Welcome to part two of our four-week Etsy Series- where I have asked seven wildly successful Etsy Artisans for some pointers for us little guys that would love to succeed on Etsy but just haven’t seen the sales yet. Each week, we will discuss a new question and see what the sellers have to say. And maybe, just maybe, learn a pointer or two just in time for the Christmas sales rush!
Our question this week is: How important would you consider photography in selling your product? Is there anything special you do to make the photos memorable?
Lisa- A picture says a thousand words! Photography is very important, any Etsy seller will tell you this. You don’t need a fancy camera (although when your Etsy shop builds momentum, this may be a future investment down the road), most point and shoot cameras, as well as phone cameras have enough megapixels to give you a good shot. Through photography websites, we have learned to use backgrounds, lighting, and other simple techniques to add dimension to the picture. The picture is the first impression, so make it a good one!
Denise- I think your photos are one of the most important aspects of your shop. I prefer a plain white background for my photos because I don’t want anything else competing with my creations. I also take most of my photos in defused daylight. Direct sun tends to be a little harsh. I sometimes use props to display my items however, again nothing to distracting. No busy pattern backgrounds. You want you creations to stand out and really pop.
Patricia- The photos of your work are the single most important thing to consider when opening a new shop. Sure, advertising also plays an important role. But if your photos stink you really have no hope of sales. For most items a plain white background is best. The stark contrast between the white of the backdrop and your item lets the viewer focus on what you want them to. Too many shops try and get fancy with their photography and end up drowning out the actual product. It’s not to say a patterned or dark background is always a bad thing, but it is harder to pull off in a professional looking way.
Making a light box is easy peasy and inexpensive too! I bought a few pieces of foam core at the craft store and use that. There are good tutorials online for making something a bit more spiffy, such as the one found at Handmadeology.
Linda- Your photos in your shop are critical to success. My photography is not perfect, but it’s come a long way from my beginnings on Etsy. Take the time to learn how to photograph your items properly, use the proper lighting and natural lighting. I like a simple approach to photographing my items without a lot of props or clutter in the photo. Learn how to use Photoshop, which to me is essential to good photos. Again, it takes time, and you need to dedicate a portion of your working day to mastering your photography.
Jess- Attractive photos are essential to success in any form of sales or marketing. Modern culture is very much embedded in appearances, and since we all have an affinity for lovely things, striking photography catches the eye. When browsing through pages of products, prospective customers and curators are most likely to click on listings whose photos stand out, so these items will be the ones to sell and to end up in treasuries or on the homepage.
My personal favorite trick for photos is to use natural lighting. Often a harsh flash distorts the coloring and texture of the item being marketed. Natural light gives a softer, truer glimpse at your product. To achieve the best natural lighting indoors, I prefer to take photos during the mornings and afternoons when the light is strong.
I generally shoot near a primarily white space or a windowpane so that the object can catch the light and have a crisp, clean look. When shooting outdoors, a bit of shade is best to avoid washed-out images. Another trick is to remember your target audience. If you are selling t-shirts for teens, grab a friend or family member to model it for you. When items are shown in photos being used as they are meant to be utilized by the buyer, they sell better than simply taking an image of the item itself. Remember, you are not only selling a product, you are selling your buyer a concept.
Susan- Nice clear and crisp photos are key. It’s the main way a buyer is attracted to an item and finds their way into your shop. You need to find a good photo editing program and learn how to crop your photo into a square, turn up the light so the colors are true and also to zoom into a close up view. I try to give the eyes as much info as I can about the item in the 5 photos. I do a front view, back view and another angle or area of interest. Then, I get a close-up on the most noteworthy part and finish with a distanceshot alongside an object so a buyer can get an idea of the size. Take the time to snap several photos of each view, so you can pick out the best one. I usually take photos of each individual item listed, so what you see is what you get.
Jenny- No noisy backgrounds, blurry close ups, and don’t use too many props. Most of the photos that make it to the Front page are simple, crisp and professional looking. I have gone to several stores that have fantastic products but their photos just plain stink. It’s a shame because as artists, we all know that selling is VISUAL, so ask yourself, if it looks like a big blurry mess, would you want to buy it? Take the time….I’m still improving as much as I can and I never feel like I have it completely right. Play around with different ideas and work on closeups.
I lost, let me rephrase, My son lost my Cybershot camera, so I am currently working with a $60.00 camera that should be thrown away but I make do with what I have because I don’t want to spend the money on a new camera because I am certain the Cybershot that has been missing for 2 years will show up, somewhere, someday
Part one of this series can be found here.
Next week, we will discuss tips on writing good descriptive copy. Be sure to stop back by and see what the experts have to say!
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