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Rebecca’s Etsy Series, Part 2: Six Photo Tips for Your Etsy Shop’s Item Listings

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Like all online shopping sites, great photos are crucial to success in selling on Etsy. You only get five photos slots per item, so they need to be the best images possible to represent your products. A fancy camera isn’t essential- I actually use my iPhone for most of my item photos. Even if you’re using a nice camera there are a few ways to increase the attractiveness of your listings to shoppers. Here are some tips to improve your photos on Etsy:

1. Take Clear and Bright Pictures

The most important recommendation for amazing, appealing photos is to make them bright and in focus. Natural light is ideal for product photos, but this can be hard if you live in a rainy or cold climate. If you don’t have much access to bright sunshine for much of the day, you may want to invest in a light box. You can make or purchase one, and also buy a few small lights to illuminate your product. If you can’t get the right light you can also brighten them with photo editing programs- just be sure not to go overboard and make them look too over-exposed.

2. Never Misrepresent Your Products

Always make sure your photos accurately represent your products. This includes having the correct colors, proportions, method of use, etc. very clear in your pictures. This is especially important if you are selling certain items that need to be matched to a project or event. For example, digital downloads (like printable wall art or invitations) and supplies (like fabrics or yarn) should be portrayed as accurately as possible.

Extra tip: I recommend including a blurb in your shop announcement or policies about colors varying on different computer monitors. This way you can cover all your bases as well as helping the customer know that colors can look different on various devices.

3. Offer Different Angles

A variety of angles and layouts can help customers get an idea of what they will be getting if they purchase from your shop. For example, if you are selling handmade jewelry it’s smart to have several kinds of photos. This can include one that’s a “flat-lay” on a flat surface, another with a person wearing it (make a note in the description saying they will receive a new item rather than the one in the photo for items with sanitary concerns), one next to a ruler for scale, a detail shot, and a photo of your jewelry next to the gift box which will be sent to the customer. There’s no one formula for photo success on Etsy, so do a little trial and error for what looks best for your products.

Extra tip: If you’re a vintage seller be sure to show any damage or wear on your goods in the photos (as well as mentioning this in the item description).

4. Include Measurements for Scale

If you’re selling items that have measurements that are really important, consider taking photos next to a measuring device for scale. Even though this information should be in your item description it’s best to also include it in your pictures. You can put a ruler or coin next to your product, or even make a hand drawn line with the measurement and bars on the end to indicate the side you are referring to. Take a look at what sellers who make similar items are using to show scale in their photos.

5. Crop Your Images

Carefully cropping your product images can make even the most unappealing photo pop. You can use a photo editing program, the photo edit feature on your iPhone, or even the crop tool on Etsy when you are uploading your photos. If you adjust the angle and zoom in on your products, a not-so-great photo can wind up looking amazing.

It’s also important to have the right size and shape photos that Etsy prefers. Listing photos look best in a square shape, and if you use very rectangular ones they can sometimes look strange on the listing page. If your photo is too long on one side it will post with grey bars on the ends to fill in the extra space. This is why it’s important to stick closely to Etsy’s size suggestions. These can be found on the listing edit pages- they recommend images no larger than 800-1,000 pixels wide. You’ll get a little error message if the photo you’re uploading is too large for the site.

6. Retake Bad Photos

I’m always updating older pictures of my products. There are many reasons to update your photos- they might be out of focus, have a background that’s too distracting, have a speck of dirt or hair that you didn’t notice, or be too close or too far away to capture details. During the slower months for your business, go through and review all of your product photos. This way you can improve some through editing and totally re-photograph others.

Extra tip: Keep in mind that you should never switch the photos and description from an existing inactive or active listing to another product to avoid paying the listing fee again. This is considered fee avoidance and is against Etsy’s Terms of Use.

What other suggestions do you have for taking great product photos for your Etsy listings?