Human beings are overwhelmingly visual. How could I say that? 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. Why are high-quality photos important for online retail?


Visual aid is more important for online retailers because you have no salesperson to convince a buyer about a particular product. You have to rely on the information you can provide and the reviews the product gets – and even before a reader sees any of that stuff, they see an image of the product.

When they see that image, you want them to feel that they have come to the right place. You want them to think that your store has authority and authenticity in that market. How do images convey a sense of authority? As far back as 1986, a study found that the audience expected advanced presenters to include professional, quality visuals.

Conversely, if you have high-quality visuals, that’s one check mark in your favour to being considered an authoritative source. Good information, good reviews, and good business practices are definitely required to back it up, but images are the first impression, and those matter quite a bit.

Even on Facebook, photos get liked and shared by followers a lot more than any other type of posts.

Some brands that put professional photography front and centre


(Image source: Airbnb)

Airbnb: If you have ever used Airbnb before, you may have noticed how beautiful listings often look on the app. That’s not because renters have somehow figured out the trick to take amazing photographs. It’s because Airbnb offers free professional photography for their listings that comes with an “Airbnb-verified” tag. Why does Airbnb do that? They have found that listings with these photos get booked 2.5 times more frequently than those without them.


McDonalds: This video just says it all. It shows how a food designer at McDonald’s arranges a burger to get the right picture that portrays so many things in a subtle yet powerful way. Only a professional photographer would think of it, and yet they make all the difference between someone looking past a burger without thinking twice and someone going “oh, I need to try that!”

fantastic frank

Fantastic Frank: Two years ago, Fantastic Frank, a boutique real estate firm from Sweden got featured in Fast Company’s design segment for its unique approach to real estate: they were using photographers from high-end magazines, architecture, and advertising to create magazine-worthy photos of their real estate listings. As a result, their ads were seen 50% more by viewers, and their open houses ended up with lots more people than their competitors’ did. This directly translated into higher prices for their clients.

Final thoughts

With the proliferation of inexpensive high-quality cameras, it is easy to feel that you don’t need to spend money on professional photography. However, owning an awesome gadget and being awesome at using it are two different things. As you can see from the research above, good-quality photos make a difference. Sometimes, they can make all the difference!