Start your journey with good photos
The first step is to start with great photos. In this guide, we’ll go through the most important concepts for you to understand regarding your images, and show you how you can begin the right way by building your product inventory image library.
Having great marketplace success starts with taking the right picture.
Your photography doesn’t have to involve an expensive camera or setup. In fact, you can create your own DIY set-up that will do the job. But there are a few tips you can follow to make sure you are starting off with the best possible photos.
Make sure you have the right setup
Your setup doesn’t have to be expensive, but if you’re just getting started there are a few things you should invest in to take quality photos:
- A consumer DSLR camera or smartphone. Most smartphones today have a camera that will be more than adequate for taking standard product photos. Using a smartphone also gives you access to hundreds of photography apps. Resize Me on Android or Image Size on iOS are both great examples of neat tools you can download and use
- A light source. Having a light source helps to provide even illumination of your image and will make a huge difference to the quality of your photos. If you’re starting out you might find it easier to work with a natural light source. In this case, using a fill light will help you eliminate the shadows on your image.
- A white background or sweep. The sweep will help diffuse the lighting across your image evenly and make editing your photos later much easier. This can be anything from a white sheet to rolls of white paper.
- A steady surface. If you’re taking a number of photos, having a steady surface makes it easy to keep your images consistently placed.
- A camera tripod. Likewise, having a camera tripod ensures you can get consistently position photos every time. It also makes it easy to readjust your products without having to juggle a camera at the same time.
- Use a white background for your products. Replacing the background of photos with a white background ensures that you will have consistent, great looking images.
Why do we prefer a white background?
White backgrounds are the preferred standard on Totally Local, and there are a few very good reasons for that:
- Your products will POP on a white background.
- Your images will look consistent on collection pages.
- It will save you money and time in editing.
You can use software such as Photoshop or Pixlr to manually replace the background of your product photos with a white background, or let services like Pixc do the work for you.
Save your images with the right dimensions
Paying attention to the dimension of your image is crucial for the Totally Local marketplace. If too large, your images will cause issues with our page load time.
If too small, your images will look grainy (i.e. poor quality), and that won’t set you up for success.
Use pixels to measure the dimensions of your images
Your iPhone will have something in the range of a 12 Megapixel camera, which just means that the photos it takes consist of twelve million pixels. For ecommerce photography, that size is unnecessary. On Totally Local, the optimal size for your product photos is 600px by 600px.
Keeping your images square will ensure they display correctly and look good regardless of whether the contents of the photo are longer or taller.
If you don’t have access to software that can resize your images, like Photoshop, don’t worry. Services like Canva, and Image Resizer can help you with basic editing and resizing needs. Plus the mobile tools mentioned above
Use informative file names
Image names are the first piece of information you can provide to Google to let them know what your image is about. The default file name that come from your camera and looks like a string of numbers does nothing to describe what the photo is actually about.
When naming your images, describe the contents of the photo and use dashes instead of spaces.
Include appropriate alt text.
- Alt text is intended as an accessibility feature, and that’s how it should be approached.
- If the user is vision impaired, or if the image can’t be loaded, the alt text is what will be displayed.
- But alt text is also used by Google to gain a better understanding of what the image contains.
- That makes it a valuable spot to include the relevant search term that people looking for your product would search for.
Why is all of this technical spec important?
Improving images is one of the most effective ways to create a better shopping experience for your customers. Better images can help customers be sure of the products they are buying, help Totally Local rank better in search engines and lower the site’s load time.
The team at Totally Local are here to help you, please reach-out if you have any concerns.
With the advice you’ve been given in this guide, you have everything you need to start optimizing your product images to help us bring in more traffic and make more sales for your business.