How to Optimize Images for Your Website

Let’s face it: website optimization isn’t the most crucial part of running a business. But your website shouldn’t be an afterthought: it’s not just a way to define your brand, it’s an opportunity to deliver a best-in-class user experience to your customers.

If you’re running an e-commerce business, great visuals and optimization are both essential. 92.6% of customers agree that visual input is their leading factor in purchasing decisions. And 39% of people will stop engaging if a website takes too long to load.

Many retailers have dazzling visuals that their customers never even see because their website lags or fails to load the images by the time customers click away. Great images can come with a heavy footprint—large file sizes that take a toll on load times and SEO. 

Clearly, website speed is paramount, and optimized images make it a lot faster for pages to load. In this write-up, we’ll explore essential strategies for image optimization on the web.

How to Optimize Images for a Website

1. Benchmark the current site speed

Before you dive in, start by running a speed test on your website. We recommend the following speed tests:

  1. Google’s PageSpeed Insights
  2. Pingdom Tools
  3. WebPageTest
  4. GTMetrix

This will ensure that you have a good sense of how your website performs at a baseline. If you notice a performance hit from uploading your images, you can strategize for a solution.

    2. Choose the correct file format

Now you can begin optimizing your images. The first step is choosing a suitable file format. The most common types are:

1.    PNG

2.    JPEG

3.    GIF

a)   PNG is ideal for mainly flat images like icons and logos. The format is lossless but you can also configure it to enable “lossy” compression, which will result in smaller file sizes but reduced quality. 

b)    JPEG is suitable for most photos as DSLR cameras use JPEG as their baseline. The file sizes and quality are heavily adjustable from 1-100%. JPEG is a lossy format.

c)    GIFs are animations created through a flipbook-like process. The format only supports 256 colors and features lossless compression.

  3. Caching

Caching distributes content fast by storing your files in a proxy server or browser cache. An image caching service preprocesses an image to improve website performance and loading speed. You can also employ caching for static images like backgrounds and low-resolution formats.

   4. Optimize alt text

The alt text appears on a user’s screen if images fail to load or if they are using a screen-reader or other accessibility device. Alt text allows search engines to easily crawl and rank your website. By ensuring your alt text is detailed and accurate, you can capture a much wider audience for your website and make it easy for users who are blind and low-vision to access your content. Alt text should be snappy, descriptive, and attached to all non-decorative images

  5. Resize your photos

One of the easiest ways to optimize images for the website is to resize them before you upload them to the website. Especially if you are using DSLRs, the raw images will be huge. Resizing images helps the site load faster to create a good user experience. You want a good balance between file size and quality. You can resize images manually or use a trusted tool like the AI-powered autoRetouch to resize images automatically and in bulk.

Pro tip: Export images at 2048 px wide and 240 DPI resolution.

  6. Compress your images

Leverage compression techniques to reduce the size of the image. There are two types of compression:

·    Lossy Compression

This type of compression reduces file size by deleting data redundancies, which may also reduce image quality. Once you compress the picture, you cannot retrieve the eliminated data. When using lossy formats, you should store a master copy of the image to ensure that you always have a high-quality version.

·    Lossless Compression

Lossless compression prioritizes quality over size. Lossless formats maintain high visual quality, so you never need to worry about grainy images. The tradeoff, however, is significantly larger file sizes.

You can employ the following image compression tools:

  1. TinyPNG
  2. JPEGmini
  3. RIOT
  4. Image Optimizer

  7. Optimize image delivery

Once your images are optimized, you can go even further by optimizing your image delivery as well. Before launching your website, plan for traffic spikes that could result in slowdowns. Ensure that your image server can handle three to four times the average traffic load.

Another strategy is to use a Content Delivery Network (CDN). CDNs deliver images to users from servers that are close to their physical location, improving load times. CDNs are widely available and are a great way to bump up site performance.

Advantages of Image Optimization

The benefits of image optimization include:

1.    Reduced bounce rates

Visitors are more likely to stay on a page that loads quickly. Think about it—how long are you willing to wait around for a website to finish loading?

 2. Reduced costs

Bandwidth costs money, and optimization ensures that you need as little of it as possible. Thus, optimizing images is a cost-saving solution for website hosting and delivery costs.

 3. Improved search ranking

Google and other search engines consider page load time a ranking factor, so optimizing images lead to higher rankings and thus more traffic.

