Skip to main content

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.)


Popular posts from this blog

What to expect when your redesign goes live

At Y-Times we roll out new designs, redesigns and other major upgrades to Yahoo stores on a fairly regular basis. Some of the main questions our clients ask are how to prepare for a roll-out and what to expect in terms of SEO and conversions when the changes go live? For any functional Yahoo store how well the site ranks and how well it converts are probably the two most important metrics. Since pretty much ANY change you make to any page can potentially alter either or both of these metrics, merchants may understandably feel nervous about far reaching alterations to their sites. However, when those functionality and design changes and additions are done right, there is really very little to fear. First off, what does it mean for a design or redesign to be "done right?" From the technical stand point, search engines look at the underlying structure of your site (the HTML, and increasingly also the CSS and JavaScript code) to try to extract information and meaning from i

CPR for a Yahoo Store on Google's Supplemental Index

Recently a client of mine came to me and said that most of his store pages disappeared from Google, and he did not do anything to make this happen. I was a bit skeptical, so I went to Google, did a search on his store, and sure enough, there were only two pages indexed, his home page and his site map (ind.html) page. The rest were in the supplemental results, which means that Google thought the rest of the pages were not much different than these two pages. When I looked at the supplemental results, the little excerpts under each link were exactly the same, and I also noticed that what Google showed under each result was actually text from the ALT tags of the header image. I looked at some of these pages in my client's store, and they were actually different. This was a bit puzzling, but then I thought perhaps Google saw that the header and left navigation was the same throughout the site (which is pretty normal), but that the text that made each page different was too far down ins

Auto-update Copyright Year

This is one of those minor, recurring questions I'm always asked (each year): to update the copyright year in sites. Whether this is the "right thing" to do or not I don't know, but here is how you can make it automatic: First, go to the Variables page (these instructions are for Yahoo! Stores), and do a search for the word "copyright" or the year that's currently displayed next to your copyright message. If you can't find it there, chances are you have a custom template and the copyright message might be coming from some place else. In that case, you'll have to track it down, but because custom templates can be set up in any which way, unfortunately you'll be on your own. Assuming you found it, replace the year with this JavaScript code: <script>document.write(new Date().getFullYear())</script> Hit Update and you should be all set!