The two most important types of product photography

by | Jan 9, 2020 | Creative

If you want to maximise your sales online, you need great images.

In the world of eCommerce, you’re not only competing against other online retailers, but also against bricks-and-mortar stores. One huge advantage they have over online stores is that customers get an opportunity to touch and feel a product before they make the decision to buy. One of the biggest challenges of the online shopping industry.

Besides informative product descriptions, high-quality images are a fantastic way for you to assist your customers in imagining the touch and feel of your products, or how something might look in their homes. This allows you to help them make the decision whether or not to buy.

We promise obtaining good images is not as overwhelming as you might think.
In this post, we’ll start by introducing you to the two main types of product images you need to know about.

1. Deep-etch photography

Simply put, a photo of a product on a white (or removed) background.

Why it’s great

Deep-etch images focus just on the product, with no distractions. This allows your brain to clearly understand what you’re looking at. With this information, your customer will be able to decide subconsciously within a split-second whether they’re interested or not. 

What it’s for

They’re perfect as the first image on your product listing (or what we call your hero image).

When used as hero images, these are usually spotted as thumbnails on your category pages.
Using deep-etch images as hero shots also gives your category pages a clean consistent look, which makes them less overwhelming for the customer.

a category display of necklaces

screenshot hardtofind.com.au

2. In-situ photography

A photo of a product in its natural environment (often styled). For example, jewellery worn by a model or a painting hung on a wall in a styled living room.

Why it’s great

If you make it easy for your customers to imagine a product in their homes without much effort on their behalf, and place products in a setting customers can relate to (like a painting in a living room), then you have a higher chance of them purchasing. It’s all about making the online shopping experience easy and pleasant.
In-situ images are usually very pretty and give your products context, which is why they’re fantastic for print ads.

What it’s for

In-situ images help your customers to imagine a product in their own home and get an understanding for size, look and even feel. Use them throughout your website and as secondary images on product listings.


A little note from the EH:

Good quality images are a must if you are selling online. 

We’ve done extensive testing on this over the years and the results are clear: 
On pages with multiple products (like collections or categories), deep-etched images get clicked on more often.

Once a customer has clicked through to a product page however, in-situ images are the main driver to push that sale across the line.

The key lies in using a good mix of both and placing the right type of images in various places around your website.

You can either hire a professional photographer or DIY! It takes a little practice but you can take amazing photos with your phone and use Deepetch to get backgrounds removed for a very low cost. If you’re already using Canva Pro*, you can deep-etch your photos there too!


Next up: Learn about which file formats you need and how to brief a photographer.

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