Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tips for Etsy Success: Photography

Here is the next step in the mini-series about running a successful etsy shop.
As I mentioned in the last article, I am not an expert. I am certainly not a professional photographer. I am just sharing simple tips that have worked for me in hopes that they might help you with your business.

Tip No. 2: Photography
Your item’s photograph is the first thing that a potential customer sees. A great picture will draw someone into your shop to look at more. A potential customer will see a poor or mediocre photo and keep looking.
Many shops on etsy are lucky enough to use photography taken by a professional. That is definitely a nice touch and life would be easier if we all had the resources. For those of us that are on our own to take decent photos of products, this article has a few tips that might help you.
Let me start by saying that when I opened my shop a couple years ago I knew photography was important and I thought I was doing a decent job. Ha! I was wrong! The more time I spent on growing my business, the more tweaking I made to photography. I am constantly trying to better the images in my shop because I feel like it is a continual work in progress.
In my opinion, the most important part of getting a great picture is lighting. Use natural light. Period. If you finish a great new design late at night, please wait until daylight to take a photo. It will turn out so much better and will be worth the wait.

 Great use of natural light (and a precious model)

Another tip is to use unique angles. A product shot does not have to be straight on and include the entire product. Using an intriguing angle and only photograph part of the product. Remember that you still have your items title to describe what the item is.


The entire dress is not shown, yet the photograph is interesting enough that it pulls you in and makes you want to view the rest of it.
If you do not have photo editing software, get some. There are lots of free options out there in addition to software that you can buy. I have Photoshop Elements. I barely know how to use it but even with the minimum editing that I do to pictures, it makes an enormous difference. If you are interested in editing software, look into ways to get it on sale. If you are a student or know a student, you can often order the software at a major discount. I was able to purchase Elements on Amazon for a retailer who had an open-box item. Since the package had been opened before it was 70% less than retail.

The above is the original. The rest are the same picture that simply have editing adjustments made to them.

Use a good camera. I know that camera’s are expensive. A point and shoot can take great photos with practice. A DSLR can take great photos with little effort and can take exceptional photos with practice. If you have the means to purchase a DSLR, do it. If not, maybe you could ask for one for Christmas or a birthday. Do you have a friend that has one? Ask to borrow it for a few hours a week to work on your photos. I promise, you will see the difference.


Another tip is to look around etsy, within your shops product category, and find photos that you like. Look at them and then look at your current photos. What is different? What do you like about the other photographs better than yours? Is it the location or the props used or the lighting or the angle? Figure out what kind of photos you want to aspire to and try to recreate them in your own way.


There is nothing wrong with the photo on the left if that is the best that you can get but doesn't the one on the right grab your attention so much more?
The last photography tip I have is to do your research. There are tons of photography blogs and articles out there written by professionals that offer free tips, tutorials and advice. There are also lots of photography tips within the Etsy articles and forums.

Here are a few photography websites that I have found some great tips from:


Photography is time consuming and should be a continual work of progress, but it is worth the effort. A good photo will draw customers into your shop. A good photo will get you featured on the front page of etsy. A good photo makes your shop look professional. A good photograph will grow your business.


Lisa said...

GREAT tips S!

I ordered labels last week and will work on my photos this week. :)

Ashley N said...

Great post...this is something I struggle with and am working on. Definitley going to put your tips to work. You are talented with a camera. Thanks!

Ashley N said...

Great post...this is something I struggle with and am working on. Definitley going to put your tips to work. You are talented with a camera. Thanks!

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