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The importance of professional photography in e-commerce

The following is an excerpt from my conversation with Cathy Salamone of Direct Digital Photography. The use of imagery on any e-commerce web site can have far-reaching consequences. Read what the expert has to say about the subject.

How long have you been doing professional photography?

- Our Studio Opened in 1980 back then we went by the name "Studio A"- Since hen we have been providing photographic images for Advertising and Industry.

How did you get into digital photography?

- In 1994 we were approached by a cutting edge printing house offering ua partnership in their newest adventure "Digital Photography". We moved to their facility, changed our name tp "Direct Digital Photography" and entered into a brave new world. Back then no one had ever heard of digital photography-so it was a difficult sale. There were many challenges and being on he cutting edge was a bloody place but we paved the road and got an education about he new technology that very few photographers have the privilege to understand.

Many ecommerce web sites, especially start-up sites try to save money on web design and professional product photography. How important is it really to have professional product shots? Can't we just take any old digital camera and snap a few pictures of our products?

- Many new merchants make that costly mistake. Your online site is your business identity, and needs to reflect a professional, secure place for consumers to give personal financial information. The average consumer is accustomed to seeing very expensive advertising campaigns and they CAN see the difference. People starting up and trying to save money will go into a camera store and will be told that if they buy a digital camera system hey will get professional results. Even if they master the camera and computer controls- lighting and composition takes a lifetime to learn and every product needs to be addressed differently-there is no shot cut for experience. The result is many frustrating hours trying to achieve mediocre results and loss of sales resulting in an unsuccessful website and a money thrown away.

What is your opinion on using multiple photos to showcase the same product?

- As a product photography expert 99% of the time one dynamic photo is the best answer. A second photo usually cheapens the product- see examples of other advertising.

Are there differences in how you would photograph different types of merchandise? For instance, is there a difference between photographing clothes and electronic equipment?

- Huge differences in angles and lighting. This is why it was so difficult to teach my employees- every change of product need a different approach.

How can professional photography increase a store's conversion rate (entice shoppers to buy?)

- A picture is worth a thousand words. Unlike shopping in a regular store the photograph is going to close the sale-even if they know the product -a poorly lit product just looks unprofessional and questionable to do business with.

Can you share some tips with those who would like to do their own product photography?

- Buy your equipment from a local store that will give you support when your not achieving the results you expected. Even if online he same equipment is half the price- having someone review unsatisfactory results have a great dollar value.

To contact Cathy, visit (and mention Y-Times to receive 10% off your first order.)


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