Did you know that I opened my very first Etsy shop 4 years ago. I started out making handmade zip bags and when I first started my shop the images I created were far from great. Prior to opening my Etsy shop I was a portrait photographer, but I had just come off a year back. I hadn't used my camera and I was very rusty. The struggle was real, my friend. To add, product photography and styling photos is very different then portrait photography. I had so much to learn.
CREATE AN INSPIRATION BOARD
One of the biggest struggles I faced when I opened my first Etsy shop and often what I see other's struggle with is that they don't have a clear vision for the type of photos they want to create. They know they need photos, they know the photos need to be of their products, but they aren't sure where to go next. I save and pin photos that inspire me all the time and one of the first things I do when working with clients is have them create an inspiration board.
Before you take any photos of your products create an inspiration board. Find other product photos that you love. Find photos of product styling you like. Creating an inspiration board will save you so much time. When you create an inspiration board, you can visually see the types of photos you are hoping to create and your inspiration board provides a blueprint to help you get started.
SHOOT IN NATURAL LIGHT
Lighting is so important when it comes to photographing your products. One, shooting in natural light provides better quality photos, better quality photos add to your credibility as a shop owner. I have had a few Etsy shop owners reach out with questions regarding their product images and one thing I always share is the importance of shooting in natural light. Colors are more accurate in natural light, texture is more visible, and it's just pretty. :)
SHOOT ON CONTRASTING BACKGROUNDS
I am partial to photos that have a lot on contrast, but this is important with your products because you want them to stand out. You want you products to "pop" in the photo. The theme or vision you have for your photos may dictate the color and type of backgrounds you use. Adding contrast ensures your product does not blend into you background. For example, if you're product is white, you may not want to shoot with a white background. If you desire a bright white crisp feel to you brand and want to use a white background, find a prop or item that can be placed between your product and the background that will provide contrast. This will help your product to stand out.
MAKE YOUR PRODUCT LIVED IN
Often times I see products photographed alone, without any styling. When products are styled alone a few things can happen. One, your customer can't actually gauge the size of your product, even if you provide dimensions in your description. You want to make your customer's shopping experience as easy as possible. Two, your customer isn't always sure how the product is supposed to be used. When creating product images for your shop, make your images and product lived in. Whether you sell pillows, planters, scarves, candles, wallets, ect. Show how your pillows can be decorated with. Show how your planters look great on a bookcase or next to other planters. Show how to style the scarf. Show how great you candles look in your home. Show the many different uses of your wallets. Show your product lived in and in use.
Is it okay to have a product photographed alone? Absolutely, especially if you have lots of photos in your listing. This ensures there is no confusion about what product they are actually buying, but add the other photos with your product in use as well.
DETERMINE HOW YOUR PRODUCT IS BEST FEATURED
Okay, so I feel like I just went on a rant about styling your products in photos and making your products feel lived in. BUT, not all products are featured the same. For example, I purchase props on Etsy all the time, specifically office supplies like, pencils, washi tape, lots of fun stuff. But you'll notice all of these types of products are photographed alone, or within a grouping of similar products. Washi tape is almost aways photographed in a group, even if the listing is only for one. Fun pencils are almost always photographed in a grouping, but you are able purchase one, to three, to many. Keep these things in mind when determining the best way to feature your products. Styling a set of pencils in a desk step may be confusing to your buyer, but photographing only one pencil seems kind of boring as well. Plus, you want your customer to buy more then one pencil, right? You want them to buy a set. :)
Are you in the process of creating images for your Etsy shop? What has been one thing that has really made a difference? xoxo. Samantha