Why You Need To Edit Your Handmade Product Photos

Why You Need To Edit Your Handmade Product Photos

Taking a handmade product photo can be challenging – there’s lighting, styling, composition, how to use your camera, etc – surely you can just skip the editing part, right?

NOPE.

Sorry, friends. Editing is not optional.

Here’s the thing. Back in the day of film photography, when the negatives were developed they went through a process of things like dodging and burning, colour adjustments, and so on. That was the editing process.

Digital photography has eliminated that process, but adjustments still need to be made. Many cameras will make some adjustments for you without you even knowing, but do you really want a machine making these decisions for you? The voice in your head might be saying, heck yeah! Robot photo editing for the win!

But consider this – your camera doesn’t know if you’re taking that photo for products, vacation, your dog, the sunset, whatever. It doesn’t know what adjustments need to be, it doesn’t know not to mess with the colour. It just takes a stab in the dark of what someone might typically want to see. Consider this – would you let your washing machine pick out your outfit? I didn’t think so. Some things you need to do yourself. And editing your photos is one of them.

When it comes to product photos, the editing process is extremely important. Here are 5 reasons you need to be editing your product photos:

 

  1. To get the correct size and ratio.

Image size is super important when it comes to product photos. When shoppers are browsing online product listings, there’s this handy little zoom function that allows them to see details close up. Without large enough photos, this zoom tool will not only be a waste, but can make your image look low quality – which communicates that your product is also low quality (even if it’s not).

Additionally, cropping them at the correct ratio is also super important (especially if you sell on Etsy). On Etsy, the thumbnails that appear in the search listings are 5:4. If your photo isn’t 5:4, you run the risk of part of your image and your product being cut off. When customers are quickly scrolling search listings, that’s the kind of thing that absolutely can get your product passed over for one with the correct ratio.

  1. To correct the image tones.

You need to adjust the tones of your image (the exposure, highlights, shadows, etc) so that it appears realistic, bright, and without distracting shadows.

Cameras are limited in how well they can captured bright whites and dark darks due and sometimes they’re unable to capture a scene the way we see it with our own eyes.

An example of this is when you use a white background that comes out looking more grey. A quick tonal adjustment can make a world of difference in a product photo.

 

  1. To tweak the colours.

Your colours need to be portrayed as true to form as possible so that when someone buys your product, they aren’t mislead into thinking they’re getting a blue shirt when the shirt is actually purple in real life.

You can take steps when actually photographing your product to encourage colour accuracy, but ultimately you may very well need to make adjustments when editing as well. Using the colour balance tool will allow you to balance colours in the image so that they are rendered as accurately as possible.

 

  1. To embed a colour profile.

Related to reason #3, editing your photos in a proper editing program will allow you to embed a colour profile with your image.

If you’ve ever uploaded a photo to Etsy and noticed the colours are all out of whack, this is an example of what happens when a photo does not have a colour profile embedded. It can be a huge source of frustration for you and misrepresents your products to your customers.

Embedding a colour profile is very important. You can read more about that in this blog post.

  1. So that your photos look professional.

When push comes to shove, it all comes down to looking professional and high quality. Professional product photos are edited. Yours should be too.

You want photos that are communicate quality so that customers see your products as high quality, and editing your photos a big part of having high quality product photos.

I know you might be feeling a little overwhelmed right now. That is A LOT of stuff and half of it you may have never even heard of. Don’t fear – I’m here to help! This is just the beginning of what I’m going to be discussing on my blog and my YouTube channel about photo editing. You’re in good hands. Stayed tuned.

Got a question? Pop it in the comments!

Until next time,

Amy


Wondering about how to find great props for styling your photos? Check this post out! >> https://amytakespictures.com/where-to-find-props-for-styling-your-photos/

You don’t need a fancy-schmancy camera to take great product photos. Read this! >> https://amytakespictures.com/diy-product-photos-smartphone/

 

 

5 Steps To Awesome DIY Product Photos For Your Etsy Shop

5 Steps To Awesome DIY Product Photos For Your Etsy Shop

Hey there handmade seller!

