Displaying your product catalogue on the Internet demands good photography.

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1 Displaying your product catalogue on the Internet demands good photography. The good news is that you can do it yourself using a digital camera and a photo modification program like Adobe Photoshop, or Photo Deluxe. If you don't have either of these programs, your digital camera should have a photo modification program attached to it. A photo modification program not only helps your photos to look brighter, lighter or whiter, it allows you to convert each image file into a format and size suitable for the Internet. First, set your camera to its lowest resolution. Low resolution is all you need for the Internet. The best thing about a digital camera is that you can always delete a photo and try again! Experiment with your first shot until you find a location and setting that works. After this time, you won't have to move the camera and the photography process will be quick and easy. The secret to good photography is building the right setting. Here are the golden rules: Light Avoid harsh light. Do not shoot under bright sunlight, spot lights or harsh interior lights. It causes dark shadows and bright spots. The best light is the sun on a cloudy day. Ensure you don't block the light falling on the product when you take the picture. This glass was shot with daylight on a cloudy day - notice the soft highlight on the box and the metal base rather then a harsh bright sun spot. If you find one side of the product is darker than the other, use a piece of white card to reflect light back onto it. Experiment with different card positions until you see the light change on the product. This brooch was shot on a bright sunny day - a piece of drafting paper was used to soften the direct sunlight - notice the soft highlight curving down the length of the body. Tripod Use a tripod or table to set the camera on. Camera shake will ruin your shots. A tripod is great as it gives you flexibility. Background A neutral background, such as clean white or cream paper provides the best background for photographing your products. You may also wish to use a natural background such as a piece of wood, slab or marble, or piece of brushed metal for some types of products (but only if they don't compete with the product for attention). If you have a white product, place it on darker background to make it stand out more.

2 Choose a clean background that will enhance your product while not distracting from it. Swap backgrounds for dark and light products. For large products, such as furniture, they look best if shot in location in a home. If this is too hard, set aside a small space in your warehouse that you can set up like a room with a nicely painted wall. Having a nice background will save you time trying to erase the extra clutter around the image. To remove a product from the background completely is called "deep etching" and takes a lot of time and skill with an image manipulation program (such as Adobe Photoshop). Take photos of furntiture in a clean uncluttered area (not like the first sofa!). Your images will have much more impact. Deep etching looks great but remember that it is a time consuming job. Make sure that the space you use is well lit, like in front of a window. Add accessories to give your set a homely feel, such as a nice pot plant or curtain covering part of the wall. Framing your shot The best presentation for small products is to take close-up images of each one individually.

3 If you shoot good photos to start with, the less work you will need to do now! Most images will need cropping, brightening, and re-sizing to ensure they look good on your site and are quick to load. The following steps are taken from Adobe Photoshop, but most photo modification programs have similar functions. Step 1: Downloading Download the photo files from you digital camera onto your computer. It is good to keep your product images in one special folder. Name the images to match the product's name or code, so that it is easier for you to find the right image when you upload them to your online store. Make sure you don't use any symbols like '/>+#*: etc when you name them as this may cause problems later. Step 2: Cropping Web Seven recommends you use a square format to promote the presentation of each image in your online store. 1. Import/Open a photo file from your computer for modification. Use the crop tool to center and define your product Click, hold and drag your cursor to draw the shape you want. Keep the lines close to the product so that it fills most of the image space. Hold down shift while you do this if you would like a square rather than rectangle crop If needed, you can move the drawn crop square around to centre the image inside it. Before you double click to action the crop: click and hold with the left mouse button, inside the crop lines and drag the box to the new position. Double click inside the crop lines to crop the image.

4 Step 3: Photo Modification This is your opportunity to improve the photo's brightness, or contrast, after you have cropped it. To enhance the contrast and brightness of your image, change the levels to look similar to the graph in the image below: 1. Click on IMAGE on the top menu bar. 2. Move down to ADJUSTMENTS and out to LEVELS. The Levels box will pop up. Ensure that the Preview Box in the bottom right corner is ticked, and that you can see your image and the levels box at the same time. Start with the right slider. Click and drag it closer to the centre until it is under the right edge of the shading (like above). Be careful you don't make the image too bright. Now move the left slider towards the center making the dark areas in your image look blacker. Usually, not much movement is needed, so ensure that you don't make the image too black. Next, move the centre slider from side to side until you are satisfied with the presentation of the photo. This slider makes the mid tones darker and lighter. Click OK when you are happy with the image.

5 Step 4: Photo sizing This is your opportunity to set the correct image size to allow quick and easy uploading. Digital photos or image files are measured in kilobytes (KB). For print production, it is not uncommon to find an image file as large as 50,000 kilobytes - otherwise known as 50 megabytes (50MB). However, for the Internet, each image file should be about 40 to 100 KB. The pixel dimensions of your image is the real secret to nice big images on your online store. The best size to make your image is about 500 x 500 pixels (and over 300 x 300 pixels if possible so you don't have tiny little images). If your image is larger then 500 x 500 pixels, the ezycat image system will automatically re-size it to 500 x 500 when you upload it. f your photo is portrait shaped, make it 500 pixels high and whatever wide. If the photo is landscape, make it 500 pixels wide and whatever high. If you image is not in a square format, white strips will be used to pad the short sides to make up the square. 1. Click on IMAGE on the top menu bar. 2. Move down and select IMAGE SIZE. In the top Pixel Dimensions area, set the size you want. We recommend 500 x 500 pixels for a square image, 500 pixels in height for a portrait image and 500 pixels in width for a landscape image - just change the one side so as to maintain your current proportions. Ignore all other information in this window - it's only relevant for images that need to be printed. Click OK

6 Step 5: Saving the Image You need to save each photo as a JPEG image file. JPEG is a compressed image format suitable for the Internet. 1. Click on FILE on the top menu bar. 2. Move down and select SAVE FOR WEB. The window will pop up. Click on the top right image window tab called 4-UP. Choose JPEG under SETTINGS In the QUALITY bar click the arrow and move the slider slowly back and forth until the size (dark circled on top right image) is between 40KB and 70KB. If the image is jagged, move the slider further to the right until it looks good. The trick is to keep the image size as close to 40KB as possible while having the image look good. Click SAVE and save in to a new folder called "products web sized" or something similar. These images are now ready to upload to your web site.

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