3 UNIQUE WAYS TO CLEAN YOUR PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY
Cleaning your product photography is boring and time-consuming, and when I say boring, I really mean boring. Given how mind numbingly dull it is, you may be tempted to do a quick job or not go as far as you should. One thing I often see which separates great product photography from that of an amateur, is attention to detail. A professional photographer working with a professional retoucher, will ensure that every aspect of their client’s product looks amazing.
In this video, I cover three unique methods for cleaning your product shots. These techniques include; Dust and Scratches, Painting, and Frequency Separation. Using these methods in conjunction with the standard Clone and Heal, you can make any product look perfect. The idea behind these techniques is to get the best possible result in the quickest possible time. There’s no point spending more time than you have to when there are far more interesting things you could be doing.
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Why It’s Important To Thoroughly Clean Your Product Photography
You may be wondering why this is so important? After all, it’s very rare that you’ll be photographing a used product, so surely they’re already good enough. Sadly no, that’s not the case. No matter how good your client’s manufacturing process is nothing comes out of the factory perfect. The last thing we want when creating a billboard image, is for viewers to be looking at the blown up imperfections of the product rather than the product itself. Our photography is representing the brand and hence has to be near perfect. Of course, it must also be an accurate representation but that doesn’t mean we can’t give it a thorough clean.
With this in mind, it’s important to note that there are different degrees of cleaning which will be appropriate depending on the final delivery and your clients budget. If the final image will only be viewed on a website, at a relatively small magnification, then we don’t need to go anywhere near as far as we would for a billboard sized image with global distribution. Don’t waste your time, do what’s necessary and nothing more.
Techniques Covered In The Video
Dust and Scratches – This technique is wonderful for removing small specs of dust. There are, however, limits to where this will be effective. If you’re cleaning a glossy surface with very little detail, some glossy metal for example, this method works perfectly. On the other hand, if you were trying to remove specs of dust from shoes that have lots of texture, this will not work.
Painting onto a layer – Your product photography is made up of tiny little pixels. Each pixel will have a different luminance and colour value which, when combined, produce your image. Therefore, there’s nothing stopping you from painting pixels in. This is great for fixing troublesome areas. Be sure to add a noise layer to match your original image.
Frequency Separation – This technique is most commonly used on portraits but it’s also amazing for still life photos. Use the free Action I linked to in the video (download here) to create your layers and then you’ll have complete control over the details and colour. Oftentimes, I use this with other two techniques and that takes care of everything.
Liquify Product Photos For the Final Touch
This bonus tip is not included in the video so pay attention. The final touch necessary to make your product photography perfect, is Liquify. Using Liquify you can; straighten edges, fix natural materials like leather, adjust the alignment of logos and text, anything really. Liquify is fantastic but it takes some getting used to. Be sure to watch one of my previous videos on Linked Smart Layers, it’s got a very valuable tip for using Liquify, find it here.
As we’ve discussed, while cleaning your product photography is very important, it’s also undeniably boring. As such, we don’t want to spend a whole lot of time doing it. These techniques will allow you to fix any errors within your product shots, and do so quickly. They take time to master but used correctly, will become a powerful tool within your retouching arsenal.
Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for future video’s, click here. Keep an eye on this blog for more product photography tips and tricks, and if you have any questions on this topic, or anything else, be sure to comment below.