Sunday, March 2, 2014

Photo Editing Basics

No matter what you are selling on Etsy, you want to make a great first impression with your item photos so people will stop by your shop to take a closer look at your products. After you stage your photo shoot and take pictures of your items you may be anxious to get your items listed right away. However investing a little bit of time to edit your pictures can help you get noticed.

The first thing you'll need is photo editing software. There are many great programs available in just about every price range. If you are new to photo editing and want a program that's simple, I recommend PhotoScape. Not only is it easy to use, it's free! (You can learn more about PhotoScape and how to download it on their web site

The editor in PhotoScape has a lot of useful features. You can do everything from resizing your pictures, to adjusting the colors. Let me show you a couple of quick ways you can do to make your good photos great!

Many thanks to Meirah for providing all of the unedited product photos for this tutorial. You can find these lovely fused glass creations and many more in her shop Home for Glass Lovers.

White Balance

Sometimes the whites in your photo don't look white but may have a bluish hue. It's easy to correct in PhotoScape by clicking the arrow next to the "Bright, Color" button and selecting "White Balance" from the pop up menu. Then you just click on an area of the background that should appear white. Look at the difference created by three mouse clicks.

Blurred Backgrounds

You may use a non-white background in your photos to add texture or evoke a mood. However, you don't want the background to take the focus away from your item. By clicking the "Tools" tab, you can choose an "Effects Brush" that allows you to paint over your photo and blur certain sections. If your photo appears a little darker than you'd like you can also click on the "Bright, Color" button to brighten things up a bit.


If your photo has harsh shadows that detract from your item, the "Bloom" button creates an effect that not only brightens the picture but also softens the shadows.

Cropping and Resizing

Etsy allows you to upload five product photos for each listing. Of course your main picture will show the complete item, but it may also be helpful to crop a certain section of your picture so that you can highlight the details of your item. In this case I cropped the main picture of the jewelry set into two smaller photos, one of the necklace and one of the earrings.

Finally, if you are finding that your photos take a long time to upload when you are listing them, you may want to resize them. The recommended width of your pictures is 800-1000 pixels wide.

As you can see, photo editing doesn't have to be difficult. Each of the effects shown took less than two minutes to create and are an easy way to help you make a great first impression with your items!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Check out some of our previous articles on photography :


My name is Ellen and I LOVE to design and create things. I find it deeply satisfying to start with nothing more than an idea and finish with a tangible, beautiful, functional piece of work. I enjoy learning new techniques that I can incorporate into my creations. I practice a variety of different art forms, but find I always have at least one knit, crochet or sewing project in progress.


  1. Wow! How many good tips! I will definitely try Photoscape, seems pretty easy! I'm currently using pickmonkey. but I like the tricks you just showed! Thank you so much for sharing : )

  2. I have and use PSE and IPhoto, but you sold me on Photoscape! PSE is really too sophisticated for me. I use it like a trained monkey. I push all the buttons I was told to push in the right sequence. It works! However, if something goes wrong, I'm lost!
    Thank you so much for sharing. We can always pick up new tips, and tweak our technique. i'll be watching for more!

  3. Thanks for these great tips! I use another photo editing software, but I want to try this PhotoScape now. I like the brush effect you showed.

  4. Yes, thank you! The Before and After photos are great!

  5. Wonderful mini tutorial, Ellen :-)

  6. I tried and tried to download and install PhotoScape. I got nowhere but frustrated! After checking some forums, I found that there is no version of this for Mac. The expert said PhotoScape has never done a true Mac version. Bummer.
    I just thought this might save another Mac owner some grief.
    And it's STILL a great editing article, Ellen. Everything you say can be applied to other photo editors.