I wanted to put together something super cool and decided to share some Etsy tips within an entire series. For the next 12 days, I will be sharing tips to help you grow your Etsy shop.
Let’s chat about product photos today.
Ugh, I know! This was definitely not my favorite task to tackle. I get how much of a pain in the neck this is, but I felt the need to give attention to this topic because it’s uber important. We will talk about why in a sec.
Back when I opened my first Etsy shop I was spending a great deal of time on Instagram promoting my new shiny business.
One day, I stumbled across a shop that appeared to be well established and decided to check out my competition – which is good by the way, if you are not doing this you are doing an injustice to your biz.
When I landed in her shop, I was instantly blown away by her photos.
Jealousy began to kick in because I didn’t understand how she was able to capture beautiful images, which seemed so effortless on her part.
But then something happened…
…I begin to get really pissed off…
I checked out the number of sales she had made, and she was killin’ it.
I wasn’t pissed that she was doing so good, I was pissed because honestly, her products were not the best around town, but she was still making bank.
How did she do it?
Now, I can’t say for sure what her methods were or even how well she REALLY was doing, because let’s be honest the number of sales that Etsy displays to the entire world does not signify success. On the other side of her shop – the side we don’t see – she could be struggling to make a profit.
Who really knows!
But what I did know was I was smitten by her photos. And I can bet your bottom dollar that her photos attributed to at great deal of traffic for her Etsy shop.
Think about your experience when you are online shopping – what is the first thing you notice when you are scrolling through the search feed?
Your product images are the first point of contact shoppers have with your product before anything else. You can have the best product on the market, excellent SEO, compelling descriptions, but no one will ever know how great your products are if your photos don’t represent it in the right way.
Want to guess the #1 reason why Etsy sellers aren’t getting views to their listings?
You smarty pants you – yep, that’s right…
Okay, let’s be honest with ourselves. When you are shopping, do you ever find yourself compelled to click on an item that has a blurry photo?…
…how about a dark, grainy image?…
…or what about a photo that has so much going on you can’t really tell what is being sold?…
Guess what happens? You skip right over those items. And as a result, you’ve lost a potential sale.
Can you see how a bad photo can affect your chances of making a sale?
I know this is difficult to not only hear but to accomplish as well. Full disclosure, this was one of my BIGGEST struggle. It has taken quite a bit of time, practice, and commitment.
I am pleased that I have come a long way. The photos I took when I first started are so cringing, I can’t stand to even look at them. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of my images from my children’s brand.
The image on the left side was one of my very first images I took back in 2016. The image on the right is present day. There is a clear difference of growth and understanding of photo-taking.
I learned how to not only capture better images so that they are esthetically pleasing to the eye, but to present them in a way that attracts potential customers to click on my listings.
Through practice and the strategies I lay out today, you will be well on your way to getting quality, alluring images.
Before you run out and purchase fancy equipment, cool your jets. You don’t need a swanky camera to achieve great photos. Thanks to technology, you can look to your smartphone to fulfill your photography needs.
In fact, most of my photos taken in the beginning were all taken with my iPhone. I only later decided to switch over to a DSLR camera because it was gifted to me and thought I should put it to use. In truth, it’s hard enough learning how to capture well-lit images, who wants to figure out how to operate a camera as well.
Start small and focus on the task at handle. Then later you can make upgrades as you advance.
Let’s get to it…
Didn’t understand the importance of this initially, but I can attest that naturally lightening will be your best friend when tackling this photography thing.
Find you a space in your home, typically near a window, that gives off a ton of natural lighting. This can be a bit tricky at first, based on the time or day or even the structure of your home, but once you locate a well-lit area you have accomplished part of your goal.
Natural lighting is your best option because it reduces a lot of editing on the back end and produces a better-quality image. If you run into an issue of finding a good area, you can also purchase a photo tent box like the one below.
I purchased this one from Amazon and it has installed lighting that allows me to take good photos even on a rainy, dreary day. This box is made for smaller items however, there are larger boxes you can purchase. You can also build a DIY photo lightbox, there are tons of tutorials on Pinterest and YouTube to do so.
My biggest pet peeve with photos is the background choices. It drives me up a wall to see a photo with so much crap surrounding the product that it literally takes all the focus off of the product itself.
That is not the goal we are trying to reach here my friend.
You don’t want to turn off shoppers, you want to invite them in.
