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The Vocabulary of Post-Production: Your Product Image Retouching Glossary


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To get your product photos edited professionally, you need to be able to communicate your retouching needs. Retouching terminology is an equal blend of what you might hear in-studio on a product photography set, see on-screen using Photoshop, and (thankfully!) natural language.

Learning the lexicon does more than make you conversational with your colleagues; it gives you a foundational understanding of what post-production can actually do for your images.

Table of Contents

  1. Apparel Retouching
    1. 3D Mannequin / Ghost Mannequin / Invisible Mannequin
    2. 3D Spin
    3. Camera Proximity Compensation
    4. Color Cast Removal
    5. Crease Reduction
    6. Crease Removal
    7. Fill in See-Through Garments
    8. Garment Cleanup
    9. Leather Mark Removal
    10. Match Height of Product Set
    11. Match Shape Collar
    12. Match Shape Hemline
    13. Match Shape Sleeve Cuff
    14. Match Shape Trouser Cuff
    15. Match Shape Waistband
    16. Match Shape with Silhouette
    17. Matching Shape of Back with Front
    18. Remove Creases from Misfit
    19. Remove Creases from Packaging
    20. Remove Creases from Styling
    21. Remove Garment Imprints
    22. Remove On-Body Imprints
    23. Shape Enhancement
    24. Sleeve Close to Body
    25. Symmetry
  2. Footwear Retouching
    1. Shoes Cleanup
    2. Shoes Fix Lacing
    3. Shoes Flip
    4. Shoes Remove Leather Marks
    5. Shoes Remove Origin
    6. Shoes Remove Size Numbers Inside
    7. Shoes Remove Size Numbers Sole
    8. Shoes Remove Tags Under Strap
  3. Furniture Retouching
    1. Furniture Cleanup
    2. Furniture Crease Reduction
    3. Furniture Recreate Missing Parts
    4. Furniture Remove Color Cast
    5. Furniture Remove Extra Objects
    6. Furniture Straighten Edge Lines
  4. General Retouching
    1. Background Retouch
    2. Background Removal
    3. Background Replacement
    4. Clipping Path
    5. Cosmetic Reflection Removal
    6. Cosmetic Straighten Edge Lines
    7. Color Correction
    8. Color Matching
    9. Color Profile
    10. Compression
    11. Create Cast Shadow
    12. Crop
    13. DPI
    14. Drop Shadow
    15. File Type
    16. Keep Original Cast Shadow
    17. Keep Original Reflection Shadow
    18. Layer Masks
    19. Margins
    20. Natural Shadow
    21. Alignment
    22. Progressive JPEG
    23. Recoloring
    24. Reflection Shadow
    25. Size Formats
    26. sRGB
  5. Jewelry
    1. Jewelry Gold Color
    2. Jewelry Polish Levels
    3. Jewelry Remove Color Cast
    4. Jewelry Retouch Cleanup
    5. Jewelry Silver Color
  6. Model
    1. Model Cleanup
    2. Model Even Skin Tone
    3. Model Remove All Moles
    4. Model Remove Big Moles
    5. Model Remove Blemishes
    6. Model Remove Bruises
    7. Model Remove Eye Bags
    8. Model Remove Fat On Swimwear
    9. Model Reduce Baby Hair
    10. Model Remove Flyaway Hair
    11. Model Control Fuzzy Hair
    12. Model Remove Marks
    13. Model Remove Tattoos
    14. Model Remove Wrinkle

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Apparel Retouching

3D Mannequin / Ghost Mannequin / Invisible Mannequin

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An “invisible mannequin,” aka “ghost mannequin” or “3D mannequin,” is a retouching technique that combines two or more product images to remove a mannequin or model in post-production. The result is a product that has a natural shape like it’s being worn, without the distraction of a body.

Learn more: Invisible Mannequin Photography: Increase Apparel Sales With This Post-Production Technique, Ghost Mannequin Photography: Use this 3D Effect to Sell More

Related terms: Match Shape Collar / Hemline / Sleeve Cuff / Trouser Cuff / Waistband

3D Spin

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A 3D spin is an animated viewing method where a product turns in place to give the viewer a complete 360 degree look at the product. Spins can be shown as a series of images in a carousel, as animated gifs, or even be in video form. When combining still product images to create a 3D spin, you generally want to use no less than 24 images. When retouching images for a 3D spin, consistency is an extreme focus. You want the spin to feel like a single instance, like the viewer is moving the product in front of them in real time, and inconsistencies between images can ruin the effect.

