Product Photography for Shopify Stores – The Ultimate DIY Guide

Last updated - May 4, 2022

Product photography isn’t just about making your product look shiny and new. It plays a vital role in your eCommerce store, ranging from increasing your audience’s engagement to building trustworthy relationships with them. That’s why mastering product photography is essential.

If you would prefer to leave it to photo specialists, you can easily find expert product retouching services.

In this article, we’ll be going through equipment, tips, and things to avoid while taking high-quality Shopify product photography.

What is the Purpose of Shopify Product Photography?

Shopify has made product photography one of the most important aspects of a store. Many people ignore this, but in reality, it can help increase sales substantially.

The purpose of Shopify product photography is to encourage visitors to buy your products by making them look appealing. It also plays a very big role in impressing your clients. 

Professional Shopify product images add value to your eCommerce business by enhancing your product listing. It establishes credibility for your business and provides a sense of trust in your store.

You may think that if people are browsing your store, it’s enough. High traffic is all that your store needs. But according to a study, the most important part of ranking your products comes from high-quality images used on the page!

Equipment Required For Shopify Product Photography

Let us start with a discussion on the product photography equipment required for your Shopify store.

1. Camera

A common question is whether it’s worth it to invest in a DSLR camera for product photography or if a smartphone’s camera will suffice. Many people believe that taking product shots requires a DSLR, yet the quality gap is getting smaller with each new generation of smartphones.

When it comes down to the specifics, a DSLR camera with a decent lens will always trump a smartphone camera. It will always be the best camera for product photography.

DSLRs are significantly more adaptable, having a variety of interchangeable lenses to fit any project you’re working on, such as a macro lens for photographing small items. Most notably, DSLR lenses are substantially bigger than smartphone lenses, allowing for crisper photographs with a deeper depth of field, particularly in low-light conditions.

Given their advantages, DSLRs are heavy and lack the interconnectivity of smartphones for rapid photo sharing.

There’s also post-production work to consider. DSLR images need to be transferred to your computer, then edited with sophisticated software, then uploaded to your Shopify store. They’re also a significant financial commitment – a good camera, as well as a collection of lenses, may cost somewhere around a hundred to thousands of dollars.

That’s where smartphone cameras excel. You can do all of this in one place, with just a small compromise in quality. If you’re just starting out, a decent smartphone will suffice. If you want to grow your Shopify store or want to start big, a DSLR camera is certainly the only way.

2. Lenses

Every genre of photography, including product photography, demands the use of a suitable lens. The widest aperture, durability, and other characteristics of each lens will vary.

Several photographers think that only top-tier lenses are appropriate for their work. This isn’t always the case.

Premium lines, such as Canon’s L-series, have superior lenses with construction quality. But don’t be tricked into believing that just because a lens has a red line around it means it’s superior. A consumer-grade prime lens could be crisper than a high-end zoom lens.

Before you buy a lens, you could go to a forum and read a few reviews. The most critical consideration is to use a lens that is suited for product photography. For example, wide-angle lenses are quite useless for this genre in comparison to all other lens types.

And certain lenses will suit a particular product better than others.

Thus, the best lens is the one that is most appropriate for the task at hand. You can start with basic lenses like the kit lens alongside a macro lens. Of course, all of the lenses should be compatible with your camera.

3. Shooting Table

A simple and cost-effective technique to boost the production value of tiny product photographs is to use a shooting table. 

The foldable frame saves room in your studio, while the spotless acrylic sweep saves hours of editing work. It normally arrives pre-assembled and collapses quickly, similar to a folding chair. No tools are required to install the acrylic surface on top of the frame. You simply fasten it with the accompanying clips.

Look for shooting tables with a glossy side for reflective shots and a matte side for a clean, white look.

Certain tables have curved opaque sweeps that provide a smooth, seamless backdrop for whatever you put on them. These opaque tables can also be illuminated from behind to function as a diffuser!

