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Is My Product Image Big Enough? The Difference Between High-Res and Low-Res Product Photos

High-Res and Low-Res Product Photos

When it comes to product images in eCommerce, precision is paramount. It’s central for the characteristics of your product to be emphasised and for customers to comprehend exactly what they’re buying with ease. Besides this, it is essential that the quality of the images is retained upon enlarging them. This is the reason many experts recommend choosing high-definition pictures, facilitating potential purchasers to gain a sound comprehension of the product before making a purchase.

But of course, when using high-resolution images, there is also the risk of them loading slowly on your website. Unfortunately, with inexperienced eCommerce businesses, when they find out their files are way too big and slow down the website, they commit the mistake of further reduce down the size of their product photos, which can leave them looking stretched, fuzzy, and low quality. Or worse, they end up settling with photos that are low res.

This should not be the case if you’re working with a professional photo editing team like Pixel by Hand. In our years of experience helping multiple eCommerce businesses around the globe, we’ve mastered all the techniques there are to minimize file sizes without the risk of losing quality.

For example, we use a technique called ‘save for web’ in Photoshop, which automatically compresses photos while still keeping them high res. We also know the secret to sizing images down without losing quality, and we can do this through several software like photoshop or even online tools.

In this guide, we will discuss the difference between high-resolution and low-resolution product images and the techniques we use to optimize them for your eCommerce success.

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High-Resolution vs. Low-Resolution Product Images

High-resolution images are defined as images that have at least 300 pixels per inch (PPI). Pixels per inch is a measurement unit that refers to the number of pixels in one square inch of an image. The more pixels there are, the higher the resolution and quality of the image will be.

When you have a high-resolution product image, it means that:

  • Product image is clearer and more detailed: Customers can see the product better and get a sense of its quality
  • Product image doesn’t pixelate when zoomed in: Customers can take a closer look at your product without the image getting fuzzy or stretched
  • Product image looks good on all devices: High-resolution images can be resized for different devices without losing quality.

On the other hand, low-resolution images have a PPI of 72 or lower. While 72 PPI is technically still considered “high resolution”, it doesn’t look as sharp or clear as images with 300 PPI.

When you have a low-resolution image, it means that:

  • Product image is blurry and not as detailed: Customers might not be able to see the product clearly, which can give them a negative impression of your brand
  • Product image pixelates when zoomed in: Customers will get frustrated if they can’t take a closer look at your product without the image getting fuzzy
  • Product images might not look good on all devices: Low-resolution images can get stretched or distorted when you try to resize them, making your brand look unprofessional.

Clearly, high-resolution product photos are the way to go if you want to show off your products in the best light possible. But as we mentioned earlier, there is also the risk of them slowing down your website if they’re not properly optimized.

high resolution product

What is the Best Resolution for Product Photos?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors, such as the file format of your product photos and the type of device your customers will be using to view them.

For example, if you’re selling products on your website, then you’ll want to use high-resolution images (at least 300 PPI) so that they look sharp and clear on all devices, from desktop computers to mobile phones.

However, if you’re selling products on a platform like Amazon, you might want to use lower-resolution images (around 72-150 PPI) to save on file size and loading time. The reason for this is that Amazon has its own image compression system that makes product photos look good on all devices, so there’s no need to use high-resolution images.

What Size Should eCommerce Photos Be?

In terms of size, the experts recommend that product photos should be at least 1000 pixels on the longest side. This will ensure that your images are high enough resolution for most devices while also being small enough to load quickly.

Of course, the size of your product photos will also depend on the platform and website theme you’re using. For example, on Shopify, the recommended size for product photos is 2048×2048 pixels, while on WooCommerce, the recommended size is 1200×1200 pixels.

The best way to determine what image size to use for your product page is to read through your website theme’s documentation. This should provide you with a solid guide on the recommended size for product photos, as well as other images like banners, headers, and logos.

ecommerce photo

How to Optimize Your Product Images for SEO

Your images also help you rank in Google image search, which can be a great source of traffic for your website.

  • Name your images descriptively and in plain language

Google can’t read images, so you need to tell them what your image is about using the filename.

For example, if you have a product photo named “IMG_1234.jpg”, rename it to “blue-widget.jpg” or something similar that includes a keyword for what is in the photo.

  • Optimize your alt attributes carefully

Your “alt” attribute is what appears in place of your image if it can’t be displayed for some reason. It’s also what Google uses to understand what your image is about.

