It’s really important to me for my shop to have a cohesive style throughout. I take all my photos in the same spot, in natural daylight, against a white wall, and limit myself to only certain props. This helps me maintain simplicity and cohesion in my images, and an overall “feel” to my shop. To me, this is one of the most successful things I’ve achieved in terms of selling online. I didn’t always know this was important and I didn’t always know how to do this. I put together some Etsy photo tips and tools to get you started on developing a cohesive look to set your photos apart.
One of the critiques I got when I first started selling, was to photograph my work on a white background because it was so colorful and white background would help show the colors off.
This is what my first batch of photos looked like:
This photo isn’t terrible, but it’s no good for selling something. The colors are nice, and it’s nice that the mug worked as a way to prop the hoop up, but that’s about it. The background is busy, the yellow is distracting, and the mug is… well, random.
And this is how my photos look now:
When I first opened my shop, I knew that I had to show the scale of my hoops somehow but I couldn’t figure out how I could do that creatively, and I didn’t want to just throw a ruler down and be done with it. So for a while, I just listed the measurements and left it alone, which was probably a bad idea. I figured out a way to show the scale of each item without having to take a photo for each specific item.
I did this kind of a thing for each size hoop I offer, and now I can just apply it to each listing. Simple. And the props I chose, the threads, are relevant to my items, as they as sewn. And everyone can pretty much imagine how large a spool of thread is, and that is how I show scale in addition to listing the size of the hoop. And, of course, I photographed these on a white background as well.
If you’ve seen my shop, you might be familiar with the other props I use…
I love using these little letter tiles. It adds some fun to my pictures and helps me articulate a use or a purpose. Also, because they are made of wood, they match the hoops, which helps with maintaining a cohesive style.
Spools of thread and clothespins are great because, like I said, everyone is familiar with their size, and they are relevant to what I am making and selling. Clothespins are absolutely associated with fabrics and laundry and homelife, as are threads, as are simple woods. The props should compliment and help inform your product -not take away from them.
Behind the Scenes
My favorite tool to use behind the scenes is Scotch mounting tape. It holds securely but peels off paint with no damage. And because I live where I work, it’s important for me to be able to put things up, take their photo, and take them down without ruining my walls. This isn’t just a studio, it’s my apartment.
I use the mounting tape to hang all of my buntings as well as my hoops. The stuff is strong, and especially because my things are all very light weight, it works perfectly for what I need.
When I photograph my necklaces I hang them on a plastic hook, and guess how the hook is sticking to the wall? Mounting tape.
I like to keep it simple, and that’s how I do it.
Your Unique Look
You want people to know your photos when they see them. What will set you apart? What makes your photos unique without complicating them? It could be the way you edit them or the way you style them or even just the same background repeated.
What have you learned about photo taking since opening your shop?