Product Photography Guide


Chapter 2

P??t-Pr?????ing F?r Product Photos

What is it, and why is it important?

D???nding ?n the r??ult? ?f your product ?h?t?gr??h?, ??u may w?nt t? d? some ?diting with gr??hi?? software lik? Ad?b? Lightr??m ?r Photoshop. Thi? i? r?f?rr?d t? ?? ???t-?r?????ing.

If your lighting ?nd ?r???r?ti?n? w?r? g??d ?n?ugh, ??u might not h?v? t? d? mu?h ?diting ?t ?ll, but ??m? fixes ?nd enhancements ?r? ?????i?n?ll? n??????r?. Wh?n ?diting ?h?t??, always keep your original and ??v? ??ur ?h?ng?? t? a ????.

Thi? will ?r?v?nt ??u fr?m n??ding t? retake th? ?h?t? if ??u m?k? a mistake you ??n’t und?.

C?l?r Correction f?r Product Photos

S?m?tim??, th? ??l?r of ??ur it?m it??lf will ??u?? changes to th? b??kgr?und du? t? th? light-reflecting fr?m the item. S? a red ?ur?? might r?fl??t r?d light ?nt? ??ur b??kdr??, m?king th? im?g? slightly ?ink.

Sm?ll details, ?u?h ?? g?ld butt?n?, would ?l?? pick u? a pink tint. In thi? ????, ??u ??n u?? ??l?r correction to r??t?r? th? ??l?r? to th?ir n?tur?l ?????r?n??.

C?l?r ??rr??ti?n t??l? ??n b? found in a wide v?ri?t? of graphics software, in?luding Ad?b? Lightr??m ?nd Ph?t??h??, as w?ll ?? fr?? software lik? GIMP (GNU Im?g? Manipulation Program).

Onlin? tools ?r? ?v?il?bl? t??, ?u?h ?? Cli??ing Magic, whi?h ??n also h?ndl? background r?m?v?l ?nd drop ?h?d?w?. D???nding ?n the photo editing software u??d, ??u m?? h?v? ?????? t? ?ut?m?ti? color ??rr??ti?n or be able t? m?k? manual ?dju?tm?nt? with ?lid?r?.

If ??u’v? ??t u? your ?tudi? w?ll, thoroughly tested ??ur lighting and fin?liz?d your ??m?r? ??tting? with ?r??ti?? ?h?t?gr??h?, you’re n?t lik?l? to have to do a lot of ??l?r? ??rr??ting ?n your final photos.

It will probably ?nl? b? n??????r? f?r ??rt?in products ?f ??rt?in ??l?r?. Brighter ??l?r? ?nd ?hini?r surfaces h?v? a greater ?h?n?? ?f tinting your im?g? ?nd requiring correction.

Background R?m?v?l

Th? v??t majority ?f ?r?du?t photographers ?r?f?r t? cut ?v?r? it?m ?ut ?f its b??kgr?und, ?v?n wh?n the background is ?lr??d? n??rl? invi?ibl?. The b?n?fit? ?f thi? approach in?lud? reduced fil? ?iz? ?nd greater im?g? ??n?i?t?n??.

B??kgr?und r?m?v?l can b? done with th? ??m? software ?? ??l?r ??rr??ti?n. Th? previously-mentioned Cli??ing Magic online t??l h?? b??kgr?und r?m?v?l ?? it? main f??tur?. N? matter wh?t ?r?gr?m ??u u?? to remove ??ur backgrounds, look int? the settings f?r ?n?uring ??u get a realistic ?dg? on ??ur ?r?du?t.

It depends ?n the ??ftw?r? ??u u??, l??k f?r a ??tting ?r ?r????? ??ll?d ?nti-?li??ing ?r f??th?ring. Th??? two m?th?d? work a little diff?r?ntl?. In Ad?b? ??ftw?r?, ?nti-?li??ing ?r???rv?? the m??t d?t?il n??r th? ?dg??.

Because it w?rk? b? ?dju?ting th? ??l?r tr?n?iti?n ?r?und the ?dg? ?f th? ?bj??t while feathering ?m??th? edges b? blurring th?m ?lightl?. Other ??ftw?r? and tools m?? use diff?r?nt names for th??? processes, lik? ?im?l? “smoothing.”

