A few lingering points to keep in mind for your photographs.
Keep It In Focus
The worst thing you can do is post a blurry photograph. Buyers want to clearly see what they are purchasing. Follow Etsy’s guidelines for photo size, which is 1000 pixels wide and at least 1000 pixels deep. This allows for sharp photos and for the buyer to zoom in on the photo.
Cover Every Angle
Buyers will want to see the product from all angles. Use all 5 of your photo options. Remember the whole object does not need to be in your first photo.
That’s My Style
Another hot debate on the forums is styling. Some like it, some don’t. Styling is fine and can work for you, but you need to tread carefully here. Over-styling can cause your photos to loose focus. Don’t have so much stuff in your photos that the viewer is confused as to what is for sale. Another option is to make sure that your “style” objects are not in focus.
In the photo below the left is the original. In the right photo I recropped the photo and blurred the background slightly. The right photo is much more appealing, less busy. The focus is on the product being sold, but you can still clearly make out that the photo was taken in a kitchen.
If you are selling supplies or multiples of the same object you don’t need to feature every single one in the first photo. Try to artistically arrange your objects. If all the objects are exactly the same, feature just one or three (odd numbers work best) in the first photo.
By the way… I’ve noticed that suppliers are especially guilty of not using more then one photo. You should always have a variety of photos. Like I said above, cover all the angles.
Try not to place items used for comparison in your first photo. Suppliers especially like to put coins in their photos to use as comparison. Using comparisons are good… just not in that first photo. Often your eye coins right to the object that is not like the others, thus changing the focus of your photo. Remember there are four other photos to use.
In the photo below the left is the original which is static and your eye tends to bottom out at the ruler. On the right I re-cropped the photo. Notice how the right photo is much more dynamic and interesting.
The 2-Dimensional Artist
I highly recommend that you scan your 2-dimensional art if you can, especially for your first photo. By scanning your art, you will get a far more accurate representation of your art. And on the plus side you won’t have that pesky “keystone effect”.
If your artwork is too large to scan and you must take a photo, be sure you correct for any lens distortion. Here is tutorial on correcting lens distortion.
Color correct your photos to accurately portray your artwork. If your artwork absorbs too much light and mutes the colors (red does this) note this issue in your description. I have a very deep red abstract painting on my site that totally absorbs the light, both in scanning and in photography. It will probably never sell online because it just looks dull.
In the photo below the left was the original photo. On the right I adjusted the lens distortion and adjust the color and brightness. The right photo is much more appealing, especially as the first photo.
The Etsy Crop
One of the most bothersome things I see over and over is letting Etsy automatically crop your photo. Take the time to crop your first photo into a 1000 x 1000 pixel square. It is important that you control how your photo is cropped. You want the most appealing photo possible for that shop door to open.
Here is a nice article on cropping. When I am cropping square for Etsy I get my crop tool and define an area (holding down the shift key will keep it square), then I move the “crop area” around my photo until I get the most appealing crop.
In the photo below; the left was cropped by Etsy, in the right photo I re-cropped it. The right is a much more appealing and effective crop.
You Spin Me Right Round
Make sure your photos are rotated to the correct position. Your buyer doesn’t not want a neck injury trying to view your photo. They might pass you right on by if that have to tilt their head to view your photo.
Be careful when taking photos at an odd angle. It can cause unintended consequences… items appearing to fall backward, awkward viewing angles, etc.
Drowning In A Sea Of Watermarks
If you’re going to watermark your photos, please use discretion. Having your watermark plastered across your photo makes it very difficult to view. I personally will not use any photograph with a watermark plastered on in a treasury… they are too distracting. And a watermark will not deter someone determined to use your photo. I can delete most watermarks in a photo editing program in very little time… all it takes is a little experience.
If you must watermark your photos do so in the bottom right or left corner in small type. I personally put my copyright notice in the text of the description.
As I said in the beginning… your biggest investment will be in time. Taking the time to take good photos, crop them, edit them. You have a goal… to get customer’s to open that shop door, to make sales, end up in a treasury and even the front page. The better your photos are, the better your chances are your shop will get the attention it deserves.