Whoever said “don’t judge a book by its cover” was probably the author of a really unattractively covered book. Let’s be real. Everyone, no matter how hard we try to fight it, makes highly superficial judgments, often in cannabis product photosthe blink of an eye. No one is arguing the moral legitimacy of this phenomenon, just its actuality. It happens. It’s wrong, but it happens. When it comes to product photos, understanding this facet of human nature is essential to a successful campaign.

A business’ success is dependent partially on the quality of its product or service, but mainly on the resilience of its brand. Everything from a company’s name to its use of social media contributes to the way customers receive it.  Product photographs play an important role in that reception. Here are five reasons why.

Photos show customers what they are buying

This is the obvious and most important reason to include product photos on your website, especially if you sell your merchandise online. As the cliché says, a picture might be worth a thousand words, but a thousand words without a picture is most definitely going to raise some eyebrows. Failing to showcase your product won’t do much to build trust with your client base, and most people aren’t willing to give their money to an organization they don’t trust.

People like a preview of what they’re getting, and the more complete that preview, the more comfortable a customer will be in making a purchase

Including pictures of your products taken from multiple angles, by themselves, in use, and in each color and style gives customers the information they need to make a decision.  Coupled with detailed copy, product photos send the message that your business is proud of its work and in touch with what the customer wants to see.  Once your customers receive the product, they won’t be surprised, and that means fewer returns.

High Res Photos Show Professionalism and Creativity

Product photographs give your business the chance to show off the goods you’ve spent so much time and money developing. Honor the excellence and innovation of your work by investing in a professional camera or hiring a professional photographer to take high-quality pictures. Photography is an incredibly nuanced art, and there are a number of mistakes an amateur can make.

cannabis product photosMake sure that your product photographs demonstrate some sort of standardization, be it in the product’s positioning, the photo’s background, the distance between the lens and the product, etc. If your brand capitalizes on a more chaotic look, make sure that every bit of chaos is, as ironic as this sounds, intentional.  First-time customers are tough critics—they don’t owe your business anything but are potentially making the choice to invest in it by purchasing a product.  Don’t give them a reason to back out of the deal. An unprofessional batch of pictures haphazardly thrown together is a major red flag.

Quality Product Photos Set Your Business Apart 

Product photographs are an opportunity for you to really showcase your brand.  The more creative you are, the more interesting your product will be to potential customers.

Additionally, the more photographs you provide of each product, the more comfortable the consumer will be with your brand

Put yourself in the place of the customer.  You want to buy a glass bong, but you’re torn between two brands. One brand features a single product photograph of the bong you’re interested in, but the other showcases several, including pictures taken from different angles.  Which bong will you feel more comfortable buying if both are comparable in price and aesthetic?  Probably the bong you had more of an opportunity to see.

Photos Are Shareable

Social media is quickly becoming the best place for a brand to market itself.  These websites provide everyone with internet access a platform to share their ideas and to potentially have those ideas go viral.  Product photos give potential and current customers something to share with their online networks, and that’s free advertising (potentially viral advertising) for your business.  If you’re working with an influencer or have a cross-promotional arrangement with another business, product photos give these partners something concrete to share with their followers.

You can post an article about your products, but in the no-more-than-140-characters, scroll up, swipe left the culture of the social media world, pictures have a lot more clout than words.  People are far more likely to click on a beautiful shot of a hand-trimmed flower than to read an article about it.  Once they are drawn in by the picture, the door to commenting, liking, and sharing is open, and all of those actions give your business immediate feedback in real time.  That feedback is a treasure chest filled with brand-building material.

Photos Increase Your Website’s Traffic

Put very, very simply, search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing traffic to a website by strategically managing its content in a way that places it high on the list of results returned from a search engine.  The higher your website appears on that results list, the more cannabis product photosexposure your brand receives, the more legitimate it seems to potential consumers.

When it comes to SEO, most companies focus on the copy.  However, it is possible—and smart—to optimize images as well.  If you google search your product, look at that search’s image results, and don’t see your product anywhere, you aren’t utilizing your product photographs in a SEO-friendly way.  Here’s how you can change that.  Before you upload your product photos to your website, make sure the file names are optimized.  Change the name from IMG_023.JPG to vaporizer-silver.JPG.  Another way to optimize your images is to use alt attributes (tags).  An alt tag is an alternative text to be used in case the image cannot be displayed.  Use alt attributes to name the product and brand.  Finally, images are optimized by informative captions.

Make sure that the copy beneath each product photo includes optimized language

Don’t be repetitive or inauthentic, though.  State what the product is, and use your brand’s tone to fill in the rest.

Dianna Benjamin

About the author: Dianna Benjamin is a freelance writer, teacher, wife, and mom horrified and fascinated by social justice and our inability--yet constant pursuit--to get it right.