Think about the last time that you purchased something online. A lot of factors likely contributed to the purchase; great copywriting that explained what the product was and why it mattered, the perfect price point, and may even an occasional great offer. One of the biggest contributors, however, was almost certainly the product pictures.

The pictures we choose to represent our products matter. More than 75% of online shoppers say that pictures are incredibly influential in helping them decide whether to purchase or not, and if your thumbnail doesn’t grab their attention, they’ll never even end up on the product page in the first place.

The right pictures will catch your customer’s attention, even if it’s for a non-visual product like olive oil or cleaner being bought in bulk. The aesthetics still matter, and the right pictures can help build trust, create transparency, and help customers to feel not only more comfortable about buying, but more excited, too. They feel like they really know what they’re getting.

We know that the stakes are high when it comes to picking the right pictures, so in this post we’re going to look at how to choose product images that sell, helping you maximize your conversions.

Feature Product-Only Images

You should have at least one product-only image for every item that you’re selling. Ideally, these pictures should have white background with plenty of clean background space. These images put the product in prime view, making it easier for people to see exactly what they’re getting, and they can offer some consistency to your website.

Picture Perfect: Product-only Images

Some businesses benefit by having these product-only images as their primary product picture and their product thumbnail. Since the images are more simple, they’re easier to clearly make out even when the images are smaller because they’re showing up in search pages.

Include Thumbnails & Full Product Images

The product images that you choose should be sized correctly so that they look great as both thumbnail images and full-sized product images. The thumbnail needs to be able to grab a customer’s attention when they’re searching or browsing (on and off your site), and the full product image be high resolution, crystal clear, and detailed for zoom-in views.

According to Shopify’s own guidelines, using 2048 x 2048 pixels is a good bet for square pictures. Ensure that the image that you choose as your thumbnail and primary product picture has plenty of white space and will be easy to discern when sized down.

Have Images that Show the Product in Use

Lifestyle product images– which somehow show the product in use– are an excellent choice to feature on your site. These pictures show value, and it can help customers to picture themselves using the item and often offer value.

You’d be more likely to want to purchase that trench coat if you saw that it looked great and had a slimming effect on the model wearing it, for example, and seeing a picture of someone setting up that tent kit will give you more perspective on size and show how easy it is to use.

Picture Perfect: Show the product in use

In some cases, the users of our app have actually found that lifestyle photos perform stronger than product-only images. This is particularly true in the apparel industry, where clothing may look better on a model than hanging flat. Lifestyle images are also a good chance for primary product pictures if you have a Shopify theme with larger product thumbnails on the collection pages.

Remember that you can add up to 250 images for any single product, so it doesn’t have to be either-or. Giving your customers more to look from can always benefit them, and thus you.

Include Images of All Product Variants

You should make sure that every product you sell is well-represented on your site, and that includes every product variation that you might have.

Picture Perfect - include images of all product variants

If you’re selling the same shirt but one is in red and one is in green, have pictures of both in the listing. People will want to see what shade of red and green the shirts are, after all, and it helps them visualized the product more.

Look At the Details

Sometimes the devil really is in the details, and that goes for visual details, too. Small touches can actually make a world of difference.

All of your images should be shot with good lighting. You can also add shadows underneath a product to make the image look professionally-created. Many simple photo editing tools can help with this, including Adobe’s Photoshop.

It’s also important to see that all of your products are realistically reflected in the images. You shouldn’t edit the living daylights out of a picture of a faux-leather purse to try to make it look like vachetta. Having realistic product images will increase customer satisfaction and reduce your return rate significantly.

Always Run A/B Tests on Images

Once you’ve chosen your pictures, it’s time to actually test them. You won’t know which exact types of product images will actually serve you most until you start running those A/B tests. For some businesses, after all, those plain product-only images might get you the most clicks, but the lifestyle images will get more conversions for shops in other industries.

Our Neat A/B testing app can make this fast and easy work for you. Our app allows you to run focused on tests to evaluate either the layout of your pages or different attributes of your product pages.

Picture Perfect - run A/B tests

You can, for example, test different images to see what performs best. Choose the images that you want to test (uploading new ones if needed), or reorder the images that you already have. Once you do this, choose how often you want the images to be switched; you can select cycle lengths of 1 hour, 4 hours, 7 hours, or 24 hours. The tests will run until you decide to stop it, and you can review it in real time.

Picture Perfect - run A/B tests

Oh, and a pro tip: Dropshipping shops should try to test custom photography on a few of the products they’re selling. It’s cheaper to test a few pictures first and A/B test them against the images that you’re already using. Some of our clients have found that this can help them increase conversions, because the quality of the pictures is higher and they’re different from everything else out there. Then, if they test well, you can invest in photography for more.


The images that you choose to represent your products will directly impact the number of sales you see. We’re all visual shoppers online, even if the aesthetics of a product wouldn’t typically otherwise matter. Selecting the right product pictures to promote your business and the gods you sell are crucial, so apply these best practices and don’t forget to test them to make sure that you’re on the right track.

Want to see if you’ve chosen the best product pictures for your Shopify store? Sign up for your free trial of Neat A/B Testing today.