[intro] Before you begin this guide, you need to ensure that you have a collection of Product Images that either you have produced yourself or that have been given to you by your supplier. [/intro]

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If you don't have a graphics program on your computer but you have Product Images that need editing before they are uploaded onto your EKM online shop, Pixlr is a free platform which is not unlike Adobe's Photoshop and allows you to edit, crop and manipulate images. This guide is a very simplified version for absolute beginners to image editing.

1. Click this link to visit the Pixlr website.

2. Click Open Pixlr Editor (you may get a prompt to enable Flash on your browser at this point. Pixlr requires this to work):

3. In the window that appears, select Open Image From Computer:

Removing Shadows

Select the first of your Product Images. In my example, I used a plain desktop to make my Product Image. There is no dedicated lighting involved so my image appears quite dark, and there’s shadows that can be seen around each of the items. It’s worth bearing mind that if I would have used lighting, I probably wouldn’t need to complete this step!

4. To do this, click the colour palette on the left middle of the screen:

5. This will open the Color Selector window. Click the circle within the square and drag it to the uppermost white corner to select white. Then click the blue OK button:

6. You then need to click the Paint Bucket Tool, which is used to fill an area with colour. Click the Paint Bucket Tool, and then click anywhere on your background:

7. This will leave you with a white background, but as the shadows were a different colour, you can still see these around the products. You can zoom in on the image by pressing the CTRL key and the + key on your keyboard:

8. Apply the Paint Bucket Tool to any large patches of remaining Shadow. Don’t worry if you apply the Paint Bucket Tool to the wrong area - simply press CTRL and Z on your keyboard to reverse any changes:

9. If you still have traces of shadows on your images, you can quickly remove these using the Brush Tool:

10. To change the shape or size of your brush, when the Brush Tool is in use you’ll see a small menu available in the top left of the screen. You can select different shaped and sized brushes in this area by clicking the down arrows:

11. With your Brush Tool, zoom into the shadows and manually remove any remaining details by drawing over it with your brush:

Again, if lighting had been used correctly when the photos were taken, I wouldn’t need to complete this step. It’s definitely worth getting two desktop lamps specifically for the purposes of regularly taking your own Product Images.

Adjusting the Brightness

Now I’ve adjusted the background and removed the shadows from my Products due to not having the correct lighting, my Products look a little dull against such a stark white background.

12. To do this, click the Adjust Menu on the top left of your screen:

13. Then click Brightness & Contrast:

14. Using the sliders within the Brightness & Contrast window, adjust them until your Products stand out more against the white background. Don’t adjust the contrast too much otherwise this will depict a different to colour to the one the Product actually is, and don’t adjust the Brightness too much otherwise small details of your image could be lost:

15. When you have made your adjustments, simply click the blue OK button:

Cropping the Image to the right size

16. Now the image has had the background amended, shadows removed and colours adjusted, it’s time to crop it for the right size for the EKM online shop. Firstly, you need to remove the excess background. To do this, select the Marquee Tool:

17. Using the Marquee Tool, draw around the Products. You need to ensure that there’s enough space for the image to be cropped to a square shape:

18. Then you need to click Edit on the top left hand corner:

19. Then click Copy:

20. Return to the top left hand corner of the screen, click File and then click New Image:

21. This will open the New Image window. Notice that it’s already been populated with a Clipboard preset. This means that whatever you have copied most recently will be pasted as a new image. Click the blue OK button:

22. In this new window, click Edit in the top left hand corner of the screen, and then click Paste in the drop-down menu:

23. Return to the top left hand corner of the screen, click Image and then select Image Size from the drop-down menu:

24. This opens the Image Size window. Delete the number in the Height field and replace it with 1100. The Width field will automatically adjust the dimensions of the images for you (as the Constrain Proportions box is ticked) and 1100 is very close to the size we need our Product Image to be:

25. Then you need to click the blue OK button:

26. Return to the top left hand side of the screen, click Edit and then select copy from the drop-down menu:

27. Return to the top left hand side of the screen, click File and then select New Image:

28. In the New Image window that opens, change the Width and the Height fields to both be 1024. This is the optimum size for Product Images on the EKM platform. When you have done this, click the blue OK button:

29. Now you can see a new, blank canvas which is the right size for your Product Image, click the Edit button on the top left of the screen and select Paste on the drop-down menu:

30. This will paste your copied Product Image onto your canvas. It won’t fit exactly as it’s slightly larger than it needs to be. The final step is to maneuver the Product so it fits perfectly on the canvas. To do this, click the Move tool on the top left of the screen:

31. Then you need to click the Product itself, and keeping your finger on your mouse, maneuver the Product so that it sits centrally on the canvas. When you have done this, you need to save the image by clicking File on the top left of your screen and selecting Save from the drop-down menu:

32. In the Save Image window, give the Product Image a title by filling in the Name field and next to the Format field, click the down arrow to select the different file types available. You can save the Product Image as a JPEG file or as a PNG:

33. When the Product Image has been given a Name and a file type, click the blue OK button:

34. In the window that opens, select where you want the Product Image to be saved to on your computer, and then click the grey Save button.

Now you have edited your very first Product Image, removing any shadows, adjusting the colours and cropping it to size for use on your EKM online shop. Although it’s a lot of steps to go through the first time, after you have repeated this process for the rest of your Product Images, this routine will soon become second nature to you. If you dedicate some time to learning about manipulating images in Pixlr (their support page is here and their blog is here), you'll soon learn lots of different ways to edit your Product Images other than the simplified version listed above. When the rest of your Product Images have been completed, the next step is to upload them to your EKM online shop. To do this, you can use the Edit Product window or if you want to add images to Products in bulk using spreadsheets, use the Import/Export System

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[contact] If you need our help with your EKM online shop, contact your Account Manager or Customer Support, who will be able to point you in the right direction. We're open from 8am-6pm weekdays and 9am-5.30pm on the weekends. If you'd like to suggest a feature or an upgrade on any of the EKM platforms, please let us know on the EKM Suggestions board. If you have a non-account specific question ask the EKM Team, join us in EKM Community.  [/contact]