Best Practices
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Daniel Erning
Content Marketing Manager

Optimize product images for online shops correctly - with tips and a list of ideas

Artfully staged green sneakers on a Polaroid photo
October 9, 2023

Product images are essential for online shops. Have the quality of the images and the way they are integrated into the shop according to various surveys a significant effect on your success

So: Before you offer a new product to your customers, there are a few tips and tricks to consider. Here are the basics:

The 3 most important tips for professional product photos

People often want to know which key elements contribute to a successful product photo, including lighting, composition, viewing angle, and resolution.

  1. Control the light

Mastering lighting is essential in product photography. Choose natural light that highlights true colors and details whenever possible. Indoors, products should be positioned near a window or softboxes should be used to achieve uniform illumination and minimize shadows.

Experiment with different lighting directions and intensities to find the perfect setup for the respective product characteristics.

  1. Create the scene

Composition and background are often considered secondary, but they are decisive. Make sure that the product is at the center of the image by using composition principles such as the rule of thirds.

Choose clean, concise backgrounds or include props, especially if they improve the context of the product.

  1. Pay attention to details

Attention to detail and precision are the keys to a perfect shot. Use a stand to avoid blur and adjust settings for maximum depth of field.

Make sure the entire product is sharp and use macro lenses for intricate details. Take multiple shots from different angles and distances.

How many images should I include for each product?

The number of images that should be used to represent each product in an online shop can vary depending on the type of product, its complexity, and the preferences of your target audience. However, here are some general guidelines that relate to common product categories:


When it comes to clothing, it is advisable to use multiple images to show different angles and details. These include front and back views, close-ups of fabric structures, and pictures of the item being carried by a model or mannequin. Normally, 5-7 images per product should be enough. Tip: The Visualization of fashion and textiles is also possible with 3D rendering possible because it achieves photorealistic images without the effort and costs of photo shoots.


Electronic devices benefit from multiple images to provide a comprehensive overview. This includes images of the product from various angles, close-ups of ports and interfaces, and images of the product in use. 4-6 images are ideal to adequately cover these aspects.


Home accessories and furniture require detailed images to accurately represent size, structure, and color. Include images of the product in various rooms or environments, as well as close-ups of materials and surfaces. Providing 5-8 images for each item can help customers make informed decisions. Tip: Furniture is increasingly being visualized using 3D rendering.

Foods and beverages

When it comes to food and drink, high-quality images are critical to attract buyers. Include multiple images that highlight the look of the product, packaging, and any relevant serving suggestions or recipes. Around 3-5 images may be sufficient for these products.

Jewelry and watches

Jewelry and accessories often benefit from macro photography to highlight intricate details. Add images from different angles and close-ups to show off the craftsmanship. As a rule, 4-6 images per article are recommended.

Technical accessories (e.g. phone cases):

3-4 images should be sufficient for smaller technical accessories. Include clear images of the product from various angles and any important features or compatibility information.

Arts and handmade products:

Art and handmade products often have a unique character. Present the product through multiple images, including close-ups of the craftsmanship and shots showing it in various environments. 5-7 images per product should capture the uniqueness of each product.

20 creative ideas for product presentations in online shops

If you have mastered the basics, you can also experiment. In addition to freelancers, there are countless ways in which you can present your products and thus set yourself apart from the competition.

Because sometimes it has to be something other than a cut-off, even though it's the most widely used form of product image.

Here are 20 ideas for presenting your products in an alternative way.

