How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales

Author: Alexandra Sheehan
Date Created: 2022-11-30

Amazon is one of the top ecommerce marketplaces in the world—arguably the No. 1 marketplace for online sellers. It’s an excellent channel to boost product and brand awareness, connect with new customers, and expand your already-successful business into new markets and revenue streams.

While selling on Amazon may have similarities to your own online store, it’s a totally different ball game. Here, Amazon makes the rules—and you have to compete with tons of other sellers with similar wares. So how do you stand out and make it on this thriving marketplace? Through your product photos. 

Below, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about how to take pictures for Amazon to drive the most clicks and, ultimately, sales.

How to take pictures for Amazon

Create your shot list

Your shot list essentially outlines every image you need to capture on shoot day. It’s super important to kick off every photoshoot with a shot list. You can plan out your message, copy, and graphic design for each image before you take the photos. 

A shot list ensures you get everything you need, and it also helps communicate those needs to everyone involved. You can use it as a checklist of sorts on shoot day to make sure you get every photo you need for Amazon—as well as anywhere else you plan to use the product photography

When it comes to building your Amazon product photography shot list, it’s helpful to see how your product page is laid out and where the images fall. Then you can visualize how the images will look together as well as with product copy and any other page elements.

amazonimagerequirementsevenlistingslots How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales

For Amazon, you’ll need to plan for six quality static images and one product video. However, note only registered brands can use product videos. If you’re not a registered brand, we recommend using that slot for 360 spin product photo, high-quality lifestyle composite image, or infographic.

listing images shrink How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales

Here’s a high level shot list for your Amazon photoshoot: 

  • One (1) amazing main listing image on a white background
  • Three (3) explainer detailed images that show the product’s features and benefits; these may include some graphic design elements—remember to go beyond just front, back, and side photos.
  • Two (2) lifestyle composite images—you can create these by Photoshopping product photos onto stock images
  • One (1) product video or 360 spin product photo

Here's an example of a basic level shot list for your Amazon photoshoot:

One (1) amazing main listing image on a white background:

Amazon Product Photography 3 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales
A main listing image photographed by POW!

Three (3) explainer detailed images that show the product's features and benefits; these may include some graphic design elements- remember to go beyond just front, back, and side photos.

Amazon Product Photography 4 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales
1
Amazon Product Photography 5 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales
2
Amazon Product Photography 6 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales
3

Two (2) lifestyle composite images- you can create these by Photoshopping product photos onto stock images.

Amazon Product Photography 8 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales
1
Amazon Product Photography 7 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales
2

Get the gear

While it’s possible to take product photos with your smartphone, the best results come from a DSLR camera. You don’t necessarily need the best camera for product photography, but you do want the option to adjust settings and change lenses—not to mention capture enough detail for quality images that sell 
Perhaps more important than the camera itself is the lens you use for product photos. When it comes to Amazon product images, you’ll want to invest in a lens that’s helpful for white background shots as well as a macro lens to take zoomed-in close-up shots to highlight small product details.

Set up your background

Beyond the camera setup itself, you’ll need to create a plain white background. White background images are important for Amazon product photography, so it’s critical to get this right. In fact, Amazon requires a plain white background for all main listing images. 

To create a plain white background for your shots, you can invest in some white posterboard or seamless paper.. 

Pro tip: If you’re outsourcing your Amazon photos, opt for a flat white background option. This fits Amazon’s image requirements the best. Glossy white and hard light may be approved, but they don’t technically fulfill Amazon’s requirements, so there’s a chance your images and account will get flagged.

Arrange your products

It’s important to showcase just one product for your main listing image—unless you’re offering a bundle or collection of items as a single item for purchase. You’ll want to showcase any included accessories, parts, pieces, or add-ons—but be sure not to photograph anything that doesn’t come in the box. 