If you’re just joining us for the first time, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Amy and I’m a product photographer and educator teaching handmade sellers just like you how to rock their own product photos for their online shops.

‘Cause here’s the thing – I’m about to break some serious news here – without great product photos, your online shop probably won’t succeed. I know, that’s some tough love right there. But I said it because I want you to succeed and because I believe in you. (read all about why product photography is so important in this post)

The good news is that you are not doomed to a life of dreadful DIY product photos and no sales. I’m here to help you transform those “meh” product photos into photos that’ll have shoppers hitting the add-to-cart button faster than you can say “cha-ching”.

The topic of product photography is vast, overwhelming, and often confusing. There’s sooooo much information out there and, let’s be honest, it’s really not directed to you as a handmade seller. That’s why it’s full of technical jargon you don’t understand.

Every resource you’ll find here on my blog and on my YouTube channel was developed with you in mind. It’s the nitty gritty – no muss, no fuss, just exactly what you need to know to start taking great DIY product photos, and quickly.

Because, guess what? Product photography doesn’t have to be super complicated. Once you learn a streamlined and simplified photography process, you’ll be amazed at how your photos will transform.

So let’s get started!

Step #1

You MUST have great lighting.

When it comes to photography, lighting is everything. Literally. The word photography is derived from the greek “photo” meaning light and “graphy” meaning drawing – so, drawing with light. Hence its importance.

But it’s not just words. A photograph is made from the light that comes through the shutter of a camera to hit the sensor. So, great light = great photo.

Light should be soft and even, plenty bright (but not too bright), and the right colour (ie, daylight). Try photographing your product next to a bright window with white foam boards bouncing the light back towards your product. (pictured below)

Step #2

Choose your background.

News flash: Your background doesn’t have to be white.

So many makers think that their backgrounds have to be white, and it’s simply not true. Neutral? Yes. White? No.

If you like a white background, and you’re able to capture it well on camera, that’s great! Don’t change a thing. But so many handmade sellers struggle to take a great photo on a white background and if they’d just let it go, life would be so much easier. So I’m giving you permission. Let it go.

When choosing a background, pick something that is neutral and subtle. Textures are also a nice. Backgrounds like dark wood, white washed wood, marble, slate, beadboard, etc are all great option.

When determining which is right for you, think about your products, your branding, and your ideal customer. Your background should be a fit for all those things. (read more about how your branding play into your product photo in this post)

 

Step #3

Choose some props.

When it comes to props, you need to keep it really simple. One or two props are plenty. When it comes to social media and brand photos, you can incorporate more props, but for product listing photos it’s important no to do too much.  Too many props confuse buyers, clutters up your shot, and will have people moving on pretty fast. You want your props to be “supporting characters” to your product, not steal the show.

When it comes to choosing props, the same rules apply as they did for the background. They should be a fit for your product, brand, and speak to your ideal customer.

Want to grab my list of 90+ Prop Ideas? Click here!

 

Step #4

Arrange your shot.

Take care to photograph your products at the correct angle. If not composed properly, the angle can distort the image and make your product look strange or misrepresent it. Photographing your product as a flat lay (“bird’s eye view”) or straight on (“eye level”) is a good place to start.

When arranging props, keep them off to the side and/or in the background. It should be very clear what is for sale in the image and your props shouldn’t take attention away from your product.

 

Step #5

Edit your photos.

Yes, you must edit your photos. A photo isn’t truly complete until it’s edited. Back in the film days, the development process was when images were fine-tuned. In these digital days, the editing process is the same idea. Sure, your digital camera does a bit of this work for you. But it’s just a piece of equipment and its abilities are limited. You don’t let your washing machine pick out your outfits do you? I didn’t think so.

So edit those photos! One of my most commonly asked question is what editing programs and apps I recommend. I recommend Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, available for $9.99 USD a month through the Adobe Photography CC subscription. They are the industry standard when it comes to photo editing and they allow you to embed a colour profile, which is extremely important when it comes to product photos.

Edit your photos for correct tones, size and ratio, and white balance while avoiding faux pas like oversaturation and harsh contrast (read about other editing mistakes in this blog post).

And there you have it! You’re already on your way to better DIY product photos.

