Seller Handbook

Advice and inspiration for successfully running your Etsy shop

Why Product Photography Is Important

Learn why photos are key to selling online in Chapter 1 of Etsy's Ultimate Guide to Product Photography.

By Etsy Staff 29 May, 2017
MARIAELA shop Etsy photography guide
Mariaela Turkoniak of the shop MARIAELA photographs her nature-inspired jewellery in her home, in Bielsko-Biała, Poland. Photo by Ula Koskare

Welcome to Etsy’s Ultimate Guide to Product Photography!

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to take photos that get shoppers to click and buy. Whether you are new to selling or already own a thriving online business, this guide will help you capture photos that highlight your product’s best features. You’ll learn tips for the whole photography process: lighting, shooting, and editing. We will teach you how to get the most out of your equipment, whether you’re snapping shots with a smartphone in your kitchen or managing a photo shoot with a top-of-the-line camera, models, and backdrops. Plus, find out how to shoot tricky items — and how to avoid the most common photography mistakes that entrepreneurs make.

Why Good Product Photography Is Critical

We’ve long witnessed the importance of product photography at Etsy, the largest online market for handmade items, vintage goods, and craft supplies, with millions of shoppers around the world. In Etsy’s customer research, shoppers have told us that product photos are critical to their purchase decision. In fact, it’s their most important factor in deciding to buy, even more important than the shipping cost, customer reviews, or even the price of the item itself.

What influences Etsy shoppers to make a purchase

What influences Etsy Shoppers to make a purchase (chart)
In Etsy’s buyer surveys, 90 percent of shoppers said the quality of the photos were “extremely important” or “very important” to a purchase decision.

In other words, whether you sell on Etsy, another platform, or your own website, taking compelling photographs of your products is critical to success. And a bad photo could prevent you from making a sale, no matter how amazing your product is. Think about the last time you were shopping online and came across a bad product photo. Maybe the image was dark or out of focus. (“What exactly is this item?” you wondered.) Maybe you couldn’t figure out how large the product actually was in real life. Or you weren’t sure if the colour was right. Maybe you couldn’t even tell what was for sale. (“Is it one of these things?” you asked yourself. “All of them?”)

Odds are, you did not buy that item.

Unlike shopping in a boutique or a department store, when you browse online, you can’t pick up the product. You can’t touch it, hold it in your hands, or feel the texture with your fingers. All you have is the photographs.

If capturing beautiful photos of your wares is difficult for you, you’re not alone. Many creative entrepreneurs struggle with product photography, particularly when they’re first starting out. In surveys, 40 percent of new shop owners on Etsy have told us that product photography is either somewhat difficult or very difficult for them. But if you want to sell online, it isn’t a skill you can afford to ignore.

Continue reading > Chapter 2: 7 Essential Types of Product Photo Shots

Go back > The Ultimate Guide to Product Photography

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