You may or may not agree that a picture is worth a thousand words. As a seller with the goal of enticing buyers to purchase your products, however, you have to admit that a well-edited and presented photograph is worth the effort in sales. In this article, we are going to discuss both mobile and personal computer photo editors that can help you in making impactful, impressive photographs of your products.
Understand that editing your photographs is something that you will need to have knowledge of in at least some degree. Even the best straight-out-of-the-camera (SOOC) photo can benefit from some editing. The goal isn’t to “save” a bad photo, let’s be clear on the fact that you should be capturing the best initial photograph of your product that you can, but editing can help make a good photo into a great photo.
At the barest minimum, you should expect whatever photo editor you choose to have the ability to affect brightness, contrast, and exposure. Being able to add effects like selective focusing is a bonus but not necessarily required.
Adobe Photoshop is the grandfather of all photo editors and many consider it an industry standard. It includes options for both the personal computer and mobile devices. However, all that it offers might be more than you need if your interest is only in photographing your products for your store. The PC or Macintosh version of Adobe CC (Creative Cloud) will also mean a subscription price. For some this might seem worth it but if you only need some basic editing many of Photoshop’s features will be overkill.
Fortunately for many of us, there are plenty of powerful alternatives without the need to subscribe.
PERSONAL COMPUTER EDITORS
Often referenced as the premiere Photoshop alternative, the GIMP image editor (the name once stood for GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a powerful photo editor that has the added benefit of being both open-source and available for free. For some, the interface can be daunting but enabling the single-window mode helps. GIMP comes with all the tools you’ll need to be able to effectively edit your photographs like curves adjustment, levels, exposure, saturation, and the ability to scale images. GIMP is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux
Paint.net was developed by Western Washington University and is also available for free. What might have begun its life as a clone of Microsoft’s Paint.net program has become a full-fledged image editor in its own right. The interface may be familiar to some and all the features you need are available.
With an interface that is simpler than a lot of professional editors Paint.net still offers enough power to produce excellent results.
A more recent entry onto the image editing field Photoscape has an interface that might catch you off-guard initially but you will find that all of it best and most used features are labeled well and placed effectively for the user.
Something that may be of use to new users of Photoscape is its similarity to standard file managers that most people are familiar with. Available up to Windows 8
Photoscape X is a new version of Photoscape aimed at Mac and Windows 10 users that shows a more modern design. Taking a cue from mobile apps the tools might be more familiar if you are used to editing photos on a phone or tablet.
PHONE/TABLET PHOTO EDITING
Snapseed is a mobile device photo editor from Google. Snapseed offers a full range of tools to edit photographs for the phone or tablet user, or if you transfer photos from a point-and-shoot to your phone or tablet. A very powerful application, Snapseed can perform all the image editing functions of a desktop photo editor.
Tools are accessed from a series of tiles, and so are filters similar to Instagram and other programs. Exposure, brightness, even blur focusing to achieve a depth-of-field effect are among it’s many tools. One standout tools is the ability to affect curves with a histogram overlay, which can be an effective way to achieve better brightness and contrast.
Snapseed is available for Android and iPhone/iPad
VSCO began as a series of film emulation filters for users of DSLR cameras, but the mobile app has become extremely popular on its own. While the main focus may be on the film simulations, which can be applied to varying degree, there are some basic editing features as well.
VSCO has an interface that may take some getting used to, however. There is not a lot of explanation within VSCO’s interface about what tools do, or how to navigate away from its social sharing function when starting the app. If you just want to edit photos you may want to stick to one of the editors like Snapseed or Aviary.
VSCO is available for Android and iPhone/iPad.
Aviary is an android editor of long-standing. Eventually acquired by Adobe it still remains a powerful option for Android users. Aviary has a very workman-like approach to image editing and focuses foremost on the basics.
Brightness, contrast, exposure and more are presented in sliders that allow you to adjust the effect to subtle degrees. Like Snapseed Aviary does include some features like faking shallow depth-of-field. Aviary also includes some filters available for free, though many are unsuitable for product photography.
While most modern editors will include filters in the style of Instagram you should avoid using them unless they really do add to the clarity of your product. Remember, your goal is to present the object in it’s best light, not the photography.
Selective focusing which is available in some apps can be tempting. Use this type of filters sparingly and if you can control the strength of the effect use the least powerful setting you can, as this can easily be distracting if overdone.
These are only a small sampling of some of the most popular options. There are a lot of photo editing programs and apps available to you. Find one that you are comfortable with and that allows you to work efficiently. Now go make something awesome!