Got a question? Pop it in the comments!

Until next time,

Amy


Wondering about how to make sure your colors look right in your product photos? Check this post out! >> https://amytakespictures.com/etsy-product-photos-colours/

Interested in learning how to brand your handmade product photos? Read this! >> https://amytakespictures.com/brand-your-handmade-product-photos/

 

 

How To Make Sure That The Colours Look Right In Your Etsy Product Photos

How To Make Sure That The Colours Look Right In Your Etsy Product Photos

Let’s talk about how to make sure that the colours in your Etsy product photos look right. It’s not a super sexy topic, but I’m here to tell ya, it’s an important one!

Have you ever uploaded an Etsy product photo only to find the colours way out of whack? Your product’s colours don’t look right on Etsy at all! What gives?

Here’s the truth – it’s those free photo editing programs! You know the ones I’m talking about. Pixlr, Picmonkey, Snapseed. Those ones.

They edit a decent vacation photos of your family, but your product photos? Heck no. Those colours are going to totally misrepresent your product and you can expect some unhappy messages from customers coming your way.

So here’s the thing. The best photo editing programs out there are Photoshop and Lightroom and they’re only $9.99 a month. They’re sooo worth it. You can do this little thing called embedding a color profile with your image and that’s what tells Etsy and other websites how to convey the colors of your image (and thus, your product). Otherwise Etsy tries to do it on its own and it’s less than pretty.

I explain all about it in this video and I show you how to use Photoshop or Lightroom to embed a colour profile so your product’s colors look perfect on Etsy. Check it out here >>

 

To summarize, if your images are showing weird coloring in your Etsy shop or on your own handmade shop’s website, it’s most likely because there’s no color profile embedded in the image.

As handmade sellers selling online, having the colors of your products portrayed accurately is SUPER important to avoid your customers being unhappy with products arriving a different color than they look online, and in reducing your rate of returns.

Unfortunately, most free editing programs don’t embed a color profile. In fact, they strip your images of any pre-established color profile. But, I know you’re a handmade seller trying to make a go of it so everyone dollar counts – so I have dug up a free option for you. More on that in an upcoming post!

Don’t have Photoshop or Lightroom? Grab it here for $9.99/month >> https://amytakespictures.com/photoshop-lightroom

Just to really drive my point home, here are some examples of the same photo – one saved in Lightroom with an embedded profile, and one saved in Pixlr without a colour profile.

 

With colour profile embedded 

The colour of the card is correct, as are the rest of the colours in the photo.

 

No embedded colour profile

The colour looks blah, the red is off, and the photos has a cool, greenish tinge.

And that, my friends, is the story of the embedded colour profile.

Go. Embed. Sell your stuff with kick ass Etsy product photos.


 

Correctly Size Your Etsy Photos With The Photoshop Express App

Correctly Size Your Etsy Photos With The Photoshop Express App

Today we’re talking about how to correctly size your Etsy photos using your smartphone.

The ideal ratio and size for your Etsy photos is 5:4 and 3000 x 2400 px. That allows your photo to be the correct ratio for the thumbnail images that appear in the Etsy search and ensure your images is large enough to look fantastic when moused over with the zoom tool.

But just how do you correctly size your Etsy photos?

Starting With A Large Photo

First, it’s super important to ensure that your images are already larger than 3000 x 2400 px when you take them. Images cannot be enlarge without losing quality once they’ve been taking. Consult your camera manual to find out how to ensure your images are being captured at a large enough size.

Once the image is taken, it’s time to give it an edit. There’s a full editing process involved, but today we’re just going to focus on the crop, where you’ll adjust your ratio and resolution.

Correctly Size Your Etsy Photos With The Photoshop Express App

The editing app I recommend for photo editing on your smartphone is the Photoshop Express app. It has a great selection of tools without too many confusing bells and whistles. And, it’s one of the very few editing apps that allows you to set a custom size crop.

So go ahead. Download that free app.  It’s okay, I’ll wait.

Okay! So now that you have the app, open an unedited photo. Select the “crop” tool, then the “free size” option.

Next, swipe through the crop options all the way to the right where you’ll see “custom” and select that.