  • Narrative locations: Stage stories about your products by placing them in specific scenarios and appropriate theme worlds. Let your potential customers discover your product world in a playful way.
  • 360 degree views: Allow your customers to interact with the products. 360-degree rotations make every corner of your product tangible.
  • Flat-lying photography: Arrange products flat on a surface to create visually appealing and informative compositions that highlight individual product features.
  • Product stacking: Present products stacked or nested within each other so that hidden details are visible when the items are separated.
  • Mirror reflections: Use mirrors to photograph products from multiple angles at the same time, creating visually fascinating reflections.
  • Include props: Improve the product context by adding props that underline and communicate the purpose or style of the product even more.
  • Floating products: Hang your products in the air with transparent wires or creative holders to give them a weightless, ethereal look.
  • Color spectrum display: Are your products available in different colors? Arrange the products in a color spectrum and create a visually stunning rainbow effect.
  • Play with sizes: By juxtaposing products in small or oversized versions, you can highlight certain features and create exciting eye-catchers.
  • Interactive GIFs: Create animated GIFs that demonstrate how to use or change products and engage customers with dynamic visuals.
  • Assembly of product development: Show the story or production of the product using a series of images, from concept to final version. A short video or a GIF as a moving image would also be suitable here.
  • Product in hand: Show how a product is held or used to convey a sense of size and use.
  • User-generated content: Encourage your customers to share their product photos and experiences to show real life usage and testimonials. Ideal for a social media campaign.
  • Seasonal topics: Tailor product presentations to different seasons, holidays, or events to convey a sense of timeliness and relevance.
  • Augmented Reality (AR): Use AR solutions to give customers the opportunity to visualize products in their own environment before they buy.
  • Miniature worlds: Create quirky miniature dioramas or scenes where the products are part of a tiny, enchanting world. With the tilt-shift process, these effects can be impressively achieved.
  • Behind-the-scenes recordings: Provide insights into the production process of the product or into the work of your company to create trust and transparency. Both in the product itself and in the people involved.
  • Geometric patterns: Arrange several products in complicated geometric patterns or designs: This makes your product stand out and can, for example, accentuate the aesthetics of your product.
  • Nature as a theme world: Place products in natural environments such as gardens or forests to emphasize sustainability or naturalness or as a contrast medium to a technical product, for example.
  • Personalization of products: Add human or animal features to the products to give them a personality and make them likeable. An exciting approach to a storytelling format.

Which file formats should I use for product images?

There is much more than JPEG and PNG files to optimally represent products.
So many that in a separate article we will read the Advantages and disadvantages of the respective file formats for image marketing List and have discussed.

It provides you with all information about the appropriate file formats for display on the Internet, such as JPEG, PNG or GIF, and the balance between image quality and file size.

An important note for all JPEG fans: Use the WebP format. More about this is available here in an extensive expert article, How the WebP format helps optimize product images on websites.

When should you include models in your product photos?

Human models are particularly suitable for products where it is beneficial to show their real use and size.
Relationships and proportions help customers buy what they want and can reduce the return rate.

This approach is beneficial, for example, for fashion, cosmetics, jewelry and lifestyle products such as home textiles or fitness equipment. It humanizes the product and shows how it fits into the customer's life and style.

Advantages and disadvantages of using human models


  • Contextualization: Human models provide context and show how the product is worn or used.
  • Emotional appeal: Models can convey emotions and lifestyles that are well received by the target group.
  • Size and fit: Customers can better assess the size and fit of products.
  • Incentive: Models can present products as desirable and show how they can improve lives.


  • Costs: Hiring models and photographers can be expensive.
  • Limited diversity: The models don't necessarily represent a wide variety of body types and backgrounds.
  • Inauthenticity: Poorly executed model shots may appear to be staged or inauthentic.
  • Time-consuming: Coordinating and setting up with the models can be time-consuming.

Should I invest in professional photo services?

There is a wide range of photographers and agencies offering professional product images. But even with your own setup and a small investment, you can create suitable product visuals yourself. Tip: However, there are also new, more up-to-date methods to create professional product images of all kinds.

Professional product photographers and agencies usually have extensive experience and expertise in creating high-quality product images. You have access to specialized equipment, lighting equipment and post-processing tools that allow you to optimally showcase your products.

Remember how important the Image quality in your industry is and how it affects the image of your brand. If your products require great attention to detail, it's often wise to invest in professionals who can consistently deliver excellent results. However, if your products are simple and don't require a high level of refinement, the DIY approach might be just the right thing for you.

that budget is an important factor in making this decision. Hiring professionals can be expensive, but the investment can pay off through increased sales and brand credibility. Compare the cost of professional services with the potential return on the investment. If you only have a limited budget, it can be a useful option to try yourself out or start with a test project.

