Removing backgrounds, as it relates to editing a photographic image, can be best described as the separation and removal of the background from the rest of the image.
Why Removing Backgrounds from Images Matters in eCommerce?
Image background removal is frequently used to showcase products professionally or when an object needs to be manipulated or composited into another image.
The technique of background removal is used by graphic designers, web designers, film compositors, and a range of other creatives working in visual mediums. The end result can then be used for:
- Product advertising
- Motion pictures
- And more
Once you have removed the background from your image, you can add it to other digital artwork to create a range of effects. If you are featuring the object in an infographic, a catalog or any other medium that is meant to highlight or draw attention to the object as a focal point.
When the background is removed from the image, the object will float on a transparent background. The background can then be filled with any pattern, image, or solid color you like.
In most situations, we replace the background with solid white. White is a neutral color and it focuses attention on the product/object and nothing else. This gives you a neutral canvas to work with, too, meaning that the product can be leveraged into any type of marketing campaign. Unlike lifestyle images—photos that depict people doing specific things or interacting with a specific product—products that are represented on a white background can be targeted to any demographic.
For instance, if you see an ad that shows a product being used by a woman, a man, a child, or a business person, you would rightly assume that the product is intended for that type of person. When your product is on a white background, it can be more ambiguous and universal, drawing the viewer’s eye to its features rather than highlighting its intended use.
If you are involved in selling online, whether through your own eCommerce website, eBay, Amazon or any other online marketplace, platform standards require your product images to be placed on a solid white background.
Besides Amazon policy, however, there are other reasons why you might want to consider a solid white background:
Draws attention: A white background draws immediate attention to the object. The more complicated the image is, the less impact it will make on the viewer.
Simple: Your product image stands out, looks uncluttered and clean on a white background.
Versatile: If your product shot has a plain white background, it can be used for a range of purposes on a wide variety of sites.
Consistency across your product range: If all of your product shots are set against a white background, it will lend a consistent look and feel to your website or online store.
Smaller file size: Removing the background from the product shot significantly shrinks the output file size. This means that your image will upload to the platform quickly, will load quickly when viewed, and will be viewable on a range of browsers.
Looks better on mobile: most people search, review and purchase products on their mobile devices, much more so than on desktops. The better you look on a mobile device, whether it is a smartphone or tablet, the better chances you will have at converting the sale.
Removing Backgrounds and Using White backgrounds drive profits
If you are selling online, your photograph is the single most important asset you have to drive the sale. It is the one thing that can really make or break the product, so it is in your best interests to make sure they are as clear and as high-quality as they can be.
Your product page may feature several elements from text descriptions to customer reviews and pricing. Despite the wealth of information the page might have, the user’s eye falls immediately on the photograph. You have that moment and not much more to capture their attention and drive the interaction towards a sale.
Keep in mind that your potential customer can’t touch or feel your product – they can only view the image. Therefore, that image should be the best possible representation of the product that you can offer.
Many studies have been conducted in order to prove the theory that a white background converts to a sale better than any other color, including a background image or pattern.
One such study, conducted by Microsoft, pitted two photos against each other to find out which one performed better. They found that the image with the white background increased click-through rate by an incredible 325 percent.
It is because of these results as much as the aesthetic of the site itself that provides the proof. One would assume Amazon knows what they’re talking about when it comes to selling.
Looking at the standards they expect their users to hold to, there are several important points to consider as it pertains to our subject here today. Here are the key takeaways:
- The product should make up 85 percent of the image frame
- It must not contain text or other graphics
- The full product must be in frame
- Backgrounds must be pure white
Your product image is meant to highlight the features of the object itself and should be zoomable so that you can see the product magnified in great detail.
In considering these guidelines, we can glean what Amazon considers to be the best possible photographic representation of a tangible product made available for sale. They want you to succeed as a seller, and they are giving you the tools to do so.
After all, their continued success hinges on yours.
How do I get my products onto a solid white background?
