High-quality product photography is essential for ensuring your e-commerce venture is constantly growing, as it allows you to showcase the products in their full glory while establishing your brand in the process. Generally, photographers take photos of a large number of goods during a single shoot, which means there’s a lot of editing to be done afterward. To reduce the time that retouching takes, you can approach a third-party photography agency or an experienced freelancer that knows how to present ecommerce photos properly. Knowing how to outsource photo editing for ecommerce business product images the right way is crucial for ensuring you receive quality results.
1. Think Twice – Don’t Choose by Price
When picking a freelancer or agency that you will outsource image editing to, you shouldn’t focus on how much it will cost you. Just because someone is asking for a low or high price, doesn’t mean the delivered quality will be on par. Not all expensive services provide terrific results and likewise, sometimes, a cheaper freelancer can surprise you with how well they can handle e-commerce photography. You may discover pricing options that cover the range between $0.30 and $150 per photo. Such a discrepancy may seem staggering, but it’ll make more sense once you examine the details. The specific cost often depends on how much work needs to be done, meaning basic color correction will never cost $70 per image, while in-depth retouching with multiple manipulations will typically send you back a lot more than just $5 or $10. Agencies and freelancers that have only recently entered the market tend to price their services lower while providing fantastic results due to their desire to establish themselves and earn trust from the customers. The opposite is also true: you can overpay an industry veteran and still not receive the quality you want even though you provided a clear list of requirements. When making your choice, you should evaluate the agency/freelancer, their approach, level of experience, transparency, and several other factors. By adopting such a strategy, you’ll have a much clearer idea of how much value for money each option offers. Reach out to reliable product retouching services, and you’re nearly guaranteed to receive top-tier quality images at a reasonable price.
2. Learn the Terminology for an Adequate Query
Before reaching out to an editing agency, you have to settle on what type of services you need for your ecommerce venture. There are two kinds of services involved in picture post processing – editing and retouching. Many people think that those two words mean the same thing, but there’s a rather serious distinction between the two types. Editing deals with a long list of manipulations: color adjustments, adding and deleting objects and details, using artistic filters, and other tools that can drastically change the original. Meanwhile, retouching focuses on enhancing a photo more subtly by getting rid of wrinkles on clothing, hiding minor flaws, and smoothening the background. Now, if you plan to outsource photo editing for ecommerce business images, you should primarily request retouching since you don’t want to stray too far away from the original photo to avoid misrepresenting your product. That said, if you ever feel like your RAW images can benefit from some additional transformations, you can always approach image manipulation services to get the exact look you want.
Explore the Requirements and Standards for Ecommerce Photography
If your team includes photographers and retouchers, they’ll have no problem determining the ideal format, size, and quality standard for your product images. However, if you’re going to outsource image editing, you have to provide the agency with a list of detailed requirements. It’s vital to learn the common practices involved in producing high-quality ecommerce photos before approaching an agency or freelancer. Typical requirements related to product photography include:
Size is determined by the website or platform that will feature your photos. Most sites demand a picture size of at least 500 by 500 pixels, Amazon asks for at least 1000 by 1000px, while Walmart has the recommended resolution set at 2000 by 2000 pixels to ensure zoomed-in products look good on all devices. It’s advised to have all your photos in at least 2000 by 2000px since you can always reduce the size if needed.
Format. Typical options include TIFF, JPEG, PNG, JPG, and BMP, with JPG being the most widely used format.
Aspect ratio on most platforms is square (1:1), but some industries tend to rely on portrait orientation (most notably, fashion) instead.
Resolution. Most sites accept photos with a 72 to 300dpi resolution.
Making the necessary preparations is essential for ensuring you won’t have to overpay for re-delivering the results just because you weren’t clear with your requirements during the initial order placement.
4. Develop a Style Guide
Be sure to inform outsourcing professionals about any guidelines or ideas you have that pertain to stylizing, retouching, adding color accents, and other aspects that can help represent your brand’s identity better. Decide on the desired color palette, saturation, contrast, and other parameters as well. Additionally, it’s recommended to complement your order with some examples of product photos taken from your website or directory. Be sure to include enough examples to cover all used processing variations. It’s advised to have at least 5 images per product category.
