As an increasing number of people buy digitally, images prove to be the best way to gain customer trust while delivering a superior experience. New research from The Intent Lab, a partnership between Performics and Northwestern University, finds that 59% of respondents prefer visual information over textual information across categories.
Attractive images help build a connection with the customers. For instance, 360-degree views help them examine the shape and size of the product, while a zoom-in view allows them to 'feel' the texture.
In other words, images entice the customer and push them further down the buying journey resulting in higher conversions.
Professional photography provides high-quality product images, but merely plugging these into a website will not attract customers. Images have several dimensions that need to be addressed before they are ready for a digital platform.
Are they of the right size and color? Are they equally appealing on a mobile as they are on a high-end laptop? These are questions that you would want to ask for each image that goes up on your website.
Let us examine the different dimensions of an image that you must consider editing before putting it up on your website.
One of the key elements of bringing an image to life and making the product feel lively lies in its color quotient.
Color Fixing: Adding colors that matter
Go back to the world when we only had black and white photographs - that was so boring!
Color can set the mood and bring an emotional appeal to the product. A bright, shiny red apple will win any day over a dull, rusty one. Conversely, fading color by a single shade can cause a product image to lose its appeal.
That is why we have color fixing.
Color fixing is an elementary photo-editing option that could include adjusting the uneven exposure of light or correcting color imbalance by adjusting saturation, contrast, and brightness.
It involves adjusting the values of the different color channels, adjusting faded colors, restoring natural color, and adjusting adjoining colors to make the image more appealing.
The product's color in the image must be fitting – A mango looks most delicious in its ripe yellow, a Lapis Lazuli ring must be the brilliant blue it is known for.
While adjusting the contrast or the brightness is one part of color correction, hue, saturation, and exposure can fix color tones to make the product look more appealing.
Here's a quick example of color correction using the ImageKit's image editor:
While color correction adds life to the product, it is important to balance the shadow of an image to focus on the product.
Shadow fixing: Creating depth and dimension with shadows
Without shadows, a product image can look one-dimensional, unrealistic. Shadow fixing is the process of adding shadows to an image to make it attractive. While a shadowless image looks unreal, merely adding shadows may not do the trick. They may end up distracting the viewer!
For example, a shadow on a model's face is unappealing. But a natural shadow cast by the model on the surroundings brings depth to the picture.
Shadows highlight the product details, bringing out its shape and size by adding contrast. Customers may not even notice the shadow, but it plays a role in helping them sense the 3D geometry of the product.
Shadows can be of various kinds. From natural shadows to software-generated shadows. Dark shadows, soft shadows, shadows caused by a backlit object or by a highly reflective surface. Sellers must understand the product and the impression they want to create on the viewer.
For example, a fashion accessory such as a watch or a pair of sunglasses may look dramatic with a reflective shadow. Using a cast shadow to highlight the silhouette of a model donning a well-tailored suit can be a creative way of focusing on the smart cuts of the ready-to-wear clothing.
Here's an example of shadow editing for a shoe.
Notice how the focus shifts from the background to the product once the shadow is adjusted.
Shadow fixing is a subtle treatment but is an essential operation in product image editing.
Once we are done correcting the color and the shadow, we need to have a bird's eye view of the product image to enhance the image further, which leads us to our next operation, photo retouching.
Photo retouching: Adding a touch of cosmetics for a good finish
Most of us are familiar with photo retouching, something many of us apply in our personal lives when uploading that picture-perfect holiday photo on social media.
Photo retouch refers to the removal of imperfections that may exist in an image. For example, it could include sharpening blurred outlines, increasing brightness or contrast, or masking an unexpected stain.
During photoshoots, elements such as light, background, adjoining accessories, or even unforeseen objects in the vicinity can result in imperfect images, defects, or wrinkles that are never attractive. Retouching aims to bring perfection, add finer details, and enhance the different elements of the picture.
The first step is to identify the various aspects of the image that need to be addressed.
Every product needs to be highlighted as per the category they belong to.
For example, food products need to look appetizing; fashion items must look glamorous; Luxury items need a good finish.
Once we have identified the aspect that needs to be addressed, next is to find the correct values for each aspect, such as contrast, brightness, etc., and try achieving the right combination that makes the product look appealing.
Have a look at how the earrings in the image are highlighted with a quick photo retouch!
With the edits that we covered so far, we are close to having the perfect image, but have we got it in the right size?
Resizing: Getting in shape with the right size
Resizing product images involves changing the dimensions of an image without losing its proportions. Product images need to be resized as per the platform's requirement on which the image will be displayed. Different E-commerce/social media platforms require different image sizes that align with their style guide.
Resizing would include maintaining the ratio aspect of the product to ensure it does not look disproportionate.
The first step to resizing is to know the specifications, i.e., correct dimensions required for the E-commerce website where the image will be displayed. Raw images are typically large and are not in the required size of any platform.
The next step is to define a sizing guide that ensures that you create the right size of the product while ensuring the product's actual size is not missed out. This is crucial so that your audience can get an intuitive feel of the 'size' of the product.
Pro tip: when resizing, it is recommended that the ratio aspect is locked to avoid disproportionate appearances.
For any finished product image, the key is to ensure the image is cropped while keeping the core of the image in focus.
Cropping: Discarding the unwanted for better composition
Cropping allows you to remove the peripheral edges of an image to create a better frame or composition. However, this function may distort the image's aspect ratio. Therefore it is always best to use an editor that allows maintaining the aspect ratio while cropping.
In the case of any E-commerce image, cropping helps you come up with the best composition or frame of the product image.
In addition, it can help cut out the unwanted elements from the margins and bring the main subject closer to view.
Pro-tip: ImageKit helps E-commerce companies with content-aware cropping. This ensures that the subject of any image or the most important part of the image is preserved while the cropping is done.
While cropping seems to be a simple editing procedure requiring selecting and deleting the unwanted area, deciding what to eliminate requires strategy and is the key to getting the desired result.
Background correction: Generating product-focused images
Another key aspect of perfecting an E-commerce product image is background correction. Background correction is about choosing an appropriate background to add contrast or highlight the image's main subject.
Different online platforms prescribe different background colors or dimensions. For example, Amazon recommends a white background, while eBay accepts colored backgrounds.
In the case of a normal image editor, you'd have to have multiple background variants of an image to satisfy the restrictions on each e-commerce platform.
However, this can be easily achieved with ImageKit.
ImageKit lets you set the background of an image by just changing the URL parameter in real-time. You can read more on this here.
Well, we have now covered the key areas in product image editing using ImageKit.
ImageKit provides sophisticated image editing capabilities with its image editor that enable E-commerce businesses to deliver unique visual experiences while managing the entire image lifecycle.
While editing product images are very important ensuring that the images are delivered in the same way is equally important. With ImageKit's URL-based transformations, you can resize, crop, or change the background of images in real-time, reducing the workload when editing an image.
Furthermore, with its advanced image CDN network across the globe, imagekit delivers your image to the users while considering the user's device and network speed, ensuring a solid user experience.
If you are looking for an E-commerce image editor and a strong image delivery engine, you should sign up for our forever-free plan today!
If you want to know how to integrate it with your store or have any questions, feel free to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org