So, your product is ready to ship out to buyers online. That’s fantastic! But how do you plan on racking up those sales?
If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you’ll know by now that a huge 93% of consumers believe visual appearance to be the key deciding factor when deciding to purchase a product online. Angles make or break a photo, any aspiring photographer knows that. Really, anybody at all knows that. Especially when it’s a product photo. If you have a really good product but show off all the wrong details, who do you think will buy it?
So we’ve established that the first step in making good product photography is to set up the best angle for your product. The next question is, what exactly is the best one for your product? In our previous blog on the must-have angles for product photography, we discussed the six best angles for product photography, along with the basics on how to achieve them. This guide will serve as an extension of that guide, picking up where we left off and exploring how these angles specifically perform online for eCommerce.
The six main camera angles
As we previously explored, the six most popular camera angles for product photography are as follows:
- The front angle – shot in front of the product
- The profile angle – shot to the side of the product
- The 45-degree angle – shot at a 45-degree angle
- The back angle – shot behind the product
- The top shot – shot above the product
- The macro shot – a highly detailed zoom in on a product’s features
All of these angles have their strengths and will be better suited for certain people depending on what their product is. A simple item such as a stuffed toy might only need a front angle shot, while a more complex product, for example, a car, will need an angle that shows off more details – a 45-degree shot. But why shouldn’t we explore more camera angles with every product?
One of the many beauties of eCommerce is the extra space we have to show off our products. When you’re advertising your product in say a magazine or brochure, you’ll usually have a small section of a single page to show off your product. This means one picture to show off as much of your product as possible. Online, you have a gallery. To summarize, what this means is that when we’re talking about eCommerce rather than brick and mortar, you have a wider range of angle options and increase space to sell them.
Open up your favourite online marketplace, whether it’s Amazon or Etsy or anything else that sells online goods, then click on any product you like the look of. Take a look through the several pictures and note how each one shows off a different angle. Each angle shows off a different aspect, a different detail of the product.
We spotted a nice pair of boots by Joe Browns when scrolling through their website. The 45-degree angle shot shown as its listing picture shows off the side of the boots and the front of the boots – the two sections with the design on. Hovering over the image instead shows you a profile shot, showing the side of the boots with most of the detail. Already, we’d seen most of what we’d need to see to decide whether or not to make the purchase, and this is before we’d even clicked on the item’s page. These two photographs are the first images in the gallery, but if we wanted to know more, there are still two more pictures to look at. A macro shot shows the main feature of the boots – a buckle that holds together a few belts – and finally the shoes on a model.
Notice how they’ve used three of the six main photography angles? Each angle is used for a good reason, and each angle that hasn’t been used wasn’t needed. The 45-degree angle and profile angle show off the whole view of the shoes as they’d be seen if they were worn. The macro shot highlights the main design feature, or the main selling point, of the boots. We don’t need a back angle shot because nothing’s happening there. We don’t need a front angle shot because we can already see what we need to know from the 45-degree shot. And finally, we don’t need a top shot since there’s nothing extra we’d see.
This will be completely different for another product. The product you’ve opened might have all its details on the front, so needs a front angle shot. Maybe the labelling on the backside of the product features important information, so it needs a back shot. What is and isn’t used is entirely down to the type of product being sold.
What should you use?
With all this in mind comes the main question: what should you use for your product?
The easy answer is, whatever angle helps sell your product. That’s it.
Note that with the products in the previous examples, they only used shots that would show off any of the selling points. Any pointless angles, such as the back angle, weren’t included for a couple of reasons. Firstly, each photograph costs money. If a shot won’t help your product sell, then you’re burning money by taking a picture and including it in your gallery online. Secondly (and more importantly), a picture of your product that shows nothing useful actually does more damage to your sales than it does help them. Picture the boots again. Having a backshot that shows no detail doesn’t just distract from the other images, it shows a rather dull part of the boots where nothing’s really going on. As a consumer, we might look at that and think, well, that’s boring. And if they’re boring, we won’t buy them.
On the other hand, use any and every angle you can which will boost your sales. If there’s an important detail, take the shot. If it has any necessary information, take the shot. If your branding is there, definitely take that shot.
So, without further ado, here are the strengths of camera angle and where you might consider using them in your eCommerce photography.
The front angle
Nine times out of ten, you’ll be using the front angle.