Learn more: How to Use a Start-Stop Turntable for Product Images and Videos by Arqspin.com

Related terms: Camera Proximity Compensation

Camera Proximity Compensation

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Camera Proximity Compensation is a retouching technique that creates consistency in a series of images intended for a 3D spin. When you’re photographing an image for a 3D spin, if your product isn’t a perfect circle then in some shots it will be closer to the camera than others. That can mean problems with alignment, odd perspectives, and irregular shadows. Compensating for distance creates a smoother final product image.

Related terms: 3D Spin

Color Cast Removal

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Lights have color. “Color Cast” is an undesirable tinting of the color of your product due to lighting conditions. You can prevent color cast during product photography with properly configured white balance settings and a grey card, but if mistakes are made you can remove color cast in post-production.

Learn more: Need Accurate Color?: Let Grey Cards and White Balancing Come to Your Rescue!

Related terms: Color Correction, Color Matching

Crease Reduction

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Creases are the bane of stylists, product photographers, and retouchers everywhere. Not all creases are bad: pleats are almost like intentional creases, and a few folds can look natural. Sometimes it’s better to reduce creases in post-production rather than to remove all creases outright.

Related terms: Remove Creases from Mannequins / Misfit / Packaging / Styling

Crease Removal

Creases are here to haunt you. Samples pick up creases when being shipped, stored, and styled. You can empty the reservoir on your steam wand over and over, and some creases and wrinkles will still show up when photographed. Removing them in post-production is like having fail-safe digital ironing.

Related Terms: Crease Reduction, Remove Creases from Mannequins / Misfit / Packaging / Styling

Fill In See-Through Garments

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The powerful lighting used in product photography can make fabric appear more thin than it actually is. Areas that aren’t backed by a body can appear see-through, like a thigh gap for shirt hemlines that extend mid-thigh. Retouching can fill in areas where garments appear see-through.

Related terms: Remove On-Body Imprints

Garment Cleanup

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Apparel picks up unwanted passengers en route to its photoshoot, like string, lint, dirt, and styling pins. Retouching can remove unsightly artifacts from product images.

Learn more: Prepare Your Products For a Photoshoot Like a Pro

Leather Mark Removal

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Leather is a wonderful material that shows signs of use quickly. That’s not a problem for your old familiar favorite leather belt or jacket, but it keeps your product from looking new in product photos. Retouching can smooth away leather marks, crinkles, wrinkles, etc.

Match Height of Product Set

It’s a best practice to provide images of your product from a variety of angles, along with detail shots. Taking shots from straight-on, 45 degree angles, and side-on will move the product out of alignment within the frame of your camera. In post-production, you should pick a key point on your product and align all shots on that point to match the height of your product set. For example, the bottom sole of a shoe, the collar of a shirt, or the top of a bag (not its handle).

Match Shape Collar

It’s a best practice to maintain consistent collar shape across apparel product images. You can style for a specific shape, but samples have difficulty retaining perfect shape, so retouching in post-production will ensure consistency. The three most common collar shapes for shirts and jackets are curved in, curved out, and straight.

Related terms: Invisible Mannequin, Match Shape Hemline / Sleeve Cuff / Trouser Cuff / Waistband

Match Shape Hemline

Details determine quality. Maintaining a consistent hemline for apparel top product images creates a clean, professional presentation on product pages. Much like with collars and cuffs, the most common hemline shapes are curved in, curved out, and straight.

Related terms: Match Shape Collar / Sleeve Cuff / Trouser Cuff / Waistband

Match Shape Sleeve Cuff

Sleeve cuffs are difficult to style consistently, whether it’s a sweater, dress shirt, jacket, or coat. Retouching cuffs in post-production allows you to present a consistent style: curved in, curved out, or straight.

Related terms: Match Shape Collar / Hemline / Trouser Cuff / Waistband

Match Shape Trouser Cuff

Varied lengths for both mannequins and trousers can lead to irregularities in the shape of trouser cuffs. A best practice is to select a desired shape for all pant cuffs and then retouch your product images to have a consistent look: curved in, curved out, or straight.

