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AI Image Generation: How to Write the Perfect Prompt

18th April 2024

AI Image Generation: Writing The Perfect Prompt

In the world of ecommerce, where competition is fierce and user's attention spans are notoriously short, the power of images is more important than ever. 

High-quality images can make the difference between a product being ignored or noticed. Whether it’s showing the sleek shine of a new tech gadget or the cosy appeal of a handmade jumper, great visuals capture the viewers attention and influence their decision to buy. 

Traditionally, obtaining high-quality images meant organising costly and time-consuming professional photoshoots. But what if there was a simpler, more innovative way?

Enter AI image generation. 

Tools like OpenAI's DALL-E are transforming how ecommerce businesses approach visual content. With the ability to generate detailed, tailor-made images from just a text prompt, these tools offer a faster, cost-effective alternative to photography that still meets high aesthetic standards.

In this guide, we'll explore the exciting possibilities that AI image generation holds for ecommerce. From understanding how the technology works to mastering the art of crafting effective prompts, we’ll explore how you can harness AI to enhance your online presence, captivate your audience and ultimately, boost your sales.

Understanding AI Image Generation

AI image generation utilises advanced machine learning algorithms to create images from textual descriptions. This technology, spearheaded by developments like OpenAI's DALL-E, has rapidly evolved in the past couple of years, becoming more sophisticated and accessible to a wider audience. For ecommerce merchants, this means an unprecedented ability to create custom imagery that aligns perfectly with their brand and aesthetic requirements.

How It Works

The process begins with an AI model that has been trained on a diverse dataset comprising millions of images and their corresponding descriptions. When you provide a textual prompt, the AI interprets these inputs and generates an image that matches the description as closely as possible. This is done through a complex network of neural pathways that mimic some aspects of human creativity and understanding.

Types of AI Image Generators

Several AI image generation tools are available today, each with unique features and capabilities. Here’s a look at some of the most popular ones:

DALL-E: Developed by OpenAI, this tool is known for its ability to generate novel, high-quality images from simple text descriptions.

MidJourney: MidJourney excels in creating artistic and highly stylised images based on user prompts.

Stable Diffusion: Stable Diffusion is popular for the high degree of customisation it allows, enabling users to fine-tune images to a greater extent.

Understanding the Input Parameters

To make the most out of AI image generation tools, it helps to understand the input parameters that guide the AI. These include:

Subject: The more specific you are about the subject, the better the AI can meet your expectations. Clearly define what you want in your image and provide plenty of detail. 

Style: Specify the style of the image. Whether you want something photorealistic, cartoonish or in the style of a particular artist, these details can help steer the AI in the right direction.

Composition: Describing the layout or specific elements you want in the image can greatly influence the final outcome.

Colour scheme: Mentioning preferred colours or the overall mood you're aiming for with your colour choices can increase the effectiveness of your prompt.

Benefits of Using AI for Ecommerce Imagery

AI-generated imagery offers a number of benefits when utilised in ecommerce. Here’s a closer look at the major benefits.


Traditional photoshoots involve numerous costs: hiring photographers, models, renting spaces and acquiring props. AI image generation slashes these expenses. With AI, the only cost is the software subscription or usage fee, which is generally much lower than the costs of conventional photography.

Speed and Scalability

Generating images through AI is almost instantaneous compared to organising photoshoots, which requires scheduling, planning and execution that can take days or even weeks. AI allows for rapid prototyping and testing of different visual concepts, giving ecommerce businesses the agility to test and implement new images swiftly.

Unlimited Creative Potential

AI tools are not limited by physical constraints or resources. They can generate any image, from realistic product photos to fantastical scenes that would be difficult to create physically. This freedom allows businesses to explore creative and unique marketing strategies that stand out in a crowded market.


AI image generation can help you produce visuals that resonate with specific demographics or cultural backgrounds for more personalised targeting. This level of control lets you use images to connect with your audience on a more personal level. 


Maintaining visual consistency across all product images and marketing materials can be challenging, especially when using multiple photographers or designers. AI ensures that every image adheres to the specified parameters, maintaining a uniform style and quality that reinforces brand identity.