Take into account your available Time and your resources. Professional photographers and agencies can streamline the entire product photography process, from planning and shooting to processing and delivery. Doing it yourself can be time-consuming, especially if the required photography skills and equipment are lacking or mediocre. Check whether you have the time and willingness to dedicate yourself to this specific task, or whether it is more efficient to delegate it to professionals. An important factor is the number of products and the flow of new products.

The modern alternative to professional product images: 3D visualization

If you are interested in professional product images for your product portfolio, without logistics costs and retouching, renderThat offers an exciting solution. With 3D visualization, you get photorealistic visuals of all types. Whether Product images or Product videos, renderThat works with digital twin for sustainable, cost-effective and high-quality product content.

Sounds interesting? Get a free quote for your images here: Request a quote from RenderThat.

Also take a look at the numerous references from large, international companies, click here for the testimonials by renderThat.

How do I find out which product images are best?

Marketing managers know the game. Based on experience and best practices, products are presented in online shops and on landing pages in one way or another.

But what really works? Experts use various methods to find the best performers.

The most widely used methods include A/B testing, user analytics with heat maps or on-page analytics software, customer feedback, competitive analyses and funnel analyses.

Ways to analyze the performance of your product images

A/B testing: Do A/B testing (or split testing) on your product images. Create variations of product offerings with different images and watch their performance. You can use A/B testing tools or platforms like Google Optimize, Optimizely, or the built-in testing features of your e-commerce platform. Compare metrics such as click-through rates, conversions, and sales for each variant to find out which images resonate best with your target groups.

User Analytics: Analyze user behavior and engagement with web analytics tools such as Google Analytics. Pay attention to metrics such as bounce rate and time spent on product pages. Based on this data, you can get clues about which images attract users' attention and prompt them to take action, such as making a purchase.

Heat maps and click tracking: Use heat maps and click tracking tools to see where users click and interact on your product pages. This can provide information about which parts of the product images attract the most attention. When users keep clicking on certain image elements (e.g. zoom, color options), it shows that they prefer these features.

Customer feedback: Conduct surveys with your customers or leads, get specific reviews and feedback on product images. Ask questions about image quality, clarity, and whether the images helped them make a purchase decision. Compared to previous, more quantitative results, you can gain qualitative insights into the performance of your product images here.

Funnel analysis: Analyze the entire conversion funnel in which phase of the customer journey how your product images perform and influence user behavior. Registrations, purchases, and respective bounce rates related to testing with product images could provide important insights.

Analysis of competitors: Which product images and in particular which type of presentation do your competitors use in which context? If there are noticeable similarities among competitors that are not used in your shop, you should think about a new approach to product presentation.

Customer segmentation: Segment your customers and (if possible) leads based on demographics, preferences, and behavior. Test different product images for specific segments to see whether certain images are more popular with specific customer groups.

The best tools for A/B testing and analyzing the performance of your product images

  • Google Optimize: Google's A/B testing tool, which allows you to create and run experiments to optimize the site, including product images.
  • Optimizely: A comprehensive experimentation platform that allows A/B testing for various aspects of the website, including images.
  • VWO (Visual Website Optimizer): A popular A/B testing and conversion optimization platform with visual editor features to test various images.
  • Adobe Target: As part of Adobe's Marketing Cloud, it provides A/B testing and personalization features to optimize content, including images, on websites.
  • Crazy Egg: A tool for heat maps and A/B testing that allows you to visualize how users interact with various images on the website.
  • Convert: A versatile A/B testing platform that lets you experiment with images and other elements to increase conversion rates.
  • AB Tasty: An easy-to-use A/B testing tool that provides features to optimize product images and other website elements.
  • Unbounce: Primarily a landing page builder, but it also offers A/B testing features that can be useful for testing product pages.
  • A platform for labeling features and experimenting that allows A/B testing of images and edits in real time.
  • LaunchDarkly: A feature management platform that includes A/B testing capabilities to experiment with images and other features.
  • Omniconvert: A conversion optimization tool that includes A/B testing features to improve product images and website elements.
  • Vizit: A visual AI tool that shows the images and designs that motivate buyers to view and buy products.
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