Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Photography For Your Handmade Or Vintage Shop

Chainmail Star Pendant by Tangled Metal
If a picture is worth a thousand words, you have an extra few thousand words you can add to your listing in your online shop. Whether you are selling handmade goods or vintage items or supplies your pictures are a very important part of your shop. I talked about keywords and titles earlier and that is how you get your listings found in the searches. Photos are how you get the person to click through to your items.

Since people cannot touch your product you must make sure to have good photos. When you are taking photos try to imagine yourself looking over an object. What do you look at when you are trying to decide if you want to buy something or not? If it has a clasp is it strong enough, if it is a vintage items does it have a makers mark, if it is a supply what size is it in reference to a coin? You have to answer these questions in a photo.

Mini Studio In A Box $83.32
It all starts with a light box, camera and a tripod- or at least for smaller items it should. Light boxes range in price from the homemade free to the professional ones that cost several thousand dollars. Personally I use one that I made from a cardboard box and an old white sheet. I am working on a tutorial on how to make your own light box and will have that up soon.

The photo box to the left is very affordable since it comes with lights and a tripod. I have actually seen this one in person and it is a good economical choice. It is great because it folds up so it can be stored when not in use.

In my home made light box I use four lights to make sure to wash out as many shadows as possible. I like a stark white background, so does the Etsy front page. *hint, hint* Some people are really good at using props to tell a story. Be cautious not to pull the story away from your item.

Some tips for you:

1.) If your photo is blurry you are better off without a photo at all. If you can't focus on it with your camera, research the settings available and try again. Or buy a better camera.

2.) If you have a busy background that detracts from your item it is as bad as having a blurry photo. Props are great but don't go overboard. Remember the focus is your item not your props.

3.) If your item is something like earrings or a bathing suit you may not want to show it on a model. I know that sounds weird but a lot of people have issues with wearing something that has come into contact with certain parts of the body.

That is it for today. Be sure to share this info with everyone you know that might benefit from it. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.


  1. Ok..nadine here again...will be a lot, i'm afraid...
    ? i've read many very cool posts about how to take great pics-studio quality on a home budget...Awesome...for small items like jewelry, belt, flowers, whatever...but unfortunately i have larger items that cant fit in a lightbox...i sell Fleece bedding...bulky, fuzzy, comfy fleece bedding that folds funny. Do you have any pro tips for me? Here's my shop...


    and i realize that the pics on the beds need to be changed, but unfortunately, the option is no pics at this time...any thoughts? on a budget?

  2. Nadine, The only thing I might do would be to put the crib against a solid white wall or hang a white sheet behind it. You pics of the bedding rolled look great but you might want that to have a white background as well. pitting poster board behind it might help there. Be sure to curve the poster board so you don't get the harsh angles in the pics.

  3. Hey Thanks!! have considered both of those options in my head...the logistics are challenging as all is when 2 toddlers are running around pulling things apart...Thanks!!!!

  4. Good guide. My jewelry photography has improved a great deal through trial and error (did a ton of modeled shots over the weekend with some family and friends!), but the additions of a tripod and a higher quality camera helped a lot too. I've been looking at different lightboxes for while, since lighting can still pose a big challenge for me.

  5. Great post! I actually have that same kind of lightbox pictured. I really like it for my smaller items. I wish I had a better set-up for my larger items, but I'm working on it.

  6. Yes, larger pictures can sometimes pose a problem. If you have a free white wall you can use that as a backdrop. Or hang a sheet. Still run into problems with lighting but putting lights on cheap thrift store tripods can sure help.

  7. Thanks so much for taking your time out to write this post. It is very helpful!