Y?u’ll also w?nt to ?r?? ??ur photos to m?int?in a ??n?i?t?nt size and shape, ?? they lin? u? properly ?n your ?r?du?t pages. Thi? i? ?????i?ll? im??rt?nt when ??u have multi?l? im?g?? of similar ?r?du?t? n?xt t? each ?th?r, wh?r? ?n inconsistent size will give your ??g? a m???? ?????r?n??.

Drop Shadows

Aft?r r?m?ving th? b??kgr?und, ??u’ll w?nt to add a ?h?d?w b??k und?rn??th th? it?m. This may seem a littl? ??unt?rintuitiv? ?t the first ?in?? ??u w?nt out of ??ur w?? t? ?ut all but ??ur ?r?du?t out ?f th? picture.

But product images with ?h?d?w? t?nd to ??ll m?r? than products with im?g?? where the item ?????r? t? be fl??ting in space. Shadows add d??th ?nd make th? product look “r??l,” and ?u?t?m?r? ?r? l??? lik?l? t? bu? a ?r?du?t they can’t ??? ?? “r??l.”

T? ?dd drop ?h?d?w?, you ??n u?? the ??m? ??ftw?r? or ?nlin? t??l? w?’v? li?t?d f?r ??l?r correction ?nd b??kgr?und r?m?v?l. Y?u h?v? a f?w options as t? h?w ??u d? thi?.

Y?u can ?dd a ?im?l?, plain gr?? ?h?d?w dir??tl? b?n??th the item, or create a ?ubtl? r?fl??ti?n effect. B?th serves to gr?und ??ur product ?nd adds realistic weight t? it.

Y?u ??n ?l?? combine the tw? techniques ?nd ?r??t? b?th a ?h?d?w ?nd a r?fl??ti?n. K??? it ?ubtl? t? keep th? attention ?n the ?r?du?t itself.

Retouching Product Photos

Occasionally ??u may n?ti?? a small im??rf??ti?n in ?n? ?f ??ur product ?h?t??, like a ?i??? ?f dust ??u missed during preparations. Y?u can u?? graphics software t? r?m?v? th??? imperfections.

F?r example, Ad?b? Ph?t??h?? ?r?vid?? ??u with ??m? t??l? that ??n r?t?u?h im??rf??ti?n? in diff?r?nt ways. The ?l?n? stamp t??l l?t? ??u ??l??t a ??rt ?f ??ur im?g? ?nd th?n “??int” ?nt? ?n?th?r ??rt of ??ur im?g? with your clone selection ?? a brush. It i? v?r? h?nd? for ??v?ring im??rf??ti?n? th?t ?r? near edges.

Th? ??t?h t??l is ?n?th?r useful Photoshop t??l that w?rk? ?imil?rl? t? the ?l?n? ?t?m? but in?t??d l?t? ??u ?r??t? a ??l??ti?n t? b? bl?nd?d ?v?r ?n?th?r ?r??. Sin?? the ??t?h t??l u??? bl?nding, it’s b?tt?r f?r smooth ?urf????.

Im?g? O?timiz?ti?n

When you’ve completed all your necessary ???t-?r?du?ti?n, it’? tim? t? optimize ??ur ?h?t?? f?r u?? ?n ??ur ?nlin? ?t?r?. The im?g? fil?? you’ve b??n working with ?r? f?r too large t? use ?n your w?b?it?, ?? it’? tim? to ?dju?t their size and r???luti?n.

In graphics software, im?g? ?iz? r?f?r? t? the im?g?’? dim?n?i?n? in ?ix?l?, ?u?h ?? 500×400. R???luti?n refers to t? th? number ?f ?ix?l? ??r inch. F?r display ?nlin?, a resolution of 72 ?ix?l? per inch is id??l.

A g??d size f?r an online ?t?r? is to keep ??ur im?g?’? longest dim?n?i?n b?tw??n 600 ?nd 800 pixels tall ?r wid?. R???luti?n ??tting? are usually f?und in th? ??m? m?nu ?? r??izing settings, ?? you’ll be able to ?dju?t both ?t th? ??m? time.

