Are Your Product Photos Making Your Handmade Business Look Shady To Customers?

How often do you buy products from businesses that look, er, sketchy? Probably not very often.

While there are a number of different things that contribute to whether a business looks reputable, one major thing is photography.

Customers make quick assumptions and judgments about businesses based on the photos they see when shopping online. 

Professional-looking photos not only increase the value of your business and product, but they also make your business look much more trustworthy. So if your product photos are not providing your customer the information and confidence they need to feel comfortable about purchasing from you, you’re going to lose your sale.

So how might your product photos be making your business look untrustworthy?

You’re uploading blurry product photos

Ah, blurry, fuzzy product photos. 

Let me ask you, how often do you purchase products that appear blurry and out of focus in photos? Probably not very often. So don’t do this to your customers. Uploading these kinds of photos does not make a good first impression on customers about your business. It not only cheapens the look of your product but also your business. Product photos where the product isn’t in focus make a business and product look undesirable and are a quick way to lose a customer.

If you don't have a tripod to take photos, I highly recommend getting one. You'll be less likely to take blurry photos because you won't be shaking the camera while taking a photo.

And make sure your camera is in focus before you take your photos. If your camera is not focusing, you may be too close to your product. Take a step back and try again. 

Your product photos are confusing your customer about what you selling

Every once in a while I come across a listing where it’s unclear what the listing is for. I actually wrote a previous blog post on this very topic which you can read here.

When your product photos and the rest of your listing are communicating different things, it makes it hard for your customer to know what you're selling. A confused buyer buys nothing.

It’s your responsibility to ensure you’re making it easy and clear for your customers to know what they’re purchasing when doing business with you. Not being clear about what you’re selling will turn off a customer really fast because they’re not going to want to risk purchasing from you and end up with something they didn’t want. You’ll not only lose the sale, but it makes your business look shady.

And if you think "Oh they can send me a message if something is confusing ..."

No. You shouldn't make your customer have to go out of their way to get clarity by sending you a message.

Make sure your title, description, and photos are communicating all the same thing and if they're not, re-shoot your photos and/or make other changes to your listing.

You’re only showing them 1-2 images of the product

Often times I come across a listing online with only 1-2 photos of the product. Or maybe they have 8 product photos, but the photos are all more or less the same. Not providing your customer enough visuals about your product makes it hard for them to get a good sense and feel of your product.

Showing your customer 1-2 shots or the same photos over doesn’t help them make their purchasing decision. 

Not providing the customer different angled shots of your product may give the impression that something’s wrong with your product. Why isn’t there a shot of the product up close? Is the quality bad? Why isn’t there a shot of the back of the bottom? Is it damaged? 

A perfect example of this was recently I was shopping for a new notebook online. And I was surprised at how many listings online didn't have a photo of what the inside of the notebook looked like. It was a frustrating experience because I wanted to know how the lines of the paper looked. Was the spacing small or large? This is why it's important to take different types of photos of your product.

When selling your products online, you need to think like your customer. You need to think about the different types of product photos that will help educate and inform your customer about your product. By providing them a variety of product photos, the more they’ll be able to understand your product and feel you’re giving them all the information they need to want to buy from you.

You're using harsh lighting 

Harsh lighting can be great in product photography, but it can also be problematic.

When photographing your products in direct sunlight, the light can create hard shadows on your product and make it difficult to see the details. It can also make it hard to understand what the true colors are of your product because the light may wash them out making them appear differently than they really are. Harsh lighting can also create glare in some products which can also make it hard to see the product well.

small ceramic figurine in uneven lighting

If a customer can’t get a good sense of the true color and look of your product due to harsh lighting, they may not want to take a chance and purchase from you. So make sure you’re presenting your products in the best light possible and stay out of direct, harsh light.

You're not showing how big or small a product is 

Have you ever wanted to buy something, but it was hard to understand how big or small it was? Not having this information is frustrating for a customer because who wants to order something online only to realize it’s not the size they were expecting?

Your customer can't physically pick up your product so showing them visually how big or small your product is through your photos is important. Whether it’s with a ruler, your hand, or a model wearing your product, this will help your customer visually know what to expect if they purchase from you. 

When it comes to product photography and selling your products online, first impressions are everything. If your product photos are making your products and business look untrustworthy, then it's time to reshoot your product photos.

Product photography is critical to your business so don't be lazy and try to cut corners. Take the time and energy to learn how to photograph your products in the best light. Trust me, it will be worth the effort.

About the author

Imelda Jimenez-LaMar is a product photography coach and former Etsy seller, who said goodbye to her corporate job to create a business teaching photography. She is on a mission to demystify product photography for makers who want to create product photos that sell their handmade products online and grow their handmade business.

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