10 Commandments of Photo Editing


In a product-focused small business, product image plays a vital role in marketing. The look of your product image can either make or break your business. That is why the products and/or services posted on an online store or eCommerce website must be relatable and visually enticing.

With the number of products posted on eCommerce websites every day, you need to ensure that your products stand out and get noticed. This is especially important if you want your business to be featured on the website’s front page.   

Here enters product photo editing.  With product image editing, you can turn your eCommerce photos from meh to amazing with just a few tweaks. Whether you’ve used a cellphone, a point-and-shoot, or a DSLR camera, photo editing can make your images jump off the screen.

For professional photo editing companies and novice DIY editors alike, there are quick and easy ways to edit your eCommerce photos and make them look great. We list down ten basic rules when it comes to product photo editing that you need to live by to be able to make your photos pop.



Thou Shalt Use a Good Base Photo

10 Commandments of Photo Editing

Every professional photo editing providers know that to create stand-out eCommerce photos you need good product images. Bad photos are hard to rescue. While you can tweak brightness, contrast, and saturation during product image editing, it won’t fix blurry and/or extremely dark images.

As a rule, photo editing tools should not be used as such. Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom and GIMP are not all-powerful that it can magically correct out-of-focus, blown-out or severely underexposed images. If used in excess, it will only make it so much worse.



Thou Shall Master the Software Used

10 Commandments of Photo Editing

There are loads of photo editing tools available today. From novice-friendly ones to photo editing software used by pros, you have a wide array of help to choose from.

However, in order to enhance your eCommerce photos—and even personal photos for that matter—you need to understand how your tools work.

Do your homework. Read manuals, watch instructional videos, and read educational blogs first before you dip your hands on product image editing.



Thou Shalt Not Edit the Original File

10 Commandments of Photo Editing

Obviously, before you start taking measures to enhance your product image, you need to make sure that you have a backup of your image file. You don’t need to be in the professional photo editing industry to know how important it is to keep a copy before you start editing. I mean why would you run the risk of either losing your only copy of the image or perform edits that can’t be undone?  

Using original file for product image editing prevents you from going back and revisiting old work. More so, original image files let you keep track of the changes you have made to your product photos.



Thou Shalt Crop Photos Sparingly

10 Commandments of Photo Editing

Cropping is a fast way of improving your eCommerce photos. It can help remove distracting items around your focal point or use it to zoom in on your subject. While it can be a helpful product photo editing step, one must be wary of cropping your picture. If not done properly, it can alter your image, and you might lose the composition of your photo.

Decide how you will display your product image first before you crop. eCommerce photos are usually cropped into squares during product photo editing to make it more consistent and lined-up perfectly on the website page.  



Thou Shalt Be Ware of Image Blow-Out

10 Commandments of Photo Editing

All professional photo editing providers know that upping exposure/brightness is a great way to enhance images. Since most product photography sessions are done inside, product images tend to be pretty dim.

This is why adjusting brightness and shadow is always a part of photo editing. However, you need to be wary of adjusting the brightness too much to avoid image blow-outs. Adjust your exposure and shadow sparingly to make your product images softer to look at.



Thou Shalt Remain Faithful to the Original Color

10 Commandments of Photo Editing

Saturation is a product photo’s best friend. When your product image looks more washed-up, or when you upped the brightness too much that the image looks pale, adding saturation during photo editing may help.

Adding saturation deepens the colors of your image to make it look more vibrant. However, most novice photo editor, and some professional photo editing crew even, goes nuts with it.  Take it easy on the saturation tool and keep as faithful as possible to the original colors. You don’t want your eCommerce photos to look like something out of a fairytale book.



Thou Shall Optimize Size and Resolution

10 Commandments of Photo Editing

Higher resolution and larger image size mean a better image. And the better the image looks, the more it sells. However, every photo editing experts know that high image resolution can slow down the page load. And slow page-load is one of the reasons why customers bail out of their online purchase. If a page takes more than three seconds to load, it will eat up gigabytes, and you will most likely lose a potential customer.  

Don’t place the largest image on your webpage and shrink the dimensions using the source code. It will only add more page load time. The rule of thumb for eCommerce photos is to try to keep your images below 70kb. What you can do instead is to make your image smaller with an option to view a larger image in a pop-up or to be displayed on a different web page. Additionally, you can use the “Save for the Web” command in Adobe Photoshop during product image editing to adjust the image to the lowest file size without compromising the image quality.



Thou Shall Use Contrast Accordingly

10 Commandments of Photo Editing

Contrast is a highly useful in adding a bit of drama to your color images. Higher contrast means that dark colors are darker and light colors are lighter. However, too much contrast may make your product photos lose image detail.

Add contrast to the areas of your photo that actually needs it, and not on the entire frame. It may be a time-consuming photo editing step, but it will save your image composition, and help you avoid image flattening.



Thou Shalt Leave Space for Text

10 Commandments of Photo Editing

Most ecommerce sites do not use photos that have text in it. However, for website owners, a large image with a few written words that states what you do has a far better chance of encouraging potential clients to click around.

The rule of the thumb when it comes to adding text to the image is to leave an empty/uncluttered space for it. You should keep it in mind when you start cropping your image. However, when adding text on a fairly busy photo, using slightly transparent overlay should do the trick. The key is to use complementing shape and color, and to always keep the text easy to read.



Thou Shall Not Rely Heavily on Action

10 Commandments of Photo Editing

A professional photo editing provider knows that using action in product photo editing would not always yield a great product image.

Oftentimes actions alter the entire frame when you only need to edit a part of the picture.  Before you start thinking of using actions, it is better to know what part of the picture needs alteration.



In a Nutshell

Our knowledge and talent in photo editing evolve over time. With the emergence of new software and apps coupled with extensive practice, one can always discover unusual things that may either go against or enhance the “best practice” that people preach everywhere. You may find a simpler way to stylize an image or a better way to optimize eCommerce photos. And while there is no wrong or right photo editing technique, one must exercise control. More often than not, when editing, less is more.




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Want more? Here are our other articles, we hope you'll love them as well:

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