Thus, a shooting table can serve a wide variety of functions in your Shopify product photography session. It’s an all-in-one solution to multiple requirements. Even if you don’t plan to use it often, it’s important to keep one handy.

4. Tripod

A tripod cannot be avoided. Using a tripod, you can level horizontal lines while shooting and keep your camera fixed and steady.

Tripods are also useful for close-up shots because they allow you to use a lower aperture and shutter speed without sacrificing quality. The ideal tripod for the work is influenced by product specifications, illumination, angles, and setting.

For spontaneous and lifestyle product photographs, pocket tripods are very helpful. Imagine photographing products at a restaurant or a party. It’s unlikely that a huge studio tripod will be useful. It’s better to use a pocket tripod with an adjustable head that’s not too expensive, which can support and stabilize the weight of your digital camera.

Studio tripods are the best for image stability and sharpness. These tripods are designed for professionals who use medium to large format cameras and have a specific need for them. Studio tripods are frequently equipped with customizable heads. Only purchase a studio tripod if you know how to use one specifically.

Medium-duty tripods offer a good middle ground between heavy studio tripods and lightweight travel and pocket tripods. The durability aids in the creation of crisper images. In addition, most manufacturers will provide models with pan-heads for fine camera control.

If you’re taking product photographs, don’t buy a tripod built for phones. Rather, invest in a universal phone adaptor attachment. You may then use the same tripod that you would for your digital or video camera.

5. Lighting – Artificial & Natural

You can use multiple light sources for commercial product photography. It’s best to stick with artificial lighting. But if your niche is something like vintage items, it not only needs natural light, it demands it!

For several reasons, natural lighting from a window is the best option. To begin with, everyone has access to a window. Furthermore, natural light from a window only shines in one direction. This creates natural shadows, giving your object a 3D impression by adding texture that gives it life.

You have two options with artificial lighting – strobe lights and continuous lights. The “quality” of continuous lights vs. strobe lights will always be a source of debate.

The learning curve for strobes is steep, and the expense of its utilization can be excessive. Continuous light is simple to regulate, but not so simple to dial in, and color matching can be tricky. Both are useful in various situations, and a skilled photographer would know when to use one over the other to obtain the desired outcome.

When it comes time to choose, go with the one you believe will provide the finest images of your product. When creating your own product photography lighting setup, keep the ultimate result in mind – especially if you need to present a cut-out on white, as this will determine your studio background arrangement.

Experiment with light placement, reflections, fill-cards, diffusion, and adding/removing lights to explore how different settings affect your images.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach or fast cure. Different items will require different lights, and it is up to you to determine which is ideal. It’ll be a case of trial and error until you find the right recipe.

6. Backdrops

Collapsible backgrounds are a cost-effective and space-saving option for product photos that can be used outdoors or on the go. Many of them fold up to a third of their original size and come with handy carrying cases, allowing you to pack and preserve various backdrops.

Several models include reversible designs, allowing customers to choose from a variety of colors and patterns. But purchasing lighter colored backdrops like white and cream is best as these colors suit almost any product.

Tips on Product Photography for Shopify Stores

Now that we’re done with the equipment, time to talk about some critical tips!

1. Proper Planning

Working with product photography means you will spend lots of time arranging your products in the best way possible to create the perfect picture. Even if you are not a professional photographer, proper planning can be very useful for avoiding bad shots and, at the same time, highlighting the great aspects of your products.

How do you need to stage a product for a photograph? How about selecting the perfect background? Or what camera do you need to shoot from the right distance?

Have all of these questions planned, answered, and written to you in a document. This document will also serve as a reference in case you forget something.

Just like you would not set out on a picnic without packing some water and snacks, you should also not go ahead with your product photography journey without proper planning for each session.

2. Right Camera Setting

Knowing how to adjust the camera setting is vital for the ideal shot.