Enhanced User Experience

With AI-generated images, ecommerce sites can provide a more dynamic and engaging user experience. Interactive visuals customised to the preferences and behaviours of users can make shopping more intuitive and enjoyable, thereby increasing customer satisfaction rates. 

Writing Effective Prompts for AI Image Generation

Creating the perfect AI-generated image starts with writing an effective prompt. Your ability to craft clear, detailed and imaginative descriptions will directly influence the quality and relevance of the images AI produces. Here are some key strategies to help you write prompts that yield the best results.

Be Specific and Detailed

AI works best when given clear and specific instructions. Instead of a vague description like "an image of people inside a coffee shop," a better prompt might be "an image of a lively and bustling coffee shop interior during morning rush hour. Include detailed elements such as baristas skillfully preparing espresso, customers of various ages engaged in conversations or working on laptops, with steaming mugs visible on wooden tables. The setting should feature eclectic decor with exposed brick walls, hanging industrial lights, and a chalkboard menu filled with handwritten specials." 

This level of specificity helps the AI visualise and create a dynamic, richly detailed scene that effectively captures the essence of your visions. 

Focus on Visual Elements

When writing your prompt, concentrate on visual elements such as texture, lighting and perspective. Describing these elements can dramatically affect the AI's output to help it create images that are not only accurate but also aesthetically pleasing. For instance, "a cozy corner in a coffee shop, with soft amber lighting illuminating a plush red velvet armchair and a small round table with a steaming cup of cappuccino."

Use Inspirational and Emotional Language

Engage the AI’s creative capabilities by using language that conveys emotion or atmosphere. For the coffee shop example, words like "cozy," "warm," and "bustling" can guide the mood of the image. For an image of mountains, words like "majestic," "awe-inspiring" and "peaceful" can evoke a sense of grandeur and tranquility. 

By incorporating inspirational and emotional language into your prompts, you not only provide guidance for the AI but also infuse the resulting images with a desired mood and atmosphere to increase their impact on viewers.

Balance Creativity with Clarity

While it's important to be creative, clarity should not be sacrificed. The goal is to inspire the AI, not confuse it. Make sure your prompt paints a clear picture and avoids contradictions that could lead to ambiguous results.

Iterative Refinement

Rarely is the first output perfect. View AI as a collaborative tool where initial results can be refined. If the first image isn’t quite right, tweak your prompt based on what the AI produced and try again. This iterative process helps hone in on exactly what you’re looking for.

Step-by-Step Guide to Creating AI Images

In ecommerce, AI-generated images can have a range of benefits and uses. Here are five key areas where AI-generated images can be utilised:

  • Product images: Enhancing product listings with high-quality images that show your products in use or being worn.
  • Branding and logo creation: Generating brand logos and visual elements that reflect the identity and values of the business.
  • Colour palette exploration: Experimenting with different colour schemes and combinations to identify visually appealing options for branding and product design.
  • Lifestyle and context imagery: Creating lifestyle scenes and contextual visuals to showcase products in real-life settings, helping customers envision how they fit into their lives.
  • Marketing and promotional materials: Developing eye-catching graphics and visuals for marketing campaigns, advertisements and social media content to attract and engage customers effectively.

Let's now explore a step-by-step process for creating perfect AI images for your business. We'll walk through a few examples to illustrate each step and show you how to get the best of out your AI tool. 

Example 1: Creating a Category Banner for Spring Sale Announcement

Prompt 1: "Generate an eye-catching banner for our 'Spring Sale' category page featuring blooming flowers and the text 'Spring Sale!' in bold, playful typography."

Spring Sale banner

Generated using Open AI's DALL.E 

Issue: Uh-oh! We forgot to specify the brand's colours and include their logo. Without these key elements, the banner doesn't align with the brand's identity, risking inconsistency and confusion among customers. The text has a spelling mistake too. 

