Thursday, August 4, 2011

Product Photography Tips!

Hey team! I don't know about you, but I have re-shot and then re-shot the re-shots of the pictures for my shop! (Redundant? YES!)

I am still working on fine tuning my shots but I thought I would share a few tips that I have picked up along the way for the best product photography, and the best shots to get into great treasuries.
1. Use natural, indirect light. This is essential because you do not want your products to be washed out or so bright they are hard to see. Find a nice shady spot in the morning or middle of the day, or find a north facing window to get that beautiful indirect sun-lit look!

Example: This Gray Wooden Stool by PineandMain is a great example of a photo that has just the right light!  I personally like this lighting because it is not harsh, it allows the product to be the center of attention, and does not have prominent shadows that could distract from the product. Great shot!

2. Use a white or neutral background, or a solid color, with a smooth texture. Backgrounds are very important because they can be a major distraction from the product. The very first shots I ever took when I joined Etsy in 2009 were HORRIBLE! I used light grey FELT as my background! It looked fuzzy and totally gross! Now I use a large piece of ply wood that I painted white to get a rustic (yet neutral) feel from. Even though white and neutrals can seem boring, find a way to make them fit your own style. In my opinion, avoid getting to close to a textured wall, or using a wrinkled or fuzzy fabric.

Example: This photo of LittleWrenPottery's Anchors Away mugs is a great example of non-distracting neutral background that perfectly compliments her product! Great color in this shot! 

3. Use appropriate props. I think this is the trickiest part of product photography because props can either clutter your photo and your customer will have no idea what you are selling, or the props will enhance the product (which is the goal!).

Example: Occasionally, I prop my flowers up in a mason jar, or I add a few pine cones to the setting for a rustic/woodsy feel.

 4. Get a shot from as many angles as possible. On Etsy we have the option to post 5 photos per product, use them all! This gives your customer the most options for viewing your amazing product and the more pictures = the more time spent browsing in your shop = better chances of getting a sale!

5. Be yourself! This is super corny but I believe that when we use our own talents and styles that is really reflected in our products. You may be in a category that is totally packed but if you take great pictures that represent how you feel about your product, you will stand out! Also, there are some GREAT (and I mean, really, really, great) photos out there on Etsy, and even on our team that break all of these photo tips with grace and style!

Here are some other photos from our team that I absolutely love:

Leave a comment and share your tips for great product photography!!

-Megan (wildpaperflowers)


  1. Great tips Megan! And I love the pictures you used. I think it's really great advice that sellers be themselves. I have found this to be the most helpful concept when taking pictures. When I worry too much about it turing out a certain way, it comes out bland and boring. But when I decide to have fun and express my own style those always seem to be the items people gravitate too. Etsy's a chance to indulge certain aspects of yourself that you can't always. Definitely trust your own sense of style- it's what makes for genuine, interesting photos that people are drawn to.

  2. Thanks, Megan! Great post. I think this is something we all struggle with. Lord knows how many shots and prop combinations it took me to get that stool looking that good. 25? 50? More?

    You and Amie both have it right when you mention being yourself. I've realized that I may not have the greatest photos on Etsy, but they represent me and my shop and that is part of what buyers are looking for--a connection to the seller.

  3. This is actually something I was working on today! For now, I've tossed the white quilt I used to use as a background (because the texture was too distracting) and I've replaced it with simple white foam board. But I need more space for different angles, so I'll be painting large pieces of plywood very soon! I do love the occasional nature, scenic, theatrical, or staged product photo... they're fun to use in treasuries. White is great, but it's not for everyone. :)

  4. These are all really great tips. I'll be working on my photos this week!!


  5. Great post! It is very true that the photo of our products is the gateway to our success. The only other suggestion I could offer along with the other great tips would be to add reflective light.

    I used to dabble with food photography and would use something as simple as a car sun shade to set up on the opposite side of the indirect light. You can wrap a flat surfaced object with aluminum foil and prop it up on the other side of your object (out of the frame of your photo) to give your product a little less shadow, or brighten the item just a touch more.



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