4. Improved customer experience

Even if they don’t leave your website outright, users will be unsatisfied if your website is laggy. Improve engagement and conversion by ensuring that your site is well-optimized.

Bottom Line

Image optimization is a massive part of building a professional website, and it can lead to substantial improvements in conversion and site speed. Faster websites are also critical for SEO, so when you start optimizing images for the web, it can easily boost discovery for your website as well. The great news is, that you can easily tackle image optimization on your own without too much time and effort—and if you need a little extra help or a time-saving solution, there are excellent tools out there to get you started.

The Exciting Future of Artificial Intelligence in Photo Editing

Although artificial intelligence may still have the ring of science fiction, it’s increasingly becoming part of our everyday lives—and part of doing business as a photographer. Thanks to recent advancements in machine learning, like smart color and exposure correction, AI is altering the craft of photo editing and lowering barriers in the process. 

But is it a valuable tool, or just a passing fad? With new technologies emerging or becoming obsolete every day, it can be hard to stay on top of which ones are worth investing in. In this blog post, we’ll explore the current and future uses of artificial intelligence in photo editing.

Why Use Artificial Intelligence to Edit Photos?

Photo editing is by no means a simple process. A single image might require many different techniques to retouch and take hours to finish, depending on the desired results. But AI represents a new realm of possibility for photo editors because it can automate many of the tedious tasks that eat up an editor’s time, making repetitive and manually intensive work far easier.

And what if you’re not a professional editor? Previously, you might be stuck shelling out for expensive editing services or struggling for hours to do it yourself. But artificial intelligence offers you the opportunity to bypass complicated editing processes entirely and is often much cheaper than hired help.

Here are some of the specific ways AI can benefit photo editors:

1. Automatically select the perfect images

One of the core rules of photography is to take many more pictures than you need, assuming that only a few pictures will turn out just right. But identifying that perfect shot out of a thousand is a lot of work. And your eyes might be too tired to recognize the best image when you see it! Modern AI can help sort through your photos for you, automatically eliminating unsuitable photos and highlighting the best pictures.

 2. Upscale low-resolution images

Do you have a photo you love that doesn’t quite meet the bar for a professional photo? Don’t despair—AI tools can upscale low-resolution images, helping transform subpar shots into market-ready images. 

3. Automatically replace backgrounds

In the past, background replacement was time-consuming and required a skilled approach. However, with AI tools, you can isolate your subjects and replace backgrounds in a matter of seconds, no editing skills are required. If you’re in the business of e-commerce, this means you can customize your photos for different retailers or promotions with ease. 

4. Correct color and exposure in one click

AI photo editing tools are programmed to adjust colors, contrast, and exposure automatically, creating balanced and attractive images while eliminating errors. This is a great resource to have if you’re not a trained editor but want to make sure your photos look professional.

The Future of Artificial Intelligence in the Photo Editing Industry

There have undoubtedly been vast improvements in the AI photo editing industry within the last few years. Nowadays, editors can select from a variety of tools to enhance their product photos, magazine covers, nature images, abstract works, and more. In the future, we will likely see the development of specialized software to address different areas of photography with AI. Today, we are seeing fascinating emerging applications for AI in motion graphics and photo illustration.

As editing services become increasingly automated, we can expect the caliber of post-production to improve without an increase in editing costs, making it far more accessible to produce stunning photos than it is today. This should be especially exciting news for marketers and business owners.

The evolution of AI-powered tools will change the way we perceive photography. The technology’s potential could level the playing field between professionals and amateurs. The power of automated tools will also allow for greater creativity: AI can generate an endless number of variations and tweaks with very little work from the editor’s side. This, in turn, can help marketers create and test a wide variety of images to see which of them are most attractive to consumers. 

What Does AI Photo Editing Mean for Marketers?

There are valid concerns about the rise of artificial intelligence in photography. The proliferation of AI may decrease the credibility of the images we see since it will become almost effortless for scammers to manipulate photos. Anyone can open an online store and sell products with manipulated photos, misleading consumers and damaging our trust in online sales.

However, on the bright side, industry experts are now investing in tools to defend against image manipulation. AI experts are focusing on developing quicker and easier ways to prove the authenticity of images. With the power of AI, people will be able to determine whether an image has been doctored in seconds. AI may lower the bar for technical skills and make it easier to create fakes, but it will also allow us to better detect those same manipulated images. Perhaps social media and marketing sites will eventually issue warnings like: The pictures you are looking at might be fake.

