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1. How to take pictures for Etsy (Step-by-step)

How to take pictures for Etsy product listings: 7 Steps to success

If you're considering starting your own Etsy shop, then learning how to take great photos of your products is essential. In fact, an Etsy customer survey revealed that product photos are the most important factor in convincing potential buyers to make a purchase - even more so than product reviews or shipping costs!

That's why we've put together a complete Etsy seller's guide to product photography. We'll walk you through everything you need to know to help your Etsy store stand out from the competition.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • An Etsy customer survey revealed that listing images are the most important factor in convincing a potential buyer to make a purchase.

  • Taking great Etsy pictures is less about having a fancy camera and more about understanding the best photography practices.

  • By using proper lighting, background, and editing techniques, you can produce professional-looking pictures with the average smartphone.

How to take pictures for Etsy (Step-by-step)

Showing off each of your Etsy listings in the best possible light can go a long way toward becoming a successful Etsy seller. Rest assured that you don't need to rush out and spend hundreds of dollars on an expensive camera or even hire a photographer to take professional photos.

The key to Etsy product photography lies more in knowing how to take your own professional-looking photos using a few simple tips and tricks. Let's explore several techniques to take your listing images to the next level.

1. Set up adequate lighting

adequate lighting

If there's one thing that can make or break product photos, it's lighting conditions. Too many sellers make the mistake of using harsh light, which can create unflattering shadows, streaks, or glares.

On the other hand, the only thing worse than too much light is not enough! Overly dim photos can make your products look blurry and make it much harder for customers to examine their details.

Overall, the goal is to use a strong yet diffused light that mimics natural lighting. While it's definitely possible to create this effect with natural light, investing in a lightbox can make your job a lot easier in the long run.

Amazon offers plenty of great lightboxes for under $100, most of which come complete with built-in adjustable lighting. You can even DIY your own lightbox with a cardboard box, seamless paper, and light sources like a desk lamp or a set of inexpensive tabletop studio lights.

2. Use a proper background

Whether you choose to use natural light or studio lights, make sure to pick the right background for your product photos. In general, it's hard to go wrong with a plain background that keeps the focus squarely on your product.

Whether you use a white background or solid color, be sure to select a choice that compliments your product well and adjust your light source accordingly. Depending on the branding of your Etsy shop, you might also choose to feature your products against a clean background, such as:

  • Wood

  • Bricks

  • Sand

  • Cloth or linen

  • Marble

  • Any other natural texture that matches your shop's theme

3. Focus on clarity

focus on clarity

Getting a clear photo of your product in the proper lighting is essential for attracting potential customers. Some Etsy sellers use mirrorless cameras, which offer faster shutter speeds to create great product photos.

That said, most smartphones today are capable of taking high-quality photos as well. Here are some product photography tips to use in your next photo shoot.

  • Clean your camera lens: First things first. As simple as it sounds, ensure your camera app lenses are wiped clean to get the clearest shots possible.

  • Avoid using your phone's digital zoom and built-in flash: While your smartphone camera likely has a digital zoom option, it's best to resist using it, as it may not result in the best shots. Photos captured using digital zoom (and, in some cases, even portrait mode) can be of lower quality, so it's best to physically move closer to the product for close-ups.
    The same goes for the built-in flash your phone's camera probably offers. No matter how much you adjust lighting before taking your shot, using your camera's flash can throw things off quickly and make it much harder to get a natural-looking shot.

  • Consider using a tripod and remote trigger: If you're sick of ending up with shaky photos, investing in a camera tripod and remote trigger can be a great way to enjoy more control. Head over to Amazon, where you'll find plenty of great inexpensive options.

4. Take a variety of shots

There's nothing worse than ordering a product online that turns out to be completely different than what you expected. That's why offering plenty of Etsy photos is a crucial way to earn the trust of potential buyers.

While every product in your Etsy shop will be represented by a single photo in web search results, and in Etsy's virtual showcase, you can attach up to ten photos on the product page itself. Take advantage of this option by offering your customers plenty of different angles and shots!

Here are some of the most popular types of product photography shots used by Etsy sellers:

  • Full product photos: This type of product photo shows your full product in all its glory and will likely serve as the featured photo for your product. Depending on the complexity of your product, it may also be a good idea to include several full product photos featuring the item from the front, back, side, etc.

  • Scale shots: Also known as common object shots, this type of product photo is designed to give potential customers an idea of the product's size by featuring it next to another everyday item. Make sure you use an item with a universal size, such as a coin, ruler, or any other object that will immediately give viewers an idea of your product's scale.

  • Close-up detailed shots: Close-up photos can be a great way to show off your product's quality. Whether it be high-quality stitching, texture, or other small details, give your audience a chance to see the finer details that make your product excellent.

  • Action shots: Action shots are photos that feature someone actually wearing or using your product. These types of shots can be especially handy when it comes to apparel, as they give customers a chance to see what a piece of clothing looks like on a model.

Don't be afraid to show off your product in use from several different angles or even feature it in a video. Just make sure to avoid possible distractions in the background to keep the focus on the product!