When arranging your products, display them in a way that will look good cropped in a square. You may even arrange your products in a square. This way you’ll be able to use the maximum amount of spacing and still allow your products to stand out. Longer arrangements can make your products look smaller because Amazon will add padding to make the image square, and it won’t render as you intended.

amazon How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales
artboard 2 1 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales

Shoot your photos

On actual shoot day, you’ll want to ensure you have all your products and props required to execute your shot list—along with your gear and studio setup. Find a place where you can shoot with natural light, if possible. This lighting will create the most realistic photo, while artificial lights can be harsh and require experience. 
If you want to skip the DIY route and budget allows for it, you can also outsource your Amazon product photos. This is arguably the best way to go. Your product photos are an important business aspect and ultimately convince people to purchase your items—plus they continue to deliver a return on investment (ROI) for the lifespan of your listing. It’s not an area you want to skimp, and sometimes it’s best to leave it to a professional studio with specific experience.

badvsgood How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales
DIY listing photo vs. a professional Amazon Listing Photograph shot by POW!
Lifestyle composite portfolio 1 1 1 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales

Outsource your Amazon product photos to POW!

Beautiful Amazon Product Photography starting at $49.99 per photo!
Check out our Amazon Product Photography Services →

Edit your photos

No matter how amazing your product photos come out, there’s always some sort of post-processing. If you hire a professional studio or photographer, they should provide editing services as part of the cost. It’s always best to confirm this upfront. You’ll also want to inquire about formatting for Amazon. Some photographers will do that for you. At POW, for example, we send all product photos back in a format that’s compressed and ready to publish on Amazon. 

If you’re taking the photos yourself, there are a few key post-processing steps you’ll want to do: 

  • Background removal
  • Photo retouching to fix any smudges, glares, wrinkles on fabric, etc. 
  • Color matching - make sure the color is accurate to the product
  • Exposure editing - make sure that the exposure is even so information is not lost. IE: The knit texture in a black sweater could easily disappear in a photograph that is underexposed.
  • Cropping - photos will need cropped to be a square and to fill 85% of the frame

Prepare your photos for Amazon

Amazon has specific product photo requirements—both for all merchants as well as industry-specific guidelines. Ensure your photos are prepped according to those requirements. At a high level, you’ll need to make sure your product photos are: 

  • Compressed JPEGs
  • Sized to 2000 px by 2000 px (you can go up to 3000 px on either side but 2000 px is preferred)
  • Square image, cropped to 1 x 1 proportions, unconstrained

Then you can upload the product photos via Seller Central and continue through the steps of listing your products.

Tip: When ordering product photos from POW, choose our Amazon-ready JPEG. These files are optimized for use on the marketplace and most other web platforms. If you’re comfortable cropping and formatting the images yourself, you can always choose our high-res TIFF instead. This file type is more versatile, but you can’t upload it directly to Amazon so you’ll need to manipulate yourself first. You can also order both file types for $5 per photo.

Amazon Product Photography 13 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales

Amazon product photo requirements

We’ve mentioned a few times that there are specific Amazon image requirements you’ll have to abide by. If you don’t follow these guidelines, Amazon may flag your account and listings, and you won’t be able to make any sales.

Amazon’s photo requirements mainly cover three areas: 

  1. File type
  2. Image size
  3. Colors
amazon image requirements cheatsheet How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales

File type

amazonimagerequirements setcompressionto12 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales

Amazon accepts a range of product photo file types, but compressed JPEGs work best. If you’re saving in Photoshop, set your JPEG qualitycompression to 12. If you’re using different photo-editing software, look for the JPEG compression setting and set it to the maximum. 

Amazon will also compress the files for you, so be careful not to over compress as this will degrade your image. Setting your image quality at 12 helps ensure you’re working with the highest quality image prior to compression so that you can avoid compression artifacts.

Image size

Amazon product photos should always be square. When it comes to pixels, DPI doesn’t matter—you’ll want to focus on the pixel dimensions. Amazon says the maximum image aspect ratio is 3000 px by 3000 px, to accommodate zoom functionality. But product images sized to 2000 px by 2000 px will work just as well. Even 1000 px by 1000 px is sufficient. 

The maximum file size is 10 MB.

Colors

It’s important to have colors in your photos that match the colors in real life. Discrepancies could cause customer dissatisfaction and, worse, lots of returns. 

Amazon product photos should be saved as sSRGB for the web. In fact, you should use this color mode for all web images. SRGB is the default colorspace when taking photos, so it shouldn’t be an issue unless it’s been changed during post-processing. 

Amazon technically says you can use CMYK images, but we’ve tested this advice and found otherwise. The default colorspace for the entire web is SRGB—if the image is converted to anything else, the colors won’t correctly.

