Etsy Listings: Tips for Photos

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I have been selling on Etsy since late 2008. During this time, I have actually learned more about photography and marketing than I have about making jewelry. If you don't have any experience or have just started with product photography, this article may be a little overwhelming. Take a step back and first focus on your general product photography skills and your backgrounds and props before you worry about pulling together polished Etsy listings.

Take a step back and focus first on your general product photography skills and your backgrounds and props before you worry about creating listings. When you're ready, come back to this hub. You will be able to pull all of your newly acquired skills together to create amazing Etsy listings.

As I've already written a couple articles on this topic, I did my best not to repeat too much of the same information here. If you can't find what you are looking for in any of my photography articles, don't be afraid to contact me. I'm happy to help in any way that I can.

If you sell earrings, include at least one photo that shows how the earrings hang.
If you sell earrings, include at least one photo that shows how the earrings hang. | Source

Different Poses and Angles

If at all possible, show your products from different angles and in different poses. If you have no idea where to start, search similar listings for inspiration. Don't be afraid to do a lot of experimentation, especially when you are first starting out. It can take a while to figure out what works well and what you want your signature look to be for your shop. As you develop standard poses and angles, the photography process will go more quickly.

Gray felt is a good background fit for a lot of my jewelry products.
Gray felt is a good background fit for a lot of my jewelry products. | Source

Different Backgrounds

Providing several different backgrounds for a piece within an Etsy listing can make a listing more interesting. Many people like to feature one or two backgrounds in their top listing photos. This can give a shop a more consistent look as people browse the thumbnails. However, there is no reason you can't use additional backgrounds within the listings. Currently with each listing I include dark or light gray, sheet music, and white backgrounds. There is no limit to the backgrounds and props that you can use.

How to Shoot on a Pure White Background

I use my own hand and wrist to model my bracelets for my Etsy listing photos.
I use my own hand and wrist to model my bracelets for my Etsy listing photos. | Source

Modeling And/or Size Comparison

People can't see items in person so everything that they can get to judge the size and scale of the pictured items will be helpful. It is also important for people to see how jewelry fits and how clothes will hang. It is important to include measurements and sizes in your listing descriptions, but people generally need more than that to get an accurate idea of size. Photos with modeling and/or size comparison can make a big difference.

There is no noise or blur in this photo.
There is no noise or blur in this photo. | Source

Clarity

Please don't post pictures that are blurry. It is better to have 3 great photos in a listing than to have 2 great photos and 2 not so good photos. If you're struggling to shoot 5 great photos for all of your listings, don't get stressed out. Start with what you can and build from there. If you aren't using a tripod and/or the self-timer on your camera, these are great places to start for getting crisp photos.

I don't ever use this pose as the first photo for my listings, but I do like to include it.
I don't ever use this pose as the first photo for my listings, but I do like to include it. | Source

Use All 5 Slots

With the above being said about not using all of the slots if you can't, it is still ideal to use all 5 photo slots whenever possible. The shot that works well for one person might not work as well for another person and vice versa. If you are still struggling to come up with ideas for different photos after reading my photo hubs, continue to search similar listings on Etsy for inspiration. It's important to keep in mind that something should be different about each photo. Don't post multiple shots of essentially the same photo. Make the most of your five photo slots.

I wrote a pattern for this basic design that includes several different options. I include example photos of all of these options in the listing.
I wrote a pattern for this basic design that includes several different options. I include example photos of all of these options in the listing. | Source

Variations

For made to order items, patterns, or signature lines in your shop, show other possible color combinations or other variations for pieces. If there are other versions currently available, include a link in the listing description. People may like a design but not like an element of the piece such as the color combination, clasp, or size. Providing some variations will get their minds thinking about customization options.

People will appreciate the details of your fine handmade products with quality macro shots.
People will appreciate the details of your fine handmade products with quality macro shots. | Source

Macro

If you are not already shooting in program mode, please start doing so with your next photo session. Among other things, it will allow you to turn on the macro setting yourself. Close up shots are essential for Etsy listings. Let people appreciate the fine handiwork that goes into your products as well as the materials and techniques that are used.

Macro Photography Tips For Beginners

The first photo should really catch people's attention.
The first photo should really catch people's attention. | Source

First Listing Shot

Consider what will the first photo in all of your listings. As you become more comfortable with photographing your products, pick out one or two poses and backgrounds that work well for many of your items. Using these for the majority of your first photos in your listings will create a consistent look for your shop.

Cropping and Editing

I cannot stress cropping and editing enough. Even the best photos will most likely need some more editing work before they're ready for a listing. Generally I crop first. Keep in mind that the first photo people will see of your item is a thumbnail. You want people to see some of the detail in your item from that thumbnail. Cropping will make this happen for you.

You do not need Photoshop or a wealth of editing knowledge to do some basic light adjustments or other simple techniques such as straightening. Using Picasa, I usually do an auto light adjustment and then manually tweak the light settings a little more. Some photos require more tweaking than others. Most programs will save original copies of your work so you can always start over if you aren't happy with the results.

