3 smart ways to optimize your eCommerce Product Photography Costs

Posted by Pralhad Tipnis on May 27, 2019 3:09:48 PM

Executive Summary

  • Generating quality product images doesn't need expensive production values - it needs the right post-production support
  • Using a few simple tricks, you can minimize re-shoots and avoid repetitive shoots of similar/related products
  • An experience post-production team can handle the rest, and ring in major savings (especially at scale)

 

51% of users prefer to shop online on e-commerce marketplaces. That still leaves a significant number of people preferring brick and mortar stores. And who can blame them? We all want to be absolutely sure before spending our hard-earned money. The reassurance of touch-and-feel experiences can still outweigh the other (sizable) benefits of eCommerce

This is where quality product photography is a savior. Product images used for your e-commerce portal can make or break your sales. For e-commerce websites, images are everything and take up quite a big chunk of the budget.

However, not all store owners can afford a professional studio to photograph their product catalogs, especially when starting out. It is a common myth in e-commerce product photography that a top-of-the-line camera is needed. A camera is just one piece of the whole setup. E-commerce product photography is a culmination of lighting, exposure, styling, and most importantly post-processing using image editing tools such as Photoshop or GIMP.

Over the course of a decade of running e-commerce post-production operations (currently we process over 100,000 images per month), we have learned a few tricks in Photoshop that we would like to share:

1. Spot Heal Brush for Touching-up Images

Best use case – Jewelry, automotive, and bath accessories

For the above product categories, the images shown on the website are often larger than the actual product size. As a result, minor scratches and other blemishes are highly visible.

Even with a high-tech setup, you will notice that dust, scratches, and loose threads stand out and are easily noticed when zoomed. A customer will be clicking on the product image and will see these imperfections and might refrain from buying.

The Spot Heal tool in Photoshop lets you remove these flaws in a flash, leaving you with the perfect, blemish-free photograph to upload on your website.

 

2. Hue/Saturation Tool for Product Variants

Best use case – Fashion, jewelry, and accessories

If a shirt or a dress has 10 color variants, setting up and shooting 10 products will be costly as well as time-consuming. Alternatively, you can shoot 3 or 4 products and use the Hue/Saturation tool to change the colors and have the images of the variants ready to upload.

There are a few limitations. Colors can be changed only if the product is red, blue, green or with some variation of this. You will not be able to use this tool for white, black or gray products.

3. Take Advantage of Adjustable Layer Mask in Photoshop

Use Case – All product categories

One of the main aspects of product image editing is having all products with a white background. As you know, a white background lets you have a uniform and professional look across all products listed on your website.

Unfortunately, isolating products and creating a white background is an incredibly time-consuming and laborious task. That’s where masking and layers are extremely useful. You can use this feature to cut out your subject and change the background quickly and easily. You can even use the tool to isolate tricky details like hair, fur, leaves, etc.

 There are many tools and plugins you can use to make the job easier. With that said, product photography is very seasonal. Businesses often have bottlenecks where there aren’t enough re-touchers available during crunch periods and conversely an idle team during off-season.

Image editing or re-touching is the only aspect from the product photography workflow that you can outsource and scale to meet the seasonal demand of high volumes. And if the budget is tight, re-touching is one way to cover up the deficiencies of a bare-boned photography setup.

Tags: eCommerce, Product Photography, Post-production, Imaging

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