Next, a dialog box will pop up and show your existing image sizes. Note: If your original size not at least 3000 px wide and 2400 px tall, you will not be able to to enlarge it to that size.

Deselect then “link” in between the two numbers (this will allow the ratio to change when you input the pixels), and type in 3000 for the width and 2400 for the height.

Once that’s done, hit “apply.”

Then, hit the back button on the top left. This will allow you to save your image.

When prompted, hit “save,”

And just like that, your image will be saved with the correct ratio and resolution.

You can find your finished image in your “Photoshop Express” folder.

Happy snapping,

Amy

5 mistakes that you’re making when editing product photos

5 mistakes that you’re making when editing product photos

You’ve gone through the process of planning and taking your photos – good job! – and now it’s time to edit them. Here’s the thing. Editing is a careful craft. You can easily take a great shot and ruin it with poor editing. Additionally, when editing images for the purpose of selling products, there are a few important things to keep in mind. Below are the top 5 mistakes I see handmade sellers make when editing product photos – and how to fix it.

 

1. Not bothering to edit.

First of all – you really must edit your product photos. If your skillset of taking photos is pretty solid, you may not have to edit much, but it’s still important to crop, resize, adjust levels, etc. If you’re wondering what on Earth I’m taking about right now, never fear – there are future posts coming up very soon that address the basics of editing product photos in easy, simplified steps. Until then, rest assured – you need to be touching up your photos. If not, you’re going to end up with lackluster and drab images that do nothing to sell your work. If you want to stay tuned for the upcoming post regarding editing basics, sign up for my emails on the side menu.

 

2. Oversaturated images

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to punch up the colours in your images. However, it’s really important that this is done carefully and tastefully. Oversaturated images look cheesy and cheap. So, NOT the message you want to send about your biz and products. You are better served by using the “vibrance” adjustment tool as opposed to “saturation”, as it will give your colours a punch without overdoing it.

 

3. Vignetting

This is one of my pet peeves when it comes to edited images: The overuse of vignetting. What is vignetting, you ask? I have provided an image below of an example of an excessive vignetting that I’ve applied to one of my images for the sake this post. Vignetting is a natural occurrence that happens when photographing images with interchangeable lenses due to lens distortion. A subtle dark vignetting can look cool on an editorial image; S-U-B-T-L-E being the key word in this sentence. A common mistake in editing is overdoing the vignetting, and it is especially inappropriate in product images. Even worse – applying a lightening vignetting (white) around the edges. Cringe-worthy. With product photos, it is best to avoid adding vignettes at all.

 

4.  Adding Watermarks

I understand the desire to add watermarks to your image. Image theft is a real thing. However, when you’re dealing with image of your products, watermarks take away from the goal of your image – to attract customers to your work and sell that product.

Having a small, subtle mark in the bottom corner of your photo is usually acceptable if you feel compelled to mark your image in some way. But keep in mind that images that get the most attention for your biz are often images that become featured – by blogs, on the Etsy front page, on Pinterest, etc. Images with distracting watermarks are not the ones being featured.

It’s also important to keep in mind that as a product-based seller, your business asset is your product, not your images. If you’re a photographer or you design digital prints, you should not be sharing the pure digital version of your image with or without a watermark. I recommend using digital mockups to show what your work will look like framed and on the wall. That way your potential customers have an opportunity to see your work in action, as opposed to sharing the actual image with a huge watermark splashed over it.

 

5.  Adding colour filters.

This one is reeeeally important. When selling products, you need to give your customers a true sense of the colour they can expect from said product. Adding colour filters affects the colour portrayal of your product. Also important to know, colour filters when not done properly (which takes a lot of skill and advanced editing) look really cheesy and cheap.   The best way to ensure correct colour balance in a photo is through the use of a grey card (which will be covered in an upcoming post), but you can also use the colour balance option in your editing program to ensure that the whites are actually white, blacks are actually black, and true greys are neutral. Lots more to come on colour balance in a future post, so please stay tuned.

 

Now that you’re aware of these crucial editing mistakes and how to avoid them, you are well on your way to cranking out beautiful product images.

Until next time,

Amy