Monday, March 16, 2009

Are Perfect Photos Really the Key to Online Sales?

Every online retailer will tell you that awesome product photos are an integral part of their recipe for success. Who doesn't love browsing through pages and pages of fabulous photos of beautiful items? The continued popularity of catalogues - even in this virtual world - proves my point. But they are the bane of my existence.

I understand implicitly how important great photos are to attract buyers online. I know they need to be pretty and eye-catching as well as depict the product as accurately as possible. There's nothing worse than seeing a photo of the perfect cocoa brown eyeshadow online, buying it and having it delivered, only to discover it's really an espresso shade. Beautiful, but not what I wanted - or thought I was buying.

Now, I understand that electronic media is not the perfect showcase for the nuances of cosmetic colors, but with more and more buyers turning to ecommerce as a way of life, it's impossible to avoid. And to be honest, I love online sales. I will gladly trade a few returns for the opportunity of global exposure. And I'm proud to say Bellissima has experienced an incredibly small percentage of returns. But it's not due to our insanely gorgeous and impossibly accurate product photos, that's for sure.

Photography is just not my strong suit. Never has been. I remember my first polaroid, then instamatic, then 35mm and now Fuji digital camera. And I really, honestly tried. I learned everything I could, studied and researched, practiced and practiced. I drove everyone I knew nuts taking candid and not-so-candid shots of just about anything and anyone. But the shock of seeing rolls and rolls of overdeveloped, out of focus, fuzzy photos time after time nearly killed me. I wasn't discouraged, I just realized that I had no talent for the art of photography. I didn't pick up a camera for years.

In all the time it took to develop Bellissima, the subject of product photos weighed heavily on my mind. When the time came to start taking pictures, panic really set in. But, I decided to just relax and take photos that looked good. I already knew that setting up artistic or 'glamour' shots was out, so I didn't even try. I set up shots that focused on the product, depicted the colors as accurately as possible, looked attractive and enticing and looked like something I would be interested in buying.

They are not perfect photos, some of them aren't even pretty, but I work hard to balance that with truthful and precise - not flowery or ethereal - product descriptions. I believe that buyer's will receive no suprises when their Bellissima purchase is delivered. When they open their box, they'll be able to say "That's exactly what I wanted!"

And if I've done my really job well, they'll say "This is even better than I expected!"


  1. You have great pics! I hate taking pictures of my items - never quite sure how to go about making them look their best.

  2. Well, I will add the photo that goes along with this post looks fantastic! Great job!


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