5 minute read

How to Edit Your Product Photos

A little editing can go a long way. In Chapter 12 of our Ultimate Guide to Product Photography, learn about photo editing tools and techniques.

Avatar image for Etsy Staff by Etsy Staff
Title image for the article

Even the best photographers need a little editing help. Making a few simple touch-ups to your photos can make your images look polished and professional.

As you edit your photos, be careful not go overboard. Using filters and other photo manipulations can distort the appearance of your product and create a misleading image, which could lead to unhappy customers. While photo editing won’t turn a bad photo into a good photo, it can help make a good photo great.


Whether you’re editing photos on your computer or your phone, free tools are easy to come by. For the desktop, try free web-based editors like Aviary, Pixlr, and PicMonkey. Some inexpensive mobile apps include Photo Editor by Aviary and Afterlight. For even more robust features, you can invest in editing tools like Photoshop.


If you’re working with an image that seems to be too dim, there are a variety of ways to lighten things up. With the picture open in your preferred photo editor, experiment with incrementally increasing the exposure or brightness until you’re happy with the brightness level. Keep in mind that when adjusting your photos with these settings, the bigger the original file size, the better—otherwise your photos may appear grainy or washed out.

Sharpening and increasing contrast

It can be frustrating when products with detailed design elements seem to lose their dimension in photographs. By sharpening images very slightly in a photo editor, you can accentuate smaller details and textures. Increasing the contrast provides a similar effect, creating stronger distinctions between light and dark spaces in an image. But, be careful not to overdo it—too much contrast or sharpening can give your images a shadowy, over-edited appearance.

Cleaning up blemishes

Once you’ve adjusted the lighting and clarity of your product photos, you may decide to turn your attention to the background of your images. If your item is getting lost in a cluttered background or you notice a bit of dust, there are a variety of more advanced photo editing features that can help. The blur or clone tools in more advanced editing programs like Photoshop can be helpful for erasing. Some editors also offer a blemish tool to digitally remove, say, a speck of lint or dust that’s visible in your photo. Again, using the largest possible image size allows you more wiggle room to work with in editing. (For instance, if you use a DLSR camera, shooting in a “raw” file format instead of jpeg, creates a larger image file.) The larger your image, the more precise you can get with your edits.

Pygmy Cloud uses the “rule of thirds” to position her Rain Cloud coasters in a way that draws the eye.
Pygmy Cloud uses the “rule of thirds” to position her Rain Cloud coasters in a way that draws the eye.


Imagine you’re looking at each of your product photos in picture frames. Where is your eye drawn first? Does the current positioning of each item catch your attention? Use the “rule of thirds” to determine the best positioning of your product. The rule of thirds involves imagining a grid on top of your image with two equally-spaced vertical and horizontal lines. Research shows that the human eye is naturally drawn to the intersections of these invisible lines when viewing images. So it’s advantageous to position your products along these lines and intersection points when you’re cropping your shots.

Since your photos will also likely be viewed on mobile screens (about half of all global web traffic now comes from mobile phones, according to data by Statista), consider whether the image will be clear at a much smaller scale. At a glance, is it easy to understand what’s being sold? In order to make your product the focal point of each image, use a cropping tool to reposition how your item is framed and eliminate excess space around the edges.

(If you are cropping photos for Etsy, read these FAQs for photo dimensions and tips on uploading photos to Etsy.)


Once you’re finished with your edits, it’s a good idea to test how your photos look on a few different screens (such as your phone or another computer) to make sure that they remain an accurate depiction of your product. The more accurately your photo represents your product, the happier your customers will be when it arrives.

Continue reading > Chapter 13: 5 Common Photography Mistakes

Go back > The Ultimate Guide to Product Photography

Avatar image for Etsy Staff Words by Etsy Staff

Connect with the community

Looking for a place to share questions and spark new conversations?

Join the conversation in the Forums and get inspired

See more

Latest articles

Ship Globally to Grow Your Buyer Base

Ship Globally to Grow Your Buyer Base

Shoppers overseas are eager for your products—don't let your postal fears keep you from reaching them!

Your March Shop Checklist and Calendar

Your March Shop Checklist and Calendar

A monthly guide to key shopping dates, upcoming seller events, and buyer trends based on Etsy search data and industry forecasting.

Marketplace Insights: 2023 Spring and Summer Trends

Marketplace Insights: 2023 Spring and Summer Trends

Prep your shop for the upcoming season with our guide to trends based on Etsy search data and industry forecasting.