10 steps to keep in mind for better product images

Estimated read time: 5 minutes



Indeed, many of us look at product images online. We make decisions based on the pictures on Amazon and other e-commerce websites. The quality of product images can sway us positively or negatively. I used to say: “If that hotel’s marketing pictures can’t even look good, chances are the hotel isn’t going to look good in real life.”

But what goes into good product images? Let’s discuss some of the key points that I’ve seen to be necessary.

Article sections

What are product images?
Accuracy of images
Clarity of images
Have the right level of photography
Show the size
Keep product images current
Consider consumer images
The overall package
Viewability across devices

What are product images?

These are pictures displayed online and show us what a product looks like. Many of these are two-dimensional today. For example, here’s a picture of the t-shirt, or microphone, or whatever the product is. But some products also lend themselves to being shown in three-dimensional or 360 views.



1. Accuracy matters

It should go unsaid, but I often see product reviews that say: “This product looks nothing like this picture!” Indeed, that can go both ways. Some products are pleasant surprises from what their pictures look like. Of course, if the image looks horrible, a purchase isn’t likely to begin with. But often it’s the other way. The product image looked fantastic, and the items looked nothing like it when they arrived in the mail.

So, it starts with having a great product and then taking great photos of it. Professional product photographers certainly can make things look perfect even when they are not! For example, think about professional portrait pictures of people. I usually look much better in those pictures than I look in my day-to-day. Indeed, I wouldn’t want the images to look worse, but in the case of a product, it has to live up to what it promised.

2. Clarity matters

It’s essential that the whole package presented online is straightforward and works together. For example, if a product image shows three cans, it’s reasonable for consumers to assume that they are ordering three cans. However, I see at times that this is not the case.

product images 2 cans offer shows three cans

Like in this offer, you get $2 off when you buy two Jack Daniel’s cocktails, but the picture shows three. Not sure if the request is still applied to the first two cans and the third is regular price, but either way, it could get consumers to accidentally buy three when they only wanted the offer for two. Sure, it drives more sales potentially, but the consumer experience can be disappointing when that kind of thing bothers a consumer.

product images toilet paper

This toilet paper example shows one product, but the $10 off (highlighted in large red and as a selling point) is only available when you buy two. So there’s a bit of fine print display going on here as well.

3. Right level of quality

The right level of quality of your product images also matters. That doesn’t mean every business has to transport their products to a professional product photographer, but it should be considered.

Or if you don’t want to hire somebody for one reason or another, use a studio-type setup with lighting that can be adjusted around the product. Ring Lights or similar lights you potentially already have might work here.

The iPhone shoots fantastic pictures nowadays, so you might be able to produce some decent product images with a light, a good background or placement area, and lighting.

But, consider hiring a pro as well for that truly finished look.

When searching on LinkedIn, by the way, 407,000 people use the term “product photography” in their profile as of late May 2022. So there are skills involved to do product photography well and at the appropriate level.

4. Show the size

It can be hard to gauge the size of products when you look at a picture online. It has happened before that we ordered something that was way smaller than it appeared online. Make sure to give a size indicator in the locally common measurement. In the United States, that’s inches – not centimeters, for example.

product images size

7. Keep product images updated

Products change, get new features, and see other updates – including to the design. That’s fine and can be great for the consumer. But make sure the product images published are actually in line with what is currently being shipped.

8. Consider consumer images

Some brands have consumers sharing their own images – sometimes on a special hashtag on social media. Consider monitoring brand mentions and asking for permission when you see an authentic consumer image.

9. The overall package

The quality of product images undoubtedly can make a difference, but so does the overall package. The headline, the description, and the quantity of the product all should align to make it clear, accurate, and even fair to the consumer.

To pull this off successfully whoever puts the posting together certainly has to collaborate. If they need a picture of two cans and not three, ask the photographer to get you that picture. If that’s not an option, ask a designer to edit an updated picture together.

No matter what though, collaboration and coordination with the right teammates here are essential.

10. Viewability across devices

It should go unsaid, but the product images should be viewable on all devices. That likely means they haven’t been shot too closely or too far away and the way they are cropped and displayed will work on a large screen just like it will on the tiniest of all smartphones.


Good product imagery certainly is a skill and differentiator that we can’t be overlooked. Of course, it needs to go in tandem with a good product. Great photography selling a crappy product also won’t bring long-term business success.



Listen to my podcast