Wh?n ?dju?ting ?iz?, m?k? ?ur? you don’t ???id?nt?ll? ?h?ng? ??ur image’s aspect ratio, which will ??u?? it t? l??k squashed or stretched. There’s u?u?ll? a ?h??kb?x near th? im?g? ?iz? ??ntr?l? th?t will l??k th? ?????t r?ti?. Y?u’ll ?nl? n??d t? adjust th? h?ight ?r width of the im?g?, ?nd th? ?th?r will ?ut?m?ti??ll? fill in.

With some ??ftw?r?, ??u may n??d to ?nt?r ??ur d??ir?d ?iz? ?nd resolution in a ????ifi? order, as ?dju?ting one m?? cause the ?th?r t? change in th? ??ti?n? ??n?l. Just k??? ?n ??? ?ut f?r this and fix th? ?n? th?t changed automatically b?f?r? ??u ??nfirm.

S?m? ?C?mm?r?? ??ftw?r? will automatically resize im?g?? f?r ??u during image u?l??d, ??ving ??u fr?m n??ding t? do thi? step m?nu?ll?.

The B??t Ph?t? Editing T??l? for Am?zing Pr?du?t Photos

We’re g?ing t? focus ?n th? digit?l ?id? of product ?h?t?gr??h?: r?t?u?hing t??l? for ???t-?r?du?ti?n.

Wh? Edit Pr?du?t Ph?t???

Y?u m?? be w?nd?ring why ??u ?h?uld ?dit ??ur product ?h?t?? ?t all. If ??u’v? ??t u? a ?r?du?t ?h?t?gr??h? ?tudi?, ??timiz?d ??ur ??m?r?, ?nd get great r??ult?, wh? d? ??u n??d post-production editing?

Th? ?n?w?r is that ??u’r? trying to ?r??t? th? b??t product ?h?t?? ????ibl?. Your ?nlin? ?t?r? n??d? to look 100% ?r?f???i?n?l in ?v?r? w??. Pr?du?t ?h?t? editing i? ?n? m??n? ?f making ??ur business ?????r t? be in the big leagues.

Only with post-processing ??n you achieve completely ??n?i?t?nt, trul? perfect ?r?du?t ?h?t?gr??h?.

Th? best online ?t?r?? only use ?r?du?t photos: 

  • Sh?w ?ll ??l?r? with true-to-life ???ur???
  • H?v? th? b??kgr?und completely r?m?v?d (?v?n if it’? r??l???d with a ??l?r or diff?r?nt backdrop)
  • Gr?und the product in ????? t? make it l??k solid ?nd r??l (thr?ugh reflections ?r dr?? shadows, n?t necessary if a model is w??ring the ?r?du?t in th? ?h?t?)
  • Sh?w th? ?r?du?t? ?? completely new, ?l??n, ?nd perfect (r?t?u?hing ?m?ll fl?w? if n??????r?)

B? applying th??? ??m? t??hniqu?? to your ?wn ?r?du?t ?h?t??, you’ll im?r?v? the l??k ?f ??ur ?nlin? store. Giv? ?u?t?m?r? a b?tt?r idea ?f wh?t they’re bu?ing, ?nd make your ?r?du?t? more ?????ling ?v?r?ll.

We’ve ??m?il?d a li?t ?f t??l? ??u can use t? make ??ur ?r?du?t photos trul? perfect, in?luding ??m?thing for ?v?r? budg?t. 

Fr?? Tools f?r Product Photo Editing

You d?n’t need to ?h?ll ?ut m???iv? ?m?unt? of cash to g?t gr??t r??ult? ?diting ??ur ?r?du?t photos. Th? f?ll?wing tools ?r? all fr??, and quite ????bl? ?f ??hi?ving th? ?ff??t? ??u n??d.

S?m? ?f these fr?? t??l? ?r? software ??u can d?wnl??d to ??ur computer, whil? ?th?r? ?r? online t??l? th?t let you ??rf?rm your ?dit? right in a br?w??r wind?w.

T?k? a l??k ?nd choose one th?t works w?ll for you. Sin?? th??’r? free, you ??n tr? ?ll th??? photo ?diting t??l? at n? risk.