ISO, aperture, and shutter speed are just a few of the camera settings that affect a camera sensor’s interaction with light. The ISO value determines how sensitive your sensor is to light, the aperture determines how much light gets through, and the shutter speed determines how long your sensor is exposed to light.

It’s usually recommended to shoot in manual mode for the best results. Mastering manual mode allows you to adapt to your surroundings, whether outside or in a studio, and take excellent images in a range of lighting circumstances.

3. Using Proper Place

Unless you’re using backdrops, your products should be set up in an appropriate location. Commercial products require suitable locations for the niche they belong to.

If you’re photographing handmade mugs, a homely background would suit you best. Keep in mind that the lighting should be adjusted accordingly with the background. So use a proper place whenever you can, as it will give better results compared to a plaid backdrop.

4. Set Backdrops Properly

Shooting on a white backdrop will help you save time in the long run by reducing the amount of picture processing you’ll have to perform. It will also reflect white light onto your object, resulting in a well-lit product shot that requires little or no brightness or contrast tweaks, but a black background would have the opposite effect.

The white backdrop will also guarantee that the white balance calibration on your camera is as precise as possible as the light sources we are exposed to on a daily basis are not pure white.

However, different backdrops can be used without hesitation. You just need to experiment and find out whether it’s the right one for your product, and that you are setting it up properly.

5. Shoot a variety of angles

The more product photographs you upload, the higher chances of purchases. This does not mean that you should prioritize numbers above quality. You just need to provide enough photographs to assist customers to visualize your items.

What’s captured in your image is determined by the angle at which it was shot. If you’re shooting product packshots, the appropriate angle will capture the clearest view of your product’s label, catching its design and all the necessary information to enhance your consumer’s experience. That is just one example, as you can use several other angles.

Take images from several perspectives and include close-ups of any intricacies, distinctive features, or textures that you believe customers should see. Front angle, back angle, top shot, macro shot – try them all!

6. Try Setup Variations

Could you change the angle of the bounce card? Is it possible to relocate the product? If you’re shooting a wallet, for example, you may start with images of the wallet open, then go on to photos of the wallet closed, and finally close up photos of the stitching.

Use your best judgment to determine what is and is not working, but always try new setup variations if your gut tells you that your current setup isn’t giving results as good as you hoped.

7. Tell the Product’s Story

People want to be able to easily envision the product in the real world. A photo of a pair of sneakers with a white background doesn’t give shoppers much room to work with. But a shoe on a gray carpet, as if they were looking down at their own feet? Much more useful and realistic. Try to tell a story with the product.

8. Play with Color Psychology

When it comes to color psychology and how it affects how a viewer interprets an image, there are some important factors. Colors inspire certain moods and transmit specific psychological feelings. As a result, learning its psychological influence as a photographer might help you portray a mood in a shot.

Green, blue, and purple are examples of cool-toned hues. Red, yellow, and orange are warm-toned colors. Warm tones evoke feelings of rage to warmth depending on their saturation, whilst cool tones tend to elicit sentiments of serenity and peace. Color is viewed differently in different cultures, hence the above does not apply to everyone.

Color is a potent psychological tool because it is immediate. It’s used to persuade a buyer in advertising, to induce tranquility, to motivate someone to work more, and to communicate good and/or negative emotions. Learning how color affects viewers’ perceptions in your photographs can help you apply them accordingly in your creative product photography.

9. Shopify Product Photo Editing

If you run an eCommerce business, then you most likely have a large number of products that need to be captured, edited, and then uploaded. Hiring a professional photoshop expert or doing it by yourself can be costly and time-consuming. 

Outsourcing such a bulky task of photo editing to experts in the field is your best bet. These people will help you get your catalog up and running within no time.

Shopify Product Photography Common Mistake to Avoid

Finally, here are some common mistakes to avoid at all costs in Shopify product photography.

1. Blurred Background Image 

The background may not be the focus for you, but it needs to be in focus for the aesthetic of the entire image. Even if you want to incorporate a shallow depth of field, it doesn’t really benefit the product.

