One of the things I’ve been looking forward to talking about here on TBM is Etsy. More bloggers than ever also have Etsy shops and if not, you’re probably thinking of opening one! I’ve been a seller since 2008, always on a part-time basis along with my blog and full-time jobs. It took years to get in a rhythm with product photography, and I’m still always changing my mind, but having an Etsy photo shoot has ended up being one of my very favorite things about selling my handmade accessories and vintage clothes. Researching over the years, I’ve bookmarked quite a lot of resources, and come up with my own tips to share:
When you first sign up, you’ll notice that there’s an endless spectrum of product photography on Etsy. My first piece of advice is to get to know the shops on Etsy—who is doing well, who seems up and coming, and who makes you really want to buy an item. It’s always good to know what works. Gather inspiration from an array of creatives, but don’t try to emulate one shop—find a way to make your own ideas perform well on Etsy. Know that what works for others won’t necessarily work for you. For example, I always model my accessories, and a lot of shops don’t have actual models. They’re successful in their own way, but I’ve noticed that when I don’t model it, it doesn’t sell. Over time, you’ll find what photography style works best!
My other personal tip is to strike a balance between creative, styled photos, and minimal, clear images. If they’re too busy it can confuse people and lead to problems. It can also mean eliminating the chance to get on the front page, which is generally made up of clear, bright images (but not always). However, images make up a huge part of your brand, which is why adding your creative twist is important. I like to keep my photos consistent by photographing at the same location, editing using the same filters, and wearing neutral clothing. But when it comes to styling the photo, I try to be creative.
If you’re first starting out, you’ll be surprised at how long a product photo shoot takes! Just getting photos for 10 products could eat up an afternoon. When selling vintage, I’ve found that there isn’t a huge difference between when I photograph clothing while standing against a white backdrop or crafting more “street style” images. So, since using a backdrop is easier, I go for that.
Now, onto the resources! Here are my favorite product photography resources:
Flax & Twine, Ninth & Bird, and lots of other bloggers have DIY lightbox tutorials
Natural Light in Still Life Photography by A Beautiful Mess
Lighting Tips for Bloggers by Making Nice in the Midwest—for artificial lighting
We’re hoping to talk more about Etsy, so let us know if you have topics you’d love to see!