Having near-perfect product photographs for your Etsy shop is a goal that most sellers have. Images that stand out in a list of search results are essential for grabbing a shopper’s attention and bringing them into our shops.
Every seller has their own special tricks and techniques for making their own products shine through photographs. With Behind the Lens, we invite you to meet some of our talented Oh Canada Team members, and learn how they create great shop photos.
Jinx Murphy Designs has been open since December 2008. Shop owner, Vanessa, takes product photographs will real Front Page appeal. Here’s how she does it:
Oh Canada: What type of camera do you use?
Vanessa: A Nikon D40. My little sister sold cameras for a while and it’s probably more camera than I need, but I like that I can take pictures in automatic and manual modes. It has a dial of different shooting modes on top of the camera that makes it easy to get the right picture. I always turn off the flash to take my product pictures so the dial usually stays at "no flash" but for smaller items or close ups there is also a macro setting.
Oh Canada: How do you light your images?
Vanessa: I try to take my pictures on sunny days to make use of the natural daylight. I open the blinds in my front window and let it all in.
Oh Canada: Do you ever use a light box?
Vanessa: I was given a light box for Christmas and it works fairly well although I would like to replace the lights that came with the kit. I find the light too blue and a little dull. I use the light box more when I need to take catalogue type pictures with consistent backgrounds. I prefer more relaxed shots for my Etsy listings.
Oh Canada: What materials do you like to use for backgrounds?
Vanessa: I take the majority of my pictures with my items resting on a sheet of plywood I've painted in a neutral colour. It helps to keep some unity in my shop but I do switch up the shades to work better behind light pieces vs. darker pieces.
Work that photographs better hung on a wall I photograph in my living room or another wall that happens to be the right colour (and already has a nail for hanging artwork). Neutral or pale works best because it allows my work to stand out and doesn't distract the buyer.
Oh Canada: Do you ever use models or props for staging your photos?
Vanessa: I stage my trivet listings in at least one photo with a tabletop shot complete with cups and teapot etc. to give an impression of what the purpose is. I try to explain in words but a picture is a sure fire way to get the point across.
Oh Canada: What’s your best tip for staging product shots?
Vanessa: Make sure that your work is still the main focus of the picture. Don't stage in a way that confuses the buyer about what is actually for sale or included in the listing.
Oh Canada: What’s the minimum number of photos you take per item?
Vanessa: I usually take as many pictures from as many angles as a piece has and then a few shots for interest and fun. Front, back, side, bottom if it has one and then some close ups of detail.
Oh Canada: Do you edit your photos before using them?
Vanessa: I do only the basics to any of my photos. I adjust colour and light levels if they need it and I crop the images to look neat and proportionate. I use a basic version of Photoshop.
Oh Canada: In your opinion, what makes a great “first photo” on Etsy?
Vanessa: First photos need to catch attention and make the browser click. It should be well lit, clear and interesting. That might mean its taken from an unexpected angle or that it only shows a detailed section of the whole item.
Oh Canada: When making treasuries, what do you look for in a first photo?
Vanessa: Clear, well lit, makes me want to have it or at least read the listing to find out more.
Oh Canada: Can you share one more Etsy photo tip?
Vanessa: Take photos on days that you feel good. Be your own photographer, play with the angles, if a shot doesn't work take another and use only the best.
Copyright 2010 Oh Canada and Jinx Murphy Designs