll help show off your products the way they’re meant to be worn and add a human touch to all of your pics.
Photo editing tips
- Edit your photos – It may go without saying, but a few small tweaks can go a long way! Rarely does anyone post a photo right after taking it – expect to tweak and improve your photos post-production.
- Use presets – Consider purchasing preset photo filters to give your photos a beautiful one-touch edit in the free Lightroom app. (Or if you’re more of a DIY person, tweak various settings in Lightroom and create your own!)
- Explore photo editing apps – While you can perform some small photo editing tasks directly in the Camera app or on Instagram, photo editing apps like VSCO and Picsart give you even more freedom.
- Be consistent – Do your best to apply the same photo editing style across all of the photos you use so your website looks professional and cohesive.
Website Shot List Tips
How you take photos is one thing – the type of photos you take is another! As you prep for your next photo shoot, consider taking the time to get the following shots for your website:
- Horizontal photographs – These will come in handy for website headers!
- Product photos – Including detailed shots of the product from multiple angles, both worn and on its own
- Lifestyle photos – Photos featuring models that represent your ideal customer and aesthetic pics incorporating your brand colors and imagery
- Photos of you, the business owner – To promote connection and add a face to the brand
- Photos of your shop – To keep your online shop and your physical location (if you have one) totally connected
How to Get Great Photos Without Taking Them Yourself
As discussed, it’s totally possible for you to take great photos for your boutique website all on your own, whether you’re using an iPhone or you’ve decided to invest in some quality photography equipment. But even if you’re capable of taking better photos yourself… it may or may not be the best use of your time and skills. If you’d prefer not to add yet another task to your plate, that’s okay! There are plenty of other ways to get great photos for your website. Here are a few of them. (For best results, combine a few of these methods so you always have plenty of content at your disposal!)
Hire a professional
Professional photographers are pros for a reason. They specialize in bringing brands and products to life through stylized shoots and high-quality imagery. Professional photos can contribute to a company’s overall branding and success, helping to sell more products and appear more legitimate. If you have the budget for it, consider hiring a professional photographer to refresh your boutique website’s imagery. It can absolutely pay off!
Collaborate with another small-scale business owner
You’re not the only up-and-coming business owner around, you know! There are plenty of local photographers who are also trying to get their name out there. Consider collaborating with a small local photographer or studio for some high-quality photos. Depending on the photographer, you may be able to book a photoshoot for trade or at a reduced rate.
Use stock photos
Got empty space on your website and no idea what to do with it? Look into using stock photos. Stock photos are existing generic photos that you can license for creative use by paying a fee to the artist and/or stock photo agency. They’re obviously not nearly as customizable as original photos, but they work in a pinch and they’re better than blank space!
Encourage user-generated content
What better way to keep the customer front and center on your website than by literally featuring them front and center on your website? Encourage customers to tag your company account in photos of them wearing your products on social media, then feature those photos on IG and across your website. (With their permission, of course!)
Partner with influencers
Reach out to influencers and content creators to have them take photos using, featuring, or wearing your products. Depending on the influencer, you may be able to request photos in exchange for product or payment. (Bonus – this can help expose your products to a wider audience, too!)
Partner with a supplier with good photos you can use
As a retailer, you’re probably super familiar with what it’s like to order inventory online, based on photos and descriptions alone! If you don’t have the bandwidth to worry too much about product photos right now, you could always use the same photos your wholesale supplier uses to advertise your products. Your photos may not be as cohesive this way, but hey – if they were good enough to get you to buy, they might work on your customers, too! If you’re looking for a supplier with a wide selection of wholesale boutique items with plenty of product photos, check out www.suppliedshop.com.