Your alt attribute should be short, descriptive, and include a keyword for what is in the photo. For example, if you have a product photo of a blue widget, your alt attribute might be “blue widget.”

  • Choose your image dimensions and product angles wisely

The dimensions of your image are important for two reasons: first, because they affect the file size, and second because they determine how your image will appear on the page.

Your image should be large enough to be clear and easy to see, but not so large that it slows down your page. A good rule of thumb is to keep your image under 1MB and use dimensions no larger than 1500px by 1500px.

The angle of your product photo is also important. You want to choose an angle that shows off your product in the best light and makes it easy for customers to see what they’re buying.

For example, if you’re selling a piece of jewelry, you’ll want to choose an angle that shows off the piece’s details. A photo from directly above might show off the design, but it won’t give customers a sense of how the piece looks on someone’s body.

In general, it’s best to avoid using photos that are too close up or too far away. A photo that’s too close up might crop out important details, while a photo that’s too far away won’t give customers a clear idea of what they’re buying.

Make sure that your product is the only thing in the photo. Avoid using photos with distractions, like other people or objects in the background.

  • Reduce the file size of your images

We couldn’t emphasize enough the importance of image file size. The larger the file, the longer it will take to load, and customers won’t wait around for slow-loading pages. Make sure you use compressed images to keep your page loading times down.

  • Optimize your thumbnails

Your product photos aren’t the only images on your site that need to be optimized. Your thumbnails also play an important role in your website’s performance.

Your thumbnail image should be small enough that it doesn’t slow down your page but large enough that customers can see what they’re clicking on. As general guidelines, use dimensions of 200px by 200px.

You should double-check that the thumbnail image on your product page is relevant to the product it’s linking to. A generic thumbnail image, like a logo or a stock photo, doesn’t give customers any information about what they’ll find on the product page.

  • Use image sitemaps

Image sitemaps help Google index your images and understand what they’re about. They also give you the opportunity to provide additional information, like the image title, description, and file size.

You can create an image sitemap using any XML sitemap generator. Once you’ve created your sitemap, upload it to your website’s root directory and submit it to Google through the Search Console.

  • Beware of decorative images

Decorative images are images that don’t add any value to your website. They might be background images, icons, or graphics that are used for aesthetic purposes only.

While decorative images can help make your website more visually appealing, they can also slow down your page if they’re not properly optimized. If you do use decorative images on your website, make sure they’re small in file size and have the proper width and height attributes.

  • Use caution when using content delivery networks (CDNs)

A content delivery network (CDN) is a system of distributed servers that deliver content to customers based on their geographic location. CDNs can help improve the performance of your website by caching your static assets, like images, and delivering them to customers from a server close to their location.

If you’re using a CDN, test your website from different locations to see how it performs. CDNs can sometimes introduce additional latency, so ensuring your site is still loading quickly for customers far from the server location is important.

  • Test your images

It’s important to test your images to make sure they’re loading properly and that customers can see them. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to test the speed of your website and get recommendations on how to improve it.


How to Improve Low-Resolution Images

If you have an image that is too small or low resolution, you can use Photoshop to improve its quality.

However, do understand that while this technique can help improve your low-resolution image, it is not a magic tool that can automatically transform it into a high-resolution one. Your best bet is to either find a higher-resolution version of the image or take a new photo altogether.

  1. First, open the image in Photoshop. Go to Image > Image Size and make sure that the resolution is set to at least 300 pixels per inch. If it’s not, enter 300 into the Resolution field and click OK.
  2. Next, go to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask. In the window that pops up, enter a Radius of 2 pixels and an Amount of 100%. You can leave the Threshold at 0. Click OK to apply the sharpening filter.
  3. Finally, go to Image > Adjustments > Levels. In the window that pops up, drag the middle input level to the right until the histogram looks balanced. Then click OK.

This technique can help you improve the quality of low-resolution images, making them look sharper and more vibrant.

Product Image Editing for eCommerce

At Pixel by Hand, we’ve been helping businesses with their product image editing for years. We understand the unique challenges of eCommerce and can help you create stunning product photos that will appeal to your customers.

We’ve built a reputation for our high-quality product photo editing services at a fast turnaround time and reasonable price. Whether you need help with background removal, color correction, ghost mannequin or retouching, we can do it all.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services, or start with your FREE trial!

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