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We are opening a new shopping website for bone china products. I was given some photos of porcelain tiles but they look much worse than they are in real.

I wonder if there are any basic techniques to improve the qualities of these images using Photoshop?

Here are a few samples of the images:

Tile1 Tile2 Tile3

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migrated from graphicdesign.stackexchange.com Apr 28 '12 at 20:28

This question came from our site for Graphic Design professionals, students, and enthusiasts.

2  
Hey @Mert, can you let us know what you don't like about the photos? We tend to need something more specific or a goal/technique you'd like. –  rfusca Apr 28 '12 at 20:47

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

There are a few things that could be done to get better photographs to start with (and some things you can fix afterwards, but would be better fixed when the shots are taken):

  • photograph from directly above dead center to avoid the perspective distortion you see in these photos (with the top edge narrower than the bottom edge). This can be corrected in Photoshop to make the tiles look more square.

  • get your horizon straight too (this can also be corrected in Photoshop).

  • there are some very obvious reflections (or shadows?) of the photographer in the bottom right quadrants of the photos. I don't think you can fix this in Photoshop, but you could fix it with lighting in the original shots (light from the side, avoid light from behind the camera).

  • I think the photos could also use some contrast (and saturation), which is fixable in Photoshop.

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2  
Also don't forget to use a grey card to make sure the white balance is correct in all your products shots (or some products will appear to have inconsistent colours). For the same reason, adjusting saturation may not be the right idea - think about what happens when a customer buys two tiles. –  James Youngman Apr 29 '12 at 23:08
    
Good point. Adjusting the saturation is probably not a good idea (people want to see what they are buying, not "nice" photos). I still think they would look better with more contrast (less flat). Having consistent white balance will help if trying to match tiles. –  seanmc May 1 '12 at 2:47
    
Something else will be helpful: hold a black "reflector" (like a black piece of foam-core cardboard) above and behind the photographer while he shoots the tiles from overhead as described by seanmc. This will block light reflected from above the photographer and help reduce uneven shadows as well as reflections from the photographer. –  Ryan Nov 22 '12 at 20:32

Shooting products is a special skill. It is not reasonable to take random snapshots and expect you to fix it in photoshop.

Tell the photographer to get soft lights from each side, at least two sides, preferably four sides. Make sure that the image is exposed properly.

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For basic stuff though, you don't need to spend a ton on lighting. Just get a light tent and some white lighting and you'll be getting great shots. –  rhooligan Apr 29 '12 at 17:04

Are these tiles on a wall mounted? If not, you can put them on a table and shoot them with sufficient diffused light (not the flash). Just try to capture an image with the tile as square as possible (so you don't have to fix it in Photoshop afterwords), keep all the edges tile the same distance from the camera.

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