Ever been compelled to make a purchase just by reading a product description?
Of course not.
Nowadays, photos rule our life: from magazines to news feeds, Instagram and beyond, they pack more punch and influence more decisions than, well, pretty much anything.
So next time you’re listing something in your Etsy shop, make sure the photos you upload do your lovingly-crafted products justice. And don’t worry: getting a nice shot is all about following the right principles, regardless of what camera you use. In fact, it’s not even about the camera. If you know what you’re doing, phone shots will do just fine.
Ahead, top DOs and DON’Ts that will demystify product photography.
Etsy Photography Tips: THE DOs
1. Use Only (Diffused) Natural Light
There’s nothing like natural light to elevate the simplest of shots! Take your photos next to a window or out in your backyard. Shoot in the afternoon or early in the morning, because at noon the sun shines too bright and casts very harsh shadows – not good.
2. Choose Simple Backgrounds
Uncomplicated backgrounds in a single color are the best way of highlighting your products. When in doubt, go for a plain white backdrop. Less is more!
3. Always Create A Composition
The rule of thirds and the rule of odds are easy-to-learn and rewarding methods of composition. The rule of odds is particularly useful if you surround your main product with multiple props. Read more here.
4. Pick A Recurring Theme
An attractive Etsy shop features a steady color theme throughout its product images, along with a consistent set of props. Keep this in mind when choosing your initial set of backgrounds or colors so that you will be able to recreate them as you add more items to the shop.
5. Zoom In On The Details
Aim to always shoot a close-up of your product to highlight an important detail or feature. Shoot in macro if possible, but do convey the actual scale of the item in another photo – extreme close-ups can often be misleading for outside viewers in terms of size.
Etsy Photography Tips: THE DON’Ts
1. Don’t Detract Attention From The Main Subject
Playing with backgrounds, flowers and props is a lot of fun, but you can easily get carried away. The props should only provide context, without actually stealing the show. Give your main item some breathing space!
2. Don’t Go Crazy With Colors Or Patterns
While colors are welcome, you don’t want every hue of the rainbow in your shot. Ideally, you should stick to a single set of tones. Another option is to go for a mix: one or two safe neutrals (eg: white plus grey) plus an accent color (eg: soft pink).
3. Never Use A Flash
Shooting with a flash will distort the natural color tones and it will also make the photo look artificial. It always pays to wait until early morning for that winning photo.
4. Don’t Over-Edit Your Photos
In most cases, sticking to a natural feel is best. Don’t over-edit your product photos (especially not the contrast or the saturation), because this too can lead to an artificial-looking result. Plus, the color of your item will not be accurately shown… a nightmare for both you and your customers!
5. Don’t Take Only One Photo And Call It A Day
Most times, you need to take a few dozen shots in order to get the perfect one. Don’t self-sabotage yourself by going through the trouble of setting up the shoot and then taking just a couple of photos. Switch angles, positions and props until you find the ones that showcase your product best. Remember: you have five image slots for each product – make each one memorable!