Bottom Line

Our personal take is that AI will prove to be a great asset for marketers and business owners. Even taking into account the concerns above, AI is a valuable tool for honest retailers that can help them reach new creative heights with time-saving and cost-efficient approaches. We believe AI can likewise empower editors to automate repetitive tasks and expand their creative horizons. It’s hard to say exactly what artificial intelligence holds for the photography industry, as new innovations and challenges are emerging every day, but we believe everyone has reasons to be very excited about the future of AI.

AI Photo Editing Vs. Manual Photo Editing

Can artificial intelligence really help you retouch photos, crop out backgrounds, and correct portrait lighting? In AI photo editing, algorithms mimic human intelligence. Powerful AI editing tools are based on neural networks which retouch images in seconds, far faster than a human editor could manage.

But manual editing has plenty of advantages too. While it takes more time, the depth and customization possible with manual editing far outstrip what is currently doable with AI—not to mention the human touch. In this post, we’ll take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both types of photo editing to help you choose the right approach for your photos.

Advantages of AI Photo Editing

  1. You can edit in batches

If you have a new product launch or an event, you might need to edit large batches of images in a tight timeframe. That’s where AI-powered tools shine: you can apply effects like background removal or skin retouching to hundreds of images in the same amount of time. It would take to edit only a few by hand.

  1. It’s fast and easy

Even for single images, some manual editing tasks are tedious and time-consuming. Take creating ghost mannequins, for example: to create just a single product image, you need to edit a model or mannequin out of multiple images and merge them together into a single shot. AI tools can automate the whole process in a matter of seconds.

  1. It’s budget-friendly

AI editing is significantly cheaper than manual editing and can automate a large number of tasks in a single workflow. As an alternative to manual editing, it can be very helpful for new businesses and photographers on a tight budget with little time for editing tasks.

  1. It’s perfect for simple edits

AI-powered tools are incredibly effective at automating simple edits like cropping, color correction, and contrast correction. However, with recent advancements, AI can also be used for more complex tasks like background customization, ghost mannequin generation, fixing portrait exposure, and more.

Limitations of AI Photo Editing

  1. It lacks the human touch

AI photo editing depends entirely on machine learning algorithms. While these algorithms are highly sophisticated, at the end of the day there is much to be said for the human approach. A human editor will have far greater discretion and attention to detail.

  1. It can only do certain tasks

AI editing tools are generally optimized for specific tasks and may not be able to automate all the editing workflows you need for your photos. Some tools are better than others and some may require manual retouching.

  1. It can hamper your creativity

You might find that editing your photos with an algorithm takes some of the creativity and passion out of the process. If you enjoy bringing out the unique character of each image, manual editing may be for you.

Advantages of Manual Editing

  1.  You can do anything

There’s no limit to the level of creativity you can pour into your photos when editing manually. If you’re looking to dazzle your clients or create works of photographic art, AI is no substitute for a human editor.

  1. It ensures high quality

Quality control is essential for any photographer or editor—your professional brand relies on the consistency and polish of your work, so when you want to impress your clients, choose manual editing for far more control over the finished product.

3.    It’s easy to correct

If you’re not satisfied with the initial edits, you can easily redo or fix them. Depending on the AI tool, it may be more challenging to retouch your images manually if they have been edited via algorithm. With manual editing, you can always go back and make changes.

Verdict

Manual editing isn’t going anywhere. At the end of the day, AI is still an imperfect substitute for a human editor. When your images are edited with AI tools, you have less control over the finished product and may have to settle for something less than perfect—although some modern AI tools, like autoRetouch, allow you to export PSD files so you can make changes to your own after the algorithm has edited your photos. 

AI editing still has its benefits, especially with recent refinements. Today’s AI-powered software is a real competitor for manual editing, particularly when you consider some of the following use cases:

i)   Scaling up post-production, with many images to process simultaneously

ii)  Automating time-consuming editing tasks

iii) Editing on a tight budget

iv) Bulk-editing photos on short deadlines

So while manual editing will likely continue to be the gold standard for photo editing for a long time, there are plenty of reasons why you might consider using AI tools to automate parts of your editing workflow and help you expand your business. There’s no wrong choice—it all depends on your goals, and you might find that a combination of both methods works best of all. We hope this guide will help you in identifying the perfect solution for you!

