This week's marketing topic is something of great interest to everyone on Etsy because we've all had problems with it at some point: photography. I for one know that when I'm browsing through Etsy shops either to buy something or to put together a treasury or choose a featured seller, I tend to skip over shops with terrible photos. It's nothing personal, and I know I'm not the only one. With so many shops to compete with, there simply isn't room for poor quality photos, or you'll just get lost in the shuffle. I want to go over a few tips and tricks to improve your photos. Keep in mind that I'm by no means an expert, so I'm going to share some great links and software with you.
For starters, here's a bad listing photo. I'm trying to sell you some spools of old military wire. Booooring, right? Well, when you look at that picture, it sure is. It's dark, gloomy, and well, just a bunch of old wire.
The next picture, however, has a really bright, cheery color to it, so maybe you'll give my ol' wire a second glance, or maybe not because really, it's still just a few spools of old wire. With a few tweaks in a photo editing program, I've brightened it, cropped it so that it's centered and even on all edges, and deepened the color a bit to make it really pop.
An important thing to consider before you even get to the editing part of the process is staging. You could consider making a lightbox to take your photos in. A lightbox is basically just a big white-sided box with lights clipped or aimed around it to spotlight your subject. This is definitely the way to go for smaller items because you NEVER NEVER want to use flash; it's too harsh and washes out your subject. There's a great (read: cheap & easy!) lightbox tutorial in this Etsy Storque article.
Now I don't have a super nice camera or expensive software, so if you have something like Photoshop, then you're probably way ahead of me anyway. I downloaded the free program Photoscape, which does many of the same things as Photoshop but is very user-friendly and FREE. After some tweaking and playing around with your photos, you'll get the hang of how to fix them up best to work with your camera and computer. As a bonus, since you're probably a blogger, you can also make great photo collages like this and capture screen shots of your treasuries and whatnot like this. You can also try the free software downloads Gimp, Piknik, and Picasa, though I personally can only vouch for Photoscape.
Now, for all those fabulous links I promised:
- Handmade Marketing - This is a very detailed article with market-specific advice from a professional photographer.
- Etsy Forum Thread - Learn from the trial-and-error experience of a fellow Etsyian.
- Associated Content - This one sort of just rehashes what I've already mentioned, but it's a concise, easy read if you're in a hurry.
If you have any tips or advice I've left out or another great link to share, please leave a comment!