how to drive ecommerce sales with great model photography

by | Jun 16, 2021

model photography just brings something to the table that flat lays and mannequin shots just don’t seem to capture. life. jazz. movement. sometimes that’s just what your product pages need to drive conversions.

but you can’t just use any old model photos – you gotta capture those high-quality gems. no. we’re not talking about hiring high-fashion models. but you will need to invest a little bit of time and effort into the process so that you set your shots up for success.

understanding how to prepare for and nail your model photography can feel a bit overwhelming. lucky for you – we’re outlining exactly how you get the job done to drive sales and start improving that revenue stream baby!

here’s the 411 on how you can use killer model photography to drive ecommerce sales for your business.

when to use model photography

flat lays. mannequins. models. they’ve all got their moment. knowing when to use each type of product photography is key to engaging your customers with stunning visuals and driving sales.

mannequin and flat lay shots are good for when you want the products to speak for themselves. these two types of product photography minimize visual distractions and let your customers focus on the product.

but many times those images don’t tell the whole story. leaving part of the product story out can mean falling flat when it comes to sales. customers want to understand your product. what is it’s history? what does it’s journey look like? flat lays and mannequin shots might leave out those critical details that can influence customers to move past any barriers to purchase.

professional models know just how to showcase your products. sometimes flatlays can look a little – well – flat. they lack dynamic movement. don’t misunderstand: there’s a time and place for flat lays. but models can do that flowy garment more justice than a flat lay or mannequin can.

fashion models can also create a lifestyle vibe that can really drive your customers wild. sure you can spice your flat lay up with some creative props. but nothing compares to those lifestyle images created with model photography. they give your products and enviable quality. customers can imagine themselves (and what their lives would be like) when they commit to the purchase.

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10 tips to use model photography effectively to drive sales

convinced that model photography is exactly what your ecommerce store is missing? after all: 75% of customers rely on product photos to make their final decision. great model photography can get that job done and help you seal the deal. 

knowing where to get started and how to prepare for your shoot is the next step. there are a few essential things you should learn before you dive head first into the world of working with models. 

here are 10 tips to consider when you want to use model product photos to effectively drive sales.

1. prepare. prepare. prepare

gather your props. hire a makeup artist. onboard a professional stylist. work with local modeling agencies to hire an experienced model. if you only take away one tip on how to get the most out of your model photography shoot it’s this: preparation is key. we would never recommend impromptu or unplanned model photoshoots.

create your looks ahead of time. plan backups. and plan some more backups. have a variety of looks and accessories on hand. make sure that all of your products are tailored to fit your models. an ill-fitting piece can get in the way of mastering the polished lifestyle look.

you should also make sure you’ve got all of the equipment you need. don’t forget the high-quality lighting equipment because we all know the importance of making sure your shoot is properly lit. rent the proper equipment if you need to.

2. don’t skimp on styling

part of what makes high-quality model photography so effective is the styling. high-fashion model shots are known for their styling. and commercial model photography is just the same. 

hiring a professional makeup artist and stylist is the best option – if your budget can accommodate it. they can help you pick out an entire outfit (with accessories) even if you’re only showcasing one product. communicate your vision with them and involve them in the collaboration process. styling is just one factor that can take your model photography from great to out of this world.

3. book the perfect location

you don’t have to have a photoshoot studio at your disposal to capture brilliant model photos. get out of the office and explore! it’s not uncommon to take the photoshoot to a different location.

consider all of your options – even the more unconventional ones. public parks or beaches can be great (free) alternatives to booking an expensive studio space. just make sure you check to see if you need any permits. you can also contact AirBnB or vacation rental hosts to see if they allow photoshoots in their spaces. these can be the perfect low-budget options for your shoot.

4. find inspo images

inspo images are great for keeping that creative juice flowing throughout your shoot. create a mood board and get a feel for what you want the finished product to look like – before you start. clip out magazine images. add in fabric or paint swatches. go crazy with textures. it’s these little details that can really help bring your vision to life.

but it’s not enough for only you to understand your visions and goals for the shoot. make it a collaborative process. involve your models and team and lay out the vision for them. sketch poses and scenes out if you need to. more communication is better in this case. making sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to your vision is essential to bringing it to life.

