Photoshop or similar is by far the most efficient and effective way to edit an image.
But if you have an ‘ooops’ moment when you’ve already loaded the images and discover they need to be cropped or enhanced, Shopify has a handy built in editing tool that you can use which offers the following effects:
The text tool comes in handy if you’ve realised that customers have no way of knowing which variant belongs to each photograph (e.g. which swatch is Aviator blue and which swatch is Artic blue) and need to add a label.
I’m paranoid, and like to duplicate the product (top right of the product screen) before I work on it, in case of accidents).
Open up your product in the admin/products screen and scroll down to the images for that product. Click on the pencil ‘edit’ tool at the bottom left of the photo
Crop, rotate or otherwise enhance your image and Apply the change
Remember to save your changes
Once you are happy with your changes you can delete the duplicated backup product if you created one.
Original Cropped with effect
As you can see, the updated image is a far better product photo for your website as it shows the product (an abstract silver statue) in more detail, and removes the peculiar pink colour caste on the original image.
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I asked Natalie at elverddesigns.com to tell me who took this wonderful image for her site. The response was a bit of a surprise....
That “Rings" image was taken by my daughter, 15 years old at the time. She is better than I am with our Nikon and had been at basketball training with her friend.
I grabbed her friend and stacked all my rings on to her hands. They wouldn't all fit, so I played with the balance.
She happened to have perfectly manicured nails. They were both hot and cranky and not interested in being part of an impromptu photo shoot. I threw a sheet over her to get the white background.
This was the first image we took. Her friend is now my model and we use her in all the shots you see. Beautiful nails.
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Some tips for getting a good product photo These are general guidelines – each shop is different. A key thing to keep in mind is that not only do the photos need to look good, they need to look consistent, so that you don’t have a hodgepodge when you put them all together in a collection like this (a work in progress): Shoot against a neutral (and preferably the same) back drop (such as white). If using fabric, iron it first. Bring the subject forward from the background to put the background out of focus. Preferably take at least 2 shots of each product. Keep the aspect ratio and orientation consistent. E.g. 4x6 landscape, or square or 6x4 portrait. Make the angle, range and exposure as consistent possible so you get a nice even look on the group collection pages e.g. http://www.fetchclothing.com/collections/bottoms Give the .jpg files really descriptive names, both for your sanity, and for SEO (so that Google image search picks up the photos). Consider taking a few 'broad shots' for the front page slider - 940 x 300ish.
Your products for Shopify should be saved at web quality (Photoshop's 'Save for Web' option) at a maximum of 2048 x 2048 pixels.
Photograph your products from the same angle, both horizontally and vertically. It is going to look strange when you display your products side by side in a category/collection page if some of them are photographed square on, and others are photographed from a 45 degree angle.
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A little editing can turn a great photo in to a great product photograph.
As an example, look at this page - the baskets look great becuase the background has been edited out, letting you focus on the basket and nothing but the basket: http://www.thegalleryshop.com.au/collections/homewares-3-1500-3000
Adobe Photoshop Elements is around $150 (Mac or PC) and is a really powerful tool. It comes in very handy for school assignments too, and I always suggest teaching your kids (over 10 years old or so) to use it - editing your photos can become their pocket money job. PDF: Guide to using Photoshop for web shopkeepers
I've repeated the text below, but you might find it easier just to print out the pdf. Adobe had great videos on how to use Photoshop - I've linked to them throughout this tutorial. Photoshop for eCommerce
Getting started: Please watch -http://tv.adobe.com/watch/learn-photoshop-elements-9/using-the-toolbox-in-photoshop-elements/
Take good photos in the first place - see my previous blog post on this topic Installing Photoshop
Install the minimum set or it will be slower than necessary. Saving files – directory structures, name structures
Create a directory structure for your files that suits your work. That way you will always be able to find the right photo at the right size. e.g. Inventory photos / snowboards (raw, edited) / skis (raw, edited) / goggles (raw, edited) / jackets (raw, edited) Give each file a name that makes it really easy to identify. That may be your inventory code, or BreastfeedingCoverPinkGingham.jpg. Avoid spaces in file names. Break up words using –, _ or interCapping. Copy the file from your camera to the raw directory, and then from there to the edited directory. Make sure you are working on the ‘edited’version – perhaps give it a –e suffix so you can tell at a glance. Resolution, quality and size
Video tutorial: http://tv.adobe.com/watch/photoshop-elements-9-how-tos/recompose-to-any-size-without-distortion/
Computer monitors in general (and this is about to change, so make sure you save an original high resolution file on your computer for later use) show at 72 DPI. That means that there are 72 dots on a line an inch long. This is enough to fool your eye into seeing a complete image. Most printers print at 300 dpi, and high quality ones can do 600 and above. So save a 72 dpi version for web work, and a 300 dpi version for print work. THE GOOD NEWS: is that Shopify takes care of all of that for you. When you upload an image it creates sized versions as follows: If you are not using Shopify, or creating your own versions for other purposes (Facebook, Print …), creating one of each of those sizes AND a ‘medium-large’ of about 350 gives you a good range of images to work with. However, DON’T use the same exact suffixes as Shopify does (should you later want to use Shopify) or else Shoipfy gets confused. I suggest you suffix them with the resolution (72 for screen, 300 for print) and the width (e.g. 200 p). So a Black_Ski_Jacket.jpg saved at 72 dpi and 200 pixels wide would be Black_Ski_Jacket_72x200.jpg Be aware you may want to set the height, OR the width (depending on whether you want them to line up).
