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How to Master Your Etsy Product Photography

Few things will make or break the success of your Etsy listings the way photography will. You’ve put together a great product, priced it right, wrote an enticing description, and yet a picture is worth a thousand words. Out of focus, backgrounds, and just plain, not flattering photos are more memorable than all of that. It can throw a wet blanket on your sale in the snap of a finger. Enough of that, let’s make sure your Etsy product photography is set up to win the sale. 

Before we begin

This article is a part of a series specifically for new sellers on Etsy! If you just stumbled across this article and you’re unsure where to begin, we recommend you check out the first of the series, Everything You Need to Know Before You Start an Etsy Shop.

At Marmalead, we strive to offer real, practical advice for Etsy sellers right here on our blog and on our YouTube channel. The world of Etsy is constantly evolving, so if you have a question, you can’t find an answer to, reach out to us at success@marmalead.com.


This is a guest post written by Allie Peplin! She’s an excellent photographer, and her tips always help us better our product photography. Thanks, Allie!

What makes great Etsy product photography? Light!

The most important thing in great product photography is light. There’s no way around it. Bright, consistent light is best, whether it’s natural or artificial. If you don’t want to invest in lighting equipment yet, become a natural light master. The best way to do this is to make a light journal and walk around your house every hour in every room and write down the type of light in each room. You will be surprised what you might find! The best light you can find is indirect light like this:

Search your house for light that will help you take great Etsy product photography.

You can set up your product photos just outside the harsh lighting directly in front of the window, and you will get nice, even lighting. 

As for artificial light, you can invest in a softbox with lights or have a setup similar to this:

If you can't use natural light for your Etsy product photography, consider buying lighting equipment.

Don’t be afraid to move your light around to get the shot you need. I suggest sticking with continuous light, with no flash. Flash takes some time to learn how to use properly without getting blown out images. Here is an image from my setup above:

The right backdrop for your Etsy product photography will help you showcase your products in all their glory.

Pick the right backdrop for your Etsy product photography

So now that we have mastered light let’s talk about your backdrop. The best thing to do is keep it simple. Start with a couple of white foam core boards that you can get at Walmart or Target for cheap. You can also order rolls of white paper off Amazon that way you can get the all-white photo that Etsy recommends.

If your lighting is on par, you won’t need to use any software programs to remove the background. Or, if you’re still mastering the art of lighting and you need a little digital help with removing backgrounds, you can try Photoshop or one of these programs.

Once you get the hang of using white backgrounds, you can then play with other backgrounds that go with your branding. I love replica surfaces. They are pricey, but you only really need a couple to stay consistent with your brand, so I feel it’s worth the investment. Here are a few more examples: 

When taking Etsy product photography, experiment with different backgrounds that compliment your product.
Showcase your products from all angles when taking your Etsy product photography.

Using simple props with your Etsy product photography

As for props, I like to keep it super simple so that the mug stays the main focus. Too many things can deter the buyer from what you’re actually selling, and they may leave your shop to purchase from a competitor. Adding a human touch also goes a long way in selling things. It gives the buyer a perspective of how big the item is. 

When it comes to editing, again, if you have great light, you won’t need to edit much or at all. The last two images above were not edited at all because the lighting was great! But if something does need adjusting, it is usually just to brighten the image a little bit and straighten the horizon. 

You don’t need the best camera to take good Etsy product photography.

Let’s chat about equipment. As long as you have a decent phone, the camera will work great with good lighting.

Behind-the-Scenes Tip: All the images in this article were taken with an iPhone. So there is no excuse for bad photos. Find the light!

Now with that being said, some people will want to invest in a camera. I suggest buying a cheap DSLR like a Canon t7 and a 50mm lens over any point-and-shoot camera. If that’s the investment you want to make, it will only cost about $550. 

Yup, you can even use video!

Lastly: video. It’s one of Etsy’s newer features. You can do this so easily with your phone. All you need to do is prop your phone up and just move your item around so buyers can see the whole thing. Easy-peezy!

Over to you

Great product photography is key to attracting buyers to your shop! With consistent and sharp Etsy product photography, not only will you stay true to your brand, but you’ll also add to that sweet shop aesthetic. Start with the basics, like good lighting and backdrops, then work your way up to using props and taking lifestyle shots.

Interested in more things you should know before you start an Etsy shop? Have you ever thought about what buyers feel when browsing through your products? Well, here’s how you can find your vibe and learn How to Create & Maintain an Etsy Shop Aesthetic.

To read through the next article in this series, check back next week!

 

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