Since it's basically all we've been doing for the past week or so, I thought I'd give you a peek into our photo editing process!
I'll start out by saying - there's probably a better way to do this. If we had a real photo setup, we'd save ourselves a lot of editing. Unfortunately, neither of us really know the best way to go about product photography. It's a lot trickier than it might seem, especially with paper! If the light is too bright, it washes out all of the nice paper detail. If the background color is too close to the paper color, it looks like it's floating. If the background texture is too rough, it's distracting. Basically, it's difficult and it takes forever. If we could pay someone else to do one part of our business, it would definitely be photographing and editing the images!
These two photos don't look that different at first glance - just a bit of auto color and levels, right? Sadly, not the case. Using natural light to photograph means that throughout the day, the color temperature changes and nothing is consistent. In order to keep the color of the kraft paper correct
the background color, it's a multi-step process. Here's a more detailed example:
The first image is what I started with. The second one is what it looks like if I auto-level it in Photoshop, which is just a quick, automatic way to correct tonality in the image. It looks okay, but the background doesn't look anything like the other backgrounds on our website. If the backgrounds all look different, it'll look sloppy. To fix that, I outlined the business card so that only the background was selected. Then, I "matched color" of the background with a photo where the background is the correct color - as you can see in the third image. It was slightly too peachy, though, so I corrected it for the fourth and final image.
Here's another! As you can see, the original image is far too blue. The auto white balance on my camera didn't help much! I started out by doing auto levels again, which corrected most of the blue tone but made the envelope and background too dark. The next step was outlining the envelope and card and correcting their tones, manually. I also selected only the envelope to add a bit of blue to it, since the color was off. In the last photo, I selected the background and matched it with the background of the "standard" background to make sure it would look good online.
As you can see, it's not an incredibly intense editing process, but outlining everything by hand and performing multi-step operations that are slightly different from photo to photo and thus can't be automated means a fair amount of time in front of the computer. Hopefully, all of our hard work will pay off and our website will look super professional in the end! (And the increase in income will pay for a real photographer someday so we can get back to printing and off the computer!)
To see our new photos up on our Etsy page,