Last Updated: October 12, 2015 10

A Picture Worth a Thousand Dollars: Etsy Photography Tips

Found In: Sell things online

Taking good photographs of your jewelry and crafts is essential to selling them online. If you don’t know how to show them off in the best possible lighting and attract buyers, you will limit your own selling potential.

Clearly, if you want to be a major seller on Etsy, you have to learn how to photograph your crafts well. (Just take a look at the major shops and see if any of them have poorly-lit, fuzzy images. Chances are good the answer is “no”.)

Even if you aren’t an expert photographer, you can still concentrate on three main “problem areas” that plague many Etsy pictures to make sure your photographs are well-lit, cleanly displayed, and in focus.


One of the most important aspects of a photo is the lighting, because if it’s too bright or dark, your customers won’t be able to see the product. Compare your photos to ones you can find in a product catalog and see if they come up short. If so, no need to worry!

You can build a simple light box out of a cardboard box with a large square cut out of one side, lined and covered with a white sheet. You’ll have to experiment with the camera angles, depending on the products you’re photographing, but keeping the lighting to the outside of the sheet covering the box and using more than one lighting source will produce a clearer image overall. If this isn’t an option, go outside on a cloudy day and use natural lighting to your advantage.


A clear and uncluttered background in your images is a must. Anything less just seems unprofessional, and will make your customers hit the “back” button as fast as they can.

A good backdrop to use is a sheet of fabric in a contrasting color; white and black are good choices. You can even use a bed sheet if you have a plain one with no patterns to detract attention from the items. If the piece you’re photographing doesn’t stand out adequately against either black or white, try grey, or a light shade of some color like blue, pink, yellow or green. For a dramatic effect, try crimson or emerald velvet. Experiment with backdrops until you find one that is uncluttered and doesn’t overwhelm the piece you’re trying to show off. Ideally, the customer won’t even notice the backdrop and will focus on your item.

Focus and Zoom

Speaking of focus, making sure your items look clear and crisp, with all the details visible, is very important. If it’s a piece like jewelry, customers will expect a close-up shot and one from further away.

If your camera supports manual focus, try zooming in and focusing manually. It might take more shots to get right, but this will ensure the picture turns out focused exactly how you want them to be.

You’ve taken the time to lovingly handcraft items; now take some time to practice photographing them and do them justice in the Etsy marketplace!