Roland-designs , Virginie's blog.

"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Taking photos for your ETSY shop.

    Everyone knows how important photos are for selling online. Customers cannot touch, nor feel your products, so you need to use photos to give potential customers not just an idea of what you are offering, but also to convey the size, texture, color, and depth of your item.

    Personally I hate to buy online from a seller who has ' obviously' photoshopped their items, or items that have had the colors 'modified'- Sometime a ' bad' photo, especially with antiques and vintage can mean that you are getting what you see, not what the seller wants you to see... and often I am surprised that the item is better in real life, then in the pic.

    But, for the seller, a bad photo can mean a low sale price, or low bid sale - For example if you are selling on ebay and bidders decide what your item is worth.

    I am not a very good photographer, my eyesight is a bit fuzzy ( last time I went to the optician was in 1999- I have a pair of old glasses, but have gotten  use to seeing the world in a dreamy haze and am reluctant to get a new pair of lens and be hit with stark reality - though I will have to, the day I get my drivers license of course.....)

    My product photos have always been a source of frustration, but also have seen improvements since I've started selling online several years ago.

Listing photo of the first item I sold on etsy, a crochet brooch.
    Here is a photo of my first etsy sale in 2009. By the way, this was the only photo I had uploaded for the listing.... sometime I wonder how I managed to sell anything at all with such dull pictures.

    Since then I have feverisly worked on improving my photos.

    When you live in a country like Norway you have a nordic phenomenon called ' lack of sunlight' in the winter months, the higher up on the map you live, the longer and more pronounced is this problem.

    Taking product photos during the late autumn/winter/early spring months can be frustrating, and if you live in a valley, or a place where the mountains leave long shadows your problem is intensified - There is actually a small town in Norway called Rjukan that has set up large mirrors on a mountainside to reflect the sunlight onto the town.

    To create product listings that showcase your product to it's full potential you need to try and use daylight as much as possible.

    Here are little tips I've collected along the way.

- Find the place with the most natural light in your home or studio and always take your photos there- this will give a uniform look to your etsy shops listings.

- Once you have found your spot, take photos around the same time of day- for me that is my kitchen table, around mid-day when the sun is around the corner, but not directly shinning on the window.

- Control the urge to take photos right away if the day is grey, dark, or it's too late, or too early.  You'll end up frustrated, doing a lot of editing, and probably will have to do another photo shoot.

- Use a piece of white card/paper to bounce the light back on the item and to rectify small shadows.

- A tripod takes time to set up, but it gives your hands mobility to change, move, turn, rotate, adjust the item and props.

    I'm still learning how to use my camera, and I am far from satisfied with my photos, but they are certainly better than the  2009 pics I started with.

   Hope this helps a bit, and if you have tips of your own do share with all of us in the comments.

Taking photos by the kitchen window- note the white card on the right hand side to bounce the light back just enough to remove a light shadow.

Finished photo


  1. I don't live nearly as far north as you do (I'm in Chicago in the US) but we have a similar problem in the winter. It's much harder to get good photos for everything, but after a lot of trial and error I figured out the right time of day and the right spot in my house.

  2. Your pictures are very nice. Taking photos of my items has become the bane of my existence. My house is surrounded by big oak trees, so none of my windows offer the light that I need. I've found that I get the best pictures when I take them outside on an overcast day that's still bright.

    1. Overcast days can sometime work even better than bright sunny days... of course, getting to know your own ' best spot/time/light' is the smartest way to save time on photo taking, and editing.