Retouch product photos for e-commerce (2023)
The best e-commerce brands in the world all share one common trait—they effectively showcase their products through high-quality photography. And it’s not hard to understand why. Converting traffic to sales has a lot to do with the photos you use across your sales channels. Taking the time to create high-quality images for your products is critical to long-term success.
But that’s often easier said than done. E-commerce businesses may have thousands of product photos that they have to create and maintain. Without a dedicated photographer on-staff, it can be difficult to consistently deliver the level of quality that’s required to wow your visitors.
Business owners need a simple and efficient way to create and retouch their product photos—one that allows them to quickly edit and enhance their existing images, without having to outsource to an expert or dedicate multiple hours worth of valuable time.
This article will talk about the importance of retouching product photos for e-commerce, and explain why PhotoRoom is the perfect companion for small business owners.
What is photography retouching?
Photography retouching is the act of editing or manipulating a digital image to either improve it visually, or adjust its technical qualities (or both).
Basic photography retouching can include actions like:
Defect or object removal
Retouching is a key step in almost all photography. Even the most experienced photographers can’t guarantee that every photo is going to be 100% perfect when they take it. There’s always room for improvement. And, more importantly, your needs for a specific photograph will likely change over time. As such, retouching is just as important to the photography process as the original snap.
Instead of pulling your hair out trying to get the best shot—or spending lots of money ensuring you have the right gear to get high-quality images—it may be a better use of your time to use powerful retouching tools to help enhance existing images. This is especially true for small e-commerce businesses that may have a shortage of resources, limited time, or both.
How can retouching product photos increase sales?
As mentioned, strong product images are essential to a positive buyer experience. This is true for e-commerce stores, social media accounts, marketplaces, and anywhere else you sell your products online.
According to a recent Etsy survey, 90% of respondents said that quality images influenced their decision to make a purchase.
There are three main reasons for that near-unanimous consensus. High-quality product photos:
Increase the perceived value of your products
Make your website appear trustworthy and authentic
Help users visualize what the product will look like in person
Appearances matter, which is why having poor-quality product photographs can have the opposite effect.
They can turn users off your products, even if they were previously interested
They can create issues with returns and online complaints, if the photos don’t match the end product
They can create a disconnect between your brand image and the products you sell
They make it hard to sell across omnichannel platforms that require high-quality images with unique specs
By retouching images, business owners can alter and improve the images they own to increase their visual appeal. This process also allows you to align images with your brand colors, or adjust them to create patterns of brand recognition across different product photos. Technically speaking, retouching can also ensure that your product photos meet the standards and specifications required from e-commerce marketplaces and platforms.
Retouching product photos helps to extend the life of your existing images, thereby easing the burden of creating new ones. It also helps you upgrade the quality of your photos, or alter them if they’re not quite what you need for a specific channel. Retouching, in other words, gives you more options, without the need to constantly stage and snap new high-quality images.
The bottom line is that quality product images are non-negotiable for successful retail brands. But this still doesn’t change the fact that, without the right tools, creating and maintaining quality imagery at scale can be time-consuming and resource-intensive.
What are the limits of photo retouching?
Despite the power of photo retouching tools today, there are limitations. In some cases, it may simply not be possible to get a specific photo to the desired end state, depending what you’re working with.
Variables that might limit your ability to retouch photos include:
The size or quality of the original image. In general, it can be very difficult to improve the quality of a low-resolution or poor-quality image. Photos that are blurry, pixelated, or out of focus may need to be taken again, rather than go through the retouching process.
The amount of complexity or “noise” in the image that needs to be removed. If the goal is to remove specific items within an image, the amount of clutter within that image will impact the retouching process. It’s always easier to remove items that are against a solid background and have uniform lighting and shadowing.
The lighting or color of the original image. Images that have very low lighting, or are blown out, may not be salvageable, depending on your goals. Playing with the contrast and color settings can help but, again, it may be best to retake the image if possible.
To make your life easier, it’s always best practice to take high-quality photographs in an environment with adequate lighting, and against a simple background. High-quality cameras are ideal, but smartphones will do the trick as well.
But don’t worry. This doesn’t mean that all of your photographs have to be perfect. In cases where you may have images with a messy background or additional objects, a tool like PhotoRoom can help.