5. get creative with your sets

what do you want your images to communicate? are you going for a lifestyle shot? or maybe you’re after something more abstract. whatever it is – don’t forget to stay creative with your sets. 

plan out your backgrounds and work with set designers to create an environment that helps you tell your story. sets can transport your audience to a whole new place – or another planet! the sky’s the limit. take advantage of virtually endless opportunities to customize your set and use it to your advantage.

add in flair with props. or don’t. a white background can be just as compelling when it comes to ecommerce product photography. it all ultimately comes down to what kind of image you’re after. remember to stay consistent with your theme for a more polished and cohesive end product.

6. communication is key

most professional models can work through just about anything. but even the best fashion models produce their best work when they feel most comfortable and at ease. it’s the photographer’s job to create and maintain a positive environment. a tense or stressful shoot can translate into the facial and body positioning of the model.

one way to make things go smoothly is to keep the lines of communication open. provide encouragement and positive feedback when things are going well. see an opportunity for improvement? a little constructive feedback can go a long way towards getting the perfect shots.

7. practice makes perfect

greatness takes time. and practice makes perfect. don’t worry about perfection if you’re just getting started with model photography. 

yes – getting high-quality image is important. but we promise it will be ok even if there’s a speck of lint in the image or if the pose isn’t quite right. your customers won’t probably won’t micro-analyze your product images as much as you do. it’s about capturing images that get (and keep) their attention throughout their purchase decision making process.

you’ll start to fall into a routine over time. you’ll learn more insider tips and getting brilliant photos will become just a little bit easier each time. focus on progress (not perfection) when you’re running your photoshoots in-house.

8. manage the environment

photoshoots can be pretty uncomfortable. not that it’s intentional – it’s just happens because of the nature of the beast. great poses can cause cramping. outside temperatures can range from scorching hot to freezing cold. the environment of your photoshoot plays a critical role throughout the shoot.

all of these environmental factors can impact whether or not you get *the* shot. set your shoot up for success by managing as many of these elements as possible. schedule in regular breaks. check in with the models and crew to make sure everyone is physically and mentally able to give 100%. use air conditioned or heated spaces when possible. prepare for extreme elements when shooting outside by providing places to warm up or water bottles to cool down.

and don’t forget the amenities that help set you apart from other employers. offer on-set refreshments and snacks. provide lounging space for downtime. make sure you’ve got enough staff to cover all of the loose ends. you’ve only got a limited amount of time to get the job done. help keep everyone alert and energized throughout the long photoshoot days to make sure you get the money shots you need to drive sales.

9. details make all the difference

don’t overlook the details. keeping an eye on the little things can help make the overall shot look that much more natural. here are a few details that might stick out like a sore thumb if they’re awkwardly placed or posed: 

  • hands – look for stiff or awkwardly posed hands
  • accessories – they should accentuate (not distract from) your product
  • props – don’t let them take over the scene or visually outweigh the model

these might seem like finicky points. but trust us: they make all the difference between just ok model photos and compelling ones.

10. add in a sprinkle of emotion

high- fashion model shoots are known for the smize. you know: that look that appears perfectly aloof? it might work for Burberry. but emotionless expressions aren’t right for every product. remember that tone and inspo you started with? work with that. don’t try to force that high fashion aloofness on your shoot if it doesn’t mesh well with your vision.

collaborate with the models to inspire certain emotions. paint a visual picture for them to set the mood. example: your scene features family swimwear in a beach setting. use those summertime vibes to your advantage and let your models channel their inner sunny vibes. it’ll translate much better on film and make your product images that much more persuasive to your audience.

11. frame it up

you’ve been prepping for this last step: making sure your images are visually balanced. there’s a fine line between good image composition and great image composition. here’s how you cross over that threshold and create those scroll-stopping images.

remember the rule of thirds: you can master image composition by dividing the frame into 9 quadrants (three horizontal & three vertical). placing your main focal points along these divisions leads to a more aesthetically balanced image that can capture your audience’s attention.

get started with model photography services with soona

there’s no doubt about it: professional models can take your ecommerce product photos to the next level to help drive more sales. knowing when to use model photography (versus flat lays or mannequins) is simply a matter of understanding what the goal of your image is. 

don’t forget that you can use models to capture stunning lifestyle videos to add to your product pages. make sure you prepare for your shoot and keep that vision alive and well by communicating it to the whole team. ICYMI: photoshoots should be collaborative!

not ready to commit to the time that it takes to pull off a product photoshoot with models? leave it to the professional photographers at soona to perfectly capture those high-quality images you need to boost your ecommerce sales.

if you’re looking to ramp up your content game but still feel unsure where to start – check out these resources:

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