5. Keep your images consistent

As you master the art of Etsy product photography, you'll begin to develop your own unique style. Pay close attention to everything from the background colors and textures you tend to use to any props you choose to incorporate.

As an Etsy shop owner, keeping your product photography consistent is vital to help customers more easily recognize your brand. While Etsy may not offer a huge number of customization options, taking great product photos can be an easy way to help reflect your brand's personality.

Don't be shy about taking many test shots until you develop the perfect photography style. Once your style is set, keep things as consistent as possible by using the same camera, lighting conditions, background styles, and photo editing techniques.

6. Follow composition principles

follow composition principles

Photographers use time-honored composition principles to create professional photos; following them can take your photography to a new level! Try out the following principles when taking product photos for your Etsy shop.

Use the rule of thirds

When it comes to how to frame your shot, the rule of thirds is a universally accepted composition technique that's incredibly easy to use. Imagine that your camera frame is divided into nine equal squares, like a tic-tac-toe board.
You may even want to check and see if your camera offers the ability to lay out such a grid in your frame. The rule of thirds advises placing the focal points of your image along the intersections of the lines in the center of the frame.

Leading lines

Leading lines are another photography technique that uses lines to lead the viewer's eye to the heart of the image. Imagine a photo of a railroad, for instance.
You almost can't help but follow the rail lines to the center of the image. Leading lines work the same way by using lines to direct the viewer to your product.


Symmetry is a photography technique that plays off of creating two equal sections in a photo that mirror each other. While there are several different ways to use symmetry in a product photo, it could be as simple as using two different background colors on each half of your photo and placing your product in the center.

7. Edit your images

Learning your way around a good photo editor can also go a long way toward ensuring your Etsy success. There are now plenty of excellent photo editing tools available, from paid software like Adobe Photoshop to free options like Canva, Pixlr, Fotor, and Photoshop Express.

Here are a few things you can do to help turn your shots into professional-looking photos for your Etsy shop.

Adjust the white balance

White balance is a setting that you can adjust directly on your camera or during editing. Basically, the whole process is designed to ensure that any white areas of your photos actually look white rather than like the product of an accidental Instagram filter.
While the process may be called "white balance," it also affects all the other colors in your photography. Adjusting your white balance can be a great way to make the colors in your photo appear their most realistic.

Use the crop tool to size your images

The crop feature can be incredibly helpful for everything from removing background distractions to adjusting your product to fit inside the frame perfectly. Remember the rule of thirds we talked about above?
Free online tools like BeFunky will automatically place a graph over your photos to help you visualize the perfect positioning for your products. Free programs Adobe Express and PicMonkey offer background removers that allow you to erase the background in your image and replace it with a new one.

Color correction

When taking photos for your Etsy store, the best rule is to get images showing your products as realistically as possible. The following photo editing techniques can help ensure that you fully capture the colors and textures of each product you want to sell.

  • Contrast: Contrast tools allow you to make the brighter parts of an image brighter and the darker parts darker.

  • Exposure: Also known as "brightness," this tool makes the entire image brighter or darker.

  • Saturation: Saturation refers to the intensity or density of the colors in your photo. Be careful not to go overboard; setting the saturation too high can make your images look unrealistic.

Boost your Etsy sales with high-quality products and stunning product photography

show the product

Mastering the art of Etsy product photography can make all the difference in attracting potential customers! Want to make life as a successful Etsy seller even easier?

Consider selling custom products with Gelato's print on demand service! We supply a complete collection of high-quality products, from clothing to customizable wall art.

Simply upload the designs you'd like to feature on our products, post pictures of your samples in your Etsy store, and we'll take care of the rest. Each time a buyer places an order, one of our 130+ local production partners will create your product and ship it right to your customer.

Etsy photos FAQs

How do I take good pictures with my phone on Etsy?

If you want to take your Etsy store to the next level, consider camera quality the next time you upgrade your smartphone. Whether you're a fan of the Apple iPhone, Android, or Google Pixel, plenty of smartphones now come with an amazing built-in camera.

No matter which you choose, get to know your phone's different camera settings. Remember to avoid using your phone's flash, as it's not usually the best way to mimic natural light.

But take advantage of features like grid lines and white balance settings to help you get better shots. You might also consider investing in a tripod to capture blur-free images of the products you want to sell.

What photo format is best for Etsy?

As far as listing photos go, Etsy recommends an aspect ratio of 4:3, a 2000px size for the shortest side of the image, and a 72PPI resolution. To upload images to your Etsy shop, they will need to be in one of the following formats:

  • .jpg

  • .gif

  • .png

It's also important to remember that Etsy product images won't be the only ones you'll upload to your shop. We recommend checking out Etsy's complete list of image recommendations for tips on the best sizes for everything from banners to profile photos.

What app should I use for Etsy photos?

While you can always use professional or paid tools like Photoshop, plenty of excellent mobile and desktop apps can help you adjust your images' light, colors, and orientation for free. Some of our top recommendations include:


Next steps

Start selling products with Gelato