GNU Im?g? M?ni?ul?ti?n Program (GIMP)

T???: D?wnl??d 

GIMP h?? b??n ?r?und f?r many years and is ?n indu?tr? favorite among ?n??n? l??king f?r a free, ??w?rful ?lt?rn?tiv? t? Photoshop. GIMP h?? the high??t f??tur? ??unt ?m?ng all fr?? graphics ??ftw?r? and w?rk? ?n multi?l? ???r?ting ???t?m?, in?luding Wind?w?, OSX, ?nd Linux.

It’? ???n ??ur?? and ?xtr?m?l? ?u?t?miz?bl?, through a hug? options m?nu, third-??rt? ?lugin?, ?nd ?v?n dir??t ?h?ng?? t? th? program it??lf. In ?h?rt, ??u can do ?lm??t ?n?thing with GIMP.

GIMP does h?v? a learning curve, but th?r? ?r? plenty ?f tut?ri?l? ?v?il?bl? ?n Y?uTub? ?x?l?ining everything from th? ?im?l??t to th? m??t ?dv?n??d techniques. 


Type: D?wnl??d

Paint.NET is a v?r? ???ul?r ?h?t? ?dit?r th?t’? l??? ??w?rful, but much easier to use, than GIMP. And don’t write it ?ff ju?t b???u?? we’ve described it as “l??? ??w?rful” — the f??t i? th?t f?r ?r?du?t ?h?t? ?diting, ??u may n?t n??d th? tons of f??tur?? GIMP includes.

Paint.NET h?? ?ll th? ????biliti?? ??u n??d f?r product ?h?t? ?diting, in?luding color ??rr??ti?n, brightn??? ?nd contrast, retouching t??l?, and tools f?r b??kgr?und removal.

Adobe Ph?t??h?? Express

T???: D?wnl??d 

Ph?t??h?? Express is a fr?? ??? f?r iOS, Andr?id, and Wind?w? th?t ??mbin?? some of the m??t d?m?nd?d f??tur?? fr?m th? full Ph?t??h?? software. It works excellent for r?t?u?hing, fixing odd perspective ?r?bl?m?, ??l?r ??rr??ti?n, ?nd m?r?.

It also h?? a ??ll?g? feature th?t l?t? you ??mbin? im?g?? into ?n ?rti?ti? arrangement, ??rf??t f?r ?r??ting b?nn?r?. Ph?t??h?? Express i? ?n? of the ???i??t ways t? adjust ??l?r, brightn???, ?nd contrast on ju?t ?b?ut any device.


Type: Online ?dit?r with d?wnl??d ?v?il?bl? 

Pixlr is a very ???ul?r ?h?t? editor ?nd w?rk? gr??t f?r ?C?mm?r?? ?h?t??. Y?u ??n make ?ll the ?h?ng?? ??u need, in?luding color ??rr??ti?n, background r?m?v?l, dr?? ?h?d?w?, and m?r?, right fr?m your browser window.

Y?u ??n also d?wnl??d ?n app for u?? on v?ri?u? d?vi???. Pixlr also h?? a Pr? ?l?n f?r those willing to pay f?r additional fun?ti?n?lit?.

Ph?t? Pos Pr?

T???: Download 

Ph?t? P?? Pr? is ?n?th?r robust, fr?? photo editor th?t’? ???i?r t? use th?n GIMP, but m?r? powerful th?n most ?th?r fr?? ?dit?r?. Y?u can ?h???? between a beginner ?r ?n ?x??rt int?rf???, and it’? ?v?r?ll more intuitive th?n GIMP.

Th? ?r?gr?m it??lf ?till t?k?? a bit ?f time t? l??rn, but the t??l? are ?x??ll?nt ?nd w?rk very well f?r what you n??d. The fr?? version w?n’t let ??u save any files ?t a size l?rg?r th?n 1,024 x 2,014, but this is f?r bigg?r than ??u n??d?d product photos anyway.

If ??u want t? r?m?v? thi? r??tri?ti?n and use Photo Pos Pro for bigg?r gr??hi??, you’ll n??d to bu? a li??n??, but it’? very r????n?bl? ?ri??d. 

Oth?r Free Ph?t? Editing T??l?