If you notice inconsistent colors, you may have used the wrong color space. You can check this in Photoshop. Open your photo in Photoshop. Go to Image > Mode > select RGB if CYMK has been selected.

cmyk How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales
CMYK

See the difference in colors for the CMYK version on the left and the Amazon rendering of the same image on the right. This is why it’s important to save in the SRGB color mode.

Main listing photo

Your main listing photo is arguably the most important image. It’s the first image people see and what will entice potential buyers to click through to learn more and eventually make a purchase. The best photo gets the click.

Amazon Product Photography 17 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales
Amazon Product Photography 18 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales
Amazon Product Photography 19 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales

Your product should take up 85% of the frame and be on a plain white background, without any props or packaging. Beyond meeting the white background requirements, your main image needs to stand out from the thousands of other listings. You want this image to make your product look new, high-quality, and trustworthy. And despite Amazon’s requirements, there is still some room to play with creativity. Stuck on ideas? Check out what others are doing and take note of which images stick out to you and why. 

If you're going to invest in anything, it should be your main listing image. You can get away with shooting your own secondary images, but it’s absolutely critical to have an amazing main listing photo.

Secondary product photos

You have more flexibility when it comes to secondary Amazon product images. These photos should sell people on the benefits of your product rather than simply show the features. This is where you tell a story about how that product can enhance shoppers’ lives.

Amazon Product Photography 20 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales
Amazon Product Photography 21 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales
Amazon Product Photography 22 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales
Amazon Product Photography 23 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales

While white background is still the norm for secondary listing images, you can get more creative with other elements. Sometimes brands only show the front, back, and side of their products. This isn’t enough.

Play around with text and graphic design to make infographics that highlight specific elements, add in context with lifestyle composite photos, and consider more innovative approaches like 360 spin images.

A+ content on Amazon

A+ content is additional information about your products that go beyond their individual Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs). “Using the A+ Content Manager, you can describe your product features in different ways, whether its highlighting aspects of your brand with the A+ brand story features, or deep diving on product feature information with the enhanced product description features,” according to Amazon

Amazon says A+ content can boost your listings by driving more conversions, reducing negative reviews, and more visibility in search, ads, and promotions. 

A+ content includes enhanced product descriptions with rich text editor and product comparison charts. You also have space to share information about and links to your brand story, values, and other product lines. 

To create A+ content for your listings, repurpose concepts and design elements from your secondary listing images and simply reformat them to fit the A+ content size requirements. You can reuse the same A+ content modules across different product listings instead of creating unique brand content for every individual listing.

5 Amazon product photography tips

Here are some tips to keep in mind when approaching your Amazon product photography.

1. Use 2000 px for the max zoom effect

3amazonimagerequirements How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales

While Amazon allows for images up to 3000 px by 3000 px, this isn’t always ideal. You might think you need this many pixels to allow for a high-quality image for zoom views, but 2000 px by 2000 px is large enough. In fact, you can set your images between at least 1000 px and up to 2000 px for the zoom feature.

By limiting your max size to 2000 px, your images will be smaller in file size. Smaller files are easier to manage and use elsewhere. Plus, you can use a lower megapixel camera to create them.

2. Include at least one lifestyle photo

The best product listing combines white background and lifestyle photography. Lifestyle images show the product being used or an environment in which it would be used. For example, a kitchen scene for a blender or a shot of a person using it to make a smoothie.

Amazon Product Photography 26 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales

Photos featuring humans boost conversion rates, but you might not have the budget or time to coordinate a shoot with models. That’s where lifestyle composites come in. This involves taking your product image and expertly Photoshopping it onto a stock photo. These images don't always look great though—sometimes you can tell the seller just took a photo of their friend at their home or office.

Outsource your Lifestyle product photos to POW!