There are a few basic ways of getting your product shot onto a solid white background:
1. Shoot your product against a solid white background
Be sure that you are lighting the shot with the aim of minimizing any potential shadows. Experiment with camera angles to give yourself some options when choosing the best shot.
Professional photographers use sheets of white paper to shoot smaller objects or backdrops for portraits or larger objects. They will sometimes use flash in the background to overexpose everything but the subject, making the background appear bright white.
2. Shoot against any background and then remove the background with Photoshop
If you can’t manage to shoot your product against a bright white background, you can edit the photo after the fact. Using Adobe Photoshop, you can then use the background eraser tool, the magic eraser tool or the eraser tool to delete the background.
In the case of a photo with very crisp, well-defined lines that frame the product, this can be accomplished with just a few clicks. However, some objects will have uneven lines or a touch of shadow around its edges, so you may have to spend a little more time finessing the edges.
Once you have removed the background, you can add a solid white fill layer underneath, then save it as a jpeg, or to whatever image format you need. If you don’t use Photoshop, there are a range of other image editing apps you may want to consider, including GIMP and Paint.net, both of which are open-source and completely free.
3. Send your images to an editing company that specializes in background removal
There are many companies doing business on the web that specialize in photographic background removal. If you do not own Photoshop or a similar photo editing application, you may opt for this as it will give you excellent results with a fast turnaround time.
Ways to improve the look of your product when removing the background
Once you have removed the background from your product photograph, there are plenty of ways to further enhance your image to make it look the best it can be.
Some of the ways you can make your product photos look great include:
1. Color Correction
Depending on how your product is lit when you shoot it, you may be left with some color discrepancies between what the product really looks like versus the image. Color correction ensures consistency of tone and hue and can compensate for over or underexposure.
Color correction can also be leveraged as a color replacement tool, such as if you were selling a product line that came in a range of colors. In this case, you could use the same image over again, simply changing the color of the item to correspond to your available selections.
When correcting the color of an image, you need to adjust:
- White balance
- Black points
- White points
- Color saturation
Color correction is essential to obtain an accurate representation of your product. If your computer screen has not been properly calibrated, the color you see on your screen is, in many cases, untrue.
2. Photo retouch
One of the differences between professionally taken photos and those not taken professionally is in how the photos are finished. Photo retouching addresses a wide range of imperfections in your image and greatly enhances the end result. Some of these techniques could include:
Spot removal: Remove small imperfections such as dust on the lens, raindrops, light spots, and various visual artifacts.
Glare removal: Reduce, remove or tone down glare from too much exposure or imperfect lighting for a more balanced end result.
Blemish removal: Instantly remove blemishes from your subject’s skin or the surface of your product. Great for getting rid of smudges, dust, and scratches too.
Wrinkle eraser: Carve years off your subject’s life in a matter of seconds using Photoshop or the photo editor of your choice.
Whiten teeth: Whiten and brighten your subject’s smile for a gleaming, magazine-quality result.
3. Add reflections and shadows
Removing backgrounds and adding reflections and shadows to your product photos adds a bit of the “wow” factor, lending style and helping your images stand out from the rest. This can be accomplished with photography and lighting techniques, or it could be done in Photoshop after the fact.
Any products that have a modern look or aesthetic will look great with a little bit of reflection. Shadows and reflection can also add depth to an object, giving it more dimension and emphasizing its shine, shape, and character.
Remove Backgrounds like a Pro with professional clipping and retouching services
If you are engaged in selling online—no matter what type of product you sell—your product images are your calling card. Online, your customer cannot hold or touch your product, so they depend on your product images to tell them what they need to know. That means your product photography needs to be top-notch and in line with the standards set by eCommerce leaders such as Amazon.
In order to meet these requirements, your products need to either be photographed against a bright white background or they need to have the background removed and replaced. Many software tools are available to help you accomplish this, as are professional photo retouching and editing services like Picsera.
Picsera is your photo editing team. We work with photographers, businesses, and entrepreneurs to help support their eCommerce success with creative photography and post-production solutions that enhance your productivity and optimize your workflow. Based in the United States, we work with individuals and companies all over the world and would love to be part of your success story.