An Introduction to Images
Building your Shopify store is an opportunity to share your product or service with customers in a new environment: e-commerce! A great way to start designing that environment is thinking about the images you will need to use in your Shopify store.
Photography and other forms of media are essential for your website, as they play a significant role in the experience each user has. In fact, 2/3 of users would rather consume information that is beautifully designed than content with plain presentation. In this article, we’ll explore recommendations for the best ways to use media in your Shopify store.
Establishing Your Visual Language
Before you start planning your photo shoot, think about all of the visual elements you might use in your Shopify store. From photographs of products to iconography, and everything in-between, these elements make up the ‘visual language’ of your site. The visual language you convey on your website shares the essence and aesthetic of your brand with users. Defining a visual language for your site ensures that all forms of media are similar in look, creating an e-commerce environment that feels like your company. These visual elements work together to express your brand to users and should help to push users to key areas of your Shopify store.
For your Shopify store, you will need different styles of photos to enhance key content:
- Lifestyle photography: images that reflect your industry, store, or workplace used in larger container spaces, such as your homepage or collection pages. These look good in the background of your Shopify store, but don’t distract the user from the content you want them to consume. They are also useful images for having text overlaid on top of them without impacting readability. Using overlaid text on an image tends to produce a quicker load time too.
- Product pictures: images of the items or services you’re selling in your Shopify store. These should include close-ups of key product features and the product on a plain background, as well as people wearing or using the product. Product pictures will help customers imagine themselves engaging with your product. You may also want to consider having imagery on your site with a ‘feature overlay’ calling out key product features.
- Company Portraits and Branded images: photographs of your team members and office space or storefront to use on your ‘About,' ‘Location,' and ‘Contact’ pages. Imagery like this helps your e-commerce customer get to know the inner workings of your company.
Here’s a tip!
Plan to capture imagery for now and for later use. Doing so provides options for your company blog, social media, or for other marketing materials. That way, you can use one photoshoot to create a library of on-brand imagery for whatever the occasion calls.
Preparing Photography for Shopify
Like everywhere on the Internet, imagery works best when it is sized and saved specifically for the platform of use. Following these recommendations will ensure that the quality of your photos shines through while considering page load times.
Once you’ve got a working library of on-brand images, you’ll want to size and save them correctly for web use. Shopify recommends that you use images of any size up to 4472px by 4472px, or 20 megapixels. To upload to Shopify, image files must be smaller than 20 MB. However, it’s best to limit the size of your images to 2048px X 2048px. When you are adding several photos to a collection or a gallery, you’ll want to ensure that all of the photos are the same size and that they have a consistent aspect and height-width ratio.
File size plays a vital role in the speed of your site and how quickly it will load. After you’ve sized your photos, you’ll want to compress them to improve the speed of the site. We recommend using an app like Crush Pics or Image Optimizer to help compress photos and reduce the load time of your Shopify store.
Here’s a tip!
You can use different types of photo files in Shopify, like a JPEG, PNG, or TIFF. Shopify recommends using a JPEG when you can. And the PNG file format should be used if you need a transparent background for the image.
Implementing Video Content
Aside from static imagery, utilizing video content can enhance the visual language and experience of your site. Did you know that users are more likely to watch a video about a product than read a review? Consider a mix of media in your Shopify store to share product features quickly and efficiently. Videos are perfect for product reviews and demonstrations, as well as insights into your company process. Simple video content can also be substituted for lifestyle imagery of your Shopify store, creating a sense of depth in background container areas without distracting from the overlaid text within them.
Here’s a tip!
Host your videos on a 3rd-party site, like Youtube or Vimeo, as it’s a great way to provide video content for your Shopify store, without slowing anything with a large file. In fact, almost 40% of users will leave a website if it takes too long to load.
The truth is imagery is very important for your site and expressing your e-commerce branding to your customer. If you’re looking for images to populate your Shopify store without doing a photo shoot, stock imagery is the way to go. Shopify has a photo library, Burst, where you can find free high-resolution images, and Unsplash is excellent too for affordable stock photography.
Regardless of where your photos come from, determining your needs around images, alongside other design components of your Shopify store is essential. Visual components of a site help translate your brand essence to your visitors, enhance their experience and drive them to make a purchase.