Even my best photos still require cropping and most likely require at least a minimal light adjustment.
Even my best photos still require cropping and most likely require at least a minimal light adjustment. | Source

Stick With It

I did not develop my photography skills overnight. It took me the better part of two years to feel confident about my product photography skills and to start producing consistently good product photos. I still learn new things and continue to improve my skills every month. Take lots of photos and continue to work on your technique. It may not seem like you're making a lot of progress from week to week, but once you've started progressing, you'll be shocked when you go back and look at your photos from even a few months ago.

Guide on how to do product photography on the cheap

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Comments 24 comments

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 5 years ago from Northern California, USA

Excellent! I enjoyed reading this article a lot. It helped me learn how to use my camera for getting better photos. For instance, I never knew exactly what the purpose of the macro button was. Now, thanks to you I have a better idea of how it will help me.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

I'm so glad to hear that! Best of luck with your photos.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Really good photo info, even for hub photos. Besides that, the projects in your examples gave me a neat craft idea. :)

Voted up and book marked.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

RTalloni, you're absolutely right that almost all of these tips apply to hub photos, too! So glad that you got some inspiration from this. I'd love to see what you end up making.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

Great hub and I have meant for such a long time to check out Etsy. I have a huge bag of earring loops and what nots I bought years ago, that would be a great way to get some extra Christmas money. Can it really be a pretty good income? Thanks for the camera tips. I do outdoor photography and it is beautiful, hope to have a release on the hundreds I have soon but I really am not much good on the indoor, so again, thanks!

Polly


VENZKHVAM profile image

VENZKHVAM 5 years ago from Milk way galaxy, trying to find a more adventurous place in another galaxy with my great followers

Dear RandomCreative,

The ring and the beads photos are really good complimented by the background.

I love photography. But I had not got any chance to go on professional photography.But one day I will surely take a time and go with a Konica and Pentax.

It was nice to read a hub on photography with additional suffixes like cropping,variety,first shot,editing etc.

I am following you and also voted up this hub and as useful.

Waiting to hear your comments in my three hubs also. thank you.


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

Hi randomcreative,

You certainly have a talent for taking excellent photos that compliment your jewelry. Your tips will be useful for many people, thank you for sharing!

Cloverleaf.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Pollyannalana, I don't know if I'd say that it's a great source of income. For a lot of people, it's a way to pay for your hobby. For some people, it's a supplemental income. Some people only do outdoor shooting for their Etsy listings, but living in the midwest, I've found this to be really difficult a lot of the year. You can still utilize natural light or a light box indoors for gorgeous product shots.

VENZKHVAM, thanks! I don't have any professional photography equipment either. I have a point in shoot that I paid $220 for 2 years ago and a $15 tripod. My other photography hubs discuss some of those details like editing even more than this one does. I will check out your hubs.

Thanks, Cloverleaf! That means a lot to me.


NiaLee profile image

NiaLee 5 years ago from BIG APPLE

Thank you again for the tips, that was one of the issues I had to deal with when taking pics and choosing them... I have learned about textures, colors and angles so much because I appreciate them when I look at a product...the photo effect can be the sale maker.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks! Good photos can definitely make or break sales.


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

You've given some wonderful advice for taking close-up photographs, and your examples are perfect! Although I don't sell crafts, your tips would be helpful for close-ups for flowers, plants or other objects where it's important to have clear detail. This is a really useful and well illustrated Hub!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks Stephanie! A lot of these tips are definitely applicable for other types of macro photography.


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

This hub is getting bookmarked. The more I write online, the more frustrated I get about my own picture-taking abilities. This is very good reference material.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks! I know that plenty of Hubbers only use photos that they pull from elsewhere. However, I think that using at least some of your own photos is a better way to go. But that does mean that they have to look good. Best of luck!


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether

Great advice for etsy sellers or for people who are new to selling on etsy. It's all about the marketing and photography/aesthetics will either make you or break you on etsy! Voted up and useful.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much! Yes, for sure!


Ruth 4 years ago

A good, free, photo editor is GIMP. Works just like photoshop.

Great article, made me think more about the photos i'll be putting up when I start selling.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks for the tip! I'm glad that this was helpful for you. Best of luck selling.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

I love how you arrange your photos. This is a great hub with excellent tips!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much, Vicki!


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 3 years ago from Western NC

FanTASTIC photos. Great tips and amazing know-how. You're really good at this and it shows. I'm willing to bet you get decent sales, too, because the things you make are special and your photography showcases that. :)


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

I try and use my own photos in my Hubs. I'm satisfied with them after I edit in Picassa. Now, I am working on learning how to add text to my photos to make them better for Pinterest. I'm using PicMonkey for that, but I have a lot to learn.

Good advice here. Voted UP and will share.


StephSev108 profile image

StephSev108 3 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Thank you. I will have to use some of these tips.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much, Cyndi! I don't have amazing sales, but my Etsy sales have been pretty steady for the past 16 months or so, and my local sales continue to increase.

Mary, it's great that you feel confident using so many of your own photos in your articles. Adding text to photos is a great method for increasing Pinterest traffic. Best of luck with PicMonkey!

That's great, Steph! Best of luck. :)

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    Rose Clearfield (randomcreative)1,376 Followers
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    Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.



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