Feedback: Let's refine our prompt to ensure the banner reflects the brand accurately. We need to specify the brand's colours and ensure our logo is integrated seamlessly into the design. This will help maintain brand consistency and enhance recognition among the audience.

Prompt 2: "This is great, but there are a few mistakes. Please ensure the colours align with our brand palette of soft pastels (hex code: #FADADD) and discreetly include our logo in the design. You must also accurately spell the text 'Spring Sale.'"

Spring Sale banner 2

With this refined prompt, we provide clear instructions for colour matching and logo integration, which meant the AI was able to accurately produce an output that represents the brand identity. 

Example 2: Showcasing a Product in Use

Prompt: "Generate a comic-book style image of a young professional walking through a bustling city street, confidently carrying our Classic Brown Leather Laptop Bag, with the skyline in the background and sunlight streaming through the buildings."

Man walking with laptop bag

Issue: It seems that the use case image we've generated doesn't highlight the unique feature of this leather laptop bag. Without showcasing the built-in USB charging port, customers may not realise the convenience and functionality our product offers, potentially leading to missed sales opportunities.

Feedback: Let's refine our prompt to ensure the generated image prominently features the unique built-in USB charging port. This will help attract the attention of potential customers and drive conversions.

Prompt 2: "Generate an image of a young professional walking through a bustling city street, confidently carrying our Classic Brown Leather Laptop Bag, featuring a built-in USB charging port to keep devices powered on the go. Ensure the bag's sleek design and innovative feature are prominently showcased in the image, conveying both style and functionality to our customers. Include a text box highlighting the USB functionality"

Man walking down the street with USB laptop bag

Example 3: Branding Imagery

Prompt: "Generate an image featuring our logo elegantly displayed alongside a range of skincare products, set against a backdrop of soft, sandy beaches and palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze, evoking a sense of luxury and relaxation."

skincare on beach

Issue: While the generated image showcases a range of skincare products in a tranquil beach setting, the logo is not effectively integrated into the scene. Without proper incorporation of the logo, the image fails to reinforce the brand's identity and message effectively.

Feedback: Let's refine our prompt to ensure that the logo is seamlessly incorporated into the beach scene. We need to provide clearer instructions for positioning and blending our logo into the image while maintaining its visibility and impact. 

Refined Prompt: "Generate an image featuring our logo elegantly displayed alongside a range of skincare products, set against a backdrop of soft, sandy beaches and palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze. Ensure the logo is seamlessly integrated into the scene, embossed on a sleek, golden plaque alongside the products. The audience should instantly recognise our brand."

Lumina Skincare

Common Mistakes and Top Tips for AI Image Generation in Ecommerce

While integrating AI image generation into your ecommerce strategy can offer numerous benefits, it's essential to be aware of common pitfalls and best practices to maximise its effectiveness. The following are common mistakes to avoid and top tips to keep in mind:

Common Mistakes:

Lack of detail: Failing to provide clear and detailed prompts can lead to subpar results. Make sure your prompts include specific instructions regarding product details, brand elements and desired mood or style.

Ignoring brand identity: Always ensure that generated images accurately reflect your brand's visual identity and values. Include colour palettes and upload your logo if you have one. 

Overcomplicating prompts: Using overly complex prompts with too many instructions can confuse AI models and result in inconsistent or irrelevant images. Keep your prompts focused to achieve the best results.

Top Tips:

Start small: Begin by experimenting with AI image generation on a small scale to familiarise yourself with the process and refine your approach before scaling up.

Provide feedback: Offer constructive feedback to AI image generation tools based on the results you receive. This can help improve the accuracy and relevance of generated images over time.

Stay consistent: Maintain consistency in your visual content by establishing clear brand guidelines and applying them consistently across all generated images.

Combine AI with human creativity: While AI can automate many aspects of image generation, don't overlook the value of human creativity. Consider combining AI-generated images with custom-designed visuals to create a well-rounded visual content strategy.

Monitor performance: Regularly monitor the performance of AI-generated images using analytics tools. Pay attention to metrics such as engagement, conversion rates and customer feedback to gauge the effectiveness of your visual content strategy.