Leveraging Artificial Intelligence for Quicker Photo Editing

Artificial intelligence in photo editing is no longer a curiosity for researchers or a gimmick for smartphone filters. The AI of today has revolutionized the field of digital photography and post-production. Through intelligent algorithms and fast, budget-friendly tools for photographers and editors.

Whether you’re an e-commerce seller or a photographer looking to streamline your retouching process. You can leverage AI image editing technology for better results with a low price tag. But how and why has artificial intelligence altered photo editing? Will it actually save you time and money? In this blog, we’ll take a look at how AI is changing the world of photography.

Why is AI Photo Editing So Powerful?

AI-powered photo editing software is widely available today unless you’re already familiar with the field. You’re likely unaware of just how many aspects of the editing process can be automated with AI. For example, tools like autoRetouch can retouch skin, remove backgrounds, sharpen photos, add textures, and upscale low-resolution pictures in a single click. 

But the power of AI goes beyond simply improving the aesthetics and simplifying repetitive tasks. For example, AI can now automatically recolor black and white photos, restoring life and vibrancy to images of the past and connecting us to our history.

When editing images, editors spend a lot of time on grunt work. We believe AI can automate tedious tasks and free photographers and editors to reinvest their time in further developing their creativity—not to mention lowering their risk of the carpal tunnel!

How Pros Use AI for Faster Photo Editing

When leveraged properly, AI can be an incredibly powerful part of your editing toolbox and enable business owners and photographers to achieve beautiful results without hours in Photoshop. Here are just some of the ways autoRetouch’s AI-powered tools can be added to your workflow.

1. Automatic exposure correction

Exposure issues can come in all shapes and sizes: underexposed subjects, overexposed backdrops, blown-out highlights, and many more. Resolving these issues in post-production requires an experienced hand and a mastery of editing software.

As editors, we can’t afford to spend hours fixing lighting issues. With autoRetouch’s fix portrait exposure tool, you can easily adjust exposure for vibrant, balanced photos in seconds. This tool currently works best for portraits.

2. Customize photo backgrounds for more professional images

If you’re snapping photos for e-commerce or social media, you’ll want to be able to customize and brand your images with relevant colors and backgrounds. But capturing custom colors in-studio or switching out backgrounds in post-production can be costly.

With the added custom background feature of autoRetouch, you can change the background of your photos with the click of a mouse—no Photoshop required.

3. Batch editing

What if it only took a few seconds per image to get your product photos gallery-ready? With the batch-editing feature from autoRetouch, you can edit up to 100 images at once. This helps you scale your product and ensure consistency for all your product photos. You can create an entire custom workflow and let AI do the work for you. Imagine the benefits of being able to automate your entire editing process in a fraction of the time it would take to edit each photo manually. 

4. Automate skin retouching

Impeccable skin is a must-have for product photos. Removing scars, blemishes, acne, and other skin imperfections in Photoshop can be a delicate and challenging task.

The skin retouching component by autoRetouch is designed to use a wide variety of data on ethnicity, body part, age, and skin color. As the name suggests, this component applies a natural retouching effect to the skin and can be customized to your needs.

5. Generate automatic ghost mannequins

Ghost mannequins are a fascinating new way to display your apparel in 3D, showcasing the fit and style of the product without the distraction of models and mannequins. However, the process of creating ghost mannequins is particularly difficult when done manually—it involves taking multiple photos of the interior and exterior of the garment, editing out the model or mannequin, and merging the photos together seamlessly.

With autoRetouch’s ghost mannequin component, you can generate ghost mannequins in just a few seconds. The tool automatically removes models and mannequins to keep the focus entirely on your product.

Bottom Line

AI in photo editing is a massive breakthrough for e-commerce retailers. If you’ve ever wanted to change up a bland backdrop, customize a photo according to the requirements of a particular marketplace, or batch-edit product photos without hiring a professional editor, AI can help you do that in seconds with a comparatively low price tag.

Still, some will hesitate to make the leap to AI editing, preferring the human touch to a machine-automated replacement. These concerns are very relevant when it comes to photo editing, which requires a trained eye and the skill to bring out the best in each image. AI photo editing isn’t perfect—though neither are most editors! 

According to experts, AI-powered photo editing tools perform well, but they aren’t necessarily a replacement for all kinds of manual photo editing. We think it’s important not to underestimate the importance of the human touch or the power of AI. Both can be leveraged to bring flexibility, creativity, and convenience to the forefront of photo editing.

