When it comes to your business website, content is king. We appreciate that more than anybody else: content is our life! We love it when we can get our clients excited about content, and always encourage them to partner excellent written content with excellent multimedia content. If you sell products or services through your website, you’re going to want photos that give your potential customers a vivid image of exactly what it is they’re about to purchase. A bad image can actually scare sales away…but a good photo can add increased value to your webpage.
How do you get professional-quality photos for your online business without actually hiring a professional photographer? Two words: Adobe Photoshop. If you feature images of products or services on your website, Photoshop can help you enhance your images and make them more appealing to customers. Whether you run an online store, a business blog, or a web storefront for your physical business, Photoshop can help you make your multimedia content pop out, and your images will help the rest of your content drive more conversions.
The Biggest Drawback: Photoshop Is Intimidating
When you first boot Photoshop up, it’s hard to find a good starting place. There are buttons and tools and drop-down bars and all sorts of confusing things all over the editing screen. This is probably the biggest barrier for entry that many people struggle with when they first start out with Photoshop. From personal experience, I can assure you that it’s not as bad as it looks.
You can learn how to use many of these tools and features just by playing around with some images of your own. Instead of finding a tool to use first, decide what you want to do to your picture, and then hunt around for options that might produce the result you want.
Thanks to graphic design professionals that want to help new users, there are tons of helpful resources online. If you aren’t sure how to do something in Photoshop, you can usually find step-by-step tutorials on how to do just about anything you want to online. I’m always learning new things about Photoshop, even after having used it for more than four years—and it’s all thanks to just tinkering around with the program, and other helpful tinkerers and graphic designers across the internet.
A Picture Really Is Worth A Thousand Words
It’s no use trying to tell you how Photoshop can help your business look better online. How about I show you instead! Take a look at a couple of examples I whipped up just for this case study.
Study: Color Correction
To show you basic photo adjustments, I’ve taken a picture from a home I helped put on the market for a previous client. The original photo was a little too bright and washed out for my liking, as you can see.
To make it look better for online listings, I really wanted to make the room colors pop. First I took the popular approach, and gave it a more vibrant color enhancement. This was primarily with Photoshop’s HDR auto-processing features. This image is much warmer and looks like an Instagram photo. It looked a little too washed out and almost surreal to me at first, but this is what’s popular!
I went over the original again with my own tastes for the third take, and made all of the room’s various colors stand out more. This final version fixed the lighting so that it was a little darker, just enough to make the room’s attention to detail stand out more prominently.
The third image ended up online, and after hardly getting any bites for months, this property was snapped up within the week after my online ads (featuring the third image) were posted. These edits took maybe 10 minutes max to complete, and the results really speak for themselves.
Study: Image Enhancement
Here’s another clever trick Photoshop can pull for your products: fixes and enhancements. I took a picture of a 1955 Alfa Romeo 1900 CSS to show you how you can make your images more appealing to potential customers.
Here’s the original car. It’s pretty dinged up thanks to being kept in shoddy storage for so long. This is a fixer-upper for sure, but it’s still a beautiful car. I decided to do a little work on the front bonnet by hiding some of those white specks and scrapes across the front.
Here’s a close-up of before and after Photoshop touch-ups. You can see on the left where paint has chipped or scratched away. On the right those blemishes are gone, and it’s pretty tough to tell that they were ever there to begin with. This was done with Photoshop’s “Healing Brush,” a smart tool that takes a sample of the surrounding area and repurposes the image information to “cover up” unsightly spots. Again, this took no more than 10 minutes to clean up. I could give the whole car a new paint job in under an hour if I really felt like it!
Now, I’m not trying to encourage deceptive advertising. That said, not all products are blemish-free, and online customers are very critical of products that feature even the slightest imperfections. If you have the tools to enhance your product’s image in a way that encourages more business, why not go for it? Every little detail helps.
The Benefits of Professional Photo Editing Far Outweigh the Price
Most businesses that have considered Photoshop are instantly turned off by the price. That’s understandable: the latest full version of Photoshop CS6 runs at a whopping $630 by itself. Luckily, Adobe recognizes that not everyone needs the full-blown professional suite of expensive software. Photoshop Elements is the go-to solution for entry-level customers that need the power of Photoshop without all of the expensive, confusing bells and whistles.
Photoshop Elements replaces the more advanced tools with simplified, automated enhancements and features. Many of the core tools that make Photoshop so powerful are still available exactly as they are in the full version of the software, but other, more situational fixes are labeled for ease of use and automated for convenience. At $65 a copy, Elements is a steal. I first started learning how to edit images on Photoshop Elements 4, and I highly recommend it to any business that wants to produce top-notch images for their website without breaking the bank.
Do you think Photoshop could help your business succeed online? Do you use Photoshop where you work already? Leave a comment! And if you’re more worried about written blog content than multimedia, we can definitely help you there. Just give us a shout!
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