Product Images – Best Practices for B2B E-Commerce Sites

As a B2B retailer, product images might be the last thing on your mind when you’re building out your e-commerce business. How much could using a few stock images harm your brand? What’s the benefit of investing time and money in fancy photos?

You might think that it’s what on the inside that counts—i.e. the most important thing is the quality of your product itself, not the packaging. But even the highest-quality products won’t turn a profit if potential customers are turned off by a low-quality website. When shopping online, buyers are already taking a leap of faith by ordering a product they can’t hold in their hands, and that goes double for savvy B2B customers. In order to make sales, you need to increase their confidence in your business. A slick, professional web presence will go a long way, and images that capture your brand and highlight the best of your products are a vital part of that.

So where should you invest your efforts when it comes to images? In this post, we’ll take a look at best practices for capturing images that will boost your conversions and keep your customers coming back for more.

Basic Requirements for Product Images on B2B Platforms

Every sales channel has its own specifications. Generally, you’ll find these requirements for product images:

1.    High resolution

Blurry and low-resolution product photos will drive customers away, full stop. Worse, they signal a lack of professionalism and hurt your brand in general. Make sure your images are crisp and high-quality.

2.    Minimalism

For many sales channels, plain white backdrops are required for product images. In general, it’s a good idea not to distract your products with zany patterns or special effects. And you can always start with a white backdrop and add a custom background in post-production if you want to experiment with colors and branding.

3.    Cropping

This may seem obvious, but the consequences of poor cropping can be painful: off-center images in product galleries or products that appear far away because the photo isn’t cropped close enough to highlight it. Make sure your photos are centered and cropped close to show off the product.

4.    Multiple angles and styles

Consider capturing interesting angles to show off every aspect of your products and dressing them up with accessories that help to showcase how customers could style or use them. This helps the product feel real and three-dimensional to your buyers.

Pro tip: Highlight all the unique aspects of your products and be sure to include the details in closeups.

Implementing Best Practices for B2B Product Images

1.    Take a photography course

While it may be tempting to save money by diving straight in without training, remember—buyers can differentiate between amateur and professional shoots, so the quality of your photos will impact their perception of the quality of your goods. You’ll always get the best results with professional guidance. Even a basic class can teach you the essentials of proper lighting, camera settings, and backdrops.

2.    Place your hero images on white backdrops

Always shoot your hero images against white or neutral backdrops. This eliminates visual distractions, intensifies the vibrancy of the colors in your images, and creates a clean look. If you can’t use a crisp white background when capturing your photos, consider editing them with background customization.

3.    Let the product fill 85% of the frame

You don’t want your product to be adrift in a sea of white space or swallowed up in the backdrop. Remember, each product photo represents the chance to communicate with your audience. What are you saying when you let your products be overwhelmed by the background, barely catching the viewer’s attention? Follow this rule to make sure you’re giving your audience the right impression: make sure that your products fill roughly 85% of the frame.

4.    Add zoom-in functionality

This is another feature that you might not think is important for the user experience, but it can significantly enhance their perception of your products. Highly detailed, high-quality images invite your audience to look closer, which in turn helps them feel confident in purchasing from you. Your goal should be to keep your customers from having any doubts about the quality of your products, and a seamless zoom-in feature makes it easy for them to say yes.

5.    Capture your product as it would appear on a store shelf

This goes hand in hand with previous tips about making your products feel real and ready to sell. Your products are being purchased for a retail channel, so help your customers picture how the goods will fit into their physical store. This is a great place to show off the packaging for your products. 

6.    Use lifestyle imagery to tell stories

Showcasing your products in use is a great way to connect with buyers and stand out in the B2B industry. If you have the budget, shoot your product in scenic locations with well-staged props. If this isn’t doable, try using stock photography to create dynamic custom backgrounds for your photos.

7.    Create infographics to keep your buyers on the page

Make it easy for your buyers to quickly capture the information they need from your product gallery. Include logos, key ingredients, dimensions, size charts, etc., as infographics with your product photos. This is just one more way to keep customers on the page and reduce the time it takes to convert each sale.

8.    Optimize your product images

You don’t want to chase your visitors away with poor load times—most buyers won’t hang around for photos to load. Make sure your images are optimized to balance quality with fast load times. This will also boost your SEO for Google image searches.

Why Invest in Product Images?

If you’re still unsure about allocating resources for product images, consider the following:

·   They draw attention

How often have you heard the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words”? Your product images are likely the first thing your customers will see of your brand. Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. 

·    They build your brand presence

Fact: People can remember the contents of 2500 pictures with over 90% accuracy after viewing them for only 10 seconds, even 72 hours later. — Crockett, 2010

That’s fantastic news for your branding—but only if you show your customers something worth remembering for the right reasons. You don’t want to leave them thinking your business is unprofessional or forgettable. Take the opportunity to wow them.

·    They help build sales and avoid returns

Good product photos mean more sales conversions because customers feel they can trust your products. Likewise, when your photos cover every angle, you’re less likely to have returns cut into your bottom line and you’ll avoid angry consumers who feel misled by your product imagery.

Remember:

·    Your B2B website needs high-quality images. Not having them is hurting your sales.

·    Having at least one product image is better than nothing, but wherever possible, invest in multiple angles and lifestyle images to fully showcase your images.

·    High-quality images can be a crucial differentiator in establishing a good brand presence.