Related terms: Match Shape Collar / Hemline / Sleeve Cuff / Waistband

Match Shape Waistband

A structured waistband gives pants, boxers, and other bottoms a full shape like they’re being worn. It’s a good practice to combine the invisible mannequin technique with shape matching, so that the customer can see both the front and rear waistband of your product. Since your waistband will be seen, use retouching to create a consistent shape: curved in, curved out, or straight.

Related terms: Invisible Mannequin, Match Shape Collar / Hemline / Sleeve Cuff / Trouser Cuff

Match Shape with Silhouette

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If you want to create extremely consistent shape for product images within a series or category, you can use a silhouette. An apparel shape silhouette is made by retouching a single image into your ideal shape, then using that shape as an overlay on related products. All images are then retouched into that shape.

Matching Shape of Back with Front

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The first image you present your customer of a product, the hero, is pretty much always the straight-ahead front shot. The second product image for most apparel products is the back; to create a smooth transition, you should match the shape of your front and back. Retouching simplifies the process.

Remove Creases from Misfit

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The irregularities of sample sizing can lead to wrinkles and creasing from an imperfect fit. For example, it’s pretty common for there to be creasing in the armpit and shoulder areas of unretouched shirt product photos. Retouching can remove creases caused by poor fit.

Related terms: Remove Creases from Mannequins / Packaging / Styling

Remove Creases from Packaging

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Samples spend a lot of time in transit: being shipped from the factory, sitting on warehouse shelves, on the road with sales reps to visit retailers, even sitting in the studio. That means packaging creases, deeply pressed and hard to remove with a steam wand or iron. Retouching can remove creases from packaging.

Learn more: 17 Before and After Examples of How Leading Brands Use Advanced Retouching

Related terms: Remove Creases from Mannequins / Misfit / Styling

Remove Creases from Styling

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Styling for product photography involves a lot of pin-and-tucking kung-fu. Sometimes creases are caused intentionally, with the expectation that they’ll be removed in post-production. For example, if a shirt sleeve or trouser leg is too long and doesn’t strike the model or mannequin where desired, a stylist may fold up and pin excess fabric. Those creases caused by styling can then be removed by retouchers.

Related terms: Remove Creases from Mannequins / Misfit / Packaging

Remove Garment Imprints

Tags and hangers can imprint on apparel fabric in ways that are difficult for a stylist to remove. Retouching allows smoothing of your product image to remove garment imprints.

Related terms: Remove On-Body Imprints

Remove On-Body Imprints

Sheer and tight fitting fabrics can reveal the model or mannequin beneath them in a distracting manner. Retouching can remove imprints like nipples, underwear, and mannequin seams from your product images.

Related terms: Remove Garment Imprints

Shape Enhancement

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Apparel “shape enhancement” is a post-production technique that helps fit a garment to the wearer, whether that’s a model or mannequin. In this context, shape mostly refers to things that stick out: bunching, shoulder nipples from hangers, gathering at the waist where tucked in, hem and cuff flaring, etc.

Related terms: Match Shape with Silhouette

Sleeve Close to Body

It’s desirable to keep sleeves close to the body for some products and methods of styling. If that’s your brand’s style, it’s important to maintain consistency or you’ll create a distracting shot. If one sleeve is farther from the body than the other, it will create a gap that tricks the eye into thinking sleeves are a different length.

Related terms: Symmetry

Symmetry

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Symmetry is a key indicator of beauty to the human eye. Samples often have imperfections that are revealed by studio lighting and DSLR cameras, and it’s hard to style symmetrically on a moving body or mannequin. If you have a symmetrical product, like most apparel, identify the y-axis at the center of your product and retouch to align key points like collars, shoulders, armpits, cuffs, and hems. Keep limbs equidistant from the body, whether that’s arms in shirt sleeves or legs in trousers.

Learn more: 17 Before and After Examples of How Leading Brands Use Advanced Retouching

Related terms: Sleeve Close to Body

Footwear Retouching

Shoes Cleanup

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Footwear quickly loses its brand-new feel. Scuff marks, scrapes, dirt, and glue where the sole is bonded to the rest of the shoe don’t belong in your photo. Retouching can clean up your shoes and remove unsightly marks from your footwear product images.

Shoes Fix Lacing

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Keeping shoes neatly laced will keep the focus on your footwear. If shoes aren’t completely tied, are laced out of order, or are simply loose, your product image can be fixed in post-production.