How to edit product photos using PhotoRoom’s “Magic Retouch” tool
PhotoRoom’s Magic Retouch tool allows you to quickly and easily remove unwanted objects, people, or watermarks from your images in just a matter of seconds. You can easily delete unwanted items in your image by painting over them with your finger. PhotoRoom’s AI-driven retouching technology will handle the rest.
Let’s walk through a simple example of how to remove objects using Magic Retouch. We’re going to use the mobile app for this example, but the process is also possible using the desktop application.
Let’s set the stage. I own an e-commerce store that sells living room furniture. I have this image that I took for my homepage that shows one of my chairs in a staged living room setting.
The image is nice, but I want to remove the extra items so that I can display just the chair on a new e-commerce marketplace that I’m launching with.
Here’s how it works.
Open the PhotoRoom app and click “+ Start from Photo” to upload an image. Or, click the “Retouch” button to upload your image directly into the editing area.
Adjust the size of the brush of the brush in the Magic Retouch tool and use your finger to brush over the parts of the image that you want to delete.
When you’ve covered the area that you want to remove, take your finger off the screen. PhotoRoom will automatically remove the item you’ve highlighted and replace it with the image’s background color. If parts of the item remain, repeat the process until you’ve removed everything you need to.
Click “Next” and conduct any final retouches, such as inserting stickers, adding text, resizing the image, adding shadows, and replacing the background.
Click the “Share” icon and follow the prompts to save the image locally, or share it via a link or to social media.
Step 1: Open the PhotoRoom app on your phone.
Click the “+ Start from Photo” button or upload an image from your camera reel or files. You can also take a new photo from your camera and use that. Or, you can click on the “Retouch” button to upload your image directly into the editing area.
Step 2: Once in the Magic Retouch tool, you’ll have the ability to adjust the size of the brush that you’ll use to paint over the parts of the image that you want to delete. Use a larger brush for more significant changes, and a smaller one for the details.
Step 3: Once you’ve selected your brush size, press your finger onto the screen, hold, and paint over the area that you want to remove. You’ll see a purple splotch that indicates where the retouching will be done on the image.
Step 4: When you’ve covered the area that you want to remove, take your finger off the screen. PhotoRoom will automatically remove the item you’ve highlighted, and replace it with the image’s background color. Repeat the process for all items you want to remove in the image.
In our case, I wanted to remove the picture, side table and lamp.
Step 5: Once the items have been removed, we can move on to the final steps in the retouching process. Click next to arrive on the screen shown above.
PRO TIP: You can further adjust your photo by adding stickers, graphics, or text. You also have the option to resize your image using pre-set dimensions or custom sizes, and add shadows or new backgrounds.
Step 6: When you're happy with your new image, click the “Share” icon in the top right corner of your screen. This will bring you to a window where you can save the image locally, or share it via a link or to social media.
Other PhotoRoom tools for retouching product photos
Magic Retouch is just one of the many tools that PhotoRoom offers for e-commerce businesses that need to regularly retouch and alter their product images.
In addition, the app also offers:
Image Brightener, which allows you to alter the lighting and contrast of your images.
Filters, which allows you to add various filters on top of your images like sepia, black and white, colored filters, and more.
Instant Shadows, which dynamically creates complementary shadows for your products to help them stand out from the background.
Image Resizer, which allows you to choose from a wide range of pre-set dimensions, or specify a custom size.
Remove Background, which allows you to quickly remove the background from your image and either export it as a transparent PNG, or replace the background with a uniform color or dynamically created image.
The workflow for each of these tools is similar to the one mentioned above. In all cases, these tools give you the ability to quickly retouch and alter your existing product photos within a matter of minutes.
Try PhotoRoom for retouching your product photos today
Retouching e-commerce product photos doesn’t need to be a time-consuming and frustrating process. With PhotoRoom, you can dramatically speed up the process, and rapidly retouch and alter images as you need them. No more time-consuming editing sessions, and no more relying on outdated or poor-quality product images.
Try PhotoRoom for yourself today. It’s accessible on both mobile devices and desktop, and can be downloaded from the App Store, the Google Play Store, or by navigating to the PhotoRoom website. Set up your account in less than a minute, and start saving hours for more important tasks.