Bottom Line

Choosing how to allocate your business resources is one of the most important decisions you can make. Naturally, you want to cut corners where possible to keep your expenses low and profits high. But one place you should never cut corners is high-quality images because they will be your brand ambassadors everywhere your products appear. Since digital buyers commit to products without seeing them in person, product images are an essential aspect of establishing yourself as a trusted brand.

How to Create a Ghost Mannequin

What if there was a way to showcase your apparel online in 3D, showing potential customers the exact fit and style of your garments as if they were viewing them in real life? And what if you could do it without breaking the bank? Let’s enter the ghost mannequin effect. 

What is the Ghost Mannequin Effect?

The ghost mannequin effect also called “the invisible effect” refers to a process where retailers eliminate the mannequins from photos of garments like shirts, jackets, and pants. As if the clothes were posed on an invisible model, you can see both the interior and exterior of the garment, creating a 3D effect.

There are a few reasons why content creators and retailers love this effect:

1.    Using a mannequin is much more cost-effective than hiring a model. You don’t need a model to pose for your photos in 3D.

2.    It gives customers a better idea of how the product looks without the visual distraction of a mannequin, and it looks professional and unique.

3.    It helps customers visualize the fit of the product.

Want to try it out? In this guide, we’ll show you how to take ghost mannequin photos of your own.

How to Master the Ghost Mannequin Effect

1.    Choose appropriate mannequins

Matte white mannequins are ideal for ghost mannequin photography, as they are easy to erase from the photos later. Select a mannequin that will allow you to pose your garments however you’d like. Static, neutral poses are best.

2.    Pick your gear

To take ghost mannequin photos, you’ll need a high-quality camera, a tripod for stability, a white backdrop, and lighting softboxes.

3.    Plan the shoot

Select the products you plan to photograph and make sure you have all the necessary mannequins and styling tools to make them look great in the studio. Ensure you have adequate lighting. Remember, each finalized image will require at least three to four shots. It can sometimes take more, especially when the product has an atypical or abstract shape. You’ll probably need an extra set of hands to get the shots right for a good composition.

4.    Place the products

How you pose and style your garments is just as essential as lighting for ghost mannequin photography. The products should hang naturally. Sleeves should drape naturally to the side and collars should be fixed. Set the camera at chest level for tops and at hip height for bottoms. 

5.    Capture the images

You’ll need at least three to four shots for each outfit:

  1. Front and back shots on a mannequin
  2. Front and back shots on a white foam board. These shots work as a visual filler when you eliminate the mannequin. These shots also allow you to highlight the inner details like stitching, lining, etc.
  3. Inside-out or inlay shots of the outfit to fill the gap when removing the mannequin

6.    Try different angles

While it’s important to keep your poses fairly static, you can play around with angles and poses to create visual interest in the finished photos. Capturing multiple angles of the product also helps to increase trust for your customers because it enables them to see the garment in full before they decide to buy.

7.    Edit the photos

Now for the hard part: removing the mannequins from the photos. It’s entirely possible to use Photoshop to complete this task on your own—but it’s a complex, time-consuming process, and bear in mind that you’ll have to repeat it for every single garment you photograph.

However, making ghost mannequins doesn’t have to be complicated. How? We suggest using autoRetouch to automatically eliminate mannequins and combine images.

This AI-powered tool generates ghost mannequins with the following steps:

1.    The backdrop is removed from the product and inlay images.

2.    The inlay and product photos are seamlessly combined.

3.    The inlay seam is warped to apply a 3D effect.

4.    Image depth is added with a shadow effect.

5.    If necessary, the edges are refined for a polished look.

Best part? With autoRetouch, the whole process takes about 5 seconds. 

Why Choose autoRetouch Over Manual Editing?

Until recently, the ghost mannequin effect was a fully manual, multi-step, time-consuming, and costly editing process. But with autoRetouch’s ghost mannequin generator, you can create ghost mannequin images quickly and affordably without Photoshop or the expense of hiring an editor. All you have to do is take the photos—everything else is fully automated.

In addition, the tool exports files in PSD format so you can add any finishing touches you want. In the same workflow, you can automate vector paths or fabric swatch extraction. The software also can compare the edited and original images. The end results are incredibly lifelike and fully customizable 3D photos. The software offers pay-as-you-go credits, so it’s also a cost-effective solution, especially compared to the time and money involved in doing the process by hand.

Tips for Taking Great Ghost Mannequin Photos

  1. Ensure the mannequin’s arms are hanging down and legs are uncrossed. For easier posing, choose mannequins with detachable body parts.
  2. Clip back long hair or jewelry.
  3. Keep the camera and lighting consistent when photographing the inlay images.
  4. Choose neutral and non-reflective backdrops, like white or gray.
  5. Before shooting, steam or iron the garments. Ensure that your attire fits the mannequin perfectly, using clips or pins to perfect the fit if needed.
  6. Hold the bottoms taut by hand and keep the waistline straight for inlay images.
  7. Be careful of the camera angle and height. If your photos are not even and consistent, it will be much harder to get a good end result.

Bottom Line

The ghost mannequin effect looks chic and impressive, and you’d think it would be challenging to pull off—but with modern AI tools, posing your clothes on invisible mannequins is as easy as snapping the photos. With autoRetouch, you can automate the entire process and level up your product photography in a heartbeat. If you’re looking for a way to make your apparel more exciting to consumers online, why not give ghost mannequin photography a try?

Photo Retouching: Cost-Cutting Solutions for Product Photography

Product photography can be a costly proposition. From getting the right lighting to capturing the images, it requires a significant investment even before it comes time to edit the photos and get them gallery-ready. You might be tempted to cut costs by doing the retouching yourself—but professional photo editing is challenging to master, to say the least, and you might lose just as much money in the long run if you spend hours tearing your hair out in Photoshop. 

