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Photographing Your Work

Photographing Your Work
Do your photographs really show off your work the way you would like them to?

Allow me to say right up front that this is NOT 
a photography "how to" post.
It is actually more of a discussion about 
your photographs in relation to your sales.
And it is loaded with questions for you to think about.

How close up do you need to be?

How many images are enough? Or too much?

How do you decide what background is best?

With a Frame or Without?

Should you put Etsy Team Banners in your Listings?
If so, how many?

Watermark the images or not?
Props or no props?
Are you images sharp? Blurry?

Lots of things to consider when creating a listing. 
Whether it be Finished Jewelry or Jewelry Components,
 we all have to photograph our work.
Are any of these things an issue for you?
Do your photographs give the customer a clear picture, 
(pardon the pun)
of your work?
Does each photo give them enough visual information 
to create a desire to purchase from you?
How do you decide whats working and whats not?

We would love to hear your thoughts.


  1. I am no expert on this..as I am only beginning to sell and already feel the frustration of trying to get that good picture that I am happy with.(haven't really got it yet!) however, for me the priorities are to have a clear photo and one with little distraction. I think as a buyer, I also like to see a closeup of other components..clasp, connectors etc if it is finished jewelry.

  2. I don't have an etsy shop yet, and it's because of my lack of photography skills. I like little to no props and a clean, consistent background. But I can't seem to ge the perfect shots yet.

    As a buyer I still like clean, uncluttered shots. I don't want to buy something because of the pretty props only to be disappointed when the piece arrives. And I do like closeup photos of the components.

  3. Speaking as a customer, I really like the pieces that have four or fives images.

    - One on a mannequin or mandrel to show how it hangs or sits.
    - One showing something for size comparison ( a penny or ruler).
    - One showing the full piece
    - (at least) One showing a close up of any detail
    - One with props to catch my eye ( usually the main picture with the others being thumbs to click on )

    The eye-catcher with props is really an extra, but I want to see at LEAST the full shot, the size comparison & if it's a necklace, a shot to show how it hangs or where it sits.

  4. I think being able to show a "finished use" (a picture of a finished necklace or other project idea featuring the item you are selling) must be a great way of marketing because big bead cats like Fire Mountain and Rings N' Things show finished designs on almost every page, and also have hundreds of free project ideas on their web sites. I wish I had more time to pursue that type of marketing and include pictures of finished projects in my listings. For now I just show a clear close up and a good description of the item. Personally, when I am shopping, I don't enjoy looking at multiple photos of the same item (and I can't think of a catalog of any type that shows multiple photos either) so I try to answer all questions about the item in the listing and just show one good photo. Unless a second photo is giving extra visual info ( for Instance a close up of a clasp or a cord) I don't find it useful or interesting

    1. I don't look at many multiple pics either...great post, lots to think about!

  5. Very nice visual reference and question set!

    I would suggest consistency as a virtue. Once you have nailed your style/methods...stick to them. People get trained--by your photos--in your style of communication. Switching it up is like switching "voice" in writing... distracting. I also don't think it's a bad idea, especially as a beginner, to find up to ten styles of presentation (sets from one person, not individual photos)and choose one to emulate. "After you learn the dance steps, then you can improvise."

  6. Such pertinent photography points to ponder :D.

    Victoria, I completely concur with your consistency point :D. I've been told that my photos are recognizably mine --- and I consider that a powerful positive.

    I prefer a neutral backdrop that doesn't compete with my items, and also strive for photographic consistency. I do that by using similar props, always photographing in a light box which stays in the same location, using photo lights to boost the natural light and taking my pictures when the daylight is just right for my purposes (which frequently entails waiting for the "right" time).

    Personally, when I'm shopping, I really want to see the back or underside and so always include a shot of it when listing my work. I like to include a close up from a couple angles, a long shot and sometimes a closely cropped macro shot to use as an intriguing teaser for my main listing shot. I'm curious if that particular penchant annoys or intrigues shoppers --- any thoughts? I'm guilty of leaving out the size reference photo, but always include very detailed info about size in the listing text.


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