Here’s the definitive list of Amazon photography best practices to help you optimize your selling experiences.
On one end, you’re looking to create new possibilities on product listings. On the other hand, you could be looking for ways to create product images yourself on a budget.
You’re already aware that images make a big impact on Amazon product listings. They create trust between you and your potential customers. They generate interest and have a considerable role to play in increasing sales.
So, let’s get started. This list will help you:
- Create trust
- Generate interest
- Help increase sales
- Optimize your selling experience
- Produce great photography on your own
- Find the right supplier
Time to let your listing speak a thousand words.
Here’s What We’re Covering:
- Amazon Technical Image Requirements
- File name requirements
- Different Types of Product Images
- DIY Product Photography
- Amazon Product Photography Services
First, read through the entire article. If you have any questions, write them down, then keep on reading. It’s possible the answer is embedded in the text you’re about to read. Still not satisfied? Post your question at the bottom when you’re done with the article. We want to be sure that you understand the whole thing and leave this article 100% in-the-know!
Amazon Technical Image Requirements
All of your images, regardless of type, must follow these requirements:
- 1000px x 1000px square image
- Use 85% of the frame
- Save it as a JPEG, TIFF, or GIF
- Save it as an RGB color space
The main product image though is a lot more specific. Here’s a quick cheat sheet for easy reading:
Don’t forget–this is for the main image. The other images are a lot more lenient.
Why is the main image so specific?
- The main image has to give the customer a crystal-clear idea of what your product looks like. It must be free of distractions. Amazon wants the customer to see the product clearly.
- That’s why the background has to be completely white and the product has to take up 85% of the space–it provides a cleaner, clearer pictures.
- That’s why the main image must have at least 1000px–so customers can zoom in to examine details.
These features enhance the customer’s buying experience. That’s why the technical requirements are now strict site standards for the main image.
File Name Requirements
What you name your image file is a very overlooked part of image SEO.
There are two crucial parts to the image name.
The first part is the image name itself.
Here are your options for the name:
- Amazon ASIN
- 13-digit ISBN or UPC code you purchased
Startupbros uses the Amazon ASIN number or the 13-digit UPC code.
The second part is telling Amazon what kind of file it is.
For example: AmazonASIN.JPEG
Here’s a quick video tutorial:
Remember: Amazon won’t accept the product image without the correct file name.
Types of Product Listing Images
Type 1: Parent SKU Main Image
This image is the customer sees first. It appears first in the search results when someone keys in your keyword, and second on your listing when a customer visits your page.
Amazon is really strict about the requirements for the main image, because it’s a top priority for them to provide customers with a great buying experience.
Type 1.a: Child SKU Image
If your product comes in different colors or variations, you’ll need child SKU images–also known as child variations. If you offer the product in red, blue, and white, you’ll need photos of your product in red, blue, and white to illustrate the difference in the different child SKUs. You cannot sell child variations of your product without the specific variation image.
Amazon isn’t as strict with these images. As long as you meet the minimum technical specification, you’re good to go.
Type 2: Alternate Product Images
Images are supposed to help you sell the product. A study by MIT neuroscientists shows that the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. A mix of these images should create more trust with the potential customer and help to generate sales.
Imagine the effects of creating multiple high quality images and high converting product descriptions. Your listing will instantly convert better than the competition
Type 2a: Product Benefit Highlight Image
Otherwise known as an infographic, this image highlights certain features of your product, and how the features help solve the customer’s problems. Some copywriting is needed in this type of image; aligning persuasive copy with images boosts revenue by 108%.
Type 2b: Product in Action Image
Otherwise known as lifestyle images, these images show your product being used by the ideal customer. People are attracted to other people; the presence of models in images has been shown to boost conversion. These images help the customer imagine themselves using the product.
Type 2c: Competitor Analysis Image
This answers the customer’s questions before they’re asked. It’s an amazing tool that shows where your product wins over the competition. Chances are, there are a million other products on Amazon that are similar to yours; this product will illustrate how your product compares with the others.
Looking at competitors listings is also one of the ways we recommend finding products to sell on Amazon. Imagine that while you’re doing a competitive analysis for an infographic (like the one above) you notice they’re selling a product you’re not.
That’s a great sign that you should add that product to your inventory.
We talk about 3 methods you should use for Amazon product research here (Check it out).
Type 3: Product Listing Videos
Viewers are 64-85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a video about the product. Once you’re registered with Amazon, and you’ve qualified for Enhanced Brand Content, you also qualify for video–which appears right beside the images on your listing.
Videos provide amazing value:
- They show the product in use in a lifestyle capacity, helping the customer visualize themselves using the product;
- They help answer common questions about dimensions, features, and benefits in a creative and entertaining way;
- They push your brand forward by being shot in square aspect ratio–great for forwarding on social media (read: organic marketing)
Here’s what a video on a listing can look like:
Before we get into services that help you with your product photography, we want to show you how to take these kinds of photos yourself.
Let’s say you know your way around a camera. Here’s a guide that’ll help you create cutting-edge Amazon images on your own.
You’re selling to humans and they need to feel confident to buy your products, only great pictures put customers minds at ease.
So, i’m excited to discuss these things to you. So let’s gets started!
Type 1: Digital Cameras
Pretty much every photographer out there owns one of these. Are you wondering if you need an upgrade–or even a replacement? Or are you looking to improve your knowledge of your nifty little camera?
