TAG Treasury Team

Saturday, September 27, 2014

What's in a Picture

What’s in a picture? When selling on ETSY it is the first point of contact with a potential buyer and it must create an INTEREST in seconds. We have all heard, you never get a second chance to make a First Impression – it holds true when you are selling online. You have to GRAB them and take them to your SHOP!

“How do I get good photos?” “ I am not good at picture taking.” “ It takes too much work.” We have heard it all when it comes to taking photos for your Etsy Listings. Let’s go over these questions and concerns and hopefully help you create beautiful and appealing photos of your listings. You want SALES and being featured in treasuries is one of the KEYS to your SUCCESS.

Do your Research! What research? Go to Etsy and look through the treasuries that are on the front page and treasuries on pages 1- 3. Open one up so you can see all 16 listings. Which listing are your eyes drawn to as soon as you open the treasury? Now consider why you were drawn to that photo? Is it the composition, is it the color(s), is it something you have been looking for? What drew you to that listing? Now you have an understanding of how impactful these photos are in getting the buyer’s attention. Try this several times so you can really get a good feel for what you need to do with your listings.

For example, I am looking for some new blue shoes.

I find this listing much more interesting

than this listing

The first listing has a great composition; the overall quality of the photo is much cleaner and draws me in. The second photo is ok, but rather boring and the pale blue hue around the shoes does not set them off or cause me to want to look at them.

How do I get good photos: You can use either your camera phone or a digital camera. For the best photos a tripod is very helpful because you do not have to worry about movement as you take the photo. Use a high resolution so they are crisp and clean photos. Have an area that you can set up as a mini-photo booth. Large dining table, large desk. Somewhere you have room to set up your display. Items you will need: Light Box (easy to make), at least 2 lamps for lighting, white tissue paper, exacto knife, tape, camera, tri-pod, and your listing item,

Building a light Box is easy using a cardboard box. Here is a link on how to build a LIGHTBOX at a cost of under $3.00. The lights can be purchased in the automotive department of Walmart for a few dollars. Make sure they are the clip on mechanic lights so you can place them exactly where you want them. If you have larger items that will not it in your light box you can set up a photo area using a white sheet or white foam core boards as your background and foreground. Use your lights on the item to help it show up well.

Take several photos of each listing. Perhaps changing the composition a bit, add a few props, take the front, back, side of each item. Now you have the photos transfer them to your computer and let’s have some fun editing them. Two sites that are great to use (and free) are picmonkey and fotofuze.

You can edit your photos in picmonkey such as cropping, exposure, clarity, etc. If you have not used fotofuze you are in for a treat. This website interfaces with Etsy and when you sign in using your Etsy shop all of your current listings will pop up. It eliminates all the background “clutter” and leaves a clean white back ground. Fotofuze is wonderful because you can change many details of the photo.

BEFORE fotofuze
AFTER fotofuze

It does take time to create beautiful photos that will attract a buyer.  But isn’t it worth the time to sell and item?  It makes no sense to have something beautiful sitting on a shelf in your studio, but no one can appreciate it because your photos do not have that emotional grab to get the buyers attention.  Etsy has long said that clean lines with a focus on the item is what gets the attention.  Sometimes adding just the smallest of props can also enhance the photo. 

Below is a screen shot of the fotofuze when you highlight the item and eliminate the background.  I suggest using the 2nd Highlighter as you have full control over it with your mouse.  The first Highlighter is an Auto-fill marker.  The item is in YELLOW and if you look to the right of the larger photo you will see a Preview window showing you what the photo will look like when you are done.  You can Erase any errors and the Black and Red window shows you what you “may” want to also highlight.  Once you are done you click on Finish and it will take you back to your Etsy listing on fotofuze.  Once it is uploaded, you can then upload it to your Etsy listing.  You can also create new listings on fotofuze without going to Etsy first. 

Be sure to use all the photo spaces in your listings.  The more photos the higher you will rank in a search.  Give the buyer as much of the item as you can.  I only recommend using Fotofuze on the main photo (no. 1) as this process can be time consuming and your first photo should be your best one. 

Think about who will use the product and what would make them buy that item.   Emotions play a huge part in what the potential buyer buys. They cannot feel the item, so use your photo to make a “feeling” of the product.   Give them your item as the only choice because they cannot resist your photo.  Keep that in mind when you create your beautiful photos. Let the photo show the quality and beauty of the item.

Two additional thoughts:  If you have a piece of artwork (Painting, wall hanging, sculpture, etc.) you may also want to show a photo as that art piece would look in someone’s home.

Also if you have a clothing item, it is recommended by Etsy to show that item as it would be worn.  As some of us do not have models how to do that is up to you.  But either way, make them beautiful.
You work hard to create and find wonderful items to sell in your shop and you only get a few seconds to attract the potential buyers attention so make your photos reach out and pull them in.  When you have beautiful photos to showcase your beautiful creations, your sales should increase. 
Article written by Alisann of Abees Art Studio




  1. Such useful tips! Photo taking is probably the most important thing you can do for your shop! I take about 30-40 before deciding on the top 5 for each listing.

  2. Great topic! What camera do you all like best? Settings are hugely important! Get in close (show the details) then let the item play with the backgrounds, landscapes or other elements. Remember the law of thirds too! Visual interest perks interest!! Fabulous article. Thanks~

  3. These are fantastic tips. I didn't know much about Fotofuzz but now I want to try it out.

  4. Great tips! I'll check out Fotofuzz since it plays nice with Etsy. I've been using Clippingmagic.com to remove backgrounds, similar concept. Does anyone know of a program that will insert art into a pre-made background? I'm especially interested in this for my husband's art shop on Etsy. He's not on the team, but I do his photography. Recently been making some treasuries for him to give him more exposure.

    1. Something like what this shop is doing. I'm pretty sure it's done with a program https://www.etsy.com/listing/107039819/abstract-figurative-original-painting-on?ref=favs_view_2

    2. Suzanne, I just use picmonkey and use Overlays to insert my art into a room photo. Very simple. Alisann

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