This shot is great for any product where there’s detail on the front. If your logo or any other branding is on the front, you’ll be using the front angle. If any details such as a pattern, a face or an image are on the front, you’ll be using the front angle. Absolutely any time anything worth noting is on the front of your product, you’ll be using the front angle. This is also usually the first image that appears online since, if your product needs it, it tends to show the most of your product.
Products that might use this angle include paintings and art, soft toys, groceries, jewellery, clothes or even other fashion accessories to name just a few (very few…).
The profile angle
The side shot.
Just like with the front angle, the profile angle is perfect for any product where there’s a lot of detail, this time on the side of the product. For example, if you’re selling a pair of designer trainers with your brand logo or another design on the side, you’ll want to show it off as much as possible – best done with a clear shot of the side of your product. This tends to be the second image a gallery shows as it captures a limited, though necessary, amount of the overall item.
Examples of products that use this angle include footwear, vehicles and toys.
The 45-degree angle
If your product features different details on the sides as well as the front, a 45-degree angle is perfect at capturing all that detail in one single photograph. This shot can also be useful for any product where there isn’t as much going on at the front as it shows off the front of the product while the detail at the sides makes it appear as if more is going on (just as we previously discussed – an image featuring no detail does more harm to your sales than good). This angle is also fantastic for a product where the design might be lacking on the sides, but an important feature is there, such as a car door.
This can often be the first image your gallery shows or in the middle, depending on the other details of your product and the other angles you’ve used. If you have no front angle shot, this will likely take its place in spot number one.
Products that benefit from this shot include, once again, footwear and vehicles, although most products will also benefit from featuring a 45-degree shot.
The back angle
The back angle is mostly used in packshot photography if important information is listed on the backside of the product’s labelling. This is important for products such as medicines, where any details about the contents, how the medicine is taken and when it should be taken are listed on the back. It’s less important for other products such as groceries where all that would be listed are ingredients.
Naturally, the back angle is also great for any product where a design is featured on the back, such as a t-shit with a backside print.
This will often be one of the last images featured in an online gallery as any labelling or behind details aren’t as important or detailed as other details. Important information from a label might also overwhelm the customer if it’s the first thing they’re greeted with. In the case where the details on the back of the product make up a large part of the product’s design, it might take the second slot in the gallery and be the image that appears when you hover over an item.
The top shot
The least used of the six angles, the top shot excels mainly at showing off several items in one single photo. For example, if you’re selling a DIY project like a Lego set or model set, you might place each piece flat on the floor and take a picture to show off the contents of the product.
This shot is also fantastic at photographic bundles, where several items in the bundle can be laid flat down and presented in full view, rather than stacked up where different items might obscure each other.
You likely won’t be using this angle if your product is a single item since any other angle could easily show off more details.
For a full guide on top shots, check out our flat lay photography guide for eCommerce.
The macro shot
Last, but definitely not least, is the macro shot.
You’ll be using this shot to highlight any specific details or features of your product which are likely the main selling point. If your product is branded, you’ll feature a macro shot showing off the logo. If your product has a feature that makes it unique, you’ll feature a macro shot showing it off.
Macro shots are quite popular and are great at showing customers the exact details of what they’re buying. This builds a sense of confidence in the product and helps reduce return rates.
Products that should feature macro shots include anything that is branded, anything with an intricate design or that uses a specific material, as well as anything with a unique feature. If you think there’s an aspect of your product that’ll help it sell, zoom in on it and get that macro shot taken.
Other photographic options
To reduce the cost of how many photographs you take, you might try to combine different angles in a single photograph. For example, if you’re taking some excellent packshot photography and want to show off the details in one single image, but all those details are placed around the product, you might consider using multiple versions of your product in the same image and changing the position of them so that one version is facing towards the camera, and the other away.
This is a great tactic to save money and to contain all of the information on one screen, but be wary that having too many products on screen at any one time can be distracting and take away from any design elements.
So overall, it’s important to make use of as many angles as possible when you can, while making sure to avoid using the wrong shots. Make your product look interesting, not boring.
Hopefully, this guide has helped clear things up a bit for how product photography angles might be used in eCommerce photography.
If you’re looking for an expert photographer who knows what angles will flatter your product, Splento is here to help. For an affordable price, you can quickly get all the quality product photographs you need to boost your eCommerce. For more information, check out our product photography for eCommerce page, or contact us here today.
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