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online store design

Tips to ensure photos enhance your online store design

Online Stores
1. How product imagery can impact your online store
2. Why online store product photos and copy must work together
3. How many product shots do you really need?
4. Tips to ensure photos enhance your online store design
5. Ecommerce product photography 101 for beginners
6. Why an About Us page is important for online stores
7. Online store copywriting tips that engage and convert
8. Ecommerce Microcopy and CTA’s: Getting it write
9. What copywriting mistakes are causing you to lose sales
10. Ecommerce strategy: how to get customers to come back to your online store
11. Marketing strategy: Start a blog on your online store
12. Digital direct marketing tactics for your online store
13. Market your online store with these 8 ideas
good vs bad product photography
A comparison of Apple’s carefully curated photography with the images replaced with bad product photography

Online store design is a combination of a variety of factors. Photos are really an easy way to enhance your designs and layouts. If you have been keeping up with this blog series around online stores, you will know that a great online store is not all about the photos and it’s also not all about the copy but rather a combination of both.

Photos need to enhance your online store design rather than ruining all your hard work with getting the layout, user journey, store functionality etc right. Have a look at the two versions of the same product pages, where only the product images are changed, nothing else, to see how much photography can enhance the design of your online store.

So where do you start?

When you start out with a blank canvas (or a previously designed online store that now needs some updating) it is always helpful to do some research and look at some really successful online store designs and see why and how they work. These online stores need not been in the same category or industry as you, you are looking at the design and the layout to get some inspiration. Imagine it is your product being advertised in that layout and how one of your potential customers would engage with it. You can also look at your competitors to see where their designs excel and where they fall short.

Look at the pros

One company which really breaks the boundaries in all areas of design is Apple. Their online store design is no different. The design of their online store is totally different to the traditional online store with lists of products but rather an interactive experience into what the product is all about and its unique features. Have a scroll through the page for yourself here and tell me if you are not desperately wanting to get yourself an Apple Air by the time you reach the bottom of the page. They cleverly use their product photography, text and features to sell you on the product before you view the traditional product page.

The Apple product page is packed with options in terms of the specs you are wanting, how you want to pay, informational videos and specifications. It doesn’t look bad at all but it isn’t a design you would call beautiful. The thing is, that doesn’t matter. You already want it and you are happy to now read the fine print and check that the specs are what you are wanting. In fact you want to read all the details on this product page. There is so much to learn from these two pages alone.

Apple keeps the photos clean

Isolated product photographs allow you to use text to further communicate the appeal of your product. This creates an interesting and unique layout, breaking from traditional structured columns which can quickly become very boring. Cluttered backgrounds also detract from the visual appeal of your product photography so even if you are going to be using a very structured column layout, you can create a clean design with your product being the ultimate hero.


Consistent product photograpy
All the watches are consistent on the online store shopping page, keeping the layout neat

Apple relies on a balance of consistency and creativity

Ensure you have a consistent set of photographs that you can use on generic shopping pages. Your photos are the hero here and can make or break the design of your online store. When you set out to do your product photography, you also need to consider how you may creatively showcase different products on different pages within your online store. Apple sells watches, phone and desktop computers and various accessories. Using the same layout to showcase these different products would not always work.



Change the angle and perspective of your photographs

Showing your products from different angles allows your shoppers to get a good feel of the product you want them to buy. It also allows you to build a library of interesting images which can break out from the traditional, expected images.

Another company who love to break traditions, Nike, offer shoppers a variety of angles of each shoe which is both beautiful and informative. All the technical specs become secondary to the layout while you are engrossed by the product gallery you are presented with. View the product page here.

Showing the product from different angles gives an overall feeling of the shoe

Focus on the features

The product photography shows the product features

Both Nike and Apple have perfected the art of showcasing what makes their products special. Their photos give you up close and personal views. The product imagery for the iPhone 8 shows the phone is water resistant. If you read the copy or not, but the copy is there too, to give clarity. The power of the photography is in showing the features without having to say a word. However the true excellence in the Apple iPhone 8 user journey is ensuring that the customer is sure that what they buy is what they expected, there should be no misunderstanding.

Use icons to enhance and further explain your product

Icons give clarity on product features and add design elements

While we are talking about photography, illustrations, icons and even technical drawings can be invaluable. They create interest in your online store design and to enhance your photography. If you cannot photography a feature, use illustration alongside your photography and copy to communicate what you mean.

Careful with colour

Dull and lifeless photography is, well, dull and lifeless. It is not enticing and will always be an instant online store design killer. Well lit photographs can even be achieved by an amateur. Just use a lightbox, ample lighting and some help from Youtube. Colour is also a really important factor with product photography. If your copy tell shoppers they are looking at a pink coloured shoe, ensure that your shoe does indeed look pink, in real life and in the photograph.

Be creative with your online store design

The online store market has exploded over the last few years and as users options expand the need to stand out becomes more and more important. Shopping online is price driven with the cheapest option winning the sale. But, trust is also a major factor in a buyers decision to choose to give you their credit card details over your competitors. Taking creative, visually appealing product photographs which really seal the deal and entice your audience to rather purchase from you and become loyal to your online store.

Don’t forget about video

Video is fast overtaking (or has even overtaken) photography as a tool to sell products online. Video must be a part of your visual design strategy and be seamlessly built into the design of your website. This will enhance your overall user experience.

Capturing photos which will enhance the design of your online store should be a priority but not the only one. There are many tutorials available to help you get some amazing product shots yourself. Alternatively, hire a professional who will ensure that you capture a beautiful, consistent library of product shots. This will give the designers of your online store the tools to create something you can really be proud of. Which ultimately sells your product.

We love coming up with creative ways to integrate product photography, website design and copy to create online store design which convert customers. Contact us today if you are ready to start on the journey of making your online store idea a reality.

Yes! I have an idea and I need your innovation to turn it into an online store invention!


Hayley is Flicker Leap's Creative Director and heads up the Creative team.

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