Shoes Flip

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Flipping shoe direction in post-production can give customers a new perspective on your shoes without requiring additional shots. Flipping is a simple post-production process that’s easy to tack on to existing workflows.

Shoes Remove Leather Marks

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Leather shows signs of wear quickly. In footwear, areas like the bridge of a shoe will wrinkle and crack the first time a foot bends. Retouching away leather marks in post-production will give your footwear product image a brand-new feel.

Shoes Remove Origin

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Footwear origin labels can be distracting; you want your customer to focus on the design, not a printed “Made in X_Country” on the interior. Remove origin imprints in post-production for more professional product images.

Shoes Remove Size Numbers Inside

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Organization is essential to keeping a photoshoot moving smoothly at speed. Tags like size stickers reduce error, and may appear in a product photo with the understanding they’ll be removed in post-production. If you typically remove size numbers during a shot, they may still occasionally sneak in. Retouching can remove size stickers, regardless of where they appear.

Shoes Remove Size Numbers Sole

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The sample shoes you photograph may have size marks on the sole. You want to use the same shot on your website regardless of size, so removing size numbers in post-production will make your product photo more universal.

Shoes Remove Tags Under Strap

Shoe tags are often found under a strap or inside the shoe attached to the tongue. That may keep unsightly product information tucked away while worn, but it appears in product images. Retouching will remove distracting information that isn’t universal.

Furniture Retouching

Furniture Cleanup

Furniture is difficult to produce, pack, and handle safely, and samples inevitably suffer some visible damage. Retouching furniture product images allows you to show your customer what a new product actually looks like, as opposed to a sample that has suffered from a spill or rough handling in the warehouse. Furniture cleanup is a blanket retouching term for repairing rips, scuffs, dings, and other marks to couches, chairs, desks, cabinets, etc. in post-production.

Furniture Crease Reduction

Furniture like couches may show creasing from unevenly stuffed cushions and pillow cases. Retouching away furniture creases keeps the focus on the overall design, rather than distracting shadows from covers.

Furniture Recreate Missing Parts

You may be unfortunate enough to have portions of your furniture obscured by props or cut off by the camera frame. This most commonly happens if you’re operating a marketplace or other site where you deal with user uploaded product photos, and therefore have amateur photographers facing space limitations. Missing furniture parts can be recreated in post-production to provide a more saleable product image.

Furniture Remove Color Cast

Light has color, and if you don’t properly set your camera’s white balance and use a grey card, you will end up with color cast. For example, if you shoot with tungsten lights on a camera configured for natural sunlight, your product will have warmer colors (be more yellow) than it should. You can correct color cast for furniture product images in post-production.

Learn more: Need Accurate Color?: Let Grey Cards and White Balancing Come to Your Rescue!

Related terms: Color Correction

Furniture Remove Extra Objects

Particularly when dealing with user uploaded product photos, many furniture product images are cluttered with unnecessary props. Remove extra objects from furniture product images in post-productions to present a cleaner, less distracting, more professional photo of your furniture.

Furniture Straighten Edge Lines

Furniture’s large size, which may vary widely from piece to piece, and defined edges can be difficult to photograph with straight lines. Post-production can straighten edge lines to increase consistency in the presentation of your product imagery, as well as clean up unwanted bumps and depressions in product edges (like sunken cushions or dinged corners).

General Retouching

Background Retouch

There’s a growing trend to keep studio backgrounds in product images. Keeping the original background can help to create a consistent, realistic feel while also differentiating you from competitors. Cleaning up your background in post-production in this scenario means retouching away dirt, seams, unwanted props, and other unsightly parts of the background. Areas that are covered by props can be recreated.

Background Removal

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Removing the background from product images is one of the most productive and common product image edits. Clipping out the studio removes distractions, minimizes file size, and creates extremely consistent product images. If you desire transparency, removeing the background enables transparent PNGs. Pixelz actually began as “Remove The Background,” before expanding into more sophisticated retouching.

Background Replacement

Background replacement is a post-production technique that has a variety of uses. The most common replacement is to remove the background and replace it entirely with a white background. That saves space, removes distractions, and follows popular marketplace guidelines, like Amazon and eBay. You can also replace product image backgrounds with other colors or images; for example, take a photo of a car in your auto dealership’s lot and then place it on a background where it’s on a street by the beach.