What’s a cost-minded business owner to do? In this post, we’ll take a look at photo retouching services that can provide big value to your business—without cutting into your profits.

But first, let’s take a quick look at the average cost of professional product photography in 2022.

Product Photography Costs Per Day

If the shoot requires a studio, it will cost around $400-$1000. Depending on the studio, the price may be lower or higher, but be careful—you get what you pay for. If additional equipment or props are required, the costs might be even higher.

Product Photography Costs Per Item

Per-product pricing is great for bulk photography since the cost per product decreases as the number of products increases. Depending on the photographer and the number of items, it might cost $20-$100. If you need multiple angles for each product, the costs will be higher.

Product Photography Costs Per Image

Per-image pricing is often the most affordable option for professional projects. Depending on the total number of photos, the price per image could vary between $1 and $50. If you’re in need of a large number of images, it can be an economical choice.

No matter which option you choose, the product photography isn’t cheap! Then comes post-production, and you might expect to have to DIY this critical step or else shell out for a professional editor. But in this next section, we’ll take a look at how photo retouching services can help your budget stay slim without sacrificing quality.

Is Photo Retouching Cost-Effective?

In short—yes! Here’s how the right photo retouching services can be both cost and time-efficient for product photography.

1. Efficient and Practical Styling for Studios:

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The cost of product photography styling varies from studio to studio. Whether it’s photographing interiors, products, or architecture, styling is essential. However, styling can increase your budget—even your post-prod budget. The more complex the styling, the more likely it is to introduce issues that need to be fixed in post: unwanted shadows, creases in the garments, elements that need to be removed, etc. With retouching services, you can fix these issues in seconds and get perfectly styled photos without needing to spend big on editing later.

2. Lower return rates

Unlike in physical stores, e-commerce buyers only have product photos to rely on to make their purchasing decisions, so product photos must look as accurate as possible. According to Shopify, over 20% of online purchases are returned, whereas physical retailers have return rates of about 9%. This can majorly impact your bottom line.

Photo retouching services reduce return rates by making sure that your photos look as much like the physical products as possible. That might seem counterintuitive—after all, wouldn’t an undoctored image represent the product best? Not necessarily. Photography isn’t a perfect representation of reality. Due to the lighting, styling, or camera settings, your product photos might turn out looking subtly or dramatically different than the products look in person. Retouching can help restore a realistic appearance. If you’re in the apparel business, you can even use photo retouching services to create ghost mannequin photos, which accurately represent the 3D dimensions of your products without the expense of hiring models. In the e-commerce world, accuracy and transparency are key to satisfying and retaining customers.

3. Brand yourself as a professional

Even subtle adjustments to product photos may significantly impact how attractive they are to customers. Retouching services can make a variety of small but efficient changes like eliminating smudges on your backdrop or smoothing a model’s flyaway hairs, leaving the images cleaner and more polished. Don’t let your brand be damaged by minor flaws when it’s easy and cost-effective to showcase your products at their very best.

But it goes beyond simply fixing flaws. Retouching services can help you quickly brand your photos by making it easy to remove and replace backgrounds, adjust colors, and more. Make your photos pop and customize them for different marketplaces and sales channels with just a few clicks.

All these edits can be done on a small budget. For example, with autoRetouch, the price for fixing one image ranges from $0.13 to $0.65. With the bulk edit feature, costs can be even lower. Compared to hiring professionals, leveraging retouching services offers you more freedom and flexibility at a low cost.

Bottom Line

No matter how you choose to go about retouching your product photos, it’s best to make an informed decision by studying all the available services and avenues. Not every company has the power to hire in-house experts, but that’s okay—you can still build an impressive brand by doing it yourself. Photo retouching services offer an excellent middle ground for small businesses, allowing them to go toe to toe with big retailers in the busy world of e-commerce.

The Ultimate Guide to Shopify Images: Sizing, Optimization, and More!

The Ultimate Guide to Shopify Image Size

Shopify is an incredible platform for e-commerce retailers. With multiple payments and shopping cart options, a variety of pricing plans for retailers of different sizes, and flexible options for sales channels, it’s a great place to launch a business. But to make the most of your Shopify store, you need to make it look irresistible to your customers. No matter what you’re selling, stunning images are a must. 

From gorgeous landing page images to conversion-boosting banners, there are a variety of images you’ll want for your Shopify store. And it’s not only about the aesthetics: you’ll need to consider page load times, zooming functionality, and Shopify compatibility.

This quick easy handbook will tell you everything you need to know about Shopify image sizes, formats, and optimization so you can start selling ASAP.

What is the Best Image Size for Shopify?

First off: there’s no one-size-fits-all golden rule for Shopify images. Shopify requires photos to be at least large enough to work with its zoom-in features—but very large images can slow load times on your Shopify page, potentially reducing the number of visitors who stick around to browse your products. Below, we’ll address the use cases you should consider when building your Shopify store.

General Specs for Product Images

Shopify permits a wide range of image sizes. If you’re a business owner or marketer there, you likely already know you can upload up to 250 images for each featured product. But all the images in the world won’t entice buyers if those images aren’t optimized for the platform.