How AI Technology is altering the E-commerce Shopping Experience

how is AI–technology altering the e-commerce shopping experience

Customer experience is the name of the game in e-commerce, and AI can help you take it to the next level. Take Amazon, for example, the world’s premier online retailer recognized the benefits of AI technology years ago and uses machine learning to improve user experience and optimize logistics. They collect user data to predict a customer’s buying patterns, so customers who buy a specific brand of shampoo every month might receive personalized offers for their preferred products. The retailer might even use machine learning algorithms to recommend a conditioner that goes well with the shampoo.

The next wonders of the e-commerce world, e.g. AI-enabled digital assistants like Google Duplex, will come with new capabilities like creating grocery lists to place orders on behalf of the customers. As an e-commerce business, you need to keep up. So what are some ways AI can help you out?

 Here are 6 major applications of AI for e-commerce businesses.

1. AI Copywriting:

Gone are the days when e-commerce stores hired copywriters and ad agencies to write all their intros, headlines, and product descriptions. Today, with AI-powered writing tools, retailers can generate marketing copy within seconds.

These writing tools leverage advanced AI language models to create social media content, digital ad copy, and more. Some of these copywriting services may still require manual editing to ensure that the resulting copy is high quality, but the efficiency of AI copywriters is hard to beat and can help you deliver content to your users quickly and easily.

2. Personalized Recommendations:

Personalized recommendations are nothing new for e-commerce websites. Many companies use machine learning algorithms or AI filtering systems to recommend products to buyers. Sellers apply filters based on best-selling product data, viewing history, and other aspects of buyer behavior. AI also creates a customer-centric experience using keyword tags or visual similarity to generate recommendations, helping customers discover complementary products. This greatly improves customer experience and retention.

3. Automatically Retouching Images:

How many times have you looked at a product photo in your store, only to realize it’s not quite right? How much money have you spent on photo editing to glam up your images? What if we told you that AI is also revolutionizing image retouching? Yep, it’s true! Today, you can automate up to 100% of your image editing process with a few clicks by leveraging AI-powered tools.

Automation tools exist for almost every editing need, from skin retouching to background removal to generating clipping paths. Tools like autoRetouch even offer automated creation of ghost mannequins. Using machine learning algorithms and AI features, e-commerce AI support tools enhance the quality of product pictures and much more. A consistent and high-quality visual approach for e-commerce products makes a big difference to customers browsing online.

4. Virtual Assistants & Chatbots:

One of the biggest advantages of shopping in person is the ability to get help and advice from knowledgeable shop assistants. We all miss that personal touch when we’re shopping online and don’t have a friendly employee to answer questions and help us choose the best products. While e-commerce stores often have customer service representatives to provide phone support, it wasn’t until recently that AI came into the space as well. The introduction of voice chatbots and virtual assistants for immediate assistance is altering the way we shop online. Despite the question, customers can receive support 24/7.

Voice chatbots are programmed to interpret voice-based interactions through natural language processing to provide personalized recommendations. However, the best part is these chatbots can learn over time to better address customer needs.

5. Pricing Optimization:

AI-powered dynamic pricing allows marketers to change their product prices based on supply and demand. With access to the correct data and programs, AI software can predict when to offer discounts, when to increase the price range, and which products are trending in the current market. This helps you stay competitive with other retailers and offer the best prices to your customers.

6. Better Search Results:

At least 35% of online shoppers use the search function when shopping online. While a human clerk can quickly help customers find what they’re looking for, search algorithms aren’t quite so reliable. Currently, most search algorithms on e-commerce websites do not have any practical intelligence.

Integrating websites with AI and machine learning can enhance results for user search queries. AI services can generate search rankings that allow any site to sort results by relevance instead of keywords, helping customers find exactly what they’re looking for. Similarly, AI integrations can analyze product copy, product photos, and more to generate better search results.

Bottom line:

The term ‘artificial intelligence’ might remind you of rogue androids and sci-fi dystopias, especially if you’re not used to having AI as a tool for your business. But in the world of e-commerce, AI presents an opportunity for businesses to create a deeper, more personalized experience for every customer. E-commerce websites and brands across the world are turning to AI to improve their competitiveness, therefore, AI technology will have an enormous effect on the e-commerce industry in the future. To stay ahead of the curve now is the perfect time to integrate AI-enabled software into your business.