But that doesn’t mean you should completely ignore it. You can use a shallow depth of field for stylistic shots. But for the main image of the product, a background blur should be avoided.

It’s best if you don’t think in terms of the product’s aesthetics but the photo aesthetics as a whole. That way, you’ll have great shots of the most ordinary products and also know when to avoid background blur.

2. Confusing Compositions

Your photo may not be a submission for a photography exhibition, but it needs to follow the rules of basic photography composition. Once again, a product photo is about the aesthetics of the image as a whole. It’s not only about highlighting the item.

Thus, try to deliver a suitable composition. Follow the rule of thirds, use leading lines and focal points. There are several ways to compose a shot, so it’s best to leverage these techniques!

3. Inconsistency

Consistency is a key element of eCommerce branding. Inconsistency will lead to a lack of trustworthiness in your consumers. How?

Human beings naturally trust patterns and routines more. If each and every of your product photo is stylized differently, has varying backgrounds and lighting conditions, it will not feel like a consistent pattern.

You may be trying to deliver a versatile catalog but remember; you are running an eCommerce store, not a photography talent show. Thus, taking consistent pictures will subconsciously influence your consumers to trust you more.

4. Distracting Layouts

The purpose of a photography layout is to direct the attention of your viewer towards the most important element in the scene. This single element, whether it’s a product, a person, or a building, should be the centerpiece of your composition. Everything else in the image should support the topic.

This can be difficult when you’re trying to get creative with your product photography. It is important to have a strong concept from the beginning, but you don’t want to let that creative vision distract you from creating a product that is aesthetically pleasing and accurately represents your brand. 

The key, in this case, is the layout. It’s essential to place your product in a way that maximizes its appearance and doesn’t distract from your main focal point.

When choosing a layout for your product photography, remember that less can sometimes be more. Distracting layouts can be detrimental to conversions.

5. Out of Focus Photo

One of the biggest mistakes in product photography is focusing incorrectly.

Product photography has a variety of technical aspects to consider. One of the first is ensuring your camera is focused on your product and not some background element.

Your Shopify products will have a point of focus, the main feature, that customers want to see. It’s important to show this off, so the customer feels like buying your product. For example, it could be a watch’s face or a ring’s angled texture.

It is very difficult for consumers to decide to buy products if these portions of the images are out of focus.

Thus, Focus is a very important aspect of these images to grab user attention towards product details. The text on the label, the brand logo, intricate designs, etc – try to keep all of them in focus.

6. Reflections and shadows

Product photography can be tricky. You’ve got to get the lighting perfect and make sure the image is set up to meet your shopper’s expectations. But there’s another thing to think about: avoiding reflections and shadows. And sometimes, if you’re not careful, they can end up taking over your photo.

This is something that can be avoided if you know the proper angles to take photos at and where to place your lights. If you don’t, then it can be harder to get rid of the reflection in post-processing which makes it more difficult if you’re not familiar with post-processing tools. 

Shadows and reflections in images can be a nuisance but always keep them as low as possible during the shoot.


What are the best image sizes for Shopify stores?

There is no single best recommendation. Image sizes vary from post to post. For product display photos, the maximum recommended size is 4472 x 4472 pixels.

How do I Optimize Shopify Image Formats?

The easiest way to optimize images for Shopify is to use an image optimization tool. To compress images, for example, you can use the TinyIMG software.

This and other comparable apps enhance your photos for SEO, making it simpler for search engines to find your Shopify products.

How do I improve my Shopify product photography?

Practice, practice, practice. Follow all of the guidelines that we mentioned in this article, and keep practicing! You’ll become a master in no time!

Final Verdict

If your photos are dull, off-centered, or simply bad, you defeat the entire purpose of your online store. This is why product photography for Shopify has become so important these days, especially if you’re selling high-quality products.

We hope that this article will help you capture the best Shopify product photography!

Further reading


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