Sunday, February 15, 2009

Editing Photos for Etsy

Here’s part two of my photography workflow – post processing. As I said in my last post, you must edit every single image you plan to use online. I use Adobe Photoshop but there are tons of less advanced programs out there that make adjustments pretty simple.

Almost every photo needs a few basic tweeks. Of course, the better image you capture, the less work you’ll need to do in the computer.

First, most photos will need to be cropped. Remember that Etsy crops your main photo to a square for the previews. Either crop your original photo to a square, or make sure the focal point of your image will still be visible in square format (see below).

Earrings 1Of course sometimes the Etsy crop actually creates a more artistic look by only showing part ofNecklace the image. Just make sure you’re aware of it! This rule only applies to the first image in your set. I usually choose a close-up for my first image because the search thumbnail is so small. Make them want to see more!

After cropping I adjust the levels (brightness/contrast) and resize and sharpen the image for web display. I may also use the clone stamp to get rid of tiny spots or cat hair showing up. These basic tools should get you started.

Resizing Notes: I start with large images (raw format) so resizing is always my last step. My Image Size box has two fields that I change. The first is pixels per inch (Resolution). The standard screen resolution used to be 72 ppi, but Windows now uses 96 ppi so I’d go ahead and use 96. Anything higher than 96 is overkill for images on the web.

The second field is width (let the height take care of itself). Etsy recommends 1000 pixels wide, but they will display only 430 pixels wide in your listing. If someone clicks on your image, the larger version will pop up. I never save my images at 1000 wide. I generally go for 600-800 pixels wide because I want my images to load faster. Just keep it above the 430 pixel minimum. Again, Height will take care of itself. After resizing I sharpen the image using unsharp mask.

If I have to reduce an image by more than 50% I will do it in two stages. I’ll reduce it by half, sharpen it, then reduce to my final size and sharpen it again. That’s what works for me, anyway, to maintain quality.

Finally, I save my image as a JPEG (.jpg). I’ll choose the highest quality setting that will produce a small enough file size for the web (under 100K). My SAVE dialog box shows me the file size as I move the quality slider. This is why I don’t use 1000 pixel wide images. I prefer quality over size! Do not keep resaving a jpg image over and over. It’s a compressed format and you’ll lose quality.

Filenames: I suggest you “Save As” another filename so your original remains intact. I use a simple naming format that starts with a letter (B for bracelet, N for necklace) followed by a number and then a letter. For example, if I use three photos for my first necklace the files are N001a.jpg, N001b.jpg and N001c.jpg.

That’s all for today! I hope this has been helpful to some of you and I thank the rest of you for reading through it! Leave me a comment if you have a question on something and I’ll comment back.


Cris said...

Hey, thanks for the advice. I am new to Etsy, so every little bit helps.

BlueTerracotta said...

Hi, this is helpful, thanks. I use adobe photoshop too, and I've been resizing my images changing only the width, trying to get my first image as close to square as possible. Should I be changing the resolution too? How do you do this?

Boutique By Bonnie said...

Blue Terracotta, in the pop-up box for "Image Size" there's a box for Resolution that shows the pixels per inch. My camera defaults to 240 but yours may be different. Just change that number to 96.

This is if you're doing "Save As." If you choose "Save For Web" Photoshop will automatically save it at 72 PPI.