Product - What will you sell?
Pricing - How much do I sell this for?
SEO and advertising - How will people find my product?
I will write more posts in the future going over some of those topics, but today I wanted to share a little knowledge on product photography. When I first started listing items in my shop, photography was my biggest struggle. I remember breaking down in a fit of crying frustration because I just couldn't get it right.
I am far from mastering it, but will share a few tips I have picked up along the way.
1. You do not need an expensive camera. I am not saying that an expensive camera wouldn't be amazing.....because It would be! That is something that I absolutely will invest in someday. But in the meantime I take photos using my iPhone. Before I had an iPhone I used a 5.1 megapixel point and shoot. The best thing you can do is get familiar with whatever you have for taking photos, and get good at taking photos with it. Not just product pics. Play with your device, and learn how to take good photos on it.
2. Do not use flash. When I search for something on Etsy I can quickly spot photos that have used flash. They look washed out, and cold, and unprofessional. You want warm, natural light. Most of my photos are taken either on my kitchen counter, or on my workroom table. You do have to be patient for the right lighting. I was taking photos today and the first 20 minutes or so the photos were looking great. Unfortunately the sun moves and the lighting changed, and I am not happy with how the photos towards the end of my shoot turned out. The earrings that I did not get a decent photo of will be set aside, and I will try tomorrow or the next day.
3. Play with backgrounds. When I started out everyone in the forums said that white backgrounds were best. If you have not checked out the Etsy Forums you should. They are a wealth of information, especially when starting out. However, you have to take the information you get, and make your own decision. I have been playing with different colors and patterns for backgrounds and really like the results. My shop has a fun, colorful vibe though. I do see shops with gorgeous photos that use a white background. It gives their shop a nice minimalist, modern feel. Play with backgrounds, and decide what works for you. You can also play with adding props to your photo.
4. Edit your photos. I use an app on my phone called Afterlight. Do not use the filters. You want your photo to look like the item. Especially when people cannot see the item in person, it is so important that your photos accurately represent what they will be receiving in the mail. I adjust the brightness, exposure, saturation, contrast, and temperature. I almost always crop all the photos to a square. This makes them easy to share on Instagram or be used as the thumbnail for your listing.
Hope this helps with your own product photography. As I said earlier in the post, my photos are far from perfect, but way better than when I started. Feel free to ask any question in the comments below.