If ??u’v? taken a l??k through th??? and w?nt t? d? a bit m?r? exploring, there ?r? ?l?nt? ?f other free ?h?t? editing t??l? th?t ??uld b? ??rf??t for your ?nlin? ?t?r?’? needs.

Ch??k ?ut Fotor for ?nlin? in-br?w??r editing, Aviary Ph?t? Edit?r f?r iOS, ?r Ph?t?S???? f?r a b?ginn?r-?ri?nt?d d??kt?? program. A G??gl? search will turn up m?n? more.

Ju?t looks for th? f??tur?? ??u n??d th? m??t: ??l?r ??rr??ti?n, b??kgr?und r?m?v?l, r?t?u?hing, ?nd dr?? ?h?d?w?.

P?id Tools f?r Pr?du?t Ph?t? Editing

Th? good n?w? i? that ?dv?n??d, professional ?h?t? ?diting ??ftw?r? i?n’t n??rl? ?? expensive ?? it used to be. You’re n?t g?ing t? n??d t? drop thousands of dollars, ?nd in ??m? ?????, ??u’ll be ???ing l??? th?n $10 ??r month.

M?n? ?f these t??l? have fr?? tri?l?, ?? ??u ??n test th?m ?ut b?f?r? you ???. B? ?w?r? th?t fr?? tri?l? ?ft?n have restrictions, lik? only l?tting ??u ?dit a certain numb?r of im?g?? or ?r?v?nting ??u fr?m downloading your results until ??u purchase a m?mb?r?hi?.

Ad?b? Photoshop

T???: D?wnl??d 

Adobe Ph?t??h?? i? ?r?b?bl? th? m??t famous photo ?diting software available today. It ??m?? with a m???iv? f??tur? set including ?v?r?thing you n??d f?r product ?h?t?gr??h?, as well ?? ?dditi?n?l t??l? f?r doing ?r?tt? much ?n?thing that ??u can imagine.

Of course, this m??n? a ?ub?t?nti?l l??rning ?urv?, ?nd ??u’r? n?t lik?l? t? n??d all th??? t??l?. Still, Ph?t??h?? is in?r?dibl? powerful ??ftw?r?, ?nd ??u ??n use it for a l?t m?r? than just ?r?du?t photos.

Th? ?ri?ing ?tru?tur? for Photoshop ??n be a bit ??nfu?ing t? the uniniti?t?d. Most Ad?b? ??ftw?r? i? ??id for via ?ub??ri?ti?n, with ?l?n? for individu?l ?nd multi?l? ????.

The “full” version ?f Photoshop is ?ffi?i?ll? called Ph?t??h?? CC, standing f?r Creative Cloud. Ad?b?’? Creative Cl?ud i? a ??id ??rvi?? that giv?? ??u ?????? to ??ur ?h???n ???? along with multi?l? b?n?fit?.

Su?h ?? th? ability to ??n?hr?niz? your ??tting? ??r??? multi?l? devices ?? ??u ??n work ?n ?h?t?? anywhere. Cl?ud ?t?r?g? i? also ?v?il?bl?.

T? g?t Ph?t??h??, ??u’d ?ign up for a Cr??tiv? Cloud “Singl? App” ?ub??ri?ti?n whi?h w?uld give you ?????? t? Ph?t??h?? ?nd the Cr??tiv? Cloud b?n?fit?. Alternately, you ??uld sign u? for th? CC “All A???” ?ub??ri?ti?n and g?t everything.

H?w?v?r, there’s also a Ph?t?gr??h? Pl?n, whi?h giv?? ??u Ph?t??h?? ?nd Lightr??m (described below) f?r a lower ?ri?? th?n any ?th?r option. Y?u gets l??? ?l?ud ?t?r?g?, but thi? is b? f?r the most ?ff?rd?bl? way t? get both of this highl?-r???mm?nd?d ?r?gr?m?.

There’s also Photoshop El?m?nt?, whi?h strips d?wn th? Photoshop f??tur? ??t ??m?wh?t but adds some ?x??ll?nt ?rg?niz?ti?n?l capabilities. Ph?t??h?? Elements has ?ll the functionality n??d?d to correct and ?dit ?r?du?t ?h?t?? ?nd is available f?r a ?n?-tim? fee.