Here are the general Shopify image size recommendations:

i)     Maximum Size: 4472×4472 pixels

ii)   Minimum Size: 800×800 pixels

iii)   Recommended Square Image Size: 2048×2048 pixels

iv)   File size: Maximum 20 MB

v)    Image Resolution: 72 DPI

Attempting to use images larger than 20 MB will affect the speed and scalability of your store. This could result in increased bounce rates. On the other hand, photos less than 800×800 pixels don’t work with Shopify’s zoom-in functionality. 2048×2048 is the ideal size for both desktop and mobile screens. This size ensures a store that is both attractive and has reasonable load times for most shoppers.

General Specs for Favicons

A favicon is a small icon that appears in the URL bar next to the URL. It might seem trivial, but don’t overlook it—your favicon can go a long way towards creating robust brand awareness. The best image size for favicons on Shopify is 32×32 pixels.

General Specs for Logos

The ideal logo size will depend on your Shopify theme, so be sure to follow the recommendations for your specific theme. For example, the Turbo theme suggests a 400×100-pixel logo image for the main menu and 250×200 pixels for the footer. For site optimization reasons, it’s best not to exceed 450×250 pixels. Square logos with a 1:1 ratio work well with most Shopify themes.

The ideal size for featured images and shop backgrounds, which will be very large in most cases, depends on your theme—so make sure to follow Shopify’s guidance for whatever theme you’ve selected to avoid awkwardly sized images. The best aspect ratio for banners is 16:9, regardless of your theme. Overall, you’ll want to opt for images that are at least 1800×1000 pixels.

General Specs for Shopify Login Page Backgrounds

Have you ever noticed that some Shopify stores have beautiful backgrounds on the login page? It’s a great opportunity to keep your brand in front of customers and make their shopping experience more visually interesting and memorable. These images should be 1600×1000 pixels in size. Keep in mind that the background image size may differ depending on your theme. With image optimization software, you can resize the photos to make them web and mobile compatible.

General Specs for Shopify Slideshow Images

The Shopify slideshow feature lets you display multiple photos and videos that can be swiped through, dragged, and played. When done right, a slideshow can be one of the most eye-catching and engaging features of your store and is the perfect place to use your most glamorous product images. The recommended dimensions for the Shopify slideshow are 1200 to 2000 pixels in width and 400 to 600 pixels in height.

It’s always better to categorize images into different segments to facilitate easy navigation. Shopify gallery photos must not exceed 800×800 pixels.

Which Image Formats Can Be Used on Shopify?

1.    JPEG/JPG

JPG or JPEG formats are widely used in online marketplaces as they boast impressive color quality and small file sizes. It’s also easy to further compress this format if needed. Experts highly recommend JPEGs for seamless loading. However, note that JPEGs are a “lossy” format, meaning that compression will degrade the image quality somewhat. This format cannot support transparency, although it can be made to mimic a transparent image format if the background of the image is set to the same color as the page.

2.    PNG

PNGs are popular among Shopify vendors as they offer more control when it comes to editing the background, colors, and other aspects. PNGs can also be made transparent, unlike JPGs and JPEGs. The only issue with this format is that the image sizes are larger, potentially affecting load times. 

3.    GIF

Did you know you can spice up your Spotify storefront with GIFs? It’s a great way to add liveliness, movement, and even humor to your shop. GIFs can be transparent and are a lossless format, so the quality will not deteriorate with compression.

4.    BMP

BMPs are graphics that are versatile and compatible with both mobile and desktops. Usually, this format is not compressed, so the image quality is excellent. Like most of the formats on this list, BMP supports transparency. A BMP can display monochrome and full-color photos, which allows for different color variations.

5.    TIF/TIFF

TIFF is a high-quality, lossless data compression format, meaning TIFF files can be edited without deteriorating the visual quality. The TIFF format also supports transparency. However, TIFF files are very large and will result in less ideal load times.

Shopify Image Best Practices

Best practices differ from platform to platform, but all Shopify retailers must follow these three rules of image optimization to set up their businesses for success.

Use the same style of thumbnail for all your primary product photos

Thumbnails are a great opportunity to establish your store’s visual style and brand your business. It’s worth investing some time in choosing a style for your thumbnails. Having visually consistent thumbnails and primary images ensures a polished, professional look for your website. This strategy also provides uniformity in search engine results.

More is better for product photos

Just because you have stunning primary images doesn’t mean you’ll have a lot of sales, especially if your shoppers don’t have enough information to feel confident in choosing your products. Confidence increases conversion. It also significantly reduces the rate of returns and exchanges when customers know exactly what they’re buying. Make sure your product photos cover all the angles and details of your product.

Test to optimize

Maybe model photos are more effective at selling your products than flat-lay photography, or maybe images with funky backgrounds get more clicks than those with plain white backdrops. The only way to know what works the best for your brand is by performing split tests. You can try the Neat A/B app to find what gets you more clicks and conversion. Selling successfully online is both an art and a science—so don’t neglect the science side of things, and make sure you’re gathering as much data as possible!

Types of Photo Content for Your Shopify Store

Before you pick up a camera or hire a photographer, make sure you know what kinds of images you need for your website. That way, you can anticipate all your photography needs and expenses upfront and make sure your photo content works together for a polished, consistently branded user experience.  

●     Product-only images are often shot against white or neutral backgrounds. These images mostly appear in search engines and are required by some retailers.

●     Product-in-use images might feature a model twirling in your couture or people drinking the drink you are selling. These types of images convey the value of the product and are a great opportunity to add a human touch.

●     Photographs with text overlay combine the best of two worlds: showing off your products and providing useful information or promotional text. You might use these as social media graphics, sale announcements, and more.

