Your secret weapon for E-commerce: Product retouching
When preparing a new collection or launching a new product, there is an endless list of things to think of: choosing the models, coordinating the stylists, photographers, assistants, hairdressers, and makeup team, booking the studio, prepping the products... And yet one of the most important aspects is the postproduction editing. While it’s important to take photos that are ‘clean’ from the get-go, the editing process is the heavy lifter. It’s what separates the pros from the amateurs, and it’s crucial for your bottom line.
According to a consumer survey conducted by Google last year, 50% of online shoppers say images helped them decide what to buy. A similar study conducted by Etsy found that 90% of the people they asked consider the quality of photos available when shopping online to be ‘extremely important.’
Choosing the right level and style of retouching is always a little complicated, yet it’s essential for online retailers... So we’ve narrowed it down to how to edit product photos while focusing on two important aspects. The editing should highlight the products while first, remaining as accurate as possible and, secondly, matching and reinforcing the overall brand image.
Highlight the products while remaining true to the product
The best editing is the editing that you don’t notice. A good editor will take a product and present it in its absolute best light, and you’ll never know the product image wasn’t perfect to begin with.
When retouching product photography, there are a lot of things you can do. Basic product editing can include selecting and cutting out the product, background removal, and even adding a different background or shadows. Once the basic placement is done, clean up comes next.
From removing any dust, marks, or wrinkles in the fabric to correcting the symmetry of the item, this step is what takes your photos to the next level. The goal is to present the product in its best light without changing the reality of the product itself in order to avoid giving customers an unrealistic idea of what they are buying.
At efelle creative, they’ve estimated that approximately 22% of returns through online shopping are due to a photo that doesn’t reflect reality.
One of the trickiest parts of the editing process for eCommerce websites is ensuring the colors are true. Every computer, phone, and tablet screen is calibrated a little differently. A good electronic commerce editor, however, will have a correctly calibrated screen and software to guarantee the color correction is true to life - and consistent between different photos.
Matching the editing to the brand image
Now comes the more subjective part of editing: how to edit the photos to match your position in the market. Are you working on luxury products or do you market to small businesses? Are you addressing Millennials, Gen Z, or another group?
The most important thing when selling products is to present it aesthetically without overshadowing it, but there are certain ways to enhance a brand image through editing, even in product photography.
When working in luxury, for example, the editing should be all the more meticulous. Not a fiber out of place, no crumbled sleeves. Editing for luxury means zooming in on every inch of the product and cleaning up anything missed while the photos were being taken. Products are made perfectly symmetrical, and the background is created to match the other products in the series.
Ecommerce stores looking to reach a younger, more edgy audience can opt for more colorful backgrounds like the photo below to promote a more energetic brand image. It can make a photo ‘pop’ on an eCommerce platform.
Post-production work can similarly change the background to match seasonal items, and can even modify the product colors or styles itself to showcase different products. To learn more about companies digitally manipulating images to reduce the cost of shooting multiple products, and other techniques used during the Covid lockdowns, check out this article.