Product photography is crucial for sellers looking to make products stand out on popular websites while meeting their specific requirements. Finding the exact guidelines as well as general tips on taking good product photography can be challenging.
Good product photography focuses on the main product and displays it without a distracting background or additional objects. The photograph displays the entire item in even light that does not hide any parts of the product. Sites such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy have additional requirements.
Generally, a good product photograph can be used across most sites. For the specific rules regarding some of the largest online retailers, continue reading.
What Are the Product Photography Guidelines for Amazon?
Amazon has a strict set of rules that it requires all sellers to follow while selling anything on the site. Due to the enormous userbase of Amazon, these requirements have also largely been adopted into general product photography guidelines, making them useful to learn for general knowledge.
Amazon has an extensive list of requirements for all products on their site, with some items having additional specifications. Some of the most critical guidelines for the main photograph are:
- The full product must be in the image frame
- Backgrounds must be pure white
- No additional graphics or text are allowed
- Products must fill 85% or more of the frame (certain products must fill 100% of the frame)
- Lighting, focus, colors, and edges must be professional in quality
There are a few other smaller rules that Amazon also includes as requirements on their official customer help page, but these are the main rules for how a photograph can be composed to fit on the website. In general, images must be professional looking, focus on the product, and feature a pure white background.
It may be helpful to remember that additional images focusing on certain parts of the product or showing the product in use can be uploaded after the main product image. Including a carousel of images that meet the initial requirements and then expand is a good idea for any seller looking to convince people of their product’s worth.
Amazon’s Specific Technical Requirements
Unlike the standards for product images previously mentioned, Amazon’s technical requirements are incredibly strict and cannot be altered in any way. It is imperative to meet these for all images uploaded to the site, as otherwise, the photograph may not upload correctly or be rejected.
Photographs uploaded to Amazon must be:
- Formatted as a TIFF, JPEG, GIF, or PNG
- Dimensions of at least 1000 pixels are preferred
- Images must be uploaded in sRGB or CMYK color mode
Amazon is also highly particular about file naming. On Amazon’s previously mentioned customer support page, it is mentioned that file names must be the product identifier, then a period, then the file extension. No additional descriptions in the file name such as “shot_1” are allowed, and the inclusion of other characters prevents the image from being uploaded.
What Are the Product Photography Guidelines For eBay?
eBay has very few strict rules compared to Amazon or some other product sites, but they include an extensive list of tips to help images stand out and attract customers. Before diving into tips, eBay’s essential photo requirements are:
- A minimum of 500 pixels on one side of an image is required
- No borders, additional text, or artwork are allowed
- Stock photos are only allowed for brand-new items
Additionally, all listings are required to include at least one photograph. While requirements are less strict, this does not mean that following additional guidelines is not worth it. eBay has a short list of tips for taking photos that increase sales and improve quality. While not all tips may be possible for the product you are showcasing, they are worth keeping in mind:
- Backgrounds should be white
- Use even and diffused lighting
- Fill the frame with the item
- Showcase the scale and angles of the item
- Ensure images are high-resolution
- Avoid filters that affect the color of the product
These tips are also generally good for any product photography. For the same reason, they also happen to align closely with Amazon’s requirements, so they are even more valuable if you are selling across multiple sites.
For photographers interested in a guided tour and examples of eBay’s product photography tips, they have put together an excellent Photo Guide that explores the tips in detail, with reasons behind the decision.
eBay Specific Tools
To improve the look and search engine optimization of their listings, eBay has helped develop some specific tools and guides that product photographers can use. These are great ways for photographers who may lack time or experience to complete some of the more advanced product photography requirements.
eBay’s mobile app includes an automatic background remover, changing everything but the item to a pure white background. This is especially useful for sellers who may not have access to photo manipulation software or an area where photographs can be taken on a white background naturally.
The app also includes additional simple touch-ups that can improve the quality of your product images without going overboard.
Finally, eBay has invested resources into tips for product photographers by creating guides for various cases, such as sellers using their phones, selling fashion, and more. Information can be found on their Photo Tips page.
What Are the Product Photography Guidelines for Etsy?
Etsy has a comprehensive guide for setting up an entire shop on their website, and this includes a large section devoted to product photography tips and trades. Unlike Amazon and eBay, Etsy does not have a specific list of requirements for their product images. However, the same guidelines for taking product photos apply here.
Etsy has split their product photography tips into 14 different articles, including basics on how to light photographs, all the way up to checklists to use while ensuring photographs look professional. The information is plentiful for those looking for an extensive guide specific to the website and can be found here. Many of these ideas boil down to general tips for product photography:
- Use ample, even lighting
- Frame your shots to showcase the entire product while filling the image
- Use backgrounds that are not distracting, such as white
- Edit photographs minimally to highlight the product
Truthfully, almost any image that can be used for eBay or Amazon will see some success on Etsy, but taking the time to explore the platform and specific tips is a good idea. Due to the nature of items sold on Etsy, including additional props and details in shots is a good idea. Finding success often comes down to showcasing your item’s unique properties and how it can be used.
Uploading multiple photographs is a good idea for any site, but especially Etsy. Including a shot that showcases the item on a white background, while in use, and near additional but non-distracting props, is a good first shot list.
As always, using high-quality photographs that clearly show the item and some of its details is key to producing perfect product photographs.
Good product photography comes down to clearly showcasing the product on a nice background without any distracting elements. Ensure that images are high-quality and high resolution for the best results. Even, soft lighting, filling the frame with the item, and showcasing every part of the item are essential.
Amazon has the strictest requirements for their product photography, and the rules have been mainly adopted as good ideas for all product photography. eBay has fewer requirements but includes an extensive list of tips for selling on the platform, while Etsy has no requirements but entire guides on properly taking photographs that sell on the platform.