●     Graphics are often used for informational images like size charts, accents or decorations to your site theme, and social media. You can hire professional designers to help with designing graphics or create your own using free tools like Canva.

Conclusion

Starting a Shopify store is easy, but optimizing your images for a perfect user experience is tough to master. But don’t be tempted to skimp on presentation—think of your website’s visuals as akin to decorating a physical store. The environment should be welcoming, enticing, and uniquely branded to draw your customers in and keep them coming back for more. The great news is that it’s not as tough as you might think to build a beautiful website. All you need is the right tools and a willingness to put in the hard work. So what are you waiting for?

8 Post-Processing Secrets from Professional Photographers

The Secrets of Post Processing Revealed For Professional Photography

Every job has its secrets, and photography is no different. Pro photographers might make it look easy to capture dazzling shots, but in reality, there are years of experience and technique behind every picture. Great photography is much more than shutter speeds and aperture settings.

So what makes the difference between your regular old vacation photos and the glamorous travel photos snapped by professional photographers? Even better—what can you learn from them? In this blog, we dive into the post-processing secrets of the pros to find out what makes their photos click.

The 8 Secrets of Professional Post-Processing

1. It takes more than good equipment

Just because the pros have shiny DSLR and mirrorless cameras doesn’t mean they spit golden photos with every click. In the hands of a professional, even a cell phone camera can capture incredible images; conversely, all the good equipment in the world can’t save a poorly composed shot. The real secret to success lies in the photographer’s technique and a skillful hand in the post-processing stage. Remember: without you, the camera is just an arrangement of metal, glass, and plastic.

2. It’s not all about the photos

We tend to believe that photos represent reality—after all, how can an image lie? But if you’ve ever spent an hour trying to find the perfect selfie angle, or fixed a mediocre photo with a snazzy filter, you already know that reality sometimes needs a little sprucing up. Even the pros sometimes rely on movie magic to fix an unflattering or uninteresting photo. What you might not realize is just how much can be done to elevate your photos in the post-processing stage—everything from simple fixes like lighting and color balance to changing or removing backdrops and more. Sometimes what makes a great image isn’t the original image itself, it’s the effort poured into making it great in post-processing.

3. Simplify, simplify

Reducing clutter in your shots is essential to sharpening your focus on the elements that matter. Learn to style, stage, and frame your photographs with a “less is more” approach and don’t overcrowd your subjects. It’ll make your photos cleaner and easier to edit later. 

But wait, what if it’s too late to declutter—the photos have already been taken? In many cases you can fix it in post! Post-processing can include tidying and even completely removing the elements you don’t want, whether it’s flyaway hairs or random objects you thought were out of frame.

4. Taking the right photos saves a lot of time

Okay, so it’s possible to fix a bad photo. But no one likes to spend hours in post-production, trying to save a mediocre image. You’ll save yourself time and improve your photography skills by taking the time to eliminate distractions, practice your composition, perfect the lighting, and take the best photos you can. Why spend hours removing an element in the post-processing stage when you can do it before hitting the shutter? 

Think about taking photos and post-processing as part of the same flow. Investing more time in one area reduces the time you’ll need to take later. Plus, developing an eye for issues that you’ll need to fix in the post will make you a sharper photographer.

5. Establish a workflow for every photo

It’s easy to get carried away in editing one element of your photos, but there are many steps that you should include in the post-processing workflow for each image. Following a checklist will help ensure a balanced and consistent output and prevent you from fixating on any particular issue.

Everyone’s process looks a little different, but these are the 7 core steps any post-processing workflow should include:

  1. Cropping & straightening
  2. Checking white balance
  3. Checking the exposure
  4. Fixing vibrance & saturation
  5. Checking for unintended noise
  6. Adjusting sharpness
  7. Editing the backdrop

6. Don’t overprocess your photos

It’s easy to go overboard with post-processing. Particularly when you’re learning new techniques, you might think you’re fixing a photo when you’re really ruining colors, destroying textures, or spoiling the exposure. Our advice? Make sure to give yourself time to review each photo. Walk away from the monitor and come back with fresh eyes or ask a trusted colleague for their opinion. You might find that you want to make subtler, softer changes that preserve the character of the original image. Remember, post-processing works best when it allows you to draw out the best of your photos, not cover them up. 

7. Don’t bother with watermarks

Everyone loves a time-saver, and this is one post-processing step you can almost certainly skip. Watermarks distract from your images and, in many cases, do not meaningfully protect your work from copyright infringement. These days, it’s possible to remove watermarks with only a few clicks with the right technology. If you’re concerned about the security of your photos, you can get a valid license from the US Copyright Office.

8. You don’t have to do everything yourself

Plugins and editing services can help simplify post-processing by making certain steps in the process easier or even automatic. But if you can do everything yourself in Photoshop, why bother? Simply put, time is money, which is why the pros consider it a smart investment. Why go through the hassle of editing countless images when an editing service could do many of the edits in bulk in minutes? Plugins and integrations can help you get value for time and money by accelerating the editing process. After all, the time you can spend investing in other areas of your business is time well spent.

Bottom Line

You might not be a pro photographer, but the great news is that you don’t need to be—you can still benefit from the same post-processing magic that the professionals do, all while brushing up on your photography skills. With a good eye and a willingness to practice, you can be well on your way to capturing eye-catching, highly marketable images with your own two hands.

