Crafts Report Part 6: Editing Product Images
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Learn how to edit your craft product images so they will receive a ton of attention.
In part 5 of the crafts report series you learned how to take stunning and captivating product pictures. There is one last step before you are ready to upload your product photos and advertising images to your online store and social media sites. No matter how well you choose your background and lighting, or how expensive your camera is, some editing work will always be needed, even if it’s just cropping and re-sizing the image.
Before you can edit your photos, you need to pull/copy them from your camera to your computer. There are two ways of doing this, create a new folder in your ‘Picture Library’ and then:
- connect your camera to your PC via the USB cable that came with your camera or
- remove the memory card from your camera and use a memory card reader (most laptops have a built in memory card slot).
If you are on a super-low budget and have never used a photo editing tool before in your life, then the easiest place to get started is with one of the free online editing tools. I came across PicMonkey several years ago and still use it all the time, especially for creating eye-catching social media pics.
The basic edition of PicMonkey is very easy to use with a simple and clean interface. Simply pull in a picture from your computer, you can also pull in photos from Facebook, Dropbox, OneDrive or Flickr, and click on the tabs on the left hand side.
You will need about 30 minutes of free time available when you first start using this program so you can figure out what the different buttons accomplish. You can edit, rotate, touch up, create overlays, add text, effects and textures to your images. (Some of the fancier editing options are only available if you upgrade to a paid subscription.)
Using a free online editing tool is great, but there are plenty of things this program can’t do, like removing the background or retouching certain areas.
I use an older version of Adobe’s Photoshop & Premiere Elements for my own advanced editing purposes. Please note that I am not a professional trained graphic designer! If you’re not sure which program would be best for you, try them out first by using a free trial period! There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of different photo editing software programs available these days.
As with all technology there is a learning curve for everything, but remember you can always undo a step by clicking on Edit and Undo or using the Ctrl+Z shortcut.
Step 1 – Crop the photo! For product photography you want to center the item.
Click on the Crop Tool on the left-hand side menu. Click on the image and drag your mouse to fill the area of the image you want. Once you’ve selected the area, you can still drag the whole window around and adjust the crop if needed. Once you selected the desired area click on the green check mark and you’re done!
Step 2 – Enhance the photo! Never use the quick fix option.
Click on the Enhance button on the top menu and adjust the lighting and color if necessary. You can correct the picture if it looks washed out by changing the brightness, contrast, hue, saturation and/or lightness. If you’ve done a good job taking the actual picture then you don’t need to fuss around too much with this step. Play around with the different settings to get a feel for them, simply cancel out if you don’t like what you see.
Step 3 – Adjust the photo! It looks more complicated than it is.
Click on Enhance, Adjust Lighting and Levels or Ctrl+L and a small window will pop up with the graphical chart. You will see 3 small triangles under the input levels that can be moved around. Here is what they stand for:
All you have to do here is slide those triangle buttons left or right to change the intensity of low, mid or high tones. Experience with it until you get the desired look you want.
Step 4 – Re-size the photo! For online images your resolutions should always be set to 72 pixels/inch.
Click on Image, Resize and image size and set the actual image size change to pixels. This is the measuring unit of the online world, the more pixels, the bigger the image.
That’s pretty much it!
Save your newly edited photo on your computer by clicking on File and Save for Web or Alt+Shift+Ctrl+S. Be sure to re-name the images at this point, instead of IMG_1232.JPG call it GreenFleeceLayetteSet1.jpg or something like that. Remember, all online images are indexed by the search engines.
Of course there is a ton of other stuff you can do to enhance the look of your pictures, like using the healing brush, the gradient tool, and add filters, texts, speech bubbles or whatever, but that’s what all the how-to books are for. Here’s a great photo editing book by David Bush ‘Your Photos Stink!: Lessons in Elevating Your Photography from Awful to Awesome.”
Outsourcing certain functions like photo editing can make your business significantly more efficient. Photographing your products can be incredibly time consuming, so don’t be afraid to seek out help with editing. There are plenty of companies available such as Remove the Background or Flat Word Solutions, where you can get a large amount of images ready to sell your products in a short amount of time.
In my craft marketing book I will give you lots of tips on how and where to sell your hand crafted products. Turn your hobby into a money making business!
In next part of the Crafts Report Series I will explain the importance of a great logo and tips for designing your own.
Crafts Report Part 7 – Available Feb. 2015
Again, I am not a graphic designer, so please be kind when leaving your comments below.
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