Clipping Path

A clipping path is a line traced around the edges of your product image, usually done with the pen tool in Photoshop. Clipping paths allow you to textwrap around your product, useful for graphic designers, or to easily remove the image from its background at a later time.

Learn more: Choose the best Clipping Path Service

Related terms: Layer Masks, Background Removal

Cosmetic Reflection Removal

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Cosmetics and other beauty products often involve reflective surfaces like hard plastics and glass. Removing reflections from cosmetic product images in post-production will reduce distractions and keep the focus on your product.

Cosmetic Straighten Edge Lines

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If your cosmetic product isn’t perfectly balanced or if packaging has started to show signs of wear, you can straighten edge lines in post-production. Straightening edge lines in your product image will give your product a full and brand new look.

Color Correction

Sometimes color isn’t captured accurately during product photography. A bad exposure, inaccurate white balance, or noise from ISO turned up too high can create problems. Color correction is the process of restoring true color during post-production. Color correcting your product images is a good way to reduce returns; you don’t want a customer to be surprised by the brightness or dullness of their purchase when they open the package on an order.

Learn more: How to Color Match and Recolor a Product Image, Need Accurate Color?: Let Grey Cards and White Balancing Come to Your Rescue!

Related terms: Color Cast, Color Matching, Recoloring

Color Matching

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Color matching is sometimes used interchangeably with “color correction,” which provides a pretty strong clue to its purpose. Sometimes the color of a product in a product image is inaccurate, either because of photography challenges or because the sample itself was inaccurate.

Color matching is the process of retouching your images to ensure the color in your product images matches the actual product as closely as possible. The most popular and effective ways to color match are to either (1) provide an accurate sample image in the desired color and then match all related images to the sample, or (2) identify the desired color by a standard like Pantone and then match images to that color.

Learn more: How to Color Match and Recolor a Product Image, Need Accurate Color?: Let Grey Cards and White Balancing Come to Your Rescue!

Related terms: Color Cast, Color Correction, Recoloring

Color Profile

Color in images is defined according to the color profile you set. The three color profiles most relevant to product photography are sRGB, Adobe RGB, and CMYK. sRGB is a subset of the full RGB color space, and is the best choice for online product images. It’s the default color space of browsers and most web connected devices, so using sRGB ensures consistently accurate presentation.

Adobe RGB has more possible colors and produces more vibrant images, but most devices can’t display the full range of colors and will try their best to convert to sRGB--often poorly. For that reason, Adobe RGB should only be used for print and not for the web. CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black, as opposed to red, green, blue) is a color profile specifically developed for print, and should not be used for e-commerce images on the web.

Learn more: The Zen of sRGB Color Space

Related terms: sRGB

Compression

Product images are usually captured in RAW format, or as large multi-megapixel JPG files. Compressing your product images into the right size JPG or PNG can make a big impact on the success of your product pages. Pages that load faster convert at higher rates, and many customers will leave pages that take more than two or three seconds to load. The bulk of data being loaded on an e-commerce category page is imagery, so if you can reduce image byte size you can significantly increase your page speed.

Learn more: Improve Conversions and Page Speed with Product Image

Related terms: Progressive JPEG

Create Cast Shadow

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In product photography, cast shadow is a shadow on the opposite side of the light source. For cast shadows, you can easily distinguish the direction of the light source and the shadow retains the shape of the object. They’re usually fairly dark and have defined edges. Creating a cast shadow in post-production can give your product images more depth by grounding them in your image.

Related terms: Natural Shadow, Drop Shadow, Reflection Shadow

Crop

How you crop your product images is closely related to your desired size format. There’s really two parts to cropping: the shape, and the framing of your product. The shape is either set by ratio or exact pixels, with common ratios being square, 2:3, 3:2, and 4:3. The framing of your product refers to the placement of your product within the shape. For some product images, like apparel on-model, you may wish to crop at a specific spot on the model: below the eyes, at the waist, at mid-thigh, etc.

DPI

DPI stands for “Dots per Inch,” and is a literal measure of printer dots per inch for printed materials. The higher the DPI when printed, the more defined the image will be. You may have heard that 72 DPI is good for the web, or 300 DPI, but in reality the DPI setting for product images on the web is irrelevant. DPI only matters for printing; on the web, quality is going to be determined by the pixel resolution of your original capture, how much you’ve compressed it, and the size at which it is displayed.