Adobe Lightroom

T???: D?wnl??d 

Lightr??m is another Adobe Creative Cl?ud ??? that in?lud?? ?ll th? tools ??u need for post-processing your product photos. Added ??w?rful f??tur?? lik? b?t?h ?r?????ing so ??u ??n edit multiple im?g?? ?t ?n??.

It ?l?? has several ?dv?nt?g?? for organizing and ??t?l?ging ??ur product ?h?t??. Whil? ??u ??n subscribe t? Lightroom b? itself. Y?ur best b?t is ?r?b?bl? th? Ph?t?gr??h? Pl?n. Unl??? ??u n??d a t?r?b?t? ?f ?l?ud ?t?r?g? — you g?t Ph?t??h?? t??, for th? ??m? price, but with ?l?ud ?t?r?g? limit?d t? 20 GB. 

Clipping M?gi?

T???: Onlin? editor

Cli??ing M?gi? i? ?n ?ff?rd?bl? online tool that ?r?vid?? ??v?r?l editing f??tur?? geared toward eCommerce ?nd ?th?r commercial gr??hi? design. It u??? a ?m?rt tool for quick ?nd accurate b??kgr?und r?m?v?l, and h?? ????-t?-u?? ??l?r ??rr??ti?n ?nd drop ?h?d?w/r?fl??ti?n t??l?.

It ?l?? h?? an assortment ?f other t??l? ??rf??t f?r ?r?du?t ?h?t??, in?luding ?r??i?i?n edge finding ?nd bulk editing. It’? quit? ????i?liz?d, ?? if ??u d?n’t want t? b? di?tr??t?d by the hundr?d? ?f f??tur?? available in a ?r?gr?m lik? Photoshop, Clipping M?gi? ??uld b? exactly what ??u n??d.


T???: Onlin? ?dit?r with d?wnl??d ?v?il?bl?

Pi?M?nk?? is a multi?ur???? photo ?dit?r th?t w?rk? in ??ur d??kt?? browser, ?r ??u ??n download an app f?r Andr?id and iOS. It ??m?? with a large ?uit? of editing and r?t?u?hing t??l? ??rf??t f?r ?C?mm?r??.

Pi?M?nk?? ?l?? has num?r?u? special ?ff??t? ?nd filt?r? ??u can u??, as well ?? a collage f??tur? f?r ??mbining im?g?? int? banners. The pricing i? f?irl? l?w, with two ?l?n? available.


T???: D?wnl??d

P?rtr?itPr? i? only u??ful if you u?? hum?n m?d?l? in ??ur ?r?du?t photography, but it’s quit? powerful in what it does. It offers professional-grade retouching, r?lighting, r??h??ing, ?nd m?r? with ?dv?n??d t??l? that h?l? your models l??k th?ir b??t.

There ?r? three f??tur?-ri?h ?diti?n? ?v?il?bl? ?t diff?r?nt ?ri?? ??int?, and ??u g?t ?n ?ut?m?ti? 50% discount f?r bu?ing th? ??ftw?r? ?? a digit?l download. If ??u use m?d?l? in ??ur ?h?t??, P?rtr?itPr? i? th? w?? t? m?k? th?m l??k like they just stepped ?ut ?f th? pages ?f a high f??hi?n m?g?zin?.

Oth?r P?id Ph?t? Editing Options

Whil? w?’v? ?h???n th??? ????ifi? ?h?t? editing t??l? because they’re id??l for ?C?mm?r?? ?r?du?t photography, thi? i?n’t ?ll th? ?h?t? editing software in the w?rld, b? any m??n?.

There ?r? m?n? ?th?r ????, online tools, ?nd d??kt?? programs ?ut there that might work ??rf??tl? f?r ??ur n??d?. Ju?t makes ?ur? you l??k ?t the f??tur?? and ?n?ur? the t??l? ??u n??d ?r? included.

Remember: ??u need color ??rr??ti?n, b??kgr?und r?m?v?l, retouching (l??k f?r t?rm? lik? “?l?n? ?t?m?,” “healing bru?h,” and “??t?h t??l”), and drop ?h?d?w?. It’s also w?rth looking up a few reviews ?f the ??ftw?r? ??u might b? int?r??t?d.

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