Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Since joining the etsy community I have been learning something new everyday.

Just a couple of months ago the only thing I used my computer for was to play games, type the occasional letter, or look up some fact to win a bet.

One thing I notice on etsy is the fantastic photographs. Years ago I owned a gift shop and when I closed it down I still had product left, a whole garage full. Back then ebay was just starting and I decided to give it a try to relieve me of all this stuff. My wonderful husband bought me a camera, a really nice one, to take pictures. Ebay's suggestion was to take clear, clean photos with a plain background. I guess this suggestion took a good hold on me because my first photos for etsy are very plain.

I have been studying photos that I like on the treasurys and in listings and I am trying to make more appealing settings for my jewelry. The following are a few things I have taught myself.

Lighting is very important. I take all of my pictures outside on a sunny day but I pick a shaded spot to set up. Most of the time it is on our brick barbecue grate. I never use the flash as it reflects on the metal of the jewelry, and sometimes on the glass or stone beads, so the light has to be just right. I think the right lighting makes the true colors come out in the photo.

Focus is another important step. My camera has a feature where you hold the shutter button down 1/2 way. If you are in focus the light is a solid green, when out of focus it is a blinking green light. Sometimes I have to move up, down or to the left or right, but I never take a photo until that light is solid green. Your camera may have a different focus setup as mine is an older, digital camera. Just remember - focus, focus, focus!

Background are an added plus to your work. This is the area I am exploring now. I start by turning a plastic Rubbermaid container upside down. I put a white tablecloth over it. This provides me with a solid background which hides anything that I don't want to show behind the item I'm photographing. I can lean a picture, a straw place mat, a floral, pretty paper or whatever against it to be my background. I find all kinds of things around the house for this. Then I hunt for a display for my item. It can be a rock, or a basket. Sometimes I use a piece of pottery to lay my item over. The only limits are your imagination.

I take anywhere from 10 to 15 pictures of the item on different backgrounds and displays. This gives me plenty of options of what I will finally use. Then it's off to the computer. My printer is a HP photosmart and the edit program is very simple. The first thing I do is to crop the picture in the square option. I crop it as close around the item as possible. After all, the buyer wants to see the detail of my item. Sometimes I will play with the brightness and contrast button if the color is off, but this scares me. If I have taken the time to so all of the above, I usually have my 5 photos. I then pick the ones I like the best and I'm off to list my item.

If you go to my store you will still see the white, plain background on my items. I am slowly rephotographing to replace these. I think my newer listings are more interesting with my new knowledge. What do you think?


  1. Great post! I too prefer some type of background. It is such a learning process. I always take my photos outside and in the dead of winter it can be soooo cold!

  2. I think your photos are looking awesome!

    Reesa of ReesasFavorites.etsy.com

  3. Thanks for the tips. Photographing my products is something I have been kinda lazy about, in my rush to get everything listed...this definitely inspires me to take more time in the future!

    I also think your jewelry is absolutely beautiful!

  4. They look great!
    I know I've learned a lot about photographing items by trial and error. And I've totally done the food container upside-down covered by a cloth deal! :)

  5. your photograph tips are really helpful to me and something I desperately needed.