Drop Shadow

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A drop shadow in product photography is a shadow that appears beneath an object, as if it was photographed from above, giving it an elevated floating appearance. In our study of seven million edited product images, drop shadow was the second most common type of shadow (trailing natural shadow by an 8 to 1 margin). Drop shadows tend to work best with smaller objects and/or with laydowns. Adding drop shadows in post-production can increase your product images’ effectiveness by giving them more depth.

Learn more: Shadow Options For Accessories: Purses & Handbags

Related terms: Natural Shadow, Cast Shadow, Reflection Shadow

File Type

File type describes the protocol used to store and render images, like JPG, PNG, TIFF, PSD, and RAW. Product images can go through a few different file types in their lifecycle. Images are usually captured in RAW format, which is actually a descriptor for several different types of proprietary camera formats. RAW images will go through initial retouching/processing in a professional photography application like Capture One or Adobe Lightroom. If they’re still in RAW format, they’ll probably then go into Adobe Camera RAW before moving to Photoshop, where they may be saved as lossless TIFF or PSD files for further retouching. When image editing is completed and final images are output for the web, compressed images are either JPG or PNG; JPG is usually preferred unless you need transparency.

Learn more: Improve Conversions and Page Speed with Product Image Compression

Related terms: Compression

Keep Original Cast Shadow

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Shadows can add depth and a sense of realism to product photography when done right. You don’t want form shadows, shadows that obscure part of the object. Cast shadows, shadows that fall away from the light source and onto the studio set, can ground your images so they don’t feel like they’re floating in space. In post-production, you can remove the background from your product images while also keeping the original cast shadow. Cutting out the background while keeping the shadow can create consistent, attractive, and natural product images.

Learn more: Shadow Options for Footwear Product Images

Related terms: Drop Shadow, Cast Shadow, Reflection Shadow

Keep Original Reflection Shadow

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Reflective surfaces, like white tables, can be used in product photography to create attractive reflection shadows. When done well, it can give your product images a slick professional feel. Most studio setups that can create reflection shadows aren’t attractive, possessing hard lines and inconsistent color, so you’ll likely want to cut out the photograph’s background. Retouching allows you to remove the original background from your image, clean up the product, and retain the original reflection.

Learn more: Shadow Options for Footwear Product Images

Related terms: Drop Shadow, Cast Shadow, Reflection Shadow

Layer Masks

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In Photoshop, layer masks are used to control transparency and either hide (“mask”) or reveal portions of an image. When retouching product images, layer masks can cut out isolated objects, have pixel by pixel adjustable transparency for soft edges and backgrounds (like when retouching airborne model hair), and work well with both print and web. In most scenarios where you’re cutting out portions of a product image, layer masks are better than clipping path.

Learn more: Best Photoshop Clipping Path Services

Related terms: Layer Masks, Background Removal

Margins

Margins in product images are the space between your product and the edge of the image. Every image has a top, bottom, left, and right margin. In post-production, you can standardize your margins in order to create a consistent presentation. For example, if you sell footwear, you can bottom align your product within an image and set a bottom margin of 20 pixels. You can then be assured that in a long row of product images, every shoe will be aligned.

Related terms: Crop, Alignment

Natural Shadow

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Natural shadow in product photography is similar to cast shadow, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Natural shadows are shadows cast by the product that fall off of the product and onto another surface, usually the surface the product is placed on. Natural shadows are the most popular type of shadow to appear in product images, and their use can give your product depth by grounding it on a surface. Natural shadows can be created in post-production, or skilled retouchers can keep the original shadow while removing the background from your product image.

Learn more: Shadow Options for Footwear Product Images

Related terms: Cast Shadow, Drop Shadow, Reflection Shadow

Alignment

For consistent presentation, your products should all have the same vertical alignment within product images. Decide whether you would like your products to be top, center, or bottom aligned within the canvas of your image. In post-production, crop your images within the desired size format and with desired margins to ensure that your products align for easy comparison shopping.

