Saturday, February 22, 2014

Improve Your Photos

As you know, taking stunning pictures is one of the keys to success on Etsy. 
Here are some interesting and effective tricks to improve your photos!

Your product is the focus!

In this section we are going to discuss “staging” your items for your photo shoot. The first thing to consider is the background. No matter what your product is, your product is the most important and first thing you want your customer to see. (I will note here that sometimes the creator wants an artistic look that isn’t necessarily focused on the product; however, we are not going to tackle that here. There has been much discussion between Etsians about the use of a white background for photos. Many people feel that Etsy seems to favor white as the background of choice for treasuries that gain the front page. That may or may not be true, but a crisp, clean, uncluttered background is what you want to achieve. Remember the star of this photo shoot is your product.


Consider the background

Don’t let the texture or color overwhelm your product. Fuzzy rugs, fluffy bedspreads, shiny and/or wrinkled fabric don’t look professional or accent your product. Make sure your background color complements your product colors.  You don’t want the background to compete for attention. Try to choose a color or look for your background that puts your product in the best light. That might mean that if your item is very colorful or intricate that a solid color background is best.


There are many things to use for a background, lots of small items can be photographed on a piece of tile, stone, barn wood, or scrap booking paper, (I like to look for white papers with different textures)
If you have a larger item, hang a stiff canvas cloth behind it, even a blank wall that doesn’t compete will work. It’s okay to take pictures outside if your item is the focus in the forefront and the objects in the background fade away.

Don’t be afraid to look at other shops and get ideas!


Represent your work!

 If you have an unusual item, perhaps you want to add something in the picture to help reference it. An example might be if you make cake toppers you might want to have a cake in the photo as well as your product. Remember you have 5 photos to use, choose the most informative photo for the feature photo. Think of it as having 5 photos to tell the story of your product. Remember when a person is shopping in a brick and mortar store, they will look at the top, bottom, inside, closure, size, seams, workmanship, etc. Make sure you use all 5 photos to sell the critical components of your item.

Evoke a Mood 

Some Etsy sellers want to evoke a mood with their photos to help sell their product. An example might be if you are selling beach glass jewelry, besides having good close-ups, use of sea shells for props will look great and remind the shopper of a day at the beach. Colors that are considered to be “beach” colors such as pastel blues and greens would be a good choice, Vintage sellers often want to set up photos to look like a museum display which evokes antiquity with their product the focus. Showing a product in use always to help tell the story.

Thread Design Studio

What kind of mood are you trying to set? Choose props that tell that story!

Foxberry Hill



Use of White Space

White space, many times referred to as negative space, is the portion of a photo that is left blank, the empty space in a photo. It doesn't have to be white to be considered as empty space. Negative space will draw your viewer’s attention to a product. When you separate your subject from a cluttered background you are simplifying your image, thereby making it more compelling.

Whisper Of The Pipil

Get chosen for treasuries!

 Treasuries are a great way to be featured and get your products noticed. If you have great photos, not only will you have increased sales but you will find your products featured more by treasury makers. A treasury maker is looking for beautiful, clear artistic photos. If you have lots of text on your photos like clearance, sale, trademarks, etc. chances are those photos will not be chosen.

In Closing

When a buyer sees professional looking photos that look like thought and care has been taken to best display the product, they get the message that the product must be made with great thought and care as well.

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Take a look at some of our previous articles about photography :


Hi, my name is Tara and I am a recently retired Speech/Language Pathologist with 2 grown children and one grandson (and another on the way!) I share my home with my husband and 2 big dogs. 

I have been passionate about creating in some form or another all of my life. Our family has always enjoyed our time at Lake Michigan and love to collect Petoskey stones and other fossils and stones. When I discovered jewelry making I finally found my niche for creating beautiful pieces that I can share with others. Each piece I create starts with the stones themselves and then it just seems to flow from there. I have collected gemstones and beads from everywhere I travel and always can’t wait to get started with the new treasures. 

I hope you enjoy my shop Beechtree and will find a piece that speaks to you and brings much joy. 

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  1. Wonderful, easy to follow advice, Tara, thank you for sharing here! This is such an important element to our shops, it's always good to learn something new in this area and be reminded of the importance of good photos.

  2. Very informative and interesting post !

  3. Tara, thank you for this article and photos. Very interesting and useful information!

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. This was really interesting and helpful article!! Thanks for all the wonderful tips!!

    Beth from Pretty Byrd Designs

  6. Thank you for these tips. I'll keep them in mind for when I take photos for my shop.