Sunday, June 3, 2012

Camp Etsy: 5 Simple Tips for Great Etsy Photos

Welcome Campers.

As a child / teen, in addition to several different orchestra (played the viola) camps, I attended chemistry, biology, photography, pottery, fine arts, string, and French camp, to name a few.

Unlike those, this camp will be void of late night treks through the woods to potty, cold showers, misquotes, and the sticky smell of maple syrup in the dining hall.

However, I do hope that my Newbie Etsy Camp teaches you a couple things you didn't already know about what it takes to start and promote your own Etsy shop.

Let me explain why you need to read this -
it was written by a newbie, not a seasoned professional with thousands of sales.

Most of the things I plan to share with you are things I discovered on my own through trial and error...and I understand how overwhelming starting an Etsy shop can be.

Over the next several weeks, I'll be sharing my experience with you about the importance of great pictures (and how to get them), pricing strategy, how to promote your product for free, writing your product description, and much more.

Let's get started...

After you determine what you plan on selling on Etsy, 
the #1 MOST important factor is getting people to look at your stuff.

Great pictures are a must.

Think about it - when you're browsing through blogs, what typically makes you stop and look, follow, and come back repeatedly....pretty pictures.

Aren't these pictures beautiful?  Even if they weren't being used to promote a product, they'd be inspiring design photos.

Etsy is not Ebay or Craigslist, where you can post a picture of a piece of furniture stacked sideways in your garage, and expect to sell it.

I'm not saying that my pictures even compare to the pictures of the amazing sellers I've shown above, but I wanted to use my own photos (so as not to offend anyone)

Would you be more likely to click on this picture?

Or this one?

What about this one?

Or this one?
Just a little cropping and photo editing completely changes the look of these pictures. (I use Picassa because it's very easy to use and doesn't require a degree in graphic design)

So, what makes a great Etsy photo?

1. Simple, consistent background.

Even if, like me, you are an inexperienced photographer with a $50 point and shoot camera - this is something you can do to easily make your product stand out and your picture look more professional.

White (and variations of it) seems to be the most popular backdrop that I see on Etsy.  
You can use a bedsheet, or a white table against a white wall, or even white paper.
What better way to highlight your product than to remove the backdrop?

Using white also makes it easier to give your overall shop a consistent, uncluttered appearance.

The overall appearance of my shop was something I failed to consider when I first started it.

As a result, it's overall appearance is less cohesive than the shop pictured above.  I've been working on updating my listings with new pictures, but it's a time consuming would have been much easier to do it from the beginning.

2. Natural Light (the kind that comes from the sun, not in a 12-pack)

When I started my blog last August, I had no idea how important good pictures were (or how to take them). 

I happened to take some pictures of a few furniture pieces outside because I didn't want to include our lovely blue carpet in the picture.

After uploading the pictures to my computer, I realized how much better the color and quality of the photos taken outside were compared to pictures I'd taken inside.

An added bonus is that it cuts your editting time significantly because you don't have to manipulate the color and light balance as much.

This picture was taken outside.

This one was taken inside next to a big window.

Big difference.

Try it, you'll be happy you did!

3.  Take LOTS of pictures...and then take a couple more.

I probably take 5-10 pictures for every 1 that I use for my Etsy listings.  It may seem to take a lot of time, but getting the right picture means more sales...and you save time from having to re-shoot later.

Here's an example of some of the many pictures I take to get a couple strong images for a single Etsy listing.

Take pictures from different angles and distances - you'll be surprised by the result.
Experiment with different locations and backdrops.

Add and remove props and design elements.  Always make sure to take some of the item on its own.

4. Crop and Edit

I touched on this in #1, but to elaborate - I wanted to suggest that you play around and try different things when editing your photos.  

When cropping, don't just outline the item, use it to create close-ups and highlight features of the item.

Different perspectives give your pictures some interest - hopefully enough to make a buyer want to see more and click on it.

5. Show your Product in "Action"

When browsing through shops (online or in person), do you ever lose focus, especially if you're not looking for anything specific?  You'll see things you really like, but have no idea how to use them or incorporate it into your home.

For example, imagine if this seller had just posted pictures of empty lab bottles in a cardboard box.... probably wouldn't even notice them.  But shown like this, as storage for small office, crafting, and hardware supplies, the picture gives you an idea of how to use the product that's not only practical, but interesting as well.

Or, check out this beautiful baby headband...

It's a great picture of a unique item, but check it out when it's put to use by an adorable baby...

Now, I want to buy the headband, the ruffly romper...and perhaps have another baby (lol - this feeling quickly subsides as my 1 year old dumps my 2 year old's training potty contents on my favorite rug!)

Showing potential buyers ideas of how to use your product will make it stand out and could potentially inspire the buyer to purchase several items.


I know that I've only skimmed the surface of a very extensive topic, but that's my intention.  When starting a new Etsy shop, you have so many details to consider, my goal here is to give you a couple concise tips on things I wish I would have thought about when I started my shop.

Please stop back over the next several weeks to check out my other Camp Etsy posts for Newbies - don't make the same mistakes that I've made!

If you have a shop and have any additional advice on this topic, please, please, please do leave a comment sharing your experience.  

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a great day!

take care -
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Christine@ Projects Around the House said...

Love these tips! Thanks for sharing. I am thinking about opening my own etsy shop

Helen and her Daughters said...

Thanks for sharing this, great tips!

Linda @ it all started with paint said...

Thank you! Now I need to know when your next posting is going up ...



ShinyAdornments said...

Great tips!

The etsy 'esthetic'can take a while to achieve, but boy does it make a difference.

I have to envy your shots to actual photo usage ratio of 10 to 1. Mine is more like 20 to 1. LOL



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