Learn more: Line Them Up: How to Consistently Align your Apparel Product Images

Related terms: Margins, Crop

Progressive JPEG

Ever been on a page and watched it slowly load, images gradually appearing? There are two different ways JPEGs can be encoded to load: top-to-bottom, or blurry to sharp. The “blurry to sharp” option is called progressive loading, and it has a couple advantages: it allows people on slow connections to see what’s on the page more quickly, and it generally compresses a few percentage points smaller. For product images, we generally recommend progressive encoding your JPEGs.

Learn more: Progressive JPEGs and green Martians, Improve Conversions and Page Speed with Product Image Compression

Related terms: File Type, Compression

Recoloring

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Recoloring is the process of changing a product’s color to one or more other colors in post-production. The term is sometimes interchanged with “color matching” or “color correction,” but we use “recoloring” to mean changing a product to a completely different color. Recoloring can save you time and money in product photography by allowing you to create fewer samples and take fewer photographs. For example, if you are producing a shirt in five different colors, you can photograph it once and then recolor it into the four other variants. Advanced retouching can extend recoloring to greater challenges like pattern and fabric changes.

Learn more: How to Color Match and Recolor a Product Image

Related terms: Color Correct, Color Match

Reflection Shadow

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Shadows give depth to product images by creating a sense of space. Reflection shadow is a photography and post-production technique that makes it appear the product is resting on a reflective surface like a mirror or glass tabletop. You can photograph your product on a reflective surface and keep the original reflection while removing the background, or you can produce the reflection and control its transparency in Photoshop. Retouching to add a reflection shadow is particularly effective for shiny products that might be found in glass cases, like jewelry and sunglasses.

Learn more: Reflect Your Product’s Worth with Reflection Shadows

Related terms: Drop Shadow, Cast Shadow, Natural Shadow

Size Formats

The size format of your product image is its shape. When displayed on the web, your product image is going to have width and height set in pixels; you should determine those sizing dimensions in post-production. The most common way to do so is with a simple ratio, like square, 2:3, 3:4, or 4:3. If you have a non-traditional ratio, you can set it in exact pixels. Regardless of your size format, you should serve images responsively to ensure you provide an appropriately scaled image to viewers.

Learn more: Optimize Product Images for Mobile with Responsive Design

Related terms: Crop

sRGB

sRGB is the default color profile of the web. In brief, RGB (red, green, and blue) is a color model that encompasses a huge spectrum of colors. There’s a lot more possible colors than most monitors and other devices could display back in the 1990s, so a consortium of different stakeholders defined a subset of the RGB space they would all support and called it “Standard RGB.” There are plenty of reasons to use other more vibrant color profiles when your photographs are not intended primarily for display on the web, but the product images on your website should all be sRGB. If you use Adobe RGB, CMYK, or another profile, your customer may be seeing a different color than the one you intended.

Learn more: The Zen of sRGB Color Space

Related terms: Color Profile

Jewelry

Jewelry Gold Color

Capturing a rich golden color will help product photos sell your jewelry, but color is highly affected by lighting. Identifying your ideal shade of gold allows jewelry color to be adjusted in post-production to present consistent coloring for an item or even across a category. It can also allow you to take one photo and output two separate photos in different colors, for example if you offer gold and silver versions of the same piece.

Jewelry Polish Levels

Jewelry seems to attract scratches and smudges which are revealed in the bright lights of a photo studio. Retouching in post-production can add polish to metal and gemstones for a more appealing product image. But how much polish? That’s an aesthetic choice, but you should set and maintain a consistent polish level.

Jewelry Remove Color Cast

Accurate color is always important in photography, and that is especially true in jewelry product photography. Inaccurate white balance settings in-camera can give gold a tarnished appearance. Retouching can correct color cast in post-production.

Learn more: Jewelry Product Photography: Common Mistakes and How to Avoid them, Need Accurate Color?: Let Grey Cards and White Balancing Come to Your Rescue!

Related terms: Color Correction

Jewelry Retouch Cleanup

Jewelry is notoriously challenging to photograph and retouch. Metals and gemstones are highly reflective, show fingerprints and dust, and customers want to zoom in as closely as possible on each product image searching for the slightest imperfection. Jewelry retouching can help you clean up smudges, control reflections, even out lighting, and create your desired sparkle.

Learn more: Jewelry Product Photography: Common Mistakes and How to Avoid them, Photographing Highly-Reflective Products: How to Control Reflections

Jewelry Silver Color

Jewelry color is highly affected by lighting. Retouching can allow you to ensure accuracy in post-production, particularly if you set color standards in a style guide ahead of time. If you offer a piece in multiple materials, post-production can adjust colors and allow you to output multiple images from a single source photo.

