We have created a few short movies that you can reference to help guide you on how to prepare your photographic images in PhotoShop and therefore maintain a professionally consistent and polished presentation of your products.
We hope you find these movies informative and invite you to suggest any techniques that you feel we have not covered that are important to you.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO PREPARE YOUR IMAGES FOR THE WEB STORE
PHOTO EDITING SOFTWARE
We recommend you have a copy of Photoshop. You do not need to purchase the newest CS suite versions of Photoshop, any older version Photoshop will suffice. We have some clients purchasing directly through Amazon in and around a $170.
If you are photographing your own products, you will need a camera that is capable of shooting Manual and in RAW format.
It will come with a RAW translator (software) and you will need to install the Photoshop 'plug-in' for this (instructions come with the camera) so that you can open up RAW images inside of Photoshop.
As you review the movies and comments below, you will need to understand ...
HOW THE LIGHTSPEED IMAGES AND THE ZOOM TOOL IMAGES WORK IN CONJUNCTION WITH EACH OTHER ON THE WEB STORE?
Generally when it comes to images for our projects, essentially we usually have the client prepare zoom images for example around 1000 x proportion (pixels) and then once you have all your zoom sized image in one folder on your Mac, we will have you duplicate the folder (APPLE D) containing all of those images and resize that new set down to 510 x proportion.
You then upload the 510 images into LightSpeed and then upload the 1000 images into the zoom tool module which we will give you access to once it is installed.
We recommend you remove all images you have in your LightSpeed POS if you are just getting started now on preparing images for your web store as we will need only the 510 image in LightSpeed.
When they do that, the thumbnail preview images regardless of the size that you see them on the web store will be coming from the LightSpeed images (the smaller ones) but when you click on that thumbnail and see the main product view picture and the corresponding zoom image (the larger ones) they are coming from the zoom module.
As you get started sizing and installing images we also recommend you do some initial tests first to see if it is all showing up as you are anticipating.
SIZING YOUR IMAGES FROM RAW TO JPEGS
If your going to photograph your own products, then shooting them in RAW format should be your first choice.
Although the end result is having JPEG images on your web store, shooting RAW is the only real process of obtaining the maximum quality and consistency needed.
- Open your images in the RAW translator and make adjustements within, prior to opening the image in PhotoShop.
- Consider the general cropping and magnification of your images for consistency.
- Size them.
- Remove grey areas in a white background that sometimes appear if the background lighting is not as even. The way I show you is a quick way and may work for most types of products. However if you have mainly light coloured products (as in white), this may not work. Please send some samples to me if that be the case and I will show you other more accurate ways of adjusting the background without effecting the product in the foreground.
- Some slight enhancements, sharpness and saturation.
- Saving as high quality JPEGs.
WHY PHOTOGRAPH IN RAW FORMAT
If you or your photographer are going to start to photograph and would like us to review your initial JPEG images you create from your RAW images, you can send them to us.
We only need to see a few of them and only in JPEG format at final sizes as we are primarily looking for consistency with magnification of the product in the image area, colour and lighting along with sharpness.
If you would like to add your photographer to a ticket, send us their full name and email address through the collaborative.
IF YOUR SUPPLIER OR PHOTOGRAPHER PROVIDES YOU WITH JPEGS INSTEAD
Assuming that you receive images from a supplier or a photographer and that are already formatted as JPEG images and as long as they are as consistent in all visual aspects, you will need to review these images for their colour, size and resolution.
Once you are satisfied the quality meets your satisfaction, you will then resize them for use in the Zoom Module (if applicable on your project) to 1000 pixels x proportion and a smaller (duplicate) set of images for your LightSpeed POS to 510 x proportion.
In consideration of page loading times, the largest size image that we make available on a web store is usually 1000 pixels by its given proportion. in this movie I show you ...
- Review in the Finder a folder of images and assess their sizes prior to opening them in Photoshop.
- Open an image in PhotoShop and adjust image size and resolution to 1000 x proportion.
- Record a Photoshop action to record a series of steps so you can replicate consistently your sizing from one image to another.
What I negate to say on the movie which is really important is that if you have any images that are under 1000 pixels by a given proportion initially provided to you, they generally cannot be sized up if the resolution that you got is 72 dpi, and therefore you should not showcase these products on your web store at all, until you are able to supply the better quality images to size.
If you have a higher resolution of more then 72 dpi, you can use the image size panel in PhotoShop and by changing the DPI to 72dpi and 'turn OFF Resample image' (so you can't edit the top two sizes on the panel) you can change the higher resolution images down to 72dpi and click save. From there you go back 'again' into the image size panel in PhotoShop and now 'turn ON Resample image' and change the image size (which will now be over a 1000 to 1000). I do this in the first two steps of the action in the movie above.
Here are samples of images from the movie showing you the final sizes and quality : From Movie
SIZING IMAGES TO 510 X PROPORTION FOR LIGHTSPEED
Once you have sized your images to 1000 pixels by their proportion as outlined above, you will now need to create a new folder and rename the folder 510_resized and in this movie I show you how to record an action to open a 1000 pixel image and resize to 510 and save the image into the new 510_resized folder you create.
IMPORTANT - In the movie I show you a precautionary step of duplicating your 1000 pixel image folder first (APPLE D), so you have a backup of it as you let the action run on the folder.
If you don't set up the action to 'Batch' run correctly, you will overwrite your 1000 image with 510's and that would not be a good thing.
So always make a duplicate of your 1000 images in their folder, (APPLE D) before you proceed.
If you do accidently overwrite your images then throw that folder away, duplicate your backup again and try again. Make sure your folders are named (510 or 1000) for the images sizes that have in them.
WHY YOU CAN'T USE IMAGES THAT ARE TOO SMALL
Sometimes our clients have initially been obtaining their photographs from websites rather than having the supplier provide the larger size image necessary for the web store.
In this brief movie, I show you images that are way too small for a web store consideration as well as the importance of cropping your images without too much negative space around them.
NAMING IMAGE FILES
When naming your image files that will be used both in LightSpeed and the zoom module, it is very important that you keep everything in lowercase and preferably as one word.
If you wish to use a couple of words, then you need to separate those 2 words with an _ (underscore) so that your file will read like...
... and will end with the extension .jpg
It is very important that you do not add any 'restricted characters' into your image file name such as...
/ | * , : ; = + ? | < > & % ' " .
... if you have any of these 'restricted characters' in your file names, it is likely you may not see your images work when you upload them either into LightSpeed LS and/or into the zoom module.