New Ways to Increase your Conversions with Photography

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Burst Photos Not Stock Photos

Burst’s journey began in April 2016, with just two people and a simple idea; to create free, highly curated product photography and make it accessible to all. With Shopify merchants in mind, we started with a small photo collection of blank t-shirts that could be customized by entrepreneurs in the making. It was a simple, effective collection, but very “stock photo”.

Since then, our mission has evolved and so has our family of contributors from around the world. With the continued mission of diversity and inclusion, Burst has been lucky enough to produce quality photography that pushes the boundaries of what stock looks like. Think “Burst photos, not stock photos”.

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Burst has grown exponentially over the past few years. With a team of in-house photographers, producers and 300+ international contributors, we’ve been able to create custom photography that helps us intentionally serve our entrepreneurial audience. Since photography can be expensive, many small businesses can’t afford it, so it’s been our goal to arm those merchants with the creative tools they need to compete.

Since 2016 we’ve taken the time to listen to the people who regularly use our content to amplify their voices, taking note of their requirements to ensure we’re creating photos that matter to our audience. Whether that’s creating portrait photography that better represents communities around the world, lifestyle photography that tells a story, or better quality product or flat lay shots that challenge the boundaries of stock.

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Recently, Burst ran some independent research in the United States facilitated by Angus Reid Group. The aim of the research was to discover how photography influences consumers and conversions, especially in the e-commerce and entrepreneurship space. Nearly a thousand people were surveyed with data weighted to be representative of the US general population by age, gender, region and education level. We’re excited to share those insights for the first time focused around the themes of photography style, photography in advertising and accessibility.

According to the study, 67% of US online shoppers and browsers say that they are more likely to purchase from a website that uses professional-looking photography. But what kind of photography converts the best?

Photography style, by the numbers

While product photography is crucial to any online store, lifestyle photography can play an important role too. Lifestyle images help create a narrative about your brand that can’t be achieved with a simple product shot, adding depth and interest to your online store.

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Lifestyle photography can paint a picture to help customers understand the mission and vision behind your brand. More than that, it can help demonstrate who the products were designed for to attract a similar target audience, even if the image doesn’t include your product directly. When choosing images for your store, keep in mind that 52% of US online shoppers prefer purchasing from brands that use diverse imagery, showcasing people of all ages, races & abilities. This number increases to 63% among 18-34 year olds.

There are many places to find stock lifestyle imagery online, but it’s not all created equal and 58% of US online shoppers agree that low-quality stock photography seems untrustworthy. Trust with consumers is hard to gain but easy to lose, so it’s important to get things right the first time with the right stock photography.

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Photography in advertisements

Findings from the survey also revealed some interesting insights around photography in advertising. It turns out, using the right photos in social media ads can make a pretty big difference. Respondents noted that they are 62% more likely to click on ads that use photography vs. graphic-based or text only ads.

Why? Since social media platforms are geared towards engagement, photography can help brands communicate more organically on the medium. If an ad is really good, it will fit in so well with the rest of your social media feed that you may think the post is from someone in your community. The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words does seem to hold true in social media advertising.

Not only is it more likely that a user will click an ad with a photo, but generally 64% or respondents noted they’d be more likely to engage with an image post versus a text only post in general.

How does Burst play in? Before you rush you to book a professional photoshoot for your ad campaign, consider searching for photography in your niche that could work well.

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You can try testing out photography based ads and social posts without needing to invest in your own branded photography at the outset.


Customers have a sharp eye for photography, and are more likely to make purchases from websites that use curated, high-quality photos.

The process of finding professional photography that suits your brand can be intimidating, especially if you’re starting a Shopify store for the first time. Navigating the world of online stock imagery means facing an overwhelming amount of options.

Finding the perfect image can itself be challenging, but choosing the right website to get it from, evaluating pricing options, and understanding licensing restrictions are all additional hurdles.

There are several things that make Burst unique. Since our aim is to support merchants and entrepreneurs, you’ll find plenty of high-quality royalty free stock. You can use anything you find on Burst however you’d like. Use it in a blog post, for product or brand photography on your store website, or even on a billboard or an ad campaign. Our photos are free forever to help eliminate barriers to entry for any creative pursuit or business you may want to start.

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Recapping the data

To recap what we discovered from the study, the right photography can have a big impact on the success of a new business. Of those surveyed, 67% of people would be more likely to purchase for an online store if professional photography was used. That’s a huge number that could represent real sales and conversions. High-quality stock photography allows you to achieve that polished look without the budgetary restrictions.

As an early stage entrepreneur, there are so many critical costs to getting a business off the ground, and we believe that photography shouldn’t be one of them.

Need a business idea? We’ve got you covered there too. Check out some trending business ideas to get the wheels turning.