How to Edit Product Photos

product photos

 

How to Edit Product Photos

Selling your products online has never been easy with Do-it-your-own editing and adjust them to the proper brightness and contrast. Have you ever wondered why your product photos don’t look like photos you see in a catalog? Even when you shoot with the finest equipment, lighting and lenses it still just doesn’t look professional. The reason is post-production or post processing your image.

Apparel Photo Editing

Post-production is as old as camera’s themselves. Before digital, professional photographers would spend hours in dark rooms, adjusting light exposures to get the right image. Nowadays, post-production software is available to everyone, albeit at a price, so you can turn out professional looking photos without paying more. Of course, bigger companies will hire a professional to get the best results with the minimal effort, but with a bit of practice, there’s no reason you can’t turn out professional product photos too.

Large batches will be time-consuming and will take away from your main focus, the business. If there’s a lot of different products to take care of it’s worth shopping around for a post-production company. Some of these can be very cost-effective and will help to streamline your business. Like any new skill, post-production takes time to learn, but if you’re still reading this far, then let’s get down to business.

Software Suggestions

A good workman needs the right tools, so the first thing to cover is software. There’s a lot of choice here but don’t get distracted too much by the cheaper packages. Without the right features the photos won’t look professional. Adobe Lightroom is an excellent option, but my personal favorite is Adobe Photoshop. You can purchase this on a monthly pay-plan, outright or use the cheaper Cloud Hosting version (http://www.adobe.com/sea/creativecloud.html). Since the features on Photoshop are similar to Lightroom this tutorial will work for both.

Adobe Photoshop vs Adobe Lightroom

Keyboard Shortcuts

If you’re really looking to speed up the process, learn the keyboard shortcuts. It might seem unnatural at first, but once you get the hang of them you’ll be breezing through edits like a true pro.

Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts

Adobe Keyboard Shortcuts link:

RAW Format

Start by opening up Photoshop and importing your first batch of images- if you’re computer is older you might want to choose fewer images to keep everything running smoothly. If you’re shooting in RAW the images will likely look different to the way they did through the camera’s display. This is perfectly normal. When the image is shown on your camera it is displayed through default settings. It’s these settings that we will be tweaking. Click select all images so that the changes we make will happen across the board.

  1. The first thing to do is to get your canvas looking clean and fresh. For this we use the White Balance Tool. Click the eye dropper onto any area’s that should be white but have turned out slightly off color. This will even the lines of your photos out making them look clean and professional.

 

  1. If your photo appears a little murky or undefined we need to adjust the exposure. Bring up the Exposure tool and experiment with brightening specific areas of the photo. This will define your images. If the product is a shiny one, increasing the exposure will brighten reflected light making them look more appealing.

  1. Bringing texture to an image is all about lighting the darker corners. The fill light tool applies brightness exclusively to the darker areas of the image. This is a particular useful tool if your product’s USP is fabric or material based because your customers will be able to see the material texture better.

 

  1. The final tools to look at are the simplest and the most important. These are the color balance, brightness/ darkness and saturation. Adjusting these will create different effects that may or may not be useful depending on the type of product you are selling. Professionals take years to master these so don’t get too fustrated if it doesn’t come out right the first time. Feel free to experiment until you find settings you like, then save those settings as a custom color balance file to use again later.

 

5. Open up the preview window to toggle through your images to see the simple, but effective, changes you’ve made so far. Once you’re happy with the RAW images we can begin working on the post-edit.

Spot Retouching

Spot retouching is about glossing over any imperfections to make your products look perfect. If, for example, there is dust, or hair on a product, we use spot retouching to remove it. The first thing to do is to make a duplicate layer. This will allow us to flick back and forward between before and after images. Having an untouched, warts and all version as a reference is important because our goal is to make the photo look natural. Or at least, as natural as possible.

 

Make a circle around the blemish on the product using the spot retoucher tool. Now drag that circle to an area of the image that is similar fabric, without the blemish. What you’ll see is that Adobe automatically colors blemish with the texture of your chosen area. With practice, the Spot Retouching tool can look seamless will save you time and money on reshoots.

Quick Color Adjustment

We may already have gone over some color balancing in the RAW stage, but it’s in the post-editing suite that we can really make things stand out. The quick color adjustment may seem a little tricky at first but the line runs from blacks (at the bottom), into greys (middle of the line) and finally, into the whites (top of the line). Click on any point of the line and you’ll be able to drag it into a curve. This increases the balance of color. If you want to make things look really appealing, pick on the grey area of the line and slowly drag the line-up until it matches your vision of how the product looks. You can also adjust the colors the same way by clicking on the corresponding tab.

 

Files and alignment

 Once you’ve got your images just how you want them you’ll need to save them in the appropriate size and format for your website. This is the least enjoyable part of the post-editing process without which your photos will be unusable. The website that you use will have guidelines of dimensions and file types. Always export your photos in the maximum dimensions to get the best quality.

Camera Lens

 In addition camera lens is crucial to every product photography specially when taking highly detailed products. To avoid too much time retouching your product, a good quality lens is required. Lenses are the eyes in focusing the important part of a product. Discover how camera lenses makes a difference in your images. Read more about camera lens. (Link)

How to edit product photos camera lens

Canon Camera vs Nikon Camera

Is canon or nikon good enough to take product photos, the biggest question of all enthusiast and professional photographers talk about. Learn more which camera is best for taking product photos. (Link)

 

Canon and Nikon

Saving your product Image

 Saving your images by compressing it helps a lot in loading images into your website. The advantage of having a compressed small Mega Bytes file is that it’s one way of optimizing your website ready for SEO or Search Engine Optimization.

 

Learn more on: How to edit a portrait image

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