Photography & Video

Using Photos to Convey Product Size

Shoppers don’t typically buy a product if they don’t understand it. Photos and videos can make a sale or hurt it depending on the angle, scale, and background.

According to a Baynard Institute study, 42% of online shoppers attempt to gauge the size and weight of an item based on its images. But plenty of customers on Amazon, with abundant product photos, post reviews saying they thought an item was bigger or smaller, or lighter or heavier.

Photos for Product Size

Misunderstanding the size can halt a shopping process or result in preventable returns. And don’t assume shoppers will read the specs.

Conveying scale can be tricky, especially when surrounding objects can be any size. In the product image below, there’s no way of knowing the dimensions of the coffee table or the shrubbery behind it. Ditto for the glasses and bottle.

A product page with a photo of a coffee table on a small rug. There's a bottle and glasses on top, and shrubs in the background.

It’s difficult to understand the actual size of this coffee table. Source: Wayfair.

Hence product photos and videos should include common settings. For example, a picture of a gas grill in a backyard is more informative with a background of standard-sized doors and windows. Including people standing next to the grill helps — an entire family of adults and children is even better.

The product page for the baby playpen below covers all the bases. Multiple images confirm sizing in relation to babies and toddlers, adults, standard household furniture, and more. Shoppers understand the space requirements in use or collapsed for storage.

Product page with photo of a mom holding a toddler, next to a large playpen where another toddler is sitting.

Showing context-of-use photos helps people understand if a product is too big or small for their space. Image: North States.

The height of floor lamps can vary greatly, as can the length of a sofa. But the seat height of a sofa is typically 17″ to 18″, making it an informative guage. Other helpful props include paperback books, four- and five-burner stovetops, pens and pencils, and place settings (dinner plates, forks).

Coins next to tiny products are equally effective, as is a 12-inch ruler. I’ve seen photos of small products on graph paper with clearly-labeled dimensions.

Lastly, include a no-background product image with illustrative lines and numbers showing the exact dimensions.

The product image below hits key marks. A hand holds a collapsed tripod. A line illustrates the height of 11.8″, and a soda bottle puts it all into perspective.

Product image of a hand holding a collapsed tripod. Next to it is a line depicting a height of 11.8 inches. A soda bottle is to the right.

Conveying size with measurements and objects minimizes space availability questions. Source: Amazon.

Call out measurements

While plenty of shoppers rely on images for sizing, provide accurate dimensions within product descriptions nonetheless. Make these dimensions hard to miss with bullet points, bold text, or other clear layouts. For square and rectangular options, list length, width, depth, and height. For circular or odd-shaped items, list overall dimensions and refer to illustrated images.

‘View in your space’ tools

Some brands let shoppers view products in their own rooms or spaces via augmented reality. However, it’s critical in my importance to research AR providers — some don’t work with certain colors or textures.

Avoid misleading images and videos

Backgrounds of stock images and videos should include objects of equal proportion to the product for sale. The image below is an example of what not to do. The gas grill is either made for giants, or the people next to it are tiny.

Image of a house and backyard, where a family is eating. A gas grill is close by the backyard table and chairs, and appears too large in comparison to the people.

Haphazardly placing products on stock photo or video backgrounds looks amateur and confusing.

More Sales

Product images with out-of-place, deceptive, or absent background objects confuse shoppers.

Conveying size and weight helps close sales and prevents unnecessary returns. It can minimize poor product and seller ratings based on a simple misconception.

Pamela Hazelton
Pamela Hazelton
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