My suggestion is to always keep it simple, no need to try to complicate things with staging and a ton of props…less is ALWAYS better.
I typically use a white or light gray background as that is my personal preference and falls in line with the esthetics of my brand. If I see fit, I will include a prop to enhance my product, not distract.
Using a white background can be a little tricky at times as those photos can come out with a gray tint. For that reason, you can utilize a colored background such as an off-white or gray. You can even try a marble or wood background. You can also stage your products in their natural setting (which I highly suggest to showcase different views), such as a throw being draped alongside the sofa or the end of a bed.
It is completely up to you, just remember, you want shoppers to be drawn to your product, not what is happening in the background.
Details + Angles
Etsy has made it super easy to showcase your photos, with plenty of areas to do so. You are provided with 10 spots to work with, including an additional are for adding video. Do you have to use all ten spots? Absolutely not! But for increasing the chances of a shopper converting into a customer, it’s best practices to utilize as much space as possible showing multiple views of your product.
Your photos are designed to visually answer any questions that your descriptions can’t fully clarify. That is where your angles and details shots come in. Take the opportunity to provide shoppers with various perspectives to showcase all the features of your product.
This is super important because shoppers are relying on your photos to identify qualities such as the color or texture. The downside to online shopping is you are unable to physically explore an item, so you are relying 100% on images.
I typically take 5-10 images of each product. All with different angles giving a 360-degree view. Also, I take multiple images just in case an image does not come out the way I hoped it would.
Shooting stand-alone photos is a common way to showcase your item. Adding a live subject, a model, provides a realistic simulation of your products. Having a model wear your product or put it into use is a useful way to show your customer how the item fits and to what degree it fits or should be handled.
Also, a model can help a customer scale how big or small the item is. If your product cannot be worn, try using a common object to scale for size. For example, place a quarter or any object that is commonly known next to your jewelry piece for sizing purposes. Even though you will include sizing information within the description, your photos will help give a visual context to work with.
Don’t have a model?
Enlist family or friends to help you out. I worked with a good friend of mine who had a daughter to help with my images.
You can also reach out to brand reps to get the job done. Brand reps are individuals that promote and represent your brand. Based on your specific details you can send free or discounted products to your brand rep and in exchange they will promote your business and provide photos of your products.
You can find brand reps on Instagram or within Facebook groups which are dedicated entirely to reps and shops. Make a post on social media and they will come. It’s a easy and fairly inexpensive way to promote your business and build your portfolio.
From experience, construct an agreement about your terms, preferably in writing — a simple email will do. Your agreement should present with clear expectations. I can’t tell you how many times I have been burned because someone chooses to take and not honor their word.
Also, keep in alignment with your photo esthetics. I make every effort to ensure all my photos have the same esthetics across the board. You shouldn’t have a bohemian theme in some photos and a light and airy look in another.
When you have focus in your shop and are in tune with your ideal customer you learn what does and doesn’t work for your brand. This, like anything else, takes time.
Again, simple is best! Be creative but limit your creativity so that it doesn’t outshine your product.
I do my best to avoid having to do much editing and I would highly encourage you to avoid over editing so that you aren’t distorting the actual look of your product. If you are using natural light, I typically won’t have to do much. You can use a simple editor such as Afterlight, which is what I used for years, or VSCO. I just most recently switched to the free Lightroom version. All are apps you can find on your smartphone.
I make minor tweaks to my photos, such as a little brightening or cropping if necessary.
Be practical when editing as there is such a thing as too bright. Also, altering your photo drastically can also be a turn off to shoppers. Especially after they have purchased your product and it looks nothing like what was on the photo.
If editing is not your thing, you can use a professional photo editing company. I have used Pixelz in the past as needed. If I need help with removing a background or getting that bright white look. They are very affordable and have a quick turnaround, a great alternative when you need a poppin’ photo.
Apply these tips to make your products look as AH-MAZING as they truly are in person.
Practice, practice, and practice some more.
Will you master this in one day? Probably not!
But the more you do it, the easier it will get and the better your photos will turn out. Also, don’t let your photos be the determining factor on whether you list an item. Although your goal is to have stellar photos, you also don’t want perfection holding you back from listing an item.
Stay tuned for day three of the Etsy seller success series, we will dive into everything you need to know about branding.
What does your current photo-taking setup look like? Any tips you may have that I didn’t list above? Drop a comment below, I would love to hear them.