Friday, 6 May 2011

Taking Better Photos: Part One

We hear so many times on Etsy that photos sell an item. Great photos make Etsy's front page and Etsy newsletters, and draw buyers in.

So, in the quest for finding information on taking better photos, I've run across a few little tidbits that may prove useful.

This will be the first post of a "Taking Better Photos" series. Look for more tips and tidbits in the coming months. :)


First off, one of the most important questions to ask yourself is:
"What kind of look and feel do I want to portray in my shop?"

Why is this is an important question to ask? Understanding what look and feel you want will give your shop cohesiveness.
If you want your shop to look and feel modern, then you'll want your photos to look crisp, clean, and uncluttered. A neutral background is best for modern items. 
Conversely, if you want to portray a soft, sweet, or ethereal feeling, you'll want your photos to look soft, dreamy with maybe a blurred background or props to stage a scene.
Of course, these are only two different styles, and there are as many different items as there are photo styles on Etsy.

Here are two items from my favorites:

from rubypearl     

     from rubychicoriginals

While these two items are the same style clothing, the photos have very different feels.
In the photo from rubypearl, the model is playful and this photo looks to have been taken on a nice summer day.
In the photo from rubychicoriginals, the model is relaxed and is in a farm or woodland setting.

Background also plays an important role in the feel of your shop. Ask yourself: 
"What are my favorite colors and textures?"
Have a gander through your closet to answer these questions. This will give you more of a feel of what you like and what you'd like to use as a backdrop for your items.

If you sell steampunk jewelry, why not include a few gears in the background? A seller looking to portray a 'farm' feel, might use a piece of burlap as a background.
One way to decide on what feel you want for your shop is to peruse Etsy and favorite items whose photos you love. They don't need to be items you carry in your shop. Just concentrate on favoriting items whose PHOTOS you love. Use these as references as you take your own photos. Compare your own photos to your favorited photos.
Next, take LOTS and LOTS of photos . . . from different angles and with different props. This will give you a big selection to choose from and will give you an idea of which photos you find the most interesting: close-ups, a tilted-camera angle, etc.
Understanding how your camera works is critical. Read through the manual {this might take several days, especially if you're an amateur photographer like me and don't understand words like: macro, ISO, and aperture at first} The more you know, the better photographer you'll be. And remember, the camera is only as good as the photographer behind it.
Understanding light and how to best use it is crucial also.
CLICK HERE to read an EXCELLENT forum thread about better understanding light in photography.
HERE is another great article with lots of tips and pointers for taking better photos.

Most importantly . . . be patient! Taking better photos is a process and a journey. Try to see it as an adventure. :)

Here's to the journey! :)

Fondly, Kate


  1. Brilliant tips Kate! Lots of things I am ashamed to say, that I hadn't really thought of! Thank you!

  2. Very nicely written Kate!!!

  3. Thank you, Kate,
    Very helpful and timely especially as many of change seasons.


Thank you for your comment.