On Etsy you have 10 photos. How to be the most effective.


We are visual beings and Etsy certainly realizes that. We also have other senses that we essentially lose when we are shopping online. Our sense of smell and our sense of touch are out the window. But with good photography and with the help of some well written descriptors we can bring back the sense that your customer has nearly felt the product or smelt the product you are selling (if that’s the case). No-one needs to smell the print I’m selling but this could be handy if you are in the business of selling candles or soap. So what can we do as Etsy sellers to maximize the amount of space Etsy gives us to display our product?

We have 10 opportunities to ensure the customer has a good grasp on what they are about to purchase. We want them to feel a big desire to purchase and we don’t want them to be surprised when they receive their product and actually hold it in their own hands. First things first, let’s think about the big picture and the phycology of what is going through the buyers mind. I always try and put myself in the shoes of someone who is searching for my product.

Make sure your photos and your entire listing is optimized! Follow this Optimized Etsy Listing Guide.

First Image: Showing up in Search

The buyer likely searches on Etsy or Google and the phrase that they’ve entered matches your keywords that you’ve entered in your listing. They see your product along side other listings in search, what is going to entice them to click on your listing? The attractiveness of your thumbnail photo, the very first one in your listing! It’s crucial that you make this photo clear, I prefer a white or cream background and either just your single product or my favorite, you holding your product. Need a visual click here to see my listing. https://www.etsy.com/listing/775160347/crested-butte-map-ski-decor-crested?ref=shop_home_active_109&frs=1 

The Buyer’s Mind

Once your potential customer has clicked in to your listing you need to answer all the questions that are going to go through their mind… think about yourself in an actual brick and mortar store. You see a piece of home decor that catches your eye. You go over to the table it’s displayed on and what do you do? You pick it up for a closer look. You inspect the front of the product and then you turn it around. You wonder if it comes in any other colors or in black and white. You also start to think that this about the size, you may think this this piece on display is a little small for the space you were envisioning. You walk across the table because you see two other sizes that are offered. You walk over and pick up the larger size and then you then start to think about where you would put this item in your house and how it would look. This is where online shopping finally outweighs the brick and mortar experience, online you can show the customer what it would look like in a home, you have the ability to show styled home photos! You then look at the price and wish their were some kind of discount, it’s in your price range but wouldn’t it be nice to get a bit of money off. 

This is what the buying experience looks like for so many customers, have you had this narrative in your own head when out shopping? 

Let’s breakdown how you can achieve a sale by answering the physiological narrative in the buyers mind! 

Thumbnail Photo

First it’s that thumbnail photo! Snap a great close up photo that displays just your product on a white or cream background or my favorite a picture of you holding your product.

Editing your Photo

Take the photo in natural light and edit the photo in applications like Photoshop, Lightroom or a free app called After Light. Bump up the brightness, increase the exposure if needed, just make the photo light and bright. This goes for all your photos that we will talk through! 

Next, you will want a picture of just the product itself, (if you already did this with your first listing photo great)! I need to do this because I tend to have the first thumbnail photo be of me holding the product so the second photo needs to be a closer shot of just the product itself.

Showing Variations

For the next photo I like to show a variation if I have one, let’s say my thumbnail picture and second picture show my product in color and I also offer black and white, I’ll now show a picture of my black and white option. It’s another close up, no other distractions but a clear offering of my variation. 

Now for the next photo, let’s try and answer some of the questions your customer has up front about variations. This is where I’ve learned to be creative. I like to use one photo to show the colors a customer can pick from and the material. You see I offer art that comes in two different color schemes (color and black & white) and the customer can order it in a print they can frame or a canvas) so I like to show those options in one photo….which looks a bit like a collage. I use photoshop to mock this up but you can use a free app like Canva to achieve the same results. At the top of the photo I type out: Color Choices, then I insert a picture of the color option and then a picture of the black and white option. Then further down in the image I type out Material Choices and then I insert a picture of me holding a canvas and me holding a framed print. Now the customer clearly understands their options, they can get: a canvas in color or black & white or they can get a print in color or black & white.

Now you may be asking yourself why don’t you just make several other listings for those options… you can; however, I like to give the customer the options in one listing so they don’t have to go hunt around the shop for other options! You’ve got them here give them all the choices 🙂 

Detail Pictures

Now that your customer knows their options they are really thirsting to see what the product looks like close up, remember in the shop when the customer picks up the item, that’s what we will be mimicking here. Get a great close up photo of your item, I mean so close that you can see the texture of the item itself! Don’t feel like you have to fit the entire product in the photo here, just get the close up so your customer feels like they can touch the item through the photo. 

Use the next photo as another close up, even better if you can hold the photo in the close up image. This may take some help from a friend to take an overhead shot with your hands in the image holding your product. I like to have a picture of me holding the product showing the backside of the product, it’s like I’m flipping the product around at the store and looking at the back. Seem silly to have this photo? It’s not, it gives the buyer confidence that they’ve really seen the product, just as they would in a store. 

Styled Photos & Mock Ups

Now let’s use the next three photos to show the product in it’s natural environment, what will this product look like once it’s at home. I use my seventh photo to show size of my product in relation to other things. I offer 4 different sizes of my prints so I have a photo that shows my product in a room with all four sizes. Now I don’t realistically print all four sizes and have them handy in my home so I like to use product mock ups for this. CreativeMarket.com is a great resource that I like to use, not an add I just use them myself, the mock ups are normally under $20 and done by professional photographers, you can’t beat the value to have a professional mock up in your shop! When I use mock ups I tend to add my own text to the photo, describing the sizes that are shown. I’ll put something like “Choose your size 12×12 INCH, 16×16 INCH and so on. 

Up Sell, Show Other Products

The next photo I show the product in it’s natural environment… with this photo I show groupings. The art I sell is of a ski resort, it’s a map of the slopes and ski lifts. so you bet I have other ski resorts in my shop! In this photo I use a product mock up of a couch and a wall behind it. I show eight pictures on the wall of eight different ski resorts, they are grouped nicely and show other products in my shop. Genius right? This may be a way to entice your customer to buy more than just the product they are interested in now. You can do this with any product. Do you sell jewelry? Display other jewelry here that match the earrings or necklace you are displaying. Be sure to place links in your descriptions to other items in your shop.

Your Best Photo

Now we are down to two more photos! In the ninth photo I go back to the single product, I display my most popular option (16×16, color, canvas). I have one of these on hand so I display it nicely in a styled photo ( I rest mine on my fireplace mantel).. It’s one of my strongest photos, nearly at the end to really encourage the customer to buy. 

Photo for Discount Code, Building an E-mail List

We are at the last photo now! This photo is a tactically move… remember when the customer was in the store and was ready to buy but wished they had some sort of discount? Well here’s your chance. You can either offer a coupon code right in the picture or you can gather the customers email address and automatically email them a coupon! I have a picture that says, “Join our tribe… join our email list and get 10% off, click the link in the description to automatically get emailed a 10% off coupon.” You can set this up via a wonderful service called Flodesk https://flodesk.com/c/D1HWAV or a free option Mailchimp. 

There you have it… 10 ways you can effectively sell your Etsy products through your photos! Will it take some work, yep, can you do it…yep! You’ll be amazed at how the right photos at the right time can answer the buys narrative in their head and convert them to excited customers just waiting for your product to arrive! Cha-Ching there’s a sale for you! 

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