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Furniture Products not Selling? Use Shadows to Get Ahead of the Game


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Incorporating shadows into your furniture product photography is easy and effective!

Most of the time, product photographers view shadows as a nuisance, but if you learn how to use shadows to your advantage, you can really make your product images pop! Capturing natural shadow during the shooting process is always best, but for certain products like furniture, this is easier said than done. In these instances, post production work can help you to create your desired look.
There are many ways to add appealing shadows to your photos in Photoshop, but the two most important principles to remember are that

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  1. Your shadows must look visually realistic, and
  2. You should use the same type of shadows throughout all of your images so that your inventory appears clean and seamless.

There are three major types of shadows: natural shadow, drop shadow, and reflection shadow. Here at Pixelz we can help you adding shadows to your product images overnight, with plans specifically made for DIY e-commerce entrepreneurs and professional retailers. Simply upload your images, request the shadow type you’re looking for and we’ll take care of the rest.

If you’d like to try adding shadows to your product images yourself, we created this tutorial that will provide with step by step instructions on how to create each of these shadow types in Photoshop.

Natural Shadow

Natural shadow can be subtle and becoming if done correctly, as shown in the image on the right. This is one of the easiest shadow options if photographed while taking this into account.

This video tutorial will show you how to properly create a natural shadow for your furniture products.

For your convenience, we have also included written directions below:

  1. Duplicate the chair layer so you have two layers of the same image.
  2. Make a new empty layer and Fill it with a white background. Then move it below your first layer.
  3. Use the magic wand tool to select the white background of your image.
  4. Refine the edge of your selection by smoothing out your transition by about 25 points.
  5. Make a layer mask on your top chair layer and invert your selection so you will just see the chair and no background.
  6. Duplicate this chair layer with your new mask selection.
  7. On the bottom chair mask, use a soft feather brush and “paint in” the ground of the background shadow. You can play around with the opacity of your brush strokes on how much you want to bring back in and how dark you want it to appear.
  8. Flatten all layers to create your final image with a natural photographed shadow.

Drop Shadow

A drop shadow can add an interesting effect to an image, imitating direct sunlight from above.

Watch this video to see the drop shadow technique in action and read afterwards for the written instructions:

  1. Use your selection tool to select the white background of your chair image. Refine the edge of your selection by smoothing out your transition by about 25 points.
  2. Make a layer mask on your chair layer and invert your selection so you will just see the chair and no background.
  3. Make a new layer and fill with white and place as your background layer behind your chair layer.
  4. Adjust your chair to center it and allow for room for your shadowing and additionally mask out any other things from your background.
  5. Duplicate this chair layer with your new mask selection.
  6. On the bottom chair layer with mask, transform this layer by flipping it vertically. It should now look upside down.
  7. Transform and turn your chair to make the back leg lined up to it’s matching one.
  8. On this layers mask, use the gradient tool to make the legs taper from more visible to less visible. This may take some time playing with it to find the right opacity and gradient.
  9. Use your brush to tweak your mask and brush out all of the other legs and unnecessary objects in the frame other than that one leg.
  10. Play with the opacity and brushing out to make it seem more natural.
  11. Duplicate this layer and move it to your other back leg of your chair.
  12. Using your straight selection tool, make a diamond shape under your chair between the legs points.
  13. Refine the edge of your selection by feathering it a lot to allow for a nice gradient. Brush in some of the sides to allow for a nice fall off under your chair.
  14. On the front two legs, make a slim “v” shaped selection. Refine this edge and feather your selection.
  15. Create a curves layer and darken it so it looks like a shadow. Do this for both legs in the front.
  16. Flatten your layers and save your new file.

Reflection Shadow

A reflection shadow is a refined, and even dramatic, shadow to add to a product image. If you like the look of the reflection shadow, you can learn how to create your own for your furniture products, by watching this video and following the written steps below:

  1. Duplicate the chair layer so you have two layers of the same image.
  2. Make a new empty layer and Fill it with a white background. Then move it below your first layer.
  3. Use the magic wand tool to select the white background of your image.
  4. Refine the edge of your selection by smoothing out your transition by about 25 points.
  5. Duplicate this chair layer with your new mask selection.
  6. On the bottom chair layer with mask, transform this layer by flipping it vertically. It should now look upside down.
  7. Starting with one leg at a time, line up one leg to it’s rightful match.
  8. Transform and turn your chair to make the leg lined up to it’s matching one.
  9. On this layers mask, use the gradient tool to make the legs taper from more visible to less visible. This may take some time playing with it to find the right opacity and gradient.
  10. Use your brush to tweak your mask and brush out all of the other legs and unnecessary objects in the frame other than that one leg.
  11. Play with the opacity and brushing out to make it seem more natural.
  12. REPEAT this process for all four legs.
  13. Flatten all layers to create your final image with a reflection shadow.

By adding realistic shadowing to your product images, home furnishings, footwear, jewelry, you will not only make your images and inventory look more interesting and professional, but you will also enhance customers’ viewing and shopping experiences by helping them to visualize what the product might look like in their home—and that is a very good thing!