Friday, March 14, 2008

Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Etsy Pics

In the past couple of weeks, I've participated in several shop critiques through various team sites and forums. Overwhelmingly, the comments I received related to the quality of my photos, something I wasn't surprised by in the least. I am in no way, shape, or form a photographer. I have a decent eye for good product photos, though, and I knew going into my critiques that I didn't have them. I have struggled with this since I opened the shop, making subtle improvements almost daily, experimenting with different backgrounds and lighting, adjusting things in Photoshop, etc., but never really conquering the problem. However, the advice I received from lots of seasoned Etsy professionals have really helped me focus my efforts to spiff things up in my shop.

Apparently, the trick to getting views (and we all know you don't get sales without views) is to make your photos "pop" in a list of similar products. While I'll freely admit that my photos are not yet a shining example of the uber-professional Etsy listing we all hope to be able to claim as our own one day, I have seen a significant increase in my views since I incorporated some of the tips I'm about to impart.

  1. Always shoot in natural light. It keeps your colors true and eliminates wonky shadows indoor lighting can cause. If you must shoot indoors, head for a window and turn off the overheads.
  2. Never, ever use the flash for your product photos - it will mute bright colors and wash out subtle ones. If it's dark outside, wait til the next day to shoot. A day's delay is always better than a crappy-looking listing.
  3. Use a simple background in a color that contrasts with and compliments your product. Use props (minimally) to establish scale.
  4. To avoid fuzziness in close-ups, use the "macro" setting on your camera. On most cameras, it is associated with a little flower icon. You'll be amazed at how close you can get without the shot getting blurry.
  5. White should be white, not gray. Often, simply using "Auto Adjust/Correct Color" in your photo editing program will do the job. If necessary, adjust lighting (and then contrast if necessary) until you're satisfied with the result. If the white almost hurts your eyes on the screen, then it's just about right.
  6. Use square photos so they won't be cropped when you upload them - they look best in list views (the way most people will find you), and in the thumbnail Etsy minis. I accomplish square photos by creating a 1000 x 1000 pixel blank file in Photoshop and dragging my image into it. You can then resize and move your pic around in the frame until you've got something you like.
  7. Choose something intriguing for the first pic - probably not a photo of your entire item, but maybe a close-up of single design element. The first pic should make a potential buyer want to see more and therefore click through to your listing. Since I feel that my graphics are the strongest elements of my designs, I have chosen to use the graphic itself as my first pic. I was hesitant at first, but I've had several people comment on them being better than a close-up of the cards.

And that's it! Hope it helps. I'll keep working on it too, and will let you know once I'm so thrilled with the results that I stop making changes. Yeah! Like that'll happen!


Cindy said...

wow- thanks for the info! I am also struggling with pics and am going to try your tips!

ickleson said...

Great tips, thanks for sharing. x

southernscraps said...

Thanks for sharing. You are a talented writer. And I LOVE the butterfly cards. Are they prints of your drawings or how do you make these?

Kelly said...

Thanks, southernscraps. Most of my graphics originally come from "found" images - vintage ephemera, historical images, etc. - all in the public domain. The treasure hunt is half the fun. I alter them digitally until I get what I want.

Moderncard said...

thanks for all the tips!

k.rowe said...

Thanks for sharing this great info :) I'm working on taking better pictures, and these tips will be a great help!

Thanks, again...

ElegantSnobbery said...

Great tips! Thanks for sharing them with us!!


Allison said...

Good tips :]