When it comes to selling your handmade products online, consistency is really important, especially with your photos.
Taking product photos with different backgrounds, different lighting and different props can make you and your Etsy shop look all over the place. If you're looking to grow your Etsy business and go beyond being a hobby seller, then how your product photos look should be taken into consideration.
By keeping your product photos visually consistent, not only will this make for a better shopping experience for customers, but it can make photographing your products a lot easier.
Let's go over how to create consistency when taking product photos and how this will make your craft business look more cohesive and professional to customers online.
1. Use a tripod
One of the best tools you should have when photographing your products is a tripod.
I didn’t use a tripod when photographing my products when I had my Etsy shop, but I should have. Now I always use one when taking product photos.
Why? Well for one, it keeps your camera stable so you don’t have to worry about shaky hands when taking photos. It also keeps your hands free so you can easily move, adjust and change out your products without having to move your camera. This will keep your product the same distance away from your camera each time which creates more consistency in your photos.
Plus, a tripod will also allow you to get longer exposures if needed too which is a bonus.
Be sure to get a tripod with adjustable legs that can extend up to least 50 inches from the ground. These tripods will provide you with the flexibility to take photos at almost any height no matter how big or small your product is. Don't waste your money on mini or table tripods because they don't allow you the flexibility needed to take product photos.
2. Using the same background
When you’re shopping online, there’s usually a high probability that whatever business you’re shopping from that they’re using the same background on all their product photos. Why? For one, it makes it a lot easier to see the products. Two, it makes for a more enjoyable shopping experience for customers and three, it makes the business more recognizable to customers.
Not convinced? Do a quick search on Target for a product and see what it's like browsing the search results. Then do the same thing on Etsy. Compare how different browsing the search results was just from a visual standpoint. I'm going to guess that browsing the search results on Target was a bit easier on your eyes (and your mind) where as it may have felt like more mental work when browsing Etsy. One of the reasons you may get more mentally fatigued when browsing Etsy's search results is because every listing looks drastically different.
Many brands like to use the same or similar color backgrounds for their product photos because it makes for a better shopping experience for customers and easier to see their products. So why not take a note from them when selecting your backgrounds?
If you’re photographing your products with different backgrounds, try and stick with 1 type of background instead. Not only will photograph your products with the same background make your brand and business feel and look more cohesive, but it will also save you having to wonder what background to use every time you take photos.
All you’ll have to do is grab the same background and get set up. No need to think about what color to use, what texture and so on. Pick a background that makes your product look great and start photographing!
3. Planning out your shot list
When photographing your products, do you plan out what type of shots you’re planning on taking? If not, you should because it will make photographing your products much easier and save you time.
One of the mistakes I made when I had my Etsy shop is I never really thought out what kind of photos I was going to take. I would randomly photograph each product and when I think I had enough photos, I’d move on to the next one.
But the thing is all of my listing photos were all over the place. They didn’t always have the same look and feel and I didn’t always capture certain shots of products so I’d have to go back and take more photos. It was annoying.
Before you start taking photos, think about what photos you'll need of each product. By spending time planning out what shots you'll need for each product, you'll not only save time because you'll know exactly what photos to take of each product, but your listings will look more cohesive to customers.
4. Using the same type of lighting
How many different types of lighting are you using for your product photos? Are you taking photos directly in the sun on a sunny day? Or maybe you’re sometimes taking photos indoors with natural light. Or maybe you’re *gasp* using flash for your product photos.
When you start using mixing different types of lighting and even light sources, it can make your product look different, like in the example above.
Light quality varies depending on the source. With natural light, the time of day, the weather and time of year will make the light quality different. Artificial light can vary too.
So when it comes to light for your product photos, stick to 1 type of light. Don’t bounce back and forth between light sources. A product photographed in direct sun is going to look different than if it’s photographed in the shade. Create consistency in your lighting.
If you're taking photos with natural light, the time of day is going to matter and where you live. Generally, the best time to take product photos using natural light will be late in the morning or early in the afternoon. Shooting on overcast days or with in direct light (like in the shade or a north facing window) is ideal lighting for taking product photos.
You will likely have to experiment a bit if using natural light, but do your best to stick with the same type of weather and time of day when taking photos. This will help keep the lighting in your photos looking more or less the same and later make editing easier.
If you’re using studio lights, use the same light bulbs and setup when you photograph your products. Daylight bulbs (6500k) is ideal since they mimic natural light.
5. Use presets for editing your photos
You might be saying to yourself, “Hey, I can use filters for my product photos?? YAY!”
No, I’m not saying that. If you’re using filters like the way you do for social media, please don’t.
Your product photos should accurately represent your product so don’t use filters that can alter the look of your product to customers. If you’re throwing off the colors of your product photos with filters, you’re misrepresenting your product to your customers which is a big no-no.
When I talk about presets, I’m talking about saving your photo edits so you can apply them to other product photos. If you photograph your products with a tripod, with the same background, the same lighting and so on, your photos should all visually look more or less the same. So when you edit 1 photo, you can save your edit settings as a preset that you can use to quickly edit the rest of your product photos. That way, you can upload your photos, apply the preset to all your photos which saves you a lot of time.
But again, this really only works if you are consistent with your lighting, background, etc.
Depending on the software you’re using to edit your photos, it may or may not be called a preset. In Snapseed it’s called “Look”, but in Adobe Photoshop, it’s called a “preset”. If you don’t know if the software you’re using to edit your photos has it, do a search and see if it's a feature. If not, you might want to start using software that has the option to make your editing easier for your product photos.
Understanding how to take products photos can be overwhelming and frustrating as an Etsy seller but by simplifying the process and planning things out, you can start save valuable time, make things easier on yourself and create a better shopping experience for your customers online.
Do you have a tip that you'd include in this post that I didn't mention? If so, I'd love to hear it! Leave me a comment below and let me know.
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