Product retouching: Alma Negra Studio
Capturing captivating product images starts with capturing the product, but for improving and emphasizing it requires further editing. The final editing technique used by photographers is called retouching.
What is product photography retouching?
To make the photo more natural and realistic, it is necessary to make some changes in the visual objects by manipulating the image , with which to improve product photos. These can be adjustments to the background color, product shape, size, texture, stain removal, softening or sharpening of edges, and so on. n.
As part of the post-production, retouching forms those final touches, with which the product staff will present all the essential characteristics and details of the product. Professionally edited product photography aims to attract the attention of potential customers and to be able to meet consumer standards.
High quality product photos are literally selling today. The first thing the customer sees online is the image, supplemented by a few words for the title, a brief description of the product and price. Following this logic, the best quality photos and visually well-presented products will be the most interesting among the audience.
Therefore, photo retouching is a key step in the whole process of product photography.
In order to achieve perfection in retouching, various tools of digital processing software are used , with which some corrections are made in the captured RAW files. Adjustments vary depending on what needs to change.
Product retouching requires more than color adjustments, white balance, and exposure. To enable potential customers to explore every inch of the product, to appreciate the texture, to see all those fine details, professionals specializing in product photography pay close attention to creating an overall, valuable result in just one image,
It in turn perfectly visualizes the specific product and at the same time corresponds to the feelings of its potential users.
How do I retouch product images for maximum impact?
The retouching phase in product photography should be kept to a minimum. Professionals are usually flexible in this regard and prepare the whole process from the very beginning – appropriate lighting, optimal composition and styling. This saves them time and makes it easier for them to react by implementing the changes desired by the art directors.
Nonetheless, every professional photographer completes their work by removing imperfections and correcting images to turn them into relevant visual content to sell.
To get more idea we will present you some of the most frequently performed manipulations in the retouching process in product photography.
Remove and change the background
Usually in this phase the product is cut from its original background and placed on the desired new , permanent background. The background is important both for the presentation of the product and for the consistency in web design, for print advertising, for social media, etc.
Professional retouchers know how to extend backgrounds and create backgrounds from scratch. For e-shop purposes, the cut product can be easily added to a white background, while the stylized background can be flawless lifestyle shot or appropriate advertising design.
Of course, adding retouching effects is an effective way to improve of the product image. For example, shadows stimulate perception and help the product look more natural, more sophisticated and professional, and in some cases will reinforce the drama of the frame.
Falling shadows and blurred shapes help to create depth. On the other hand, to preserve the realistic appearance of objects with a glass surface, an adjustment can be made, by adding reflections.
The purpose of retouching in product photography is mostly to remove of distraction and emphasizing the strong, natural characteristics of the object.
Shape enhancement – masking and adjusting edges, erasing imperfections, reducing noise
No matter how well a product frame is planned and executed, it will always need a little retouching to reach its full potential . Once the characteristics that make a product unique have been identified, highlighting and enhancing the entire frame depends entirely on retouching.
It’s important to remove all imperfections that can distract the eye to the viewer – dust, hairs, scratches, stains, bumps, wrinkles on clothes, rough edges on bags and shoes. Straight lines, smooth curves, natural texture, symmetry, attract attention and have the ability to elevate the product to a more commercial level.
When retouching products, natural shapes, textures, accurate colors must be detailed and realistically conveyed. Drastic changes and adjustments are not desirable.
One of the most effective techniques in professional retouching, which distinguishes product images and pays special attention to detail, is “Frequency division” . Basically, the editing consists of separate adjustment of color and texture, which aims to make the object look as natural as possible and guarantees complete control and flexibility on details and color.
Skillful use of frequency division can also help with problem areas, such as dark shadows, uneven glare, smoothing light and dark areas, as well as soften the object without deteriorating the texture.
“Dodge & amp; Burn “- avoid and burn
The terms “avoidance and burning” refer to the exposure control technique of selected areas of the image. Corrective masks are usually applied to lighten (escape) a certain area and darken (burn) another that needs to be corrected.
The purpose of this retouching technique is to create the best possible compositional balance between the different elements in the product frame, while emphasizing the main product.
Creatively retouch product images
Creative retouching is aimed primarily at projects that are the result of commercial and advertising photography. It includes many creative solutions for manipulating product images , which seek maximum results, ranging from product photos to catalogs and online content to full image manipulation and creative retouching for advertising campaigns.
Photo: Alexei Maletsky
Usually the elements, parts or stages of the story are shot separately, regardless of complexity. For example, splashes, falling objects, dust explosions, liquid spills are photographed separately from the main product. Then, through thorough retouching are formed and joined “sew “, work is done to complement the characteristics of each detail and so it is achieved really high quality.
To immerse ourselves even deeper in the world of retouching and professional product photography, we have chosen to show you something truly remarkable.
According to Digital Art That Rocks ™, in commercial advertising photography, post-production is an essential part of the image creation process. High-quality retouching and creative composing are just as important as quality shooting on set.
This has prompted the founder of Digital Art That Rocks ™, Brian Rodgers – Jr. to specialize in product and architectural photography, with an emphasis on the post-production process.
“As a visual artist, I spent years developing my photography and retouching skills. Along the way, I created my own retouching processes and techniques. Everything this gave me a basis to offer my customers the best possible commercial images and allowed me to build a solid reputation. ” – shares Brian Rodgers – Jr., Commercial Photographer and Digital Artist.
What Brian says about his “Time Traveler” – dramatic frame of clock
“At first glance, this frame may look plain. However, shooting a product from such a close-up , under such a large angle requires additional skills on the set and in post-production . In fact, it is almost impossible for a product to be completely focused from front to back and all this to happen in just one frame.
Photo: Brian Rodgers Jr.
The final image is a combination of nearly 50 images to achieve hyperfocus throughout the product. “
Photo: Brian Rodgers Jr.
And if you think this seems complicated, see “Compositional Car Hero” , which is intended for commercial purposes.
“For this particular composite image, I won an additional award from the American Advertising Federation. “- says the photographer.
Photo: Brian Rodgers Jr.
“This image type requires a lot of work, both in planning and in production. I started by shooting a mobile kitchen module on site in a controlled environment using studio stroboscopes and illuminating every aspect of the vehicle.
Photo: Brian Rodgers Jr.
After making all the necessary frames, I composed them in a cohesive retouched vehicle, on a white background, as a stand-alone image of a product. I already had a basic image of the vehicle, so I photographed the chef and other elements to create the face of an entire campaign for this product line. ”
This is really a lot of work that reveals the visual magic of retouching in product photography. That’s why every business that operates online needs a great product photography to improve the image of its brand and win over its users.