Model

Model Cleanup

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Most companies, regardless of their aesthetic, don’t want model skin to show bruising, scars, goosebumps, or dirt in their product images. “Model cleanup” is a blanket term typically used to refer to retouching away skin blemishes.

Learn more: Skin Retouching: Dos and Dont´s

Model Even Skin Tone

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Normal human skin tone is uneven: faces are colored differently than hands, thighs, knees, etc. It’s not just about tanning. When a model is standing around all day, often under hot lights, circulation is affected and results in a reddening of the extremities. Retouching allows us to even out skin tone by picking a neutral area, often the face, and adjusting skin elsewhere to match.

Learn more: Skin Retouching: Dos and Dont´s

Model Remove All Moles

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Everyone has moles. We aren’t all photographed by incredibly high definition cameras, then put up on websites with extreme zoom capabilities. Reducing or removing moles entirely will help keep the focus on your product. Retouching can remove model’s moles from your product images.

Learn more: Skin Retouching: Dos and Dont´s

Related terms: Model Remove Big Moles

Model Remove Big Moles

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Removing all moles can run counter to your brand’s aesthetic. If you favor a more natural look, but still would like to minimize distractions, you can remove bigger model moles in post-production while leaving smaller moles in place.

Learn more: Skin Retouching: Dos and Dont´s

Related terms: Model Remove All Moles

Model Remove Blemishes

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Defining a blemish is subjective when it comes to skin and beauty, but in product photography it generally refers to acne, sun spots, freckles, age spots, and other temporary skin effects. Retouching can remove models’ skin blemishes and elevate your product photography to a higher level.

Learn more: Skin Retouching: Dos and Dont´s

Model Remove Bruises

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Bruises you didn’t even realize were there will appear under the bright lights of a professional photo studio. Retouching can remove distracting bruises from your model’s skin, a process that helps even out skin tone.

Learn more: Skin Retouching: Dos and Dont´s

Related terms: Even Skin Tone

Model Remove Eye Bags

Eyes attract attention as the most dramatic part of the face, and therefore help define your brand’s mood. It’s natural for there to be a certain amount of shadowing under the eyes, commonly known as “eye bags.” It’s less important that you remove eye bags than that you plan for them. Retouching can allow you to present a consistent level of model eye bags in your product photos, which helps you set and maintain a certain aesthetic.

Model Remove Fat On Bikini Line

Elastic bands like those on bikinis and other swimwear squeeze the body. You may wish to remove some model fat in post-production in order to present a more perfect fit. Be careful when defining your model retouching standards; body image in advertising is increasingly legislated, and some countries have laws regarding how you can Photoshop models.

Learn more: Photoshop, Models, and the Law: How Far is Too Far?

Model Reduce Baby Hair

Everyone has baby hair in areas like the neck, back, and arm. They’re not generally noticeable or undesirable, but can become distracting on zoom in product images. You can reduce or remove model baby hair in post-production.

Model Remove Flyaway Hair

Even with a hair and makeup artist on set, model hair is unruly. Motion from the model can send stray hairs flying, which is more noticeable in the frozen moment of a product photo than in real time. Removing flyaway hairs in post-production will increase the professionalism of your product images.

Model Control Fuzzy Hair

The constant motion and wardrobe changes when modeling can create static electricity that leads to fuzzy hair. Retouching can bring fuzzy/frizzy hair back under control and create smoother lines.

Model Remove Marks

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Model birthmarks may need to be removed in post-production. Many people have birthmarks, and whether or not you choose to remove them is a branding decision, but generally speaking they are a distraction in your product images. Retouching away marks will keep the focus on your product.

Model Remove Tattoos

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Tattoos are cool, but they can also distract and alienate your audience. Not every culture is accepting of tattoos, and whatever personal meaning they have for the model may be lost or undesirable to your customer. Retouching away model tattoos in post-production makes your product images more universal.

Model Remove Wrinkle

Retouching model wrinkles at the corner of the eyes, forehead, neck, and armpits can create a more aspirational product image. You don’t want to remove every wrinkle and end up with a patently fake barbie, but it’s generally desirable to reduce model wrinkling in post-production.

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