All You Need to Know About Ghost Mannequin Product Photography

all you need to know about ghost mannequin product photography

If you’re in the online apparel business, you know how challenging it can be to portray how a product fits. Customers want to know what your products will look like when worn, not when lying flat—but hiring a model for all your product photos can be cost-prohibitive. Fortunately, you have options! Today, we’ll show you everything you need to know about a new alternative to model photos: the ghost mannequin effect

What is the Ghost Mannequin Effect?

The ghost mannequin effect is a powerful post-production technique for apparel photography. This technique involves editing together photos of the interior and exterior of your garment and removing all traces of the model or mannequin, leaving behind a photo that perfectly represents how your product fits in 3D.

Flat-lay apparel photos can discourage buyers because they fail to represent the full dimensions of your products. 3D silhouettes can accelerate your sales by allowing your customers to imagine themselves in the clothes and feel more confident in their purchases.

Ghost mannequin photos can be hard to reproduce, especially for non-professional editors. But it just might be easier than you think, and currently, there are great tools out there to help you spruce up your product photos without breaking the bank.

Benefits of Ghost Mannequin Product Photography

Ghost mannequins have a number of advantages for fashion retailers.

  1. Cost-Efficient

Mannequin photography is much cheaper than hiring a model, which means you can get gorgeous product images and invest in other areas of your business.

  1. Clarity and Transparency

Your customers want to be sure that what they see is what they’ll get, and ghost mannequins are perfect for showing the shape, style, and drape of each garment. When your customers can make informed and confident purchases, they’ll be happy to come back for more. 

  1. Consistency

Ghost mannequin photos give your e-store a consistent, uniform look, which in turn makes your products look professional and polished for potential buyers. Visual consistency helps your customers trust that no matter what they purchase, they’ll receive a quality product.

  1. Competitive Edge

An e-store full of consistent, eye-catching product photos won’t just entice your customers—it’s also a professional advantage over businesses with flat, uninteresting photos that don’t show off their products to their full effect. Ghost mannequin photography will put you a cut above the rest.

Ghost Mannequin Photography Setup Guide

Here’s how professional product photographers jump into the process.

1. Choose a Model or Mannequin

If you choose to work with a model, their style and pose must be minimal, with hair tied up. This will simplify the editing process later. Make sure the model keeps a static, balanced pose.

For ghost mannequin photography, it’s always best to work with white or transparent mannequins as they easily blend with the background. In some cases, dress forms work better to accentuate the details and shape of the apparel. Try matte white mannequins, as they are non-reflective and make the editing process easier.

Pro tip: Use mannequins with removable parts for maximum customization.

2. Setup Process

Ghost mannequin photography requires good studio lighting. Low-quality lighting will make it difficult to achieve the desired effect, even in post-production. Make sure your studio has adequate photography lights, reflectors, and umbrellas. 

Remember, you want your mannequins to be styled elegantly, so make sure you have all the essentials for making your clothes look crisp—clips, hangers, styling pins, and busts are a must. No one will rush to check out if the apparel on their screen looks saggy or wrinkled.

Choose a camera with a telephoto lens to minimize distortion and capture tiny details. Don’t forget your tripod for stable pictures!

Pro Tip: Ensure all images have the same lighting for consistency and ease of post-production editing.

3. Photographing the Outfit

After gathering your equipment, it’s time to shoot your products. Remember not to photograph the outfit from too high or too low an angle, as it can be unflattering. Pros generally take product photos from chest height. 

To create a 3D effect, follow these steps:

  1. First, capture the front and back view of the outfit on the model or mannequin.
  2. Next, turn each garment inside out. Style and hang each garment on a foam board and photograph the front and back again. These board shots illustrate the interior of the garment when merging the images.
  3. For collared shirts or dresses, make sure the collar is open and the inner lining is clearly visible.

What to Avoid

For Product Shots

  1. Hands or props blocking the camera’s view of the attire
  2. Uneven or asymmetrical poses
  3. Overlapping fabrics

For Inlay Shots

  1. Uneven, non-uniform neckline (for tops)
  2. Cropped or uneven waistline (for bottoms)
  3. Cropped margins in the images

Editing and Automation Options for Ghost Mannequin Photography

Generating ghost mannequins in Photoshop can be intimidatingly complex, especially for new photographers. Fortunately, you don’t need to do it alone. Tools like autoRetouch can take the hassle out of the editing process—and autoRetouch offers the world’s first AI-enabled ghost mannequin generator! All you have to do is upload your images, and you’ll have web-ready photos in a few minutes. 

This is how the autoRetouch algorithm generates automatic ghost mannequins:

  1. First, the background is removed from the original photo and inlay image.
  2. Next, the product and inlay images are combined.
  3. The inlay seam is camouflaged to add a 3D effect and a shadow effect is added with the image depth.
  4. Lastly, files are exported in PSD or PNG format.

Using tools like autoRetouch, you can generate your own ghost mannequins without hiring professionals or spending hours on editing. The flexible pricing options also ensure that nothing cuts into your profits.

Pro Tip: Keep the file size under 50 MB for best results.

Best Practices for Automated Ghost Mannequin Product Photography

Ghost mannequin photography might seem challenging from the outside—but with this guide in hand, it doesn’t have to be a mystery. With the right equipment and tools in your pocket, you can start creating your own ghost mannequin images and polish up your online presence right away.  Before you go, here’s a quick checklist of ways to make sure your ghost mannequin photos stand out from the crowd.