Let’s cover the two basic types.
Type 1a: Point and Shoot Camera
The compact point-and-shoot camera is portable and lightweight. Slip it in your pocket and carry it anywhere. It’s pretty handy, too; it only has one lens, so no need to fiddle with many different lenses. Point-and-shoot cameras also have a massive depth of field; the background and foreground are brought into focus, so the entire scene is incredibly sharp.
However, you have limited control with a point-and-shoot; nighttime photography capacity is reduced, and these little guys can’t handle wide-angle shots. You’ll also need a faster shutter speed to capture sports or action images. You also won’t be able to upgrade this basic camera.
Type 1b: DSLR Camera
Used to be, only professional photographers owned these big boys; nowadays, price points have lowered, making them accessible to all photographers, professionals and hobbyists alike.
DSLRs create photographs with better image quality with less noise (the grain you notice in lower-quality pictures). Less noise means you can work in dimmer environments. Furthermore, faster shutter and focus speeds mean you can take great sports or action photos. Customize the camera with different lenses. Obtain full control over the depth of field.
Although they’re a lot more affordable now than before, DSLRs are still quite an investment. An entry-level DSLR will cost more than a point-and-shoot. They require tools, and considerable time investment in getting to know your equipment. You’ll need to send it for maintenance (yes, just like a car) every once in a while, too.
Also, it’s probably a good idea to invest in a good tripod for your DSLR. Here’s one:
It’s small, affordable and the legs are flexible so you can capture virtually any angle you want.
Other Considerations: Depth of Field
Most cameras have an auto-focus feature, so you don’t have to worry too much about focusing.
But if you want to enhance focus, learn a little about Depth of Field (DOF).
The photo on the left blurs the background, whereas the one on the right maintains the background in sharp relief.
The photo on the left has a shallow DOF. This lends the photograph a softer, more romantic feel. This is also known as selective focus, and it means that the image inside the square on the screen will be the only item in sharp focus and with detail.
The photo on the right has a larger DOF. This affords a more accurate, clearer view of the item on display.
Here’s how to adjust your Aperture to control DOF:
- Locate your camera’s exposure controls
- For a shallow DOF, adjust aperture to 1.8-3.5
- For a larger DOF, adjust aperture to 11-16.
Lighting and Tent Equipment
Lighting is the most crucial element in your product photography.
The proper lighting and equipment can make or break your Amazon image.
To achieve the perfect lighting, set up lights on the left and the right of your product. Having lights on the top and bottom too is optional. Choose any small, easy-to-set-up, and multiple-use equipment.
The proper light tent has translucent sides for a virtually shadow-less setting. Prop the tent up against a solid background to diffuse the lights coming from other sources.
Wanna cut the hassle?
Here’s a Product Photography Kit that we sourced. It’s got everything you need:
- 2 x light sockets with 6” reflectors
- 2 x 30w fluorescent lamps
- 1 x 24” tent with color backgrounds
- 2 x 18” tabletop light stands
- 1 x 12” x 12” magnetic studio table
If you’re looking to save more money. Try DIY product photography using your smartphone and a bathtub!
Simple Photo Editing
Computer programs like Picasa or Photoshop make editing your photos much easier. The pristine white background is not only compliant with Amazon’s Terms of Service–it also makes your product pop.
If you managed your tent & lighting properly, you’ll have an easier time with post-production.
Check out Clippingmagic and its immaculate results!
Note: Tip on Taking Photos of Small Objects
Set up your camera in a way that allows you to shoot from the top down. The light should be from various directions. Having a light table for this purpose can be advantageous. For you background, set up a white (or black) paper.
Amazon Product Photography Services
The other option is to get a professional studio to take your photos for you.
Turns out, Amazon is also now a product photography service. They started out as a platform for freelance photographers to use. Now, their photography service is pretty well rated, and they get good reviews.
If you want someone local to take your product photos, Amazon can link you with a photographer in your area. If you’re interested in saving on shipping costs, sourcing for a photographer near you is a definite To Do.
On the other hand, if your private label product is with your Chinese-based manufacturer, consider having a sample shipped over to Virtuous Graphics.
These guys are pros. They’ve worked with some of the biggest Amazon sellers. They do incredible professional photography that’s Amazon-compliant — but they also have a wide variety of other services, too. That means they can also create secondary images for you with models or call-out text, because they have graphic designers and copywriters on staff as well.
We can’t recommend them enough. We know you’ll be in good hands.
Check out their special deal for us:
Wrapping This Up…
The main goal you need to have in mind while doing DIY photography is to present your product in a way that solves a problem. Know your target audience well enough to identify their main pain points, then present your product in a way that solves those pain points. This rule holds true in eCommerce — Shopify, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and so forth.
You might even want to test different kinds of main images to see which style converts your audience the best.
Just remember to convey your message in the cleanest way possible. Explore different angles, close-ups, backgrounds, lighting, and camera tricks. Then run your AB tests to see which one serves you the best.
There’s a whole section dedicated to creating a high converting Amazon listing in our new 2020 Amazon course. If that sounds like something you might be interested in, you can check it out here…
Do you have any questions about product photography? Send them over! We’re here to please.
There’s a huge section on product listing optimization and taking great photos that sell in our brand new Amazon business course that teaches first time entrepreneurs how to launch their very own physical product Amazon business. If you want to check that out and see if it’s right for you click here…