5. Clarify Expertise in Working with Ecommerce
Before you entrust photo editing to a specific agency, determine if they have experience in working on ecommerce photography. Enhancing product images isn’t the same as editing event or landscape photos. Thus, you can only be certain of a high-quality result if you go with a third-party agency that has completed ecommerce product photography orders in the past. It’s also advised to learn more about the clients that the agency has worked with previously. Carefully read the reviews left by current and past customers since they can often provide the clearest picture as to what you can expect from a specific service.
6. Find Out How the Adaptation Process Goes
Reliable ecommerce image clipping and retouching services should provide a systematic procedure for new clients. Learn what kind of system they have in place, as possible options range from corporate charters to wizards that break down everything in detail. By studying the provided onboarding guidelines, you can get a clear idea of what is needed from you, how the cooperation process will look like, how often you’ll receive feedback, etc. Additionally, if you’re not happy with the received service quality or the provided images don’t match the promised criteria, you’ll have a document that supports your claim, should it come to a legal dispute.
7. Ask What Programs They Use
All photo editing software comes with different toolsets and is suited for slightly different tasks. To determine whether a potential outsourcing agency employs the software you want, be sure to bring up this question during the preliminary consultation. It’s also vital for the contracted party to use licensed software, with the optimal option being Adobe’s tools, which are the globally accepted standard. You can also inquire about what editing technologies are employed by the agency’s editors. Do they make use of state-of-the-art AI options or do they still upload images using Dropbox? The answers to such questions are essential for understanding whether the outsourced experts are keeping up with recent trends in the image editing industry.
8. Ask Questions
The quality of your product images will have a direct effect on sales so it’s important to get as much information out of the outsourcing agency as you can, which means you have to ask a lot of questions. If you’re struggling to come up with questions of your own, here are some ideas:
- How long do you need to complete the project?
- How many ecommerce product images can you retouch per week?
- Do you accept edits?
- Will I get a guarantee that the received quality will be on par with my request?
- Do you ensure client confidentiality?
- How do you handle unsatisfied customers or failed deadlines?
Questions like that will help you estimate the level of professionalism shown by an image editing service.
9. Try to Figure Out the Attitude Towards Subordinates
If you plan to entrust your ecommerce images to a photography studio, try to learn how their management treats employees. This tip might seem unintuitive, but it’s very important. Since you’re a business owner yourself, it stands to reason you only want to deal with partners that maintain a high level of professionalism themselves and have a good reputation. For instance, if later it turned out that the owner of the agency is abusing or underpaying their employees, your brand’s reputation might take a hit as well.
10. Choose Trusted Ecommerce Platforms
Regardless of how good the results you receive from outsourced editors, all your investment may be wasted if your ecommerce platform isn’t performing well enough. Thankfully, the web is full of rankings of reliable options that offer such a service. For instance, Eduard Klein has put out a rundown of the best attractive options on the market.
Shopify is among the most widely used platforms for setting up ecommerce stores if you lack programming knowledge. They provide easy-to-use templates that only require your product images and a brief description.
BigCommerce is the most advanced platform out there that also automatically adjusts your photos to accommodate Google’s ranking requirements.
3dcart is a service with a plethora of automatic functions. Being primarily used on smartphones, the developers of this platform ensured your product images look good on any device.
Woocommerce is a free ecommerce service that is perfect for startups and small enterprises. Its main advantage is photo optimization that ensures fast page loading times.
Volusion is among the best options for online stores. It enables you to categorize products, which is of great help for businesses involved in fashion, beauty products, books, and so on.
Magento is a state-of-the-art ecommerce solution. It allows customizing all included options and introducing new ones like features for placing and displaying images.
Weebly is an easy-to-use builder suitable for putting together ecommerce stores. It offers drag-and-drop functionality that makes posting product images a breeze.
PrestaShop is another trustworthy platform for ecommerce. It offers more than 1000 templates and themes that can be customized to your liking, as well as an endless array of professionally retouched images.
Squarespace invites you to design a unique online store without any technical knowledge. It’s perfect for ecommerce business owners that prioritize aesthetics and want the absolute best-looking platform for their product photos.
Wix is another great option for ecommerce website building due to its unique features. For instance, it enables you to create entire image galleries that showcase your products from all the best angles.