Getting Started on Etsy: Part 3 – Photography

Photography is king! Shop photos are your number one tool for attracting and engaging buyers. With roughly 32 million items for sale on Etsy your photos have to stand out. They have to attract the attention of your buyers and then hold them. In todays post we’re going to go over some helpful tips for getting the most out of your photos.

Tip 1 – Good Lighting – Good lighting is so important because it’s pleasing to the eye and it’s the best light for showing off the details of your product. The best way to achieve good lighting is to use natural light when taking your photos. Indirect natural light is the best in order to avoid harsh shadows. Stay out of the sun and instead set up beside a window where there’s no direct sunlight. The indirect light will hit your item on an angle and really help get the most out of your products and photos.

When at all possible use natural lighting but it can be tricky so another option is to use a light box. Because the sunlight is constantly changing throughout the day the light is different all the time. Building a light box is incredibly simple and it allows you to take photos at any time of day because your light is always constant. You can look up light box tutorials online. It can take as little as 10 minutes to make one. Hint: Make sure you purchase bulbs that give off a white light (e.g.. OTT Lights) to achieve the best natural light look.

Below are some great examples of good lighting.
Getting Started on Etsy - Part 3
Top to bottom, left to right: WoolyGems, Bird Blue Design, Trashtiques, SIDONIEYANG.

Tip 2 – Photo Editing – No matter how great your lighting is sometimes your photos need a little help and that’s where photo editing comes in. You don’t want to alter how your product looks but sometimes your photos just need to be cropped or brightened or maybe you want to create an overall feel for your shop by adding a filter to your photos.

There are many programs to use, Photoshop being one of the most well known but you can also find free programs online like Picasa and my personal favourite, PicMonkey. Below is an example of what my product photos look like straight from my camera and what they look like after I’ve cropped, adjusted the temperature and brightened and highlighted my photos. A few simple steps can make a huge difference! Play around with your photos to figure out what you like best.
Getting Started on Etsy - Part 3

Tip 3 – Neutral Backgrounds – use simple, neutral backgrounds to really let your products stand out. Fabric, stone, wood, white poster paper and black chalkboards make great neutral backgrounds. They add visual interest to your photos without distracting from what’s important.Getting Started on Etsy - Part 3
Top to bottom, left to right: OHDEER Shop, A Second Time, A Pears Vintage Goodies, Kiwi Tini Creations.

Tip 4 – Photo Props – use props in your photos to enhance the look of your products or show how they can be used. Sometimes the buyer needs to see how a product can be used in order to really understand if it’s the right purchase for them. Below are great examples of how photo props can really enhance your photos and engage buyers.
Getting Started on Etsy - Part 3
Top to bottom, left to right: Billie Boone Vintage, IM Paper, Kiwi Tini Creations, Stone and Tree.

Tip 5 – Use all 5 photos spots in each of your listings – shop photos are incredibly important because they tell your buyer visually what your product is all about. Colour, size, scale, texture, material, detail, use, branding, packaging, can all be portrayed through your photos. Use all 5 photo spots in each listing to really give the buyer a sense of what the product is really like. Here are some examples of photos you can take to fill up all 5 spots.

Macro shots – get up close and personal with your products. It makes for an interesting picture and can help show the products features like texture and material. Many cameras have a macro setting but you can also achieve the look by just getting up nice and close.
Getting Started on Etsy - Part 3
Top to bottom, left to right: Splurge, Handmade Therapy, Elle Bee Tree, Marian and Hazel.

Packaging – fill one of your 5 photo spots with a shot of what your product will look like when it arrives to the customer. This is a great way to brand your shop and lets be honest, we all love pretty packaging.
Getting Started on Etsy - Part 3
Top to bottom, left to right: Soph & Oh, Splurge, Medicine River Soap Co., Yarn Ink Studio.

Models – use real life models to show scale and use of your products. Plus it gives buyers an immediate sense for how the product can look on them. Using models can also add some personality to your products and shop.
Getting Started on Etsy - Part 3
Top to bottom, left to right: Khokho Designs, Bubblegum Sass, Handmade Therapy Kids, Maple and Oak Designs.

Options – If you offer your buyers a choice in materials, size or colour for example use one of your photo spots to show the different options. This way buyers know exactly what the final look of their product will be.

Imperfections – if you offer a vintage piece that might have a chip or show some wear be sure to include a photo of the imperfection so your buyer is well aware of what they’re purchasing.

Different Angles – Don’t just show the pretty part of the necklace but include a photo of the clasp as well. Show the back of the headband not just the front. If you print your logo on the back of your cards show a photo of that too so your buyer knows what to expect. Top, bottom, front, back. Think about all the different angles you can take a picture from.

Really think outside the box when it comes to your photos. Think about what you as a buyer would like to see. Photos can be a lot of work but they’re so important so take your time and play around till you’re happy with the final result.

Lindy, Jillian and Hilda

Getting Started on Etsy
Part 1 – What’s Involved
Part 2 – Initial Set Up
Part 3 – Photography
Part 4 – Titles and Tags
Part 5 – Promotion

First image photo by Billie Boone Vintage