Composing Product Photos for Your Etsy Business

Part of the Starting an Etsy Business For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Great product photos can boost sales for your Etsy business, but you don’t need to hire a professional photographer (although you can). Composing your own photos for Etsy calls for a bit of technical know-how and some artistic flair (which, of course, you already have!). As you shoot your pieces, keep these compositional points in mind:

  • Angle the camera. Angling, or tilting, the camera puts the subject slightly off-center and creates movement and flow. The result is a more dynamic, intriguing image.

  • Shoot tight. Filling the frame with your subject not only adds visual impact but also enables potential buyers to see how well made your piece is.

  • Blur the background. By using a shallow depth of field (read: a low f-stop setting on your camera), you can blur the background, dramatically highlighting your piece. When the background is blurred, you can shoot in almost any setting; just make sure that the background colors don’t clash with your subject.

  • Note that less is more. Don’t crowd the scene with extraneous objects. Otherwise, potential buyers may not understand exactly which item in your photo is for sale.

  • Frame your subject. One way to draw the viewer’s eye to your piece is to frame it — that is, place some darker element in the perimeter. This technique helps keep the viewer’s eye from straying from your item.

  • Group pieces together. Especially if you make itsy-bitsy goodies, you can try grouping them to catch a buyer’s eye. Not only does this make for a more eye-catching photograph, but it also shows potential buyers how pieces in your collection work together.

  • Use the rule of thirds. Divide the scene you’re photographing into nine equal parts by using two horizontal lines and two vertical lines (like a tic-tac-toe grid); place key elements at one of the four points where the vertical and horizontal lines intersect. In addition to conveying a sense of tension and energy, this helps pique the viewer’s interest.

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