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What makes a good product photo?

Looking for image size recommendations? Check out this article!

Photography Standards

In order to maintain a high-quality marketplace that keeps vendors and buyers happy we ask all makers on the Stockabl platform to maintain a minimum photography standard.

What does this mean for you?

Standards

Part of our selection process for approval on the platform involves reviewing your product photography, so in most cases, you shouldn’t have an issue with this. But accidents happen and we want to be very clear what we expect from all sellers.

If we see a problem with a shop’s photos we will reach out to that vendor directly to discuss it. Listings with photos that are violating our standards may be temporarily deactivated until replacement photos can be added.

Lighting

Photos must be well lit with good exposure and balanced contrast. Unless your brand has a moody and dark aesthetic, err on the side of brighter images for the web as that catches a visitor’s eye. Even if your brand has a darker aesthetic please make sure that the contrast is appropriate and all details are easily visible.

Notice that the exposure and contrast on the images on the left and right are not balanced, while the image in the center has a good mix of exposure and contrast.

White Balance

Photo white balance refers to the color temperature of the light in the photo. Natural mid-day light tends to have a clean, “white” color tone. Color temperature in daylight can fluctuate during the day depending on the time and weather though. Artificial light sources can skew warm or cold depending on the light.

While it’s acceptable for your color temperature to be slightly warmer or colder than pure white depending on your brand’s aesthetic, it should not veer too far that it looks unprofessional. Additionally, your white balance should be consistent across all of your product photos (which can be achieved via post-processing in programs like Lightroom).

The photo on the left is too blue which can happen on cloudy days or cool white light bulbs. The photo on the right has a warmer, yellow cast which can come from sunrise or sunset, or normal warm interior lights. Using indirect midday light on a clear day can give you the most accurate white balance, as well as photography lights.

Focus

Photos must be appropriately in focus, high resolution, and sized to minimize distortion. If your image is a low resolution or smaller than our recommended minimum dimensions, it will appear pixelated and out of focus to visitors.

The photo on the left was too small and when added it stretched to fit the space and looks blurry. Slightly out of focus images will also look soft and frustrate buyers

Added Elements

Photos should not have any watermarks or artificial post-processing filters such as vignettes. Text overlays should be used sparingly to never and only be used on primary images if identifying a set or starter pack. If a text overlay is used it should either be dark gray to black text on a light background or white text on a dark background.

Avoid watermarks (L) and fake post-processing filters (R) as they all detract from your product photography. Text overlays (middle) should be used sparingly (ideally never)

Styling

Having a consistent photography style (including the backgrounds you choose) helps buyers identify your brand without needing to look at your name. Similarly, a shop filled with inconsistent photography styles, like the examples below, will give your shop a “flea market” feel, which makes you look unprofessional.

While the styling doesn’t have to be identical from photo to photo, thematically they should all go together.

All of these products come from the same line but have wildly different backgrounds and styling which would be visually confusing to a buyer if they were all on the same shop page.

Keep It Tidy

Fabric-based items should generally be wrinkle-free (barring intentional styling). Don’t forget to check things like tassels or other embellishments as well!

Don’t let wrinkles ruin the shot!

Backgrounds & Props

A background can make or break a product photo. Too much going on with props or patterns and you distract from the product and confuse your buyers. Patterned or textured backgrounds are allowed, but again make sure it is in line with your brand and non-distracting.

Traditional gradient backgrounds or overly-photoshopped images (reflections, etc) can make your product look out-of-touch and overly stuffy in the context of the marketplace and are better suited to professional product catalogs.

Props can be used but should be considered thoughtfully when styling as to whether they help tell the story of your product or not.

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