Photographing your items for sale

2:31 PM Tammie Rampley 0 Comments

Ok, I know that when I started this blog I promised you guys insider tips on what I have muddled through and learned that has helped me with my Etsy shop. I am sorry that it has taken me so long to get this part started.. I have worked out what is most important for you to know first. The very first thing that I will discuss is...

Disclaimer, please do not feel like I am talking down to anyone, this will be somewhat of a Dummies course. When I first started and everyone was throwing around, do this, do that, half of it sounded like another language. I am going to explain things as if you know as much as I did. That way those that do not know, will  not have to do what I did and google each and every item. Because that sucks..


You are gonna take photos and you are going to be super proud of them. The very first advice someone will give you is to retake your photos. Me, I started out by adding 60 plus items to my shop day one and low and behold first thing two different people said. Bad part, I wasn't asking for any advice. I am a reader, I was going through the Etsy Seller Handbook and doing my best. I had taken all of my bags outside, used all natural light and a friends beautiful back yard with trees and the leaves falling and natural woods and I was so proud of my pictures. Guess what? Everyone thought they sucked, and they were right. The may have been beautiful shots to be just pictures, but for Etsy, they have to be a certain way to get noticed. To be completely honest, my shots are still not completely where they need to be. I have retaken them 5 times, no joke. Now, the tweeking I need to do, now that I figured out the formula for photo taking, is all needed to be done in photo editing. Now let's talk about your photos.

If you live on the beach and you have terrific sunshine every day, by all means, take your shots outside. For the rest of the world, here are some helpful tips for indoor pics.

For all small items, us a light box. That is what makes those amazing photos that look like they have a great bright white missing background that are all over the front page.

This is a great link on how to make an at home light box inexpensively.

Lighting for larger items, you are going to see people with these great professional looking photos, the lighting, the shots. Sometimes, they are using extremely high lumens LED photographic bulbs. Some people have the money to buy those. I personally, do not. I don't have an extra couple hundred dollars for bulbs. So, I had to figure out to get a similar effect with much less money. This is what I came up with. Find a blank space in your home. Preferable one that you can keep as your space. Designate so that you can put your lighting in place and not have to always move it. This way you know your blank white wall with stay clean. You may need to do a paint touch up in this area to get it good and crisp. Be warned, not all items look great on white. Most do, but if your items happen to be those that need a different background, decide that up front and choose a different color wall. Another good way to get good sharp crispness behind your shot cheap is with thick paper boards. You can get these in multiple colors as the craft and hobby shops and even walmart depending on what colors you need. Although walmart has a much smaller pallet. The light bounces off the white really well and makes a big difference in how your item looks. When purchasing bulbs, I bought a three pack at my home improvement store of 100w flood bulbs for $15.99 and a lighting can that holds one of them for 5 bucks. The can is perfect because using picture hanging wire that I had around the house I hung it in position from the ceiling right where I needed it to stay all the time. Since it is in my designated space, I just leave it there. Mounting it was simple because I just put two screws into the ceiling and wrapped the wire around the screws tightly and then hung the can to the level that I needed where it hit the wall perfectly. The other two bulbs, I had an old directional lamp that my neighbor gave me. One of those that stands up and also has a side arm that moves that you get from Walmart for 20 bucks. She had it forever and was getting rid of it. It stands up and is perfect for me to move in to position. The third, I did not have an upright lamp and I needed something up high enough to be my third light source, so, I took a regular lamp and using wire, I strung it from two screws into my ceiling. Hey, when your are poor, you get creative. And let me tell you, it works perfectly. You work with what you have. If you must buy lamps, hit the thrift store. Find them cheap. Do not go spend money that you don't need to. Now, the next step in photos is editing. A lot of what you see in your front page photos and what most people do not know, is editing. These people do take nice pics, but they also edit well. Most of the editing you need to do can be done right from your Windows program. If you play around with your brightness and contrast, Windows nowadays has become pretty sophisticated. As long as you do not use a flash when taking your shot, and you have enough lighting on your item, you should be able to make it plenty bright.

Ok, I am going to explain how to tag your photos before you list them. Once you are completely happy with your photographs and they are still on your computer. Right click on your picture, go down to properties and click and then click details. You are going to have an option for either Keywords or Tags. They are the same. In that box, as with inside Etsy, you enter every possible way that someone might search for your item. List the color and style and item. Every combination of it. There is no limit to the number in here. Do not forget to also list your company name in here. If you have five photos of the same item, once you have tagged the first one, select all and copy and paste the keywords to the next ones like it. This will make the process not take so much time. As your keywords make you items pop up in Etsy, these tags assist in your items popping up in internet searches.

Ok.. I hope you have all learned something.. I will be back Monday to discuss your listings and the mistakes I made and I know that I see a ton of shops doing. Let's get you guys seen.. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend...

I am going to add to this because I have been reading through a bunch of the things on the Seller's Handbook Blog about Photographs. Like I said earlier, I am in no way an expert on Photo's. Just supplying you with the resources to get them right. Yes, everyone suggests natural light. Let me explain why I did not. If you are not in the tropics, like me my techniques might be your option. Where I live, we have six months that are dreary and unpredictable and overcast and then that only leads into a spring that again rains almost every day. Finding a good time, not to mention a good time each couple of days to take photos in natural light is basically impossible. I chose to set up a photo area in my apartment. It may seem overboard, but, my photos were not coming out well the four times I took them before this. There are some great videos and blogs on how people take and edit their photos.