  1. Use a white or gray backdrop.
  2. Make sure all garments are free of creases and wrinkles.
  3. Style your outfits elegantly. Hide buttons, fix collars, and let laces lie naturally.
  4. Place the garment symmetrically on the model or mannequin.
  5. Hold the product taut and straight when capturing the inlay images.
  6. Make sure nothing obstructs the outfit.
  7. Use an editing tool like autoRetouch to quickly and easily combine and polish your product images!

Product Photo Checklist: 10 Ways to Perfect eCommerce Product Images

Did you know more than the majority of e-commerce shoppers consider product photos to be ‘extremely’ influential in their purchasing decision? In fact, product photos were ranked as more important than product descriptions, specs, and even ratings or reviews. In e-commerce, seeing is believing.

But there’s an art to the perfect product photo—and just as a good photo can sell your product more effectively than almost anything else, a bad photo can turn potential customers off. Careful editing brings out the best in your photos and helps your products shine in the busy, crowded world of e-commerce. Whether you’re an e-commerce specialist or a photographer, this image editing checklist will help you create irresistible, attention-grabbing product photos. 

First Steps for Perfect Editing

Shoot in RAW

The editing process is always more straightforward when using RAW photos. Why? Because RAW files contain more data and are of higher quality, it’s easier and more efficient to make adjustments. Editing JPEGs results in some damage to the original file, but RAW files can be edited without reducing the quality of the images.

Start with a thorough plan

Any project should begin with a well-rounded, detailed roadmap, and product photography is no different. Here are the things you should do before ever picking up your camera:

  • Define all the kinds of product photos your website needs
  • Identify the kinds of imagery that your audience finds enticing
  • Research current trends and take styling tips from successful product photography
  • Make sure you have all the necessary equipment like a lighting kit, LED ring flash, backdrops, clamps, pins, etc.
  • Choose an editor

The 10 Step Checklist for Perfect E-Commerce Image Editing

1. Choose your best photos

Not every image we capture is destined for greatness, and when it comes to e-commerce, you only want the best photos to represent your products. Cull your photos with an editor’s mindset, knowing that only a few will make the cut. Don’t know how to narrow down your images? Start by cutting out photos with anything less than razor-sharp focus.

Once you have your best photos in hand, it’s time to start editing!

2. Lens correction and straightening the horizon

Start the editing process with lens correction. This step is crucial if you use wide-angle lenses to shoot your product photos. Lens correction can help to correct chromatic aberration if images near the horizon have green or purple hues.

Make sure to straighten any tilted photos.

3. Color correction

Color correction is a challenging but mandatory step for image retouching. If your store has products of different colors with the same pattern or design, you can apply the recoloring feature to the RAW images. This time-saving step allows you to represent your whole catalog of colors without photographing each individual product.

The color correction feature also helps to enhance color tone, vibrancy, contrast, saturation, and more. However, the images after correction should always be representative of the products in real-life transparency will lead to trust and retention with your customers.

4. Remove intrusive elements with background removal

Background removal eliminates distracting or unwanted elements in the background of your photos. Backdrops can be replaced to make your product images look more consistent. You can also remove loose threads, flyaway hair, etc., for a polished look. AI-enabled software like autoRetouch offers automatic background removal and customization. To make the backdrop removal process hassle-free, we recommend placing the product against white cloth or sheets.

5. Fix imperfections

Imperfections can come in many forms, from blemishes on your model’s skin to specks of dust in the background. However, that doesn’t mean the photos must be discarded: today’s editing tools have mind-blowing corrective features, and these issues can be solved in seconds.

6. Creating depth with shadows

Without shadows, products may look unrealistic, but not all shadows are visually appealing. For example, shadows falling on the model’s face should be removed in the editing process. On the other hand, shadows cast by the model will give more depth to your photos. Viewers may not consciously notice the shadows, but they provide a sense of the 3D geometry of the item.

7. Choose cropping dimensions

Many editors skip this step, but it’s one of the essentials in editing product photography. On the bright side, it’s also simple and quick. Cropping removes the unwanted areas of the photo and brings more focus to the subject, letting you hone in on what’s relevant. Cropping usually only takes a few seconds.

8. Create 3D product photos

2D photos are flatter and less representative of the true dimensions of the products being sold, while 3D or 360° images can be very appealing to shoppers. 3D images are actually made up of a bunch of composited pictures taken from different angles. We recommend using Adobe Bridge to generate professional-looking 3D photos. This helps customers get a tangible sense of your product.

9. Remove the mannequins

Mannequins are a great way to display clothes and apparel, but they can be visually distracting as well. Keep the focus on your products by removing the mannequins from your photos. This can be a tedious task, but tools like autoRetouch automatically remove the dummy from apparel with the ghost mannequin feature.

10. Bulk edit your images

Selling products online means dealing with tons of product pictures at once, and making your photos consistent can be tedious and difficult. Fortunately, today’s dynamic AI-powered software allows stock or bulk photo editing, applying the same effects to 100+ images at once. Online shoppers are inclined to trust websites with visual uniformity in pictures, and batch editing helps your photos look professional and legitimate.

Bottom Line

Competition in the e-commerce world can be intense—and having exemplary images keeps you a step ahead of the rest. This 10-step checklist can help you delight your customers and create a powerful, appealing visual presence for your products.

Tips & Tricks to Ace Ghost Mannequin Product Photography

Ghost Mannequin Product Photography

When it comes to selling clothes online, the conventional methods don’t cut it anymore. Smart sellers are constantly innovating, seeking the latest strategies for crafting a brand identity that stands out from the crowd. If you’re in search of an enticing new way to represent your apparel to shoppers, the ghost mannequin effect might be just what you’re looking for.

