There are two broad objectives of post-production processing: correction and optimization.
Correction consists of repairing problem areas resulting from a less-than-perfect product or photo shoot, like scratches, smudges, or undesirable shadowing. Optimization is the process of creating visually pleasing consistency and ideal properties for service on the web, like alignment, cropping, and compression.
You can follow this full step-by-step DIY post-production guide, or follow these quick tips. You may find that it’s more cost-effective to use a service like Pixelz to professionally process your images, rather than try to master Photoshop and labor on your own.
You will need software like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, which you can purchase in a bundled monthly service known as Adobe’s “Creative Cloud Photography” plan.
Correct your images in steps. First, adjust exposure levels in Photoshop while still in RAW format. Use the white balance eyedropper to even out colors and tones, which should be quick if you used a grey card during shooting. Brighten or darken images as needed using the “Exposure” tool. Play with fill light, “Brightness,” “Contrasts,” and “Blacks” until you have the desired look. Save versions as JPEGs and continue working on those.
Next, perform spot retouching. Brush out dust, hair, scuff marks, skin imperfections, and other defects. Create a new layer before beginning so you can perform before and after comparisons. You will find the “Patch,” “Clone,” “Paint,” “Dodge,” and “Burn” tools to be particularly useful.
After you’re done correcting your images, it’s time to optimize them for the web. You want to create consistent specifications for file type, compression, background, dimensions, alignment, and margins.
File type and compression are closely linked. You can improve conversions and page speed with product image compression.
You should use high quality JPG images for the web if you want your pages to load as quickly as possible – and you do. Studies indicate that if your page takes more than 3 seconds to load, you’ll lose 40% of customers.
In most cases you will want to remove the background from your product image and fill it with white. There are several benefits of removing the background.
First, original backgrounds can distract customers from your product. Second, using a white background guarantees consistency and is recommended by most marketplaces. Third, a white background helps keep product colors interpreted accurately by the human eye. Finally, a solid color background reduces file size, which in turn increases page loading speed.
Determine the size and shape of your image, like a square or a 3:2 aspect ratio. There’s no one optimal shape, but it’s important to be consistent in order to create a smooth shopping experience.
Align your images at the top, center, or bottom of your image. Again, it’s less important what choice you make here and more important that you use the same selection for every single image.
Determine the amount of margin you want between your product and the edges of the image. You will generally want to keep equal top, bottom, right, and left margins. The optimal amount of margin will depend on the design of your site.
You’re on the right track if you have more questions
There’s not a single answer to the question you’re really asking: how do I create perfect product images for my store?
Every business is different, and so too are the solutions. You might want to outsource photography from beginning to end, do it all yourself, or take a blended approach. If you’re here, though, you’re on the right track. Preparation, awareness, and a methodical approach to photography and post-production will serve you well.
Each photoshoot is not just an end in itself, but preparation for your next shoot. Educate, experiment, adjust, and don’t forget to have fun!