Beautiful Lifestyle composites starting at $150 per image.
Check out our Lifestyle Photography Services!
Amazon CTA 1 1 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales

3. Don’t worry about compressing your images

We’ve mentioned compressed JPEGs a few times in this article. It’s good to get into the habit of using compressed JPEGs for digital platforms, but you actually don’t need to personally compress your Amazon product images. Amazon will do that for you, as long as the file is under 10 MB in size. 
When you upload an image to Seller Central, Amazon will automatically turn it into a 1x1 square 500 px compressed JPEG. If you compress the image first, you’ll have a double compressed image. Double compressing images can lead to “compression artifacts” which essentially destroy the image. Each time an image is saved as a JPEG it is compressed and “non-essential” data is discarded. The result of this compression is that an image can suffer from blockiness, mosquito noise (edges will lose their crispness) and color degradation. Working with the highest quality image from the start is the safest way to ensure you won’t have compression artifacts in your listing.

Amazon Product Photography 27 How to Take Pictures for Amazon that Will Stand Out and Drive Sales

4. Image naming tips

Amazon has a file naming convention that for merchants are required to follow: 

  • File name = ASIN + variant code + file extension

Amazon assigns the ASIN, which is a ten-digit Amazon Standard Identification Number which uniquely identifies each item you list. 

The variant code is a four-digit number which identifies the type of image. Here are Amazon’s variant codes: 

  • MAIN = main listing image
  • SWCH = swatch shots
  • PT01, PT02, PT03, etc. = part shots that show additional angles, product in use, screen shots, accessories, or product details
  • IN01, IN02, IN03, etc. = interior shots, usually for sample pages of books
  • TOPP = top-angle shot
  • BOTT = angle shot from the bottom
  • LEFT = angle shot from the left
  • RGH = angle shot from the right 
  • FRNT = shot from the front
  • BACK = shot from the back
  • SIDE = shot from the side
  • PAIR = pair shots of shoes, socks, and other items that come as a pair
  • FACT = nutritional facts and ingredients label
  • EEGL = Energy Guide images
  • AW01, AW02, AW03, etc. = awards, test results, certificates associated with the product 
  • FL01, FL02, FL03, etc. = laydown or flat apparel image

The file extension notes what file type you’re using. The most common file type for Amazon product images is JPEG—the file extension for these files is .jpeg or .jpg. 

So you might be selling a pair of socks on your Amazon listing. Your main image might be called 1234567890-MAIN.jpg while the shot of the pair would be 1234567890-PAIR.jpg

5. Experiment with video and 360-degree photos

While product videos and 360-spin shots aren’t necessarily easy or affordable, they can yield serious results. Hardware retailer True Value, for example, boosted conversions by 22% when it started using 360-degree product images. 

Amazon allows all brand registered sellers to use product videos with their listings, and select vendor sellers may use 360-degree shots. 

Keep in mind, professional-quality videos are costly. It’s important to set reasonable expectations that align with your financial constraints. A guy talking about your product on a white background is going to be more affordable than a product demo shot on a beautiful location with a professional model. 

That being said, don’t skimp on quality. Quality is important. If you can’t afford to make your video look great, it's better not to do it at all.

Moving forward with your Amazon product photos

Uploading images to your listing is often the final step in setting up a listing. This is an exciting moment, however be aware that it takes 15 minutes or more for the images to manifest themselves on the listing. If you're not aware of this delay it's easy to think that something is wrong.

Try Us Out For Free!

Let the experts at POW take care of your photos while you grow your business.
Give us a shot with a free test shoot!

Amazon product photography FAQs

How do I take photos for Amazon products?

1. Create your shot list
2. Get the gear
3. Set up your background
4. Arrange your products
5. Shoot your photos
6. Edit your photos
7. Prepare your photos for Amazon

Does Amazon provide product photography?

No. Amazon doesn’t provide photography. You can hire a professional photographer or studio like POW! Products on White Photography to produce your Amazon images. 

What are Amazon photo requirements?

Under 10 MB
Square
Pure white background
Ideally up to 3000 px by 3000 px
Compatible file type

Can I use manufacturer photos on Amazon?

Yes, you can use manufacturer photos on Amazon. It’s always best to get permission from the manufacturer first. It’s ideal to shoot your own photos since your competition may use the same manufacturer photos as you. 

Can I use other sellers’ pictures on Amazon?

No, you can’t use other sellers’ pictures on Amazon. This is considered a copyright violation and could lead to Amazon removing your listing or, worse, a lawsuit from the original seller for unauthorized usage. 

What is the best size for Amazon product images?

The best size for Amazon product images is 2000 px by 2000 px with a file size of less than 10 MB. 


Written by Alexandra Sheehan