Creating images in product photography is not limited to the shooting process itself. Its implementation is a complex set of many stages. Starting with the choice of technique and equipment, experience in working with manual settings, go through the creative idea, creating a stage, selecting the appropriate lighting and background and get to the shooting itself.
So, what happens after you take your pictures?
Of course, there is one last step by which the high quality images will be fully ready to sell the product. The last phase in product photography is post-production or editing. You need to edit the photos you have taken, even if you think they are exactly what you wanted.
“POST-PRODUCTION – synonymous with extremely high quality
In commercial and advertising photography, post-production is an essential part of the image creation process. High-end retouching and creative composing are just as important as the quality of the set”, says Digital Art That Rocks founder Brian Rodgers Jr., who specializes in product and architectural photography with a focus on the post-production process.
Creating an impressive product photography requires a unique set of skills, both in the studio and in post-production. Paying attention to detail during filming can save you hours and tireless post-production effort.
Post-production in product photography is done through photo editing software and applications. There are countless possibilities in today’s digital world. Many modern companies offer photographic equipment with appropriate software for adjusting shooting and post-processing settings, greatly facilitating the photographer’s work.
What do you need to do in post-production to get high quality images of products?
The main goal of post-production in product photography is correction and optimization of images. Everyone expects photos that capture the viewer’s attention, attract attention and are the significant detail on which the implementation of online sales depends. That’s why product photos need to be perfect in every way.
Usually one of the most important stages of making digital images of products involves removing various stains, dust, scratches, unnecessary reflections and any unwanted details. With the help of various tools and graphical modes from the processing programs you have the opportunity to clear all these imperfections, which could be a serious disadvantage.
More in-depth improvements follow, such as adjusting image geometry by rotating and cropping, correcting lens aberrations, sharpening or softening the image, changing colors, or adding special effects to the image, and so on. .
It is important that any change is measured and does not directly affect the product. The product image must correspond to the real product, because incorrect presentation inevitably leads to consequences. At least low returns and negative customer feedback.
What are the main editing processes?
Online commerce dictates the trend of presenting products on a white background. Often this requirement requires removing the background. Removing and manipulating the background aims not to distract the future user, but to concentrate on the object of the product image.
The psychological side of this setting is related to the fact that the white background helps the human eye to correctly interpret the colors of the product. The background always matters. Removing the background allows subsequent color change if necessary, which gives you the advantage to make the product to stand out.
Photoshop and Lightroom are usually recommended to remove the background.
There are often cases in which color correction is required. The photo must be vivid and captivating. But here too attention is required, because in product photography there is a rule that the presentation of the product must correspond to reality. The potential, even the slightest touch of color, must always be kept in mind. This would significantly improve or spoil an image.
It usually starts with adjusting the exposure levels, aligning the colors and tones to the white balance. Sometimes the images may be too tonal or have high contrasts. Therefore, brightness and contrast levels are corrected.
The more complex techniques in this part of post-production are adding gradients and shadows to the product images. Including radial gradients, for example, can be a particularly good idea because they look like a spotlight and mimic backlighting.
Gradients are an effective way to focus the gaze on specific details, creating a sense of atmosphere. While the shadows, in turn, give the object three-dimensionality and the illusion of space.
Like shadows, reflections are another way to bring a sense of physicality to objects. This works especially well for items such as jewelry, glassware, sunglasses or technology.
The clean, elegant look of the reflection creates a mirror effect that draws attention to the detailed elements of the product. Easily, instead of shooting products on a mirror surface, you can create a reflection in Photoshop if the base of your subject is symmetrical or shot frontally.
More than once for the presentation of clothes and accessories product photographers use the so-called Ghostly mannequin Hiring real models can be quite an expensive endeavor, especially for a start-up business.
It is at such times and to fit into the budget, many professionals rely on the ghostly mannequin. Items are hung or fastened with hooks, wires or fishing line or dressed on an artificial mannequin.
In addition to creating balance, they play the role of support, while at the same time giving the product a three-dimensional look, enlivening and inspiring the imagination. Of course, all these retaining elements or an artificial dummy must be removed, which is done by additional processing with a graphics program.
There is also a situation with extremely positive effect when applying post-production methods. Imagine that you are a merchant and have the same item in many colors. It will be much easier and cheaper, instead of investing more money and time in a long and long photo session, just to manipulate the image with the help of software and color the product in the desired color variations.
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Noise reduction in the image is another post-production process. The image may appear blurry and blurred. This requires the specialist to remove the extra light and color noise or at least reduce their values so that there is no disturbance in its quality.
The term retouching in photography comes down to change, by drawing, removing or adding details to get an improved look.
Retouching is mostly used in portrait and wedding photography, but naturally gained its popularity in commercial and fashion photography. In fact, retouching is needed wherever the scene provided for the product image includes a live presentation model. The photo editor aims to remove any cosmetic imperfections, highlight certain features, smooth out and edit any defects.
You will probably ask what tools are used for retouching?
The top positions in the ranking are usually occupied by Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Adobe Bridge. It is worth mentioning here that there are many really valuable filters that are offered additionally and are worth trying.
Once you’ve finished adjusting your images, it’s time to optimize them for the web. At this stage you resize your photos following the specific requirements, such as file type, compression, fields, etc. required for the respective platform or site where they will be uploaded.
The successful image of a product, a brand, the competitive advantage in online trade are those characteristics that depend directly on the product image. To be convincing in your work as a product photographer you will need to realize quality images with creative vision, high resolution and master the methods needed for editing.
Here’s a list of some well-known post-production software from Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Bridge, Dreamweaver, Fireworks