Tuesday, 16 July 2013

GUEST POST: I’ve snapped the shutter- Now What?

The lowdown on editing programs for Etsy shop owners

So you’ve created a great set of images, obtained the best lighting possible in your environment but something looks a bit off. Don’t worry this is fairly normal until you get it all figured out (it sometimes happens even when you have it all figured out). While perfect lighting the first time is the ultimate goal, things don’t always go the way you planned.
Keep in mind that when shopping online the quality and presentation of the image (your product) is everything. Potential customers will look elsewhere if your image is not in focus, is too dark, too light, unrecognizable or amateurish.
Let’s explore a few things that can cause your image to look less than what you had in mind.
The first image in each set is one that you should not use. The second is a rendition that is acceptable for use.

Too dark

The color of your product doesn’t look quite right

Product is not cropped tight enough to show off your product

It’s out of focus (this is always reason for a reshoot)

The list of things that can go wrong can seem to be endless (but hey, that’s how we learn). The first step is to pay attention to the details and “get it right in camera”. You quickly learn how valuable this is once you realize how much time you could save in editing.
Speaking of editing, let’s look at 3 programs to help edit your images along with one program that I believe is a must for anyone that is serious about organizing and editing your images.

#1 – Adobe Lightroom

If you take lots of photos and lots of different angles of the same image the best program is Adobe Lightroom (there is nothing else close to this for the features, price and functionality). 
The program runs $149* and while that may seem like a lot of money it will save you hours upon hours of editing time.

Here are features that I love about Lightroom:
•Catalogs your images complete with keywords so that you can find them easily.
•You can adjust one image and apply those same changes to the rest of your like images with the click of a button. Let’s say that all of your photos are too dark; just fix the first one then apply that fix to the rest of the images that are too dark with the click of a button.
•Easy one click dust and spot removal.
•Simple cropping tool that allows you to quickly crop to the correct size.
•Allows you to make “collections” of images that make access even quicker. Say you just photographed that great new line of red rose paper flowers along with a line of orange holiday greeting cards during the same photo shoot. You won’t need to sell the holiday cards utill the holiday season, but the red paper flowers are really hot for the wedding season and you need to work on them pronto. Just create a collection named “red paper flowers” drag the images into that folder (the images still remain in the original spot but the program creates a virtual copy). This helps you find the red paper flower images so fast you will never want to go back to the old way again.
•Non-destructive editing. Say what??? Non destructive editing means that any changes you make in Lightroom can be undone with the click of a button. This means you never hit the save button only to realize that you overwrote your original image by mistake.
•You can quickly and easily post to social media sites such to Flickr, Facebook and more with a click of the button.
•The program makes it a snap to export the correct sized images to use in your online shop.

There are so many other features that make Lightroom the best program for an Etsy user that there isn’t time or space in this blog to point them all out. While the learning curve is a bit steep, I personally find it easier to use then Photoshop Elements or the Photoshop CS editing programs.

Editing tools that you may have but are unaware of:
#2 iPhoto for Mac owners
If you are a Mac user you certainly have iphoto that came with your Mac. iPhoto is an easy and cheap way to edit. It does a fine job. I find it much better to make the corrections manually and stay away from auto correct features.

#3 Photo Gallery for PC Windows 8 users
If you are a Windows 8 user Photo Galley was included. This is a basic program that will help out if your image is pretty close and just needs a tweak.

Without sounding like an ad for Adobe Lightroom, I suggest spending the cash to purchase this program. It will pay for itself in no time at all!

                        Written by Scott Board

* For UK residents: you can find Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 on Amazon and it can cost you around £92.

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