If you want to show off your products to the best advantage, you may be wondering about the types of product photography out there. We live in a world where images rule, so it’s good to know how to harness their power to promote your products.

Proper product photography is even more crucial if you’re running an ecommerce store since your customers can’t see, touch, and try out your products. That’s why anyone running an ecommerce business needs to have some knowledge of professional product photography types.

We’ve put together this guide for your ecommerce website so you can know the difference between lifestyle shots, social media shots, product packaging shots, and more.

Our product photography tips will show you how to achieve compelling product photos to ensure your ecommerce products reflect your brand image and drive sales.

Types of Product Photography and How to Choose

Different types of product photography

Different types of product photography fulfill other purposes. This section will take you through some of the main varieties of ecommerce photography to enhance your product pages and social media posts.

Studio/product-only photography

Product-only or studio photography produces a simple image that allows your customers to view your product just as it is and understand its details and specifications. A photographer will often use a plain white background for this style or a light tent to capture simple images.

As the name suggests, shots are taken in a photography studio with the lighting setup adjusted according to the product.

You can use this method to shoot all products in your range to create a uniform, no-frills style with a white background shot. This means that your customers can easily see precisely what they’re getting and also compare products with your simple studio product shots.

Lifestyle/product-in-use photography

This type of product photography aims to show how the customer can use your items. So, if you’re selling unique tableware, you could create a photo shoot around a family meal with your products being used by diners. As a result, your product photo has a dynamic and relatable feel. This makes them great for social media shots, too.

This type of photography is perfect for not only showing off your product but also for presenting the values of your brand, inspiring your customers to imagine how their lives could be enhanced by their purchase.

Environmental/contextual photography

This type of photography shows your product in its natural environment, allowing the customer to imagine how it could fit into their home or other environment.

This product photography type works particularly well for furniture items and other homeware. You can style the item to tie in with different types of décor — for example, to inspire your customers when designing the overall look of their home.

Macro/detail photography

Detail or macro photography is often the best choice for products that have intricate details.

It uses close-up shots taken with a macro lens to capture all those essential details that make your products stand out from the crowd. You can use different angles to show additional details of your product.

This detail shot is perfect for jewelry, where you must get close to the product to show off its specifications. You may also use it for your packaging shot to show off those little details that set your packaging apart from the competition.

360-degree/product spin photography

For 360-degree or product spin photography, you’ll need to position your product on a rotating surface so you get shots from multiple angles. The images are then combined into a simulation that looks as though the product is rotating.

This means you can capture every product detail, showing off all its features. Customers can rotate the image as they wish, stopping it at various angles to home in on details. It’s the perfect type of photography for customers who want to know precisely what they’re getting before they make a purchase.

Flat lay photography

As the name suggests, flat-lay photography is when you lay your products on a flat surface, usually on a plain background, and shoot them from above.

It’s often used with natural light and gives clean, unfussy product images that are perfect for product catalogs. It can also be combined with group photography, where you group products to show variations or different colorways.

Flat lay photography is a popular medium for fashion photography and also works well for food photography shots where you want to show a bird’s eye view of your product.

Infographic/product information photography

Infographic or product information photography offers a series of images of your product, usually a main image and close-ups of details. It adds a small amount of information about the product.

So, if you’re selling a backpack, you could include a photo of the entire product and then add images of details like front and side pockets, zips, and clasps.

This means that your customers can quickly understand what your product looks like, and its features make it work without having to wade through lots of text.

Composite photography

Composite photography uses two or more photos and combines them to produce a unique final image. This method comes into its own when you want to produce creative shots that spark the imagination and have an element of the fantastical about them.

Composite photography lends itself to fashion, food, drink, and beauty products when you want to create a compelling image that sparks your customers’ imaginations.

Matching photography types with products

Matching photography types with products

Different types of product photography lend themselves to different product categories. Here’s our guide to matching your products with the best type of photography:


Take your pick when it comes to fashion — there are lots of different photography styles that work for this category. For no-fuss fashion, try a flat lay or product information style.

You can also use the lifestyle method to show how your pieces can be worn, or for an imaginative theme, try composite photography.


With jewelry, the devil’s in the detail. This means that macro or detail photography will suit your products best, showing off all the nuances that make your product unique.


For electronics items, the 360-degree is a great pick. Your customers will want to see exactly what they’re getting and zoom in on the details before they make their purchasing decision — make it easy for them with this type of product photography.

Food and drink

For food and drink products, it depends on what your brand is all about. If you’re selling a product with natural ingredients, studio shots can work well to reflect the simplicity of your product. Or, to tap into customers’ imaginations, choose the composite method for a more surreal image.

Furniture and homeware

The lifestyle method of photography is ideal for showcasing your furniture and homeware products. So is environmental photography, which will show your items exactly as they can be used. For this category, you can also use a scale shot to show the dimensions of your products.

Cost and resource considerations

One of your considerations when it comes to choosing a photography style is your budget. You’ll need to weigh the cost of production up against your potential ROI when making your decision.

This can be the key deciding factor for many online stores that are starting. If you’re working with tight resources, studio or product-only photography is a good choice. You can use the same backdrop for each item and don’t need to worry about props or models. White background photos like these are practical and can offer all you need to know about a product.

Flat-lay photography is also an effective style if you’re on a budget, as little preparation or extras are required. Or if you have more cash, a lifestyle or environmental style could work well for your product. Remember that you’ll need to hire models, props, and a set, which can drive costs up.

Cost and resource considerations

Testing and iteration

To get the best results, conduct a few test shoots in a few different styles to know which one works best for your particular product. Publish your shots and measure your feedback and performance data — looking at your metrics will help you decide which style truly suits your product.
You can then go out with a complete product shoot for all the items in your online store using your preferred style.

Frequently asked questions

Can I do the photography myself?

Professional photography by someone with an excellent track record is always the preferred option. They will understand which style works best with your product and have the technical know-how to select the proper studio lighting and camera settings, using all the available pixels for a stunning image.

A professional photographer will also be skilled at post-production tasks such as photo editing and will be able to optimize images to get the best result.

Can I switch between styles for different products?

When presenting your brand, it’s always best to be consistent. So, consider which photography style is best for you. You can also experiment with different styles and see which one enhances the experience of your customers when shopping online.

What if I don’t have time to organize product photography?

NEXT BASKET can help with professional photography of your products in a style that suits them best, and we can also process shots, upload images, and help with details such as banner images for your online shop. Reach out to know more about how we can assist you.