Etsy Photograph Basics… The Pitter Patter of Patterns

Once again we dive deep into the background issues. Maybe you want to have something a little more snazzy then a neutral background… A little pattern or texture, maybe photograph your product on a page of words, a drawing, etc. I’m not going to tell you not to use these methods. But I am going to say your must be careful in your use of a pattern/texture background. Sometimes they can enhance your product, but all to often the pattern takes over and you lose your product in the photo.

I can tell you flat out that I never want to see your Formica table, your carpet, your simulated wood-grain table. That just screams… “I’m too lazy to take a good photo.”

Below is a sample of bad pattern/texture photos:

patternbad

In all of these photos the background is competing with the products and in the last photo, making the earrings disappear almost entirely.

Here are some samples of good pattern/texture use:

patterngood

In all of these photos the pattern/texture enhances the products.

The Power of Editing

One of the great things about having a good photo editing software is the ability to edit an okay photo to a great photo. In the photo below the text background was not horrible, but it was interfering with the product some. I took the photo into editing software, took about 15 minutes to define the background and did a 3-pixel gaussian blur. The difference is huge. Now the products really pops out at you. Now I considered this a quick and dirty (but I’ve been using Photoshop for over 15 years). For a novice software user, it will take you a little longer. But learning how to use photo editing software will reap you many, many benefits.

whistleedited copy

Baby Steps

If you want to start incorporating pattern/texture in your backgrounds, start out slow. Invest in a piece of natural-colored linen. The linen will give some texture and a little pattern, but won’t overwhelm most products. You also might look at scrapbook papers with very soft, patterns, white on white, ecru on white, gray on gray, etc. Another source of subtle texture can be flooring tiles.

I think you should steer away from using bed linens. First of all… they usually need to be ironed, and those wrinkles are not easy to blur out. On my other site where I sell my knitted products I use a white towel, which I blur. The towel ends up looking like fresh fallen snow, a perfect background for scarves. Towels, because of their thickness, have a much softer look and feel then bed linens.

You also want to be careful when using nature as a background. You don’t want your product to get lost in all the leaves, grass etc. We also have a tendency not to get as close-up to the product when you’re trying to incorporate a nature background.

Once again take some time to look at photos on Etsy and critique them. Are they good? Are they appealing? Can you see the product? Do you like the look and feel? If so then save the photos as an example of what you want to strive for.

By the way… I’m not picking on jewelry. But because of the size and the amount of products for sale on Etsy, it’s usually easy to find good and bad photos.

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One Response to “Etsy Photograph Basics… The Pitter Patter of Patterns”

  1. Great advice! Thanks. I especially am kind of smacking myself in the forehead for not realizing that the purpose of the first photo isn’t so much to show the whole product, but to have a great, intriguing photo that makes people want to click on it to see more.

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