In our previous post we showed you how to create great product photos in four steps. This week we step it up a notch show you how to digitally edit these images using Photoshop in four steps in order to make them look even better.
Before getting started you will need a computer with either Lightroom or Photoshop (or a similar program) installed, along with the images that you have selected for digital upgrading. Follow this step by step process, at first it may be tedious, but the more you edit images, the faster you will get at it.
Let’s get started!
Step 1. Raw Corrections
If you have not been taking your product photos in RAW format you can skip ahead to the second step.
A RAW image file contains minimally processed data and is not ready for printing or further manipulation. So there needs to be some tweaking on your images. First, make sure to select all of the images you want to look the same, by clicking “Select All”. This means that any changes you make to the image you are currently looking at, will be applied to all of the other images as well. Here are a few fundamental tools that can help make it a fast and convenient way to correct all of your images, all at once!
- Firstly, choose the white balance eyedropper tool, to even out the colours and tones in the image. By toggling the tool over the white background and clicking it, it automatically changes it to what Camera RAW looks to be right.
- Looking at the product as it is now, use the Exposure tool to brighten darken certain areas. If you toggle this to the left, it gets darker and if you toggle it to the right it will get brighter.
- Next, certain areas in the product might need some extra fill light, which lightens just the darkest areas in the image. This will help some of the textures shine through. The more you move it to the left, the more it will lighten or fill those darker areas.
- Lastly play with a few tools simultaneously, to get the look your are looking for. Brightened up the product some more, by using the Brightness tool, or play around with the Contrast tools and the Blacks too, which really just affected the blacks and whites in the image and left the greys. This will help the texture come out even more!
After making your changes all images that you have selected will change in RAW and have the same overall changes. Try toggling the preview to see your work in progress!
Once you are done with your simple RAW corrections, you can open the images right from RAW to start working on them, alternatively you can save them as JPEGs to stay organized in my process. Saving your images in JPEG form can be great, because they can send them via a web service to continue the rest of the process.
Click “save images” to save versions of these changes in the same folder, to keep them all together and consistent. Once photoshop is done saving the images, go ahead and click “done.” You should then see your images saved as JPEGs in your folder as well.
Step 2. Spot Retouching
Open up the JPEG images in Photoshop. Starting with the first ‘main’ product image in the set (This is the first image your customers will see when browsing your website).
Because of the nature of some of the fabric sometimes they collected dust and hairs during the photoshoot and you only find out when you opened the images for a closer look. This is a common issue but these defects can be removed using Photoshop. Firstly, duplicate the layer to see the process before and after retouching. Then begin to remove all the tiny specs of dust and hairs by using the patch tool.
Start by selecting a circle around the spots you want to correct. Then gently grab onto the selection you have made and move it to a spot near it that resembles what you would like it to look like. This tool will replace what you do not want with what you do want. You can use this on almost anything!
You can also use the clone stamp tool for parts that are worn away. This is very similar to the Patch Tool.
Go up into your brush selections and choose a softer feathered one, and you can adjust the size of the brush as you go. It is advisable to make this brush opaque quite a bit, this gives a lot of control over the changes it makes. Zoom in on your tiny spots that you’d like to correct and “Option/Click” the area you would like your scuffs to look more like.
Then go to your scuffs and marks and “paint” over that area. For harder areas to retouch, use the Clone Stamp tool because it gives you more manual control over it. For easy small corrections stick with the Patch Tool.
Other tools you can use are the Dodge and Burn Tools, which help even out the tones in areas of your product. If something needs to be lightened use the Dodge tool and if something needs to be darkened use the Burn tool.
Toggle your retouching layer on and off to see your transformation before and after! If you feel like you need to keep going, keep using those tools to achieve the look desired. Let’s keep going to make it even better!
Step 3. Making File & Alignment
The different SEOshop themes require different sized banners and product images. We suggest you find your theme in the SEOshop Theme Store and find the correct sizes in the theme's documentation. Below are some some guidelines to the dimensions, ratio's and file sizes of your images.
Start by creating a new document under File>New. Since now you know the image dimensions necessary, change your dimensions to Pixels and make your file size to whatever your maximum dimensions needs to be, and make sure your resolution is 72 dpi and that your background colour is white. Most people name their image files by their products style, and colour code numbers, to stay more organized.
After you click okay and have created your new image file, drag guides on your file evenly from top to bottom and side to side. These will be your guides to contain your product within, so your images will stay aligned throughout. Drag your flattened, retouched product image onto your new white background file. You will need to resize your product within the margins that you made with your new guides. Make sure to align the bottom of your product, in my case the bottom of this heel, so your product stays consistent and grounded throughout the image set.
Once your product is centered in the image within the guide margins, use your Magic Wand tool to select the current background of your product. Then go to Select>Refine Edge, and you will see the selection you have just made around your product by smoothing out your edge. Within this tool you can run your circular tool around the edge of your product, and the tool will naturally cling and tighten around it.
Then make a mask of this selection by clicking the button with a little square with a circle inside the middle. It will automatically attach a mask onto your retouched layer. If you enter into your mask by pressing “\”, you can check your mask to make sure everything is masked like you want. You can use your brush tool to simply brush out unwanted parts. Press “\” again to exit your mask mode. And now your product is sitting on your white background!
Step 4. Shadow & Saving
One last step before we are finished! If you’d like to make your product pop even more, try adding a shadow! This will help ground your product and give more depth to the image.
You can bring back the shadow by duplicating the retouched layer. Delete the mask that is on the bottom layer – now you can see the shadow appear. Try to desaturate the shadow. Make a new mask on my layer, in which will brush out everything in the layer, except for the shadow under the created 'shoe'. Make sure your brush is extra feathered so it’s a smooth transition. Here is a before and after example of of an edited product image.
Now that your product looks great, let’s save and move forward! Save your finished .PSD file so you have your original to go back to if needed. Then, save a .JPG file so you can use this on your website! Now that your first file is all done, it’s time move onto the next file in your set.
Editing product images takes time and if you have hundreds of product images you might not have this much time to spare. It is always and option to outsource the last few steps of post production. After photographing your products you can send the unedited images through the SEOshop connector to Remove the Background. The profesional image editors can save you lots of time and headaches when you are unfamiliar with photo editing software. In as quick as 8 hours you can have your images processed and online with the click of a button.