Five Tips For Better Etsy Photos

E-Commerce is such a visual experience, so having great photos that helps customers make the right purchase decision is important. Not every Etsy seller is an expert photographer though. Knowing what to do beyond just pointing your camera at a product might not always be obvious. To help you get on the right track, we’ve assembled a list of 5 tips to help you make the most out of your photos. Who knows, it may even help you take better family photos too!

Tip 1: Place Your Product Front and Center

In other areas of photography, the rule of thirds is often king. The rule of thirds suggests against placing your subject in the center of the frame and rather, at the intersection of imaginary lines that divide the frame into thirds. In some of our Etsy shots, we are going to ignore this rule, and put our product front and center. We can take advantage of the rule of thirds for our more casual shots. For example, if you are photographing your product on an end table, you may want to place it off to the side rather than center to make the photo feel more natural, but for your images where the product is the focus, center your item, remember that the goal is to give your potential buyer as much visual information as possible.

This is an example of a centered product photo.

This is an example of a product photo that is taking advantage of the rule of thirds.

Tip 2: The Best Camera is the One You Have

With so many camera options out there is hard to make heads or tails of what you need if you don’t have experience with photography. Having a high-end camera is nice, but the reality is that the best camera is the one that you have available to you. If you have a smart phone available to you, you have a more than capable tool for photographing your products.

It’s important to not focus so much on the ability of your camera, and instead focus on the other things you can control such as the composition of your photo and lighting. The biggest takeaway from this section is to not let your camera hold you back from getting started. Grab whatever camera you have and start photographing your product. You can always change them later as your equipment and skill improve.

Tip 3: Lighting is important

Quality light on your product can make a huge difference in image quality. There are a few things to consider when trying to get your product in the best light. You can work with the available light in the room, which will work, but is rarely ideal. The next option is to work with natural light. If you can get your product near a window where natural light is filtering, perhaps you can photograph your product in a pleasing way. The last option is to work with a dedicated light. This will let you have complete control over the lighting in your photo. Ideally you will  want two sources of light so that you can light your item from two sides, but one simple hack to get around that is to use a sheet of paper or poster board opposite of your light source which will allow you to reflect the light back at your item.

If you are looking for an affordable, portable LED light to experiment with, check out the Apurture AL-M9. It isn’t much larger than a credit card and can be purchased for under $50. One other item to consider is a light tent. these small tents are make from a white fabric that allows light to come through softly and provide great even light on your subject, these are great to have if your photo location has a lot of harsh light you can’t control.

Tip 4: Plan For Consistency Between Shots

One thing that really ties a brand together is consistency in its imagery and the imagery in your Etsy shop can also benefit from this. The goal here is to make your photos feel like a complete set rather than a group of individual photos. There are several things you can do to build a sense of togetherness for your photos. One idea that comes to mind is to stick with a common color palette for the background. For example, if you choose to photograph your product against a dark piece of wood, then repeat that look in some capacity to help tie your images together. Common color themes are one of the simplest ways to create a common look among your photos.

Are you doing any editing to your photos after you shoot them? another way to help tie your photos together is to apply a similar editing style to each photo. If you are creating a high contrast feel in one photo, try to apply that look to your other photos. When you do something to one, try it with the others to make them all feel like they belong together.

Tip 5: Leave some room at the edges

Etsy crops your main image to a 4:3 ratio which is a bit narrower than most DLSR cameras. To accommodate for this, get it the habit of leaving a little room around your product in the photos. This will ensure that your product looks the way you want it to in Etsy search results.


Now that you have some fresh new perspective on photos for your Etsy shop, it’s time to put them to work. Remember to consider things like composition, lighting, and consistency between shots to create a set of photos that work together for your products.  When in doubt about how your photo may look in Etsy search results, leave a little room in the frame so you can adjust later as needed. Lastly, don’t sweat over the camera you have and make the most of what you have available to you!

Want to see all your photos in one place while optimizing your listings? Check out the eRank Listing Audit tool.