Saturday, March 14, 2009

Taking Great Pictures - Photo Makeover Series

This is the first in a series of Etsy Photo Makeover discussions. Contributed by: Charmed by Karen

Essential to appearing in treasuries, appearing on the front page of Etsy and, ultimately, to selling our products are great photos. Photos can be our greatest online sales tool and the key to great photos is an inquisitive mind. There is so very much to learn about photographing for Etsy sales and all of us are continually learning. I'm not a photo expert, just another Etsy shop owner who has a lousy camera with which I am determined to make due. I am convinced that all of us can create beautiful photos with mediocre cameras and no fancy light sources or contraptions. Natural light is your best friend here on Etsy. It's all a matter of learning about your camera, setting a beautiful & intriguing stage and having fun in photo editing. Taking photos for Etsy is different than taking photos for other venues. There is an art, a style and even a science to taking successful Etsy photos. This ETTEAM Photo Makeover series is an opportunity for all Etsy sellers to learn more about creating photos that are appealing to treasury curators and buyers. Any and all comments are welcome.

Our first makeover is Midnightcoiler. She had been displaying and photographing the thumbnail (first photos) in her "3 medallions" series flat on the ground, separately arranged and shot from the top. While this thumbnail shot gave some good visual information, it didn't have much of a "clickablitiy" factor.

The thumbnail/first photo, which appears in the search pages, serves primarily to draw the shopper off of the search and into your store. The thumbnail need not convey anything more about an item other than the feeling that something wonderful awaits the buyer after the click. Photos 2,3,4 and 5 are informational in nature, but your thumbnail should always be inviting and intriguing. It doesn't necessarily have to be a close-up. Anything goes, as long as the photo invites the buyer to click, to step into your shop.

For a new, fresh approach, we changed Lynn's arrangement to give it some depth and to highlight the texture of her medallions. Arranging the medallions in a scattered pile gave them a more natural, inviting feel - almost as if the viewer had found them on a mountain path and was free to just scoop one up. She re-shot her new grouping lower to the ground and more from the side, to give the picture more texture and movement. We cropped the photos to feature each medallion and chose to center this thumbnail shot on the circle medallion because it was the most comfortable shape for the eye to focus on at first. The subsequent photos give more information, but our thumbnail is our "glamour shot," whose purpose is to attract, attract, attract. We finally showed the group as a whole. This is the "strip tease" method of presenting items. We show the parts, little by little, gradually revealing the "full monty" at the end. Voila!

Here is the
new listing, along with the "before" photo in the fifth position:

About the author: Karen's fabulous Etsy shop is
Charmed by Karen


  1. It makes such a difference! The after shot really has the clickability factor. When so much effort has gone into make a beautiful item, it is well worth spending time on the photographs.

  2. Nice article! Very informative. Now I have to figure out how to add some pizazz to my dish photos, can Charmed by Karen come to my house and redo all of my shop photos? What a difference a good shot makes!

  3. the new shot really does bring out the lovely texture, doesn't it? Brilliant!

  4. Fabulous job kicking up the "clickablitiy" factor on Midnightcoiler's fabulous medalions!

  5. Great article, Karen. I love that you used my "strip tease" analogy in the article; I'm complimented. You and Lynn really did some great work.

  6. Wonderful article, well-written and illustrated and very informative! Let's hope not too many non-etteamers see this one and up the ante with improved photos!

  7. A huge difference! It just goes to show you what a bit of work will do to help your shop!

  8. Karen helped me so much with my photos. She helped me realize the difference between photography for marketing and photos shot for the purpose of entering art shows. Tina from Adorn Me Jewelry has also helped me with photos. There's a lot to learn from fellow team members-- Thanks!

  9. Wow! This is an incredibly informative article! I'm storing up all these tips and tutorials just in case I ever open a shop. The listing, and the rest of the shop is looking great!


We appreciate your comment!!