You can’t specify both without squishing the photo (bad), or cropping it. http://help.adobe.com/en_US/photoshopelements/using/WS287f927bd30d4b1fef992ca12e28aa8015-7ff3.html http://tv.adobe.com/watch/photoshop-elements-9-how-tos/recompose-to-any-size-without-distortion/ Selecting
You need to select the area of the photo you want to work on. This could be to fix red-eye, remove a background, or straighten a photo. There are several ways of selecting an area (to work on). Select all (ctrl + A) Select tool - Square / circle Lasso Wand (all pixels close to the same colour in that area) You can also make a selection, then choose the ‘inverse’ option. These tutorials are really helpful: http://tv.adobe.com/watch/photoshop-elements-9-how-tos/using-manual-selection-tools/ http://tv.adobe.com/watch/photoshop-elements-9-how-tos/using-automatic-selection-tools/ Cropping
You may want to crop a photo to:
- cut out parts of the image that you don’t need
- make the photo a certain size so it will ‘line up’ with other photos, fit in a specific box (e.g. the banners on the front page of Shopify) or fit on standard sized photos (4”x6”, 6”x8”). This width/height setting is called aspect ratio.
If your product needs to be square you may need to remove skew. Before After
Exercise: Use the Help to figure out how to do this. Press F1 (PC) or navigate to “Help” (Mac). Search for SKEW and follow the instructions. Online Help is an amazing tool – practice using it. Auto enhancement
Auto enhancement works by making the lightest pixels white and the darkest black and stretches out the rest in between. It works well on some pictures (people) and badly on others (paintings in a single hue like the Ngale sisters). Removing backgrounds
A clear background makes a photo look significantly more professional. Try to do it by clearing out the background of the original photo. You can use the selection tools and delete the background (see selection tools above). Or you can de-focus the background: In the camera, using the F stop (depth of field), or using Photoshop. http://tv.adobe.com/watch/learn-by-video/guided-edit-depth-of-field-effect-/ Fixing bad spots
You can remove Red-eye and Blemishes very easily: http://tv.adobe.com/watch/photoshop-elements-9-how-tos/fixing-red-eye-and-retouching-skin/
Now Practice, Practice, Practice.
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If you are still getting your business off the ground, chances are you are still taking your own product, blog and general website photos. I’m going to post a few tutorials over the next few weeks about how to manipulate your photographs in Photoshop. However, first let’s focus on taking good photos in the first place Easy was to get great photos: - Shoot in bright diffuse lighting. - Use a flash to get under hats and into shadows. - Get a clear background (avoid white as it may result in the rest of the photo looking too dark). A blank wall, blanket or clean space mays your image look much sharper. - Get close (or zoom with a tripod) - Tell a story - Pull subject forward from background to put the background out of focus and avoid the flash throwing a shadow against the wall.
- Use flash but avoid flare. IF you are getting a white patch, stand further back and zoom in. - Use a mirror, white sheet or reflective panel to bounce diffused light onto the subject. A car windscreen sun protector is a good cheap starting point. - To keep products ‘square’ photograph them from the middle at a 90 degree angle. - Avoid blur. Steady using a tripod or door frame or table. Use a flash. Don’t zoom in situations with low light or fast motion. - Consider hiring a professional if your product range doesn’t change often.
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