If you’re not already familiar with the ghost mannequin effect, it’s a technique that involves photographing apparel on a model or mannequin, then erasing the mannequin to produce sophisticated, realistic 3D product images. It can be tricky for beginners since it requires some advanced photography and editing skills, but never fear—this guide is designed to help you master the art of ghost mannequin photography. 

Tips to Ace Ghost Mannequin Photography

1. Choose the Perfect Fit and Pose

Whether you’re working with a model or a mannequin, you want your garments to look runway-ready. Make sure your garments fit as well as possible (though don’t worry if it’s not picture-perfect—we’ll cover tips for perfecting your fit in step 4!). 

Resist the urge to give your mannequin or model a natural or relaxed pose. Uneven, comfortable poses don’t work well for ghost mannequin photography—everything must be symmetrical, taut, and stable for the best results.

Pro Tip:

i) Select mannequins with removable arms and shoulders for a better, more customizable shape.

ii) If a garment has sleeves, make sure they drape downwards.

2. Choose the Right Camera and Equipment

You can try out ghost mannequin photos with almost any camera, but if you’re looking for that extra polish, here’s what experts in the industry recommend:

i) Canon 6D Mark II –- suitable for all kinds of product pictures.

ii) Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens – for taking pictures without distortions.

iii)  Well-built tripod to ensure the stability of the camera.

Optimal lighting will be soft and evenly distributed. It must be sufficient to create a depth of field on your products.

For the background, it’s always best to go with a plain white backdrop. Unlike colorful or complex backgrounds, white backdrops are easy to erase in the post-production stage.

Pro Tip:

i) Do not place your mannequin or model too close to the backdrop, as it will create harsh shadows.

ii) Conduct a test photo session to ensure the lighting is even.

iii) For best results, use the following camera settings:

  • ISO:100
  • Aperture: f/8
  • Shutter Speed: 1/125
  • Flash Power: 3.0
  • White Balance- Auto

3. Shoot for Symmetry

When capturing ghost mannequin photos, symmetry is your best friend to ensure an easy editing process later. This is easiest when photographing from shoulder height, as other angles can be unflattering or distorted—not what you want when introducing potential customers to your apparel!

It’s difficult to measure exact symmetry with the naked eye, so use the grid overlay on your camera to make sure that the hems and other lines of your garment are straight. 

4. Stock the Studio and Accessorize 

Not every garment will fit your mannequin perfectly—but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a less-than-perfect photo. Make sure you have plenty of pins and clips on hand and use them to style your apparel. You can clip up the back and armpit areas of your garments to make them look sleeker. However, try to avoid pulling the outfit too taut as it will emphasize the shape of the mannequin instead of the apparel. Try the following tips to further level up your style game:

● Use crepe paper to stuff areas that need to be emphasized or shaped.

● Add belts, scarves, jewelry, etc. to make your mannequin’s style pop.

5. Take Your Best Shot

When shooting shirts or dresses with collars, ensure the camera is at the garment’s chest height. For bottoms, position the camera at hip height to capture pants, skirts, shoes, etc. 

Make sure to keep your camera steady with a tripod to avoid odd angles. Photographing your attire at an angle will cause the garment to look tapered, which will make it very challenging to edit the photos together properly later.

Don’t forget to rotate the mannequin and take pictures from different angles. You want to capture the back and front of the garment, but you’ll also want detail shots of the fabric, lining, zippers or buttons, and other standout elements of your apparel. Remember, customers want to shop with confidence, and detailed product photos help them choose your apparel over the competition.

Pro Tip:

Use a telephoto lens to reduce distortions and capture intricate details.

Why Choose Ghost Mannequin Photography?

By now you might be thinking This sounds like a lot of work. Why go to the trouble of mastering ghost mannequin photos when you could hire a model or choose a simpler approach to capturing your apparel, such as flat-lay photography? It’s a good question—as a business owner, you want to choose the most effective and cost-efficient approach. Here are a few reasons why ghost mannequin photography is worth the investment.

  1. Clarity and Focus

Don’t let anything distract from your products—even the best model can steal the focus from your attire. Meanwhile, flat-lay photos don’t capture how your garments fit, so they aren’t as helpful or representative for customers. Ghost mannequin photos are the best of both worlds, placing the focus on your products while representing their shape and style on the human form. 

  1. Increased Professionalism

Make it as easy as possible for customers to have faith in your brand. Using 3D images that fully capture the fit of your garment makes your products look compelling and trustworthy. The sleek ghost mannequin effect looks sleek and modern and emphasizes your professionalism. 

  1. Consistency

Ghost mannequin images remove the inconsistencies that can come with model photos and create a uniform visual style regardless of the style or type of garment being photographed, helping you brand your e-store across all your products. 

  1. Time & Budget Efficiency

Although it requires some investment upfront, the process for creating ghost mannequin photos can be streamlined to make it just as efficient as other types of product photography. And when it comes to your editing budget, there are some great options available to keep time and costs down, like autoRetouch’s ghost mannequin tool, which can automate the entire post-production stage and generate finished images in just a few minutes.

Bottom Line:

Impressing your customers with high-quality images is essential to capturing their attention in the online space, and ghost mannequin photos are both striking and beautifully detailed. There’s no better way to represent your apparel online

Like everything else, ghost mannequin photography requires practice. Start by ordering a good-quality mannequin and play around with the basics until you feel confident in taking the next steps. Ultimately, ghost mannequin photos are a cost-effective and exciting way to promote your products.