4 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Taking Photos For Etsy

One of the keys to getting sales on Etsy (or anywhere you’re selling your handmade products) is having quality photos. 

Photos play a major role in a customer’s decision to buy which is why it’s important to invest time in working to improve your photos, especially if you’ve just started selling online.

But improving your photos doesn’t have to be a guessing game.

If you’re looking to spruce up your Etsy photos or to figure out if your photos are contributing to your lack of sales (or views), here are 4 questions you should ask yourself before taking photos for Etsy. 

These questions will not only help you look at your photos a bit differently and see things you may have not seen before but also give you guidance on what changes you can make to get noticed more by customers and increase your sales online.

Does my product stand out against my background? 

Backgrounds are so important in product photography because they can really make your product pop and stand out online. But unfortunately, I see makers taking photos for Etsy where the background just isn’t doing much other than make me want to keep scrolling by.

Some common issues I see with backgrounds are when they’re blending in too much with the product (colors are too similar) or the background is visually too busy and distracting.

Before you take a photo, ask yourself if your background is making your product pop against the background or not. Generally, the simpler and cleaner your background, the better. Don’t be afraid to use plain backgrounds because it helps minimize distractions and makes it easier to see your product.

If you need more tips on backgrounds, click here to learn about some common do's and don'ts and what backgrounds are great options to use when photographing your products. 

Are my props distracting?

Props are a great way to bring your product to life, however, just like with backgrounds, they can also make it difficult to see your product.

Too often I see too many props being used or even blocking the actual product that’s being sold. It makes for a cluttered product photo and generally cluttered photos don’t do a good job of attracting customers online.

If your photo is looking a bit too busy with props, remove some and see if that improves the overall look and makes it easier to see your product. Another trick you can try is to get closer to your product (cropping with your camera) so your product is more the focal point of your photo. Remember your product should always be the star of your photos, not your props. 

I generally suggest using 1-2 props because it’s easier to play around less props and it’s often all you need to create a nice product photo. Sometimes the best way to catch the attention of your customers online is to have less stuff in your photos.

Is it easy to see my product?

You may be taking photos of your products, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re making it easy for customers to see what you’re selling.

You're taking photos too far away or too close

A common habit I see makers doing when taking photos for Etsy is taking photos that are too close or too far away. Both can make it difficult to see your work. How you frame your photos is so important because as I mentioned before, customers are relying on your photos to help them make the decision to buy from you. You need to make it easy for them to see your product, especially when selecting your main listing image.

Make sure you leave some space around your product when taking photos because you don’t want to end up with photos where your product looks like it’s been squeezed into your photo. And also don't take photos where your product is taking up 20% of your photo because it's going to be hard to see what you're selling. 

Your lighting is too dark 


Another reason it can be hard to see your product is because of your lighting. Lighting is super important in product photography because depending on the lighting you’re using, it can make it difficult to see your product. 

If you don’t have enough light, your photos are going to be coming out dark. Product photos that are dark will lower your chances of getting clicks on your listings. Make sure you’re photographing your work in a well-lit space, like near a window during the day. The better your light is, the better your photo will be, and the easier it will be for customers to see your product. 

What photos do customers need to help them buy from you?

One of the drawbacks from shopping online is you can’t pick up and inspect a product as you would in person. Customers instead rely on your product photos to provide them with the information they need to know before buying from you.

Often I come across listings on Etsy where a product is photographed from just 1-2 angles. Or if there are multiple photos, it could be just the same 1-2 angles but against different backgrounds which isn’t helpful either. 

Before you start taking photos, think about what information would a customer need to know about your product before they buy from you. What questions would they have? What features make your work unique or stand out? What angles or lifestyle photos can you create that provide an in-person shopping experience, but are created through your product photos? This will offer some guidance on what shots to take and will give your customers the visual information they need that can help them buy from you.

Final Thoughts

Your products photos are so important to growing your online sales and taking the time to improve them can pay off in a major way for your business.  By thinking about these questions before you take your photos or as you're taking photos, you'll be able to provide important information to your customers, but also create photos that are more likely to attract buyers to your shop online. 

Now I want to hear from you! Based on the 4 questions I shared with you, what's one area you're noticed you may need to improve? Leave a comment below and let's chat.

About the author

Imelda Jimenez-LaMar is a product photography coach and former Etsy seller, who said goodbye to her corporate job to create a business teaching photography. She is on a mission to demystify product photography for makers who want to create product photos that sell their handmade products online and grow their handmade business.

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