Product Photography Retouching

The Importance of Retouching for Product Photography

Do not underestimate the importance of retouching for product photography. It is a key factor  in creating great images of products. All too often it is impossible to get the product and scene 100% clean and blemish free. Tiny bits of dust and scratches can easily spoil things. The customer needs to see the products looking as near to perfect as we can get them. Product photography retouching is a vital skill needed to create high end advertising images. But as you don’t normally see advertising photos that haven’t been retouched I thought I would give you a few before and after samples to show you what I mean.

Use the sliders on the images below to go between the before and after images. 

Chocolate cream splash before retouchingChocolate cream splash retouched

As you can see, a lot of cleaning up has been done. It is important to get rid of any distractions that risk undermining the clarity of the image. We are creating an idealised version of the product that is targeted to attract your key audience. Leaving any unnecessary reflections or marks can easily make an expensive product look cheap and reduce your chances of making sales. Advertising images and product photography in general is all about creating desire – they are sales tools for your business.

Rimmel Lipstick before retouchingRimmel Lipstick retouched product photo

Product photography retouching involves many different elements. With some photos there may be very little polishing to do. Others may need a lot of work to produce the final picture. Some of the things addressed by retouching are, for example, tidying reflections, tweaking contrast, colour correction, sharpening, smoothing out gradients, removing blemishes, adding composite elements, etc. The image below shows a big transformation to the original image including adding in a splash.

Chocolate Bar before retouchingChocolate Bar with splash

I’m sure you will agree, in every case we have looked at here, the importance of retouching for product photography is clear to see. It can make the difference between an “OK” image and a great one. It can push your product to the higher end in the customer’s mind, making it easier to sell for higher prices. Retouching is a service that your professional product photographer should recommend to you. If they don’t ask you about it, be sure you ask them!

An Image Isn't Finished Until It Has Been Retouched

Some photographers will outsource their retouching. Others will include it as part of their finishing. For me, the retouching of product shots is a process I prefer to give my personal attention to. What customers have seen in my portfolio is a set of images that I have crafted from the stage of concept, styling, lighting and shooting to the final retouched look. Keeping the process in-house has enabled me to create my own photographic style that customers know to be consistent. I will take care of your product images from start to finish and supply you with clean, striking photos that help you to make sales.

All images & text, © Joe Lenton, October 2020, updated April 2023, All rights reserved

If you